Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger left Geneva this evening after a seven-hour meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko during which he was apparently given “a go-ahead” to his current quest for a Syrian-Israeli disengagement. Before he left Geneva on his way to Algiers. Kissinger said, “I can count on Soviet understanding and I hope cooperation.”
Earlier, Gromyko had said that his meeting with the Secretary had been “useful, friendly and conducted in a business-like atmosphere.” He said that he and Kissinger had reviewed questions which should be raised “at the highest possible level,” namely during President Nixon’s visit to Moscow next June. When asked whether the Middle East is one of these questions, Gromyko refused to reply. Kissinger said, however, that though this question could be taken up at the forthcoming summit conference. “I feel that I can go ahead with my current mission.”
Most of the seven hours today, with a short break for lunch, were devoted to the Middle East. American officials here said. Observers here believe that Kissinger has agreed to staging the Israeli-Syrian disengagement talks within the framework of the Geneva peace conference, that is, with Soviet participation, should he fall on his current mission. American officials were not prepared to reveal whether the Secretary was confident that his mission can succeed. They said however, that they hope the two sides. Israel and Syria, will show the necessary good will.
6-POINT DISENGAGEMENT PLAN PRESENTED
A senior American official said here today that the Syrian-Israeli disengagement will certainly be more difficult than the one reached with Egypt last Jan. “The climate is now more passionate than it was at the start of the Israeli-Egyptian disengagement talk,” he said.
According to unconfirmed reports here. Kissinger, who was accompanied at this meeting by such Middle East experts as Undersecretary of State Joseph J. Sisco and Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, presented the Russians with a six-point disengagement plan. This, according to unconfirmed reports, includes Israel’s withdrawal from the territories occupied during the Yom Kippur War, withdrawal from Kuneitra, the return of the Israeli POWs held by the Syrians, the return of an unspecified number of Syrian refugees to their homes on the Golan Heights, the stationing of United Nations forces between the Israeli and the Syrian lines and the thinning out of Israeli and Syrian forces.
It is believed that the Russians did not take a definite stand on the project, saying that it should be discussed after Kissinger has completed his current mission. The Russians also insisted that the next phase of the disengagement talks, namely the formal part after the completion of Kissinger’s trip, should be held in Geneva. The Americans are believed to have acceded to the Soviet request.
U.S., USSR TO COOPERATE TO SETTLE CONFLICT
A joint communique by Kissinger and Gromyko was issued here this evening. Referring to the Mideast it noted: “The two sides agreed to exercise their influence toward a positive outcome and to remain in close touch with each other so as to strive to coordinate their efforts for a peaceful settlement in the area. Both sides expressed themselves in favor of the resumption of the work of the Geneva peace conference on the Middle East at an early date.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.