LONDON (Feb. 1)
French officials are considering whether to shorten President Georges Pompidou’s visit to the United States later this month and omit New York City from his itinerary in order to avoid demonstrations by Jewish groups against France’s arms sales to Libya, it was reported here today. But other sources in Paris said the French Government was in no way disturbed by the refusal of Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York to extend an official welcome to the French chief of state.
President Pompidou is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Feb. 24 as the guest of President Richard M. Nixon. His itinerary will take him to Cape Kennedy, San Francisco, Chicago and New York where he is due March 2 for one day. In New York he is scheduled to lunch with Secretary General U Thant of the United Nations and will be guest of honor at a dinner party to be given by a French-American organization.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported last week that Mayor Lindsay promised that President Pompidou would not receive the gala official welcome that New York normally extends to visiting foreign dignitaries. The welcome usually includes a ticker-tape parade up Broadway and an official reception at City Hall. The Mayor made his promise in a letter to Rep. Bertram Podell, a New York Democrat who is one of the major Congressional critics of France’s Mideastern policies.
According to reports from Paris, the official French attitude is that “If Mr. Lindsay does not want to be courteous, that is his right. This does not affect the American Government and it does not affect us.” (The Washington Post reported yesterday that President Pompidou had refused to see Arthur J. Goldberg, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and honorary president of the American Jewish Committee. Mr. Goldberg was in Paris last week to attend a conference on the plight of Jews in the Arab countries. According to Washington Post correspondent Jonathan C. Randal, he wanted to solicit M. Pompidou’s support for humanitarian efforts to help Jews in Syria, Iraq and Libya and other Arab countries.)