Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance disagreed yesterday that President Carter was "at times brutal" with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan in pressing for terms to reconvene a Geneva conference on the Middle East.
"I would not agree with that" characterization, reportedly given by Dayan in a secret briefing to an Israeli parliamentary committee, Vance said.
Speaking to reporters after 21/2 hours of testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Vance minimized teports of a grim encounter between the President and Dayan in New York the night of Oct. 4.
"I wouldn't say it was 'extremely rough,'" Vance said in reponse to a question that used that terminology. "I thought we were able to communicate with each other very well," he said.
"We are and will always remain deep friends and allies of Israel." Vance reiterated, adding, "We are committed to the security of Israel and I'm sure we can overcome any differences we may have."
Vance also racted mildly to Dayan's disclosure yesterday of the U.S. Israeli "working paper" for launching new talks in Geneva, after the terms all had leaked to the press.
"I don't think any damage will be done by that," Vance said.
American attention is focused, instead, on Arab reaction to the proposal. The terms are reportedly acceptable to Egypt and Jordan, although their offical response is expected to be troublesome, requiring further rounds of consultation, at best.Lebanon can join the conference if it desires.
Vance noted yesterday that the question of who will represent Palestinians at the conference is still unresolved and so are procedures on exactly how the conference will break down into working groups.
Vance was reporting on two sets of negotiations, on the Middle East, and on American-Soviet compromises for nuclear Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) accord.
The Senate committee, which is overwhelmingly friendly to the Carter administration, gave general support to Vance in both negotiations and espeically on SALT. Questions were raised, however, about limitations on American long-range cruise missiles.
Vance faces stronger challenges today on these and other SALT issues from Senate Armed Services Arms Control Subcommittee.
Several members of the Foreign Relation Committee complained to Vance about lack of consultation on the Oct. 1 U.S.-SOviet "guidelines", for a Geneva conference, which aroused indignation from Israel and its American supporters before the Carter administration calmed the storm.
Sen. Richard Stone (D-Fla) said afterward, "It's a question of the reintroduction of the Soviets into the Middle East pre-negotiation stage" and "the lack of consultation" with the Senate. Stone said the U.S. position is now "much clearer."
Sen. Frank Church (d-Idaho) said "I thicnk the Israelis have tried very hard to go as far as they can go" for reconvening a Geneva conference, and now "it is up to the Arabs to respond." He said U.S.-Israeli relations are now "better than they were 10 days ago."