Menu JTA Search

Nixon. Gromyko Mum on Soviet Jewry

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

No aspect of the Soviet Jewry issue was discussed at the two-hour meeting in the White House between President Nixon and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko yesterday, nor did it come up at Gromyko’s dinner meeting with Secretary of State William P. Rogers in New York last Friday. Presidential press secretary Ronald L. Ziegler simply said “No” when asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency if the subject had been raised. Later he pointed out privately that “You know our position is strongly in support of freedom of movement, religious freedom and the other elements in the declaration of human rights.”

At the State Department the JTA was told that the matter did not arise at the New York meeting of the two foreign affairs leaders. Whether it developed at the luncheon given by Gromyko for Rogers at the Soviet Embassy today could not be immediately determined. However, it was indicated to the JTA that this would be unlikely. Gromyko, making his second visit here in a year, come to sign two agreements with Rogers on perfecting arrangements for the “hot line” communications between Moscow and Washington to avert possible misunderstandings in an emergency situation. The agreements emerged from the continuing strategic arms limitations talks (SALT) between the two countries.

While the signing was taking place this morning at the State Department, 15 pickets bearing placards reading “No Mideast Munich” and “Israel Is Our Ally” marched in front of the building’s diplomatic entrance. The planning, according to reports, was originally called for Gromyko, Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin and other Soviet officials to use the diplomatic entrance; however, apparently a last-minute change detoured the party through another of the building’s four entrances. They left the same way.

State Department spokesman Charles Bray said that while he was not sure Rogers had been aware of the pickets, he was “certain” Gromyko had been, since his vehicle had had to be detoured to “avoid any possible unpleasantness.” After his briefing, however, Bray informed newsmen that he had been in error and that Gromyko had been scheduled to enter and exit the way he had.

NEXT STORY