The European Community called today for "an authoritative inquiry" into the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Beirut.
As Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen was making his statements to the General Assembly on behalf of the 10 community members, the 15 Security Council members were consulting in private on how the United Nations might conduct an investigation.
Lebanese -- who have launched their own inquiry into the massacre, as did Israel today -- have told council members they have no objection to a U.N. investigation that does not involve the dispatch of a council delegation to Beirut.
American officials said the Lebanese attitude would determine the U.S. position on any U.N. inquiry. The United States joined in a unanimous assembly vote on Friday urging the council to investigate the circumstances and extent of the massacre "through the means available to it."
The Americans suggested today that the council could ask Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to serve as a "collector of documentation," including reports from the Lebanese and from U.N. peace-keeping observers on the scene. Israel has opposed any U.N. inquiry.
In his speech today, the Danish foreign minister also welcomed President Reagan's Middle East peace initiative of Sept. 1, and the statement adopted by the Arab League summit meeting in Morocco eight days later. "We call now for a similar expression of a will to peace on the part of Israel," said Ellemann-Jensen.
At a press briefing earlier, the Dane said he would meet here Friday with Farouk Kaddoumi, the Palestine Liberation Organization's foreign affairs spokesman. He said it would be the first formal contact between the PLO and the president of the European Community's Council of Ministers.
Ellemann-Jensen said he would meet Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir here later the same day, and offered to take the role of go-between. He said PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat is expected in December, to address the General Assembly.
Boutros Ghali, Egypt's minister of state for foreign affairs, charged today that Israel "dishonored its pledges and guarantees" not to enter West Beirut and unleashed "its henchmen and lackeys of murderers and assassins to butcher children, babies, women and elderly men under the protection of the occupation army on a day of shame for Israel."