Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron met with President Carter Monday shortly before a top-level White House meeting that ended with Carter repudiating a U.S. vote criticizing Israel in the United Nations, administration and diplomatic sources said yesterday.
The sources confirmed the Evron-Carter meeting after reports began circulating yesterday that the Israeli ambassador may have had a role in suggesting the language of the statement issued by Carter at 10 p.m. Monday.
According to the sources, though, Evron's session with Carter, arranged by Vice President Mondale, took place around 4:30 p.m. Monday and the ambassador only restated Israel's objections to the U.N. Security Council resolution for which the United States had voted two days earlier.
The U.S. vote was intended to register a protest against Jewish settlements being established in occupied Arab territories.
In his Monday night statement, Carter said that due to a misunderstanding between himself and Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, he was unaware that the resolution contained references to the status of Jerusalem that the United States considered unacceptable. As a result, Carter added, the United States should have abstained in the U.N. vote.
Although Vance subsequently accepted responsibility for "the failure in communications," the incident has raised speculation about other reasons for Carter's reversal of position. Much of that speculation has centered on whether the White House became concerned that Israel would block progress on its U.S.-mediated talks with Egypt about limited self-government for the occupied territories.
Evron was known to have met Monday morning with Mondale and Sol M. Linowitz, Carter's special Mideast negotiator. According to reliable sources, the ambassador, while making no threats, warned Mondale and Linowitz that the U.N. vote could have serious consequences for the autonomy talks.
After that information was relayed to Carter, a series of White House discussions began that led to a meeting of Carter's top foreign policy advisers at 5 p.m. and ended with the president's statement.
The 5 p.m. meeting was chaired by Mondale. About an hour before it began, the sources said, Evron came to the White House for a second meeting with the vice president and was taken by Mondale to Carter's office where he spoke with the president about 20 minutes.