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State Department Grappling with Carter’s Phrase of ‘all Aspects of the Palestinian Question’

February 1, 1978
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The State Department today postponed its response to a request for a definition of President Carter’s phrase, “all aspects of the Palestinian question,” that he said at his press conference yesterday was a matter to be dealt with in the Middle East negotiations. An Israeli source said the phrase referred to the Palestinian refugees but had no connotation for political questions and such factors as a Palestinian entity.

At the State Department, however, where the Jewish Telegraphic Agency found officials “wrestling” with an “explanation” of the phrase, it was said that it could embrace refugees and political problems including “self-determination” by the Palestinian Arabs. Such meaning would create further questions that, for the time being, are held in abeyance by the lapse in the political talks in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, at the White House, Deputy Presidential News Secretary Rex Granum said President Carter and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt would spend a “relatively quiet” weekend at Camp David. Granum cautioned against anticipation of a “major announcement.” He said “We anticipate there will not be major news each day.” Both Presidents are expected to return to Washington Sunday afternoon. President and Mrs. Sadat will arrive in Washington Friday.

Assistant Secretary of State Alfred L. Atherton, who has been meeting with Israelis and Egyptians in their respective capitals, is due here tomorrow for the Carter-Sadat talks. Whether he will return to the Middle East after the Camp David conference has not been decided, the State Department said.

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