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Muskie Did Not Meet with Soviet Jews in Moscow ‘as Far As We Know,’ Aide Says

Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, who has made the plight of Soviet Jews a major issue in his unannounced campaign for the Presidency, apparently failed to meet with any of them during his recent personal mission to Moscow. On Muskie’s return to the United States after his tour of several capitals, he emphasized that one of the subjects he brought up with Soviet Premier Alexsei N. Kosygin was the problem Soviet Jews face in obtaining equal rights at home and in emigrating from their homeland. But he did not indicate that he had personally sought information on the problem from Soviet Jews themselves. Weeks of repeated inquiries by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency finally brought the admission of Bob Shepherd, an aide to the Maine Democrat, that “as far as we know, he did not” meet with Soviet Jews in Moscow. Attempts to obtain comment directly from Muskie have been unavailing. Shepherd said on Friday that the Senator, his party’s Vice Presidential candidate in 1968, was vacationing and had left word with his staff that he was not to be bothered “unless Maine is invaded.”

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