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State Department Official Apologizes Personally for Barring J. T. A.

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Senator Thomas J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, revealed today that he insisted upon and obtained a personal apology from Robert C. Strong, director of the State Department’s office of Near Eastern Affairs, for Mr. Strong’s personal role in barring Milton Friedman, Washington correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, from a January 29 news briefing.

Mr. Strong had sought to refute and dismiss complaints by Senator Dodd over the barring of the reporter. On March 29 Senator Dodd wrote Mr. Strong that “your statements are in flat contradiction to the apologetic letters written on this issue by Assistant Secretaries Dutton and Manning to a number of Members of Congress, the Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism fraternity, and various veterans, civic and religious groups. “

Citing what he described as Mr. Strong’s “contradictions, ” Sen. Dodd went on “to suggest that rather than continue on the present course of evasion, it might be best to extend your apologies to Mr. Friedman and to see to it that future cases of this sort do not occur in your office. ” Mr. Strong replied this week, stating: “The Department has apologized and has assured Mr. Friedman he will always be welcome for briefings or conferences. I shall follow your suggestion by seeking an early opportunity to add my apology. “

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