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Shamir’s Meetings in Washington Appear to Have Led to a Better Understanding by the U.S. of Israel’s

March 16, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir was scheduled to return to Israel today after apparently accomplishing the publicly stated purpose of his visit to Washington, getting the United States to better understand Israel’s position on security requirements for its withdrawal from Lebanon.

But whether the talks Shamir had with Secretary of State George Shultz on Sunday as well as the meetings between Shultz and Lebanese Foreign Minister Elie Salem had any impact on the positions of the three countries was still unclear. It may be clearer when the actual negotiations resume in the Mideast next week.

Shamir, who held more than nine hours of talks with Shultz on Sunday and Monday, met with him again for 30 minutes this morning. He said they went over the Lebanese situation again and would hold another meeting this afternoon.

Shamir had two scheduled meetings with Shultz on Sunday and Monday and two unscheduled meetings with Shultz yesterday. The Israeli Foreign Minister also met with President Reagan yesterday for a half hour.


At the conclusion of his meeting yesterday, Shamir stressed that the talks were “conversations” and “not negotiations. I have not negotiated all the details because that was left to negotiations in the area.”

Shamir said the talks yesterday “were very friendly, and much more understanding between the United States and Israel about our positions on southern Lebanon was achieved. This understanding will find its expression in the negotiations between the parties which will continue in the area as before in Khalde and Netanya.”

Although Shamir stressed that the meeting was not negotiations, those involved in the negotiations on Lebanon were present for all the talks. This included, on the U.S. side, special Mideast envoy Philip Habib and Morris Draper, the special envoy for the Lebanese negotiations; and an the Israeli side, David Kimche, the director general of the Foreign Ministry.


Shamir would not discuss the details of the talks with Shultz but he again reiterated last night that “we will have to help Lebanon keep security” in south Lebanon “because in the near future, Lebanon for itself will not be able to control the security for the zone.”

He said that he “explained the principle that there must be cooperation between Israel and Lebanon in the security zone. About the forms of this cooperation, the modalities of this cooperation we will have to negotiate.”

But Salem, in his public statements after his two meetings with Shultz, denied strongly that the Lebanese army would not be able to maintain security in southern Lebanon. He said that the only peaceful place in Lebanon is Beirut where the Lebanese army is in control. He did not mention the multinational force of U.S. marines and French, Italian, and British troops.


Only two weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Philip Gast, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Assistance Agency, told a Senate subcommittee that while Lebanon will now have 20,000 men in four fully equipped brigades, this will not enable it to provide security by itself for the entire country.

Reagan and members of his Administration have continually stressed that the U.S. will consider increasing the 1,200-member marine contingent in coordination with other members of the MNF if that was necessary to safeguard the Lebanese-Israeli border. The Administration has also suggested that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) might be used for this purpose.

But Israel up till now, has insisted that only a joint Lebanese-Israeli responsibility can safeguard the border. Shamir’s visit has made clear that Israel maintains this position although it was not certain whether it is still insisting on having military outposts on Lebanese territory.

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