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State Department, Israeli Sources Decline to Confirm Sisco’s Proposals

August 4, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

State Department and Israeli sources refused to confirm today’s reports from Israel that American Assistant Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco had proposed that Israel withdraw 20 miles from the Suez Canal and allow Egyptian troops to cross the waterway in return for a cease-fire of two to three years. A State Department officer close to the situation said he had no information whatever on the reported proposal. An Israeli Embassy officer said he had received no official information. The Israeli added: “As you know, the talks are being held in an atmosphere of trust, and we will not discuss any aspect of it.”

Other knowledgeable sources, however, were inclined to believe the accuracy of the report in its broad dimensions. They noted that since the news was being made in Israel, no official confirmations would be made here. They added that as Sisco spearheads policy-making on Israel for the State Department, he could have advanced his plan without the full or formal approval of the Department. State Department sources later indicated that Sisco did not go to Israel with any “blueprints” and that on the issue of Israeli partial withdrawal and a token Egyptian replacement, the U.S. had presented its views with the understanding that the resolution of the differences was a matter for the parties concerned. As to reports that Sisco would next go to Egypt, the sources said this was a discretionary matter, left to Sisco to decide, with the concurrence of Egyptian officials, if he felt such a visit would be helpful.

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