Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin flew here yesterday for White House talks, reportedly upset about the speed of the American-backed decision to create a U.N. force in southern Lebanon.
Begin had no comment for reporters in New York, where he conferred with Israeli diplomats and with former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger. He had nothing to say on arrival yesterday afternoon at Andrews Air Force base, where he was met by Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. Israeli officials said Begin had asked to deter any statement until the ceremonial beginning of his talks with President Carter this morning.
The United States is sending several million dollars worth of emergency relief supplies to aid the 150,000 persons made homeless by the fighting in southern Lebanon, the State Department announced yesterday. The announcement said the supplies, including tents and blankets, had been requested by the Lebanese government.
An official with the Begin part described Israel's attitude about cooperation with the United Nations force as "wait and see." Asked if Israel will turn over the policing of southern Lebanon to the U.N. force and withdraw in keeping with the Security Council resolution, the official said the question is "whether the U.N. force can precent a revival" of terrorism in southern Lebanon.
The United States, according to State Department spokesman John Trattner, believes Israel will cooperate with the U.N. force. "We see no reason why they won't . . . We don't expect there will be any problem," he said.
Trattner defended the speed of action at the United Nations over the weekend, saying that the United States "recognized that time was short and that the scope of the fighting was rapidly expanding." He said that a delay in reaching a decision would have been "extremely dangerous."
Israel's views were sought through its embassy in Washington as well as the Israeli mission to the United Nations, Trattner said.
Israel had asked that U.N. action be put off until Begin arrived in New York, evidently carrying a lengthy plan of his own for southern Lebanon. The request was rejected.
Begin talks with Carter originally were scheduled to take place a week ago but were postponed because of the Palestinian commando attack on Israel and the Israeli retaliation, which turned out to be the invasion of southern Lebanon.
A White House official traveling with Carter at St. Simons Island, Ga., said yesterday that "it is the United States' desire that the talks on Lebanon not be the dominant topic" between the U.S. and Israeli leaders. The main subject, he said, should be overall Mideast peace prospects - which are believed to hinge in large part on this week's White House meetings.