Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr., taking a position that parallels Israel's, called yesterday for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from wartorn Lebanon.
Haig's statement, in the face of repeated questions about his stand on immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, was an indication of the developing U.S. position in impending negotiations with the Jewish state about its pullout from the areas it occupied in a lightning invasion last week.
Haig spoke on the television program "This Week with David Brinkley" (ABC, WJLA) as State Department officials continued active diplomatic efforts to shore up the on-again, off-again cease-fire between Israeli and Palestinian forces. The United States played a role Saturday in pushing for the cease-fire to be extended to the Palestinians, and officials reacted with great concern Saturday night and again yesterday at surges of fighting in spite of the truce.
The Soviet Union also expressed its concern to Washington "about the potential dangers of a spreading of the violence" in a new message from President Leonid I. Brezhnev that was answered by President Reagan Saturday night, Haig disclosed. A previous exchange of messages between the two leaders took place last Wednesday night and Thursday, while Israel was inflicting heavy damage on Syria and as the United States began pressuring the Israelis to agree to a cease-fire. Haig said yesterday that the United States shares the Soviet concern about the dangers in Lebanon, though not necessarily the Soviet view of the responsibility for the situation.
Referring to the two nuclear superpowers, Haig added, "Thus far I would say that the situation is cautious on both sides." At another point in the television interview he stated the U.S. view that the Soviets "have no business in intervening or becoming involved in this situation, other than to urge those with whom they exercise influence to exercise restraint."
While urgent concern about the cease-fire continued, there were new indications of bargaining positions in the expected negotiations about Israeli withdrawal. Reports from Jerusalem said Israel's conditions, as outlined yesterday to special U.S. envoy Philip C. Habib, include the ouster from Lebanon of all Syrian and Palestine Liberation Organization forces, and establishment of an international peacekeeping force, possibly including U.S. troops, to take over from Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.
At times in the past, the United States has approved the role in Lebanon of Syrian troops, which put an end to the bloody Lebanese civil war in 1976 and remained as an Arab League peacekeeping force.
Haig's position yesterday calling for withdrawal of all foreign forces clearly applied to Syria's troops and apparently applied to the PLO fighters as well. It was unclear, though, where the United States expects the Palestinian fighters to go.
A State Department official said Haig had decided some time ago that Syria should leave Lebanon, but that the timetable for such a pullout was accelerated in Haig's mind by the current situation.
Haig gave no details of how withdrawal of all foreign forces could be arranged but he hinted at a comprehensive set of negotiations on Lebanon.
"We've got to work with all of the nations in the region, and some of those in Western Europe who are concerned, to seek to provide a long-term solution in which the sovereignty of Lebanon will again be established," he said.
The secretary of state was noncommittal about the possible participation of the U.S. military in a future Lebanese peacekeeping force, saying this is "still a hypothetical question" and had not yet been given serious U.S. consideration.
Sen. Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, reacted unenthusiastically to such U.S. military partipation, saying "I wouldn't think that would be the best alternative" in dealing with future. Instead, he said the United States should be prepared to help the Lebanese government strengthen its army and its control, and provide "the hope" for another home for the Palestinians, in his view on the West Bank.
Percy, speaking on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM), was more critical of Israeli actions than Haig, and inclined to believe that Israel will pay a price for its invasion in terms of congressional support.
Percy said, for example, that he has notified Haig that the timing would be bad now for submission to Congress of the recently announced plan to sell more F16 warplanes to Israel. He also said the invasion of Lebanon could affect the legislative climate for the drive to grant Israel an extra $425 million in aid, an amount beyond the Reagan budget.
The Illinois senator said he had telephoned Haig yesterday morning in reaction to press reports that Israel is preparing to send civilian and military administrators to southern Lebanon, suggesting that its stay will be a lengthy one.
Such action would be "totally contrary" to U.S. policy and U.N. resolutions and "a disaster" for the peace process, Percy said. "We feel it is in the best interest in all parties, including Israel, for them not to appear in any way to be staying there and occupying that land as they have the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights," he declared.