WASHINGTON (Dec. 1)
Secretary of State George Shultz today warmly welcomed Israel’s apology in the case of U.S. Navy counterintelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard who was arrested by the FBI November 21 for allegedly spying for Israel.
Shultz, who spoke to reporters in Houston, referred to a statement issued by the Israel government following its weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem today. “This is an excellent statement. We are satisfied by it and wholeheartedly welcome it,” Shultz said. He predicted that the unhappy affair which created friction between the U.S. and Israel would now result in “deeper and enriched” relations, “marked by greater mutuality and trust.”
“We have been assured that they (the Israelis) will provide us with access to the individuals who are know ledgeable about the case and that Israel will give us a full report on the extent of whatever activities their investigation reveals to have taken place,” Shultz who is enroute to Colombia via the Caribbean, said.
U.S. HAD SOUGHT FULL INFORMATION
As late as last Friday, howerer, the Reagan Administration was displaying growing impatience with Israel. State Department deputy spokesman Charles Redman told reporters that the Jerusalem government had up to then failed to provide the U.S. with the “full and prompt” information it had promised Washington after the Pollard case broke.
The Administration had demanded that Israel also provide access, either there or in the U.S., to two Israeli diplomats attached to the Washington Embassy and the Consulate General in New York who were recalled earlier last week.
Redman said two days ago that “Israeli authorities have assured us of their willingness to cooperate. However they have not yet provided the full and prompt cooperation we requested a week ago. We regret the delay and again urge the Israeli government to respond promptly.”
But Shultz said today that the FBI will now be able to talk to the two diplomats alleged to have been in some way involved with Pollard. He did not know where or when the interrogation would take place. He also refused to comment on reports that Israel might return to the U.S. the hundreds of classified documents that Pollard, a civilian employe of the Naval Investigative Service, allegedly purloined and sold the Israelis for payment of $2,500 a month.
“We welcome the statement of the government of Israel to work cooperatively with us to see this issue fully resolved,” Shultz said. “For our part, we will work closely with the Israeli authorities so that both countries can expeditiously get to the bottom of the case and ensure that justice can be done.”