INTRODUCTION: The United States special envoy Philip Habib had ended his round of Middle Eastern shuttle diplomacy and returned to Washington.
SV ZOOM TO CU WASHINGTON: President Reagan speaking to journalists
SCU JERUSALEM: Menachem Begin making statement on newsmen
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
(SEQ. 1:) REAGAN: "Well, I think it's time for a little consultation. He agrees, and I've called him home for consultations on that he's done. I think that he's done a remarkable job so far."
NEWSMAN: "Would you call the mission a failure?"
REAGAN: "Oh no, no. They were on the verge of war. That has not happened in these several weeks. But now, I think it's time for us to have a talk, I think it's time for us to have a talk, and then he'll go back."
NEWSMAN: "But does that say (indistinct)?"
REAGAN: "No, well -- no, as a kind of a pause when everybody considers where they are but ... we felt that it was necessary now for him to come back here to see us, and then he'll go back."
BEGIN: "I can say that the common opinion of all participants is that the diplomatic effort will continue. For the first time being, I must tell you the truth -- the diplomatic effort did not bring results; repeat -- did not bear fruit. But that does not mean that any one of us lost hope that, in the future, there will be a different situation, and ultimately the diplomatic effort will indeed bring the desirable results."
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The United States special envoy Philip Habib had ended his round of Middle Eastern shuttle diplomacy and returned to Washington. His departure from Tel Aviv airport on Wednesday (27 May) aroused speculation that he had failed in his efforts to defuse the Lebanon missile crisis. After 19 days of discussions in Damascus and Jerusalem, there was still no sign that Syrian-Israeli tension was slackening. However, President Reagan said Mr. Habib's return home was only temporary, and that the peace mission would continue. This view was endorsed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Jerusalem. President Reagan was visiting the West Point Military Academy when reporters asked his opinion of the latest development.