By BERNARD WEINRAUB (NYT) 1234 words
REAGAN DEMANDS END TO ATTACKS IN A BLUNT TELEPHONE CALL TO BEGIN
Published: August 13, 1982
Chronology of Crisis About 6 A.M. (midnight Wednesday, New York time) - Israelis begin bombing west Beirut. As raids continue, Lebanon's Prime Minister, Shafik al-Wazzan, tells Philip C. Habib, the special American envoy, that the talks cannot continue.
2 P.M. (8 A.M., New York time) -The Israeli Cabinet meets. A message from President Reagan arrives, expressing ''outrage'' and, reportedly threatening to halt the Habib mission. The Cabinet decides to end the raids and order new ones only if they are ''essential.''
4 P.M. (10 A.M., New York time) -President Reagan tries for hour to call Mr. Begin but cannot get through. 4:50 P.M. (10:50 A.M., New York time) - King Fahd of Saudi Arabia calls Mr. Reagan. 5 P.M. (11 A.M., New York time) -A new cease-fire goes into effect in west Beirut. 5:10 P.M. (11:10 A.M., New York time) - Mr. Reagan reaches Mr. Begin for 10-minute telephone call. 5:40 P.M. (11:40 A.M., New York time) - Mr. Begin calls President Reagan to say that a ''complete cease-fire'' had been ordered.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 - President Reagan expressed ''outrage'' to Prime Minister Menachem Begin today over Israel's latest bombing raids in west Beirut, saying the attacks had resulted in ''needless destruction and bloodshed.'' It was the sharpest statement by Mr. Reagan since the start of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon nine weeks ago.
Larry Speakes, the deputy White House press secretary, said Mr. Reagan had been ''shocked'' by the Israeli attacks on west Beirut. Mr. Reagan voiced his feelings directly to Mr. Begin, according to Mr. Speakes.
Mr. Speakes said the Israeli action had threatened the efforts by Philip C. Habib, the special American envoy, to end the fighting in Lebanon and arrange for the withdrawal of the 6,000 to 9,000 Palestinian guerrillas trapped in west Beirut. In the last 48 hours, Mr. Habib's peace plan seemed on the verge of success. 'Massive Military Action'
''The President expressed his outrage over this latest round of massive military action,'' Mr. Speakes said early this afternoon. ''He emphasized that Israel's action halted Ambassador Habib's negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the Beirut crisis when they were at the point of success. The result has been more needless destruction and bloodshed.''
Mr. Speakes, asked whether Mr. Reagan had shouted at the Prime Minister, declined to comment. Mr. Speakes read a White House statement to reporters after a morning in which President Reagan sent an urgent message to Mr. Begin, then spoke twice with the Israeli leader and received a call from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia over the crisis. U.S. Officials Are Stunned
American officials - including, apparently, Mr. Reagan - were stunned by not only the scale of the Israeli air attacks but also the possibility that Mr. Habib's peace proposals could fall apart because of them.
As the Israeli attacks took place, State Department officials said, Lebanon's Prime Minister, Shafik al-W@azzan, told Mr. Habib in Beirut that the talks could not continue under the ''blackmail and pressure'' of the raids.
''Habib couldn't continue the talks,'' one State Department official said. ''The point was conveyed that he simply couldn't go on. The talks had come to a halt. It was impossible to continue to play our role in these circumstances.'' Unusually Blunt Statement
Officials denied reports from Israel that Mr. Reagan had warned Mr. Begin that Mr. Habib would return to Washington if the raids continued.
The unusually blunt White House statement said: ''The President was shocked this morning when he learned of the new heavy Israeli bombardment of west Beirut. As a result, the President telephoned Prime Minister Begin concerning the most recent bombing and shelling in Beirut.'' The statement said Mr. Reagan then ''expressed his outrage.''
''He emphasized that Israel's actions halted Ambassador Habib's negotiations for the peaceful resolution of the Beirut crisis when they were at the point of success,'' the statement said. ''The result has been more needless destruction and bloodshed.''
The statement continued: ''The President made clear that it is imperative that the cease-fire in place be observed absolutely in order for negotiations to proceed. We understand the Israeli Cabinet has approved a new cease-fire, which is in effect. It must hold.''
Asked if Mr. Reagan had threatened to suspend American arms aid or take other retaliation, Mr. Speakes replied, ''I won't discuss that.'' He also declined to discuss Mr. Begin's response.
A State Department official said, however, that no direct threats had been made in the telephone talks. 'Frank and Straightforward'
A White House aide said Mr. Reagan's phone conversations with Mr. Begin were ''his toughest yet - he used frank and straightforward language.''
During his conversations, Mr. Reagan was seated at his desk in the Oval Office. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, James A. Baker 3d, the White House chief of staff, and Robert C. McFarlane, the deputy assistant to the President for national security affairs, were nearby, according to White House officials.
In a chronology of the morning's events, Mr. Speakes and other White House officials said Mr. Reagan had received reports from Mr. Habib that the Israeli shellings had brought the talks to a halt.
Mr. Habib reported that the attacks had prevented him from meeting the Lebanese intermediaries serving as his contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization. An Angrily Worded Message
Mr. Reagan then sent an angrily worded message to Mr. Begin through the United States Ambassador in Israel, Samuel W. Lewis. Because Mr. Begin was in the Israeli Parliament, the message was not delivered personally.
''The President expressed in the message generally what he expressed here,'' Mr. Speakes said, referring to the White House statement.
Between 10 A.M. and 11 A.M., Mr. Reagan tried to phone Mr. Begin, but the call could not be completed, Mr. Speakes said. In the meantime, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia called Mr. Reagan at 10:50 A.M., ''expressing his concern over the situation in west Beirut,'' according to Mr. Speakes.
At 11:10 A.M. - about 10 minutes after the latest cease-fire took effect -Mr. Reagan reached Mr. Begin and spoke for 10 minutes. Israel Orders a Cease-Fire
''Shortly before this phone call, we had learned that an order had gone out to cease the bombing in west Beirut,'' Mr. Speakes said. At 11:40 A.M., Mr. Begin phoned the President back. ''The information contained in this call was that a complete cease-fire had been ordered,'' Mr. Speakes said.
Before today's Israeli attacks, United States officials expressed hope that Mr. Habib's efforts would soon result in the withdrawal of the P.L.O. from Lebanon.