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Secretary Udall Will Not Visit Israel on Desalination Trip to Near East

January 24, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall will not visit Israel during his forthcoming extended visit to Near Eastern nations interested in desalination because Israel failed to invite him, State Department sources said today.

Secretary Udall will leave next week with an itinerary including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Iran. The trip may be extended to include Lebanon and Greece. A Saudi Arabian embassy spokesman stated here today that his Government had made clear to the United States that Secretary Udall was welcome to ceremonies initiating a new dual purpose desalination undertaking at Jidda with a stipulation that he refrain from visiting Israel on the same trip.

The State Department and Department of Interior sources aware of developments sought to deny that any Arab conditions had been imposed. They insisted that Israel was not added to the itinerary merely because the Israel Government failed to extend a timely invitation. They explained that now it is too late for Israel to offer such an invitation because Greece and Lebanon have made known that they are eager to welcome the Secretary. Any available additional time would be spent in those nations, it was said. The entire Near Eastern sojourn will last about two weeks.

The failure of Secretary Udall to visit Israel was puzzling because of the extensive contacts between the Department of the Interior and Israel on a joint American-Israel nuclear desalination project.

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