Eshkol May See British Prime Minister After Talks with President Johnson
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Eshkol May See British Prime Minister After Talks with President Johnson

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Prime Minister Levi Eshkol will visit Prime Minister Harold Wilson in London following his two days of meetings with President Johnson in Texas on January 7-8, it was reported here today. Mr. Eshkol, it was said, would interrupt his return home to stop over in London. There was no official confirmation of the report.

Meanwhile, the Soviet newspaper, Pravda, charged today that Israel was seeking to involve the United States in the Middle East dispute and said that was the reason for Mr. Eshkol’s forthcoming visit to the United States. The Communist Party organ said that “the fact that Eshkol strives to discuss the Middle East situation first with the United States shows that he plans to create an impression that the United States is the decisive force in the Middle East and that an appeal to Washington is a key to liquidation of the Middle East crisis.” The paper went on to accuse the United States of supporting “Israeli aggression from the very first day” and said that Washington wants to preserve tensions in the area. Pravda reiterated the Soviet demand for immediate Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.

The London Financial Times said today that the outcome of the Johnson-Eshkol talks “could have an important effect on any Arab decisions to be taken by the Rabat summit conference on Jan. 17. The London newspaper stressed that only the United States could fill the role of arbiter between the Arabs and Israel today.

In a review of the current situation, the usually well-informed London journal said that “it is now clear even to the Arab nations that the Israelis are not going to allow the diplomats to push them out of territory that their soldiers have won.” It asserted that the American Administration was known “to feel some irritation now at Israel’s continuing hard line. In particular, it is worried about Israeli policy on some of the occupied territories, which it does not see as suggesting that the Israelis are prepared to withdraw, even on favorable terms to themselves.”

According to the Financial Times, the United States Administration is also worried about the way in which the Soviet Union has so rapidly re-equipped the Egyptians. It suggested that Prime Minister Eshkol, in his talks with President Johnson, might play upon this fear to ask for a substantial supply of arms from the United States.

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