UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (May. 3)
Dr. Max Jakobson–the Finnish ambassador to the United Nations, a declared candidate for Secretary General, and a Jew–said today that he considered the question of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union to be an internal Soviet matter. Dr. Jakobson did not elaborate in response to a formal question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent at a press luncheon of the UN Correspondents Association. Afterwards, however, he agreed that his position meant that Soviet Jewry could not look to him as Secretary General for emigration aid. Asked if as Secretary General he could use his office to aid Soviet Jewish emigration by means of quiet diplomacy or moral suasion, Dr. Jakobson said no, because “it would be very difficult.” He thus took the same position as U Thant, the Secretary General since 1961 who has indicated his unwillingness to serve another term.
In reply to another question, the Finnish diplomat criticized the religious overtones of the reported Arab agreement to ask Thant to serve another term after Dec. 31 and falling that, to oppose Dr. Jakobson because of his “vulnerability to outside pressure”–believed to be a euphemistic reference to his religion and thus, by implication, his relationship with Israel. If he had such vulnerability, the envoy said, he would not have been allowed to serve his country for 20 years, would not have been given “sensitive” posts and would not have been nominated by his government for the UN leadership. As to his heritage, he asked rhetorically if any Secretary General could possibly be “of no religion, of no race…a man who casts no shadow.” Dr. Jakobson declined to discuss specific Middle East issues, but reported that the world leaders he had met on his recent international tour were “intensely interested” in the Mideast. Most of the 45-minute press conference was devoted to the issue of the People’s Republic of China, whose entry into the UN Jakobson favors; but he did not discuss the impact Red China would have on the Mideast crisis as a member of the UN and as a member of the Security Council.