As the Carter administration seeks European backing for the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, France is blocking a strong expression of support for the pact by the European Economic Community, according to diplomatic sources in several capitals.
Egyptian sensitivity over France's attitude became clear this week when President Anwar Sadat abruptly canceled his planned stop in Paris to see his way to Washington for the treaty signing.
Led by West Germany, the EEC governments want to issue a favorable joint statement after the treaty is signed on Monday. But France-which argues ofr a peace-seeking formula aimed at an overall Arab-Israeli settlement-has taken a position against the bilateral treaty.
The United States has asked its European allies to help swing more key Arab governments behind the treaty, officials here say.
The Carter administration is also considering a later approach to European governments and Japan, which share the U.S. interest in Middle East stability and oil supplies, to bear part of the cost of the pact's security and aid undertakings to Egypt and Israel.
After touring European capitals to enlist support for the treaty, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher said in Brussels Wednesday that West Germany will contact friendly Arab governments to stress the "good intentions" of the United States and urge wider Arab acceptance of the treaty.
Without French support for a united stance, however, Europe will have little impact in overcoming Egypt's "psychological isolation" if other Arab governments remain hostile to the treaty, diplomats said. Individually, the other European governments have little influence in the Middle East, they said.
France has shown openly the apprehensions expressed privately by other European diplomats, who urge their governments to adopt a low profile on the Israeli-Egyptian pact to avoid straining relations between the West and some key moderate oil-producing Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.
France has important oil and commercial ties in Iraq, Syria, Algeria and other Arab countries that bitterly oppose the treaty, and French officials privately make no secret of their government's reluctance to jeopardize these interests by associating France with the pact.
Explaining the French position, an official here said the treaty amounts to a separate peace between Egypt and Israel that "does not allow the slightest chance for the Palestinians to get anything".
French officials are skeptical ofU.S. ability to convert the bilateral peace into an overall, durable Middle East settlement. By bitterly dividing the Arab world, it could even make a solution more elusive and the situation there more precarious, a French policy-maker said.
Government officials indicate that France intends to continue its plans for direct aid to Egypt, but France will not join any U.S. sponored consortium to channel aid to the peace signatories
West Germany and Japan, however, reportedly have made commitments to help underwrite the cost of fulfilling President Carter's promises to Egypt and Israel.