Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan will come to the United States next week to make a hastily arranged coast-to-coast speaking tour, and will confer with Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance before returning to Jerusalem, informed sources said yesterday.
No decision has yet been made whether Dayan will also meet with President Carter.
Dayan will arrive in New York next Tuesday or Wednesday, just as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is winding up a five-day visit to Washington during which he will hold talks with President Carter on the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations.
The Israeli foreign minister's tour, which will see him address United Jewish Appeal fundraising dinners in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, is clearly designed to counter the favorable publicity that Sadat is likely to receive during his visit.
Israeli officials said yesterday there were "no plans at this stage" for Dayan to stop off in Washington, or to confer with top Carter administration officials. "That is up to the American government," an Israeli spokesman said.
But the State Department, which was taken by surprise by news of Dayan's planned visit, said Dayan would be invited to Washington to discuss the outcome of the Carter-Sadat talks.
"It is quite likely that we will try to work something out for a meeting with Secretary of State Vance," State Department spokesman Hodding Carter III said. Other sources said there was also a strong possibility that Dayan would meet with the president.
Israeli officials yesterday sought to convey the impression that the timing of Dayan's trip was totally unrelated to the Sadat visit. They said the UJA had invited Dayan to make the speaking tour weeks ago.
The scheduling of the tour, however, was so up in the air last night that Israeli officials were not sure whether he would arrive in New York next Tuesday or Wednesday. They also conceded that no firm itinerary had been worked out for his U.S. visit, and said they would not know exactly when he would be addressing dinners in various cities until Friday.
In deciding to send his charismatic foreign minister to the United States at this time, Prime Minister Menachem Begin was clearly recognizing that a prime purpose of Sadat's trip is to elicit support for his position among the American public and the American Jewish community.
Sadat, who is scheduled to arrive here Friday for weekend talks at Camp David with President Carter Vance and national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, is to return to Washington Sunday and stay on as a government guest at Blair House until Wednesday.
During that time, he will undoubtedly argue in numerous interviews that Israel is responsible for the current slowed pace of the Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations. He also is to present his case to the National Press Club at a luncheon next Monday, it was announced yesterday.
But beyond countering Sadat's media diplomacy, Dayan will undoubtedly be anxious for a firsthand report on the talks between Sadat and Carter.
Discussions with top State Department and White House officials will give Dayan an opportunity to gauge whether Sadat had any success in persuading the president to pressure Israel to be more flexible in the stalled Middle East peace negotiations.
If Dayan detects any signs of U.S. impatience with Israel, he will have a first-hand opportunity to mobilize his country's friends in the United States.
Beyond that, Dayan will have an opportunity to carry back to Israel the latest thinking on possible revival of the Israeli-Egyptian political talks in Jerusalem, which Sadat ordered broken off two weeks ago.
Dayan was Israel's representative in the political talks, which were conducted at the foreign ministerial level, so they certainly will not resume until after his U.S. visit.