NEW YORK (Apr. 3)
President Reagan telephoned Premier Shimon Peres from his California ranch Wednesday evening to thank the Israeli leader for his support of the U.S. naval action against Libya in the Gulf of Sidra last month.
Reagan also “expressed his support for the ideas and initiatives of Peres, as expressed in his talks in Washington, and promised that the U.S. will support the efforts to complete the negotiations between Israel and Egypt (over the Taba border dispute and normalization of relations) and will press for a breakthrough in relations between Jordan and Israel,” an Israeli spokesman said.
He said that Peres, who was in Washington Tuesday for meetings with Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State George Shultz and other Administration officials, conversed with the vacationing Reagan for about 10 minutes from his suite at the Regency Hotel here.
Peres thanked the President for his call and reiterated Israel’s support for the Gulf of Sidra action. He told Reagan, “You were brave and right (about Libya) and the people of Israel stand behind you,” the spokesman reported.
Peres said in Washington Wednesday that he had discussed certain “initiatives” with Shultz for moving the stalled Middle East peace process forward, but that it was premature for him to disclose the nature of the initiatives. Reagan, who received a report of Peres’ talks with Shultz and Bush, was referring to those initiatives in his telephone conversation with Peres.
ISRAEL MAY ASK UN FOR WALDHEIM FILE
The Israeli Premier was guest of honor Wednesday night at the 50th anniversary dinner of the World Jewish Congress at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. At a brief press conference just before the dinner, Peres told reporters that Israel may ask the United Nations to release the file and secret documents relating to the war-time activities of its former Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.
The WJC and other Jewish organizations have been urging incumbent UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to make public the documents, which they believe will confirm other evidence that Waldheim has a Nazi past. The documents originated with the now long-defunct United Nations War Crimes Commission.
Peres told the WJC dinner guests, “I must say I did not know the UN holds some secret documents. I don’t see any reason why an organization like the UN should keep anything secret.” He added, “If there is a need,” Israel will ask the UN to release its documents on Waldheim.
The WJC reported earlier Wednesday that it has received a formal request from the Israel government for all of its documents and other material on Waldheim’s activities when he served as a Wehrmacht lieutenant in the Balkans, attached to the German General Staff. The request was made so that Israel could begin its own investigation of Waldheim’s past, the WJC said.
APPEALS TO USSR ON EMIGRATION
In his address to the WJC dinner, Peres appealed to the Soviet Union “to open the gates” for the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel to reunite with their families. “We do not hate the Russians. All we are interested in is Israel’s security and the fate of the three million Jews in the Soviet Union,” the Premier said. He called on the USSR to change its policy in the Middle East.
On the issue of Middle East peace, Peres said the economic situation in the region is a major factor in any plans to reach a peace settlement. He noted that as a result of the continued decline in the price of oil, many Arab states have lost tremendous amounts of money. Arab oil producers have lost some $100 billion in oil revenues while Europeans and Japan have gained an estimated $70 billion.
Peres suggested that the Europeans and Japan should consider investing “a small portion of this gain in the political infrastructure and stability of the Middle East.”