WASHINGTON (May. 18)
Discussion of the Middle East at the Moscow summit conference next week is expected to center on Soviet and American interests in the area rather than on attempts to solve the Arab-Israeli impasse. This was indicated today by two developments. One is the absence from the announced list of the officials accompanying President Nixon to the conference of Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, who has long been intimate with details of the Israeli and Arab positions.
Another factor is that Martin J. Hillenbrand. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, who will soon go to Bonn as the American Ambassador to West Germany, will be at Secretary of State William P, Rogers’ side when Middle East matters are being discussed.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed by unimpeachable sources that the Middle East will be discussed at two conference levels–between Nixon and Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev and Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin and between Rogers and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Dr. Henry Kissinger, the President’s Assistant for National Security, was not mentioned at the sessions including the President.
Hillenbrand is an expert on Soviet affairs and intimate with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which has vital links with the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean including the American Sixth Fleet there. It is understood that the Soviet government, prodded by Egypt, is pressing for discussion of the Middle East while the President is not eager to become involved in that area at this juncture and is insistent that the Arabs and Israelis make their own settlement without imposition of agreements from the major powers.
SOVIET JEWS MAY MEET WITH NIXON
In announcing details of the President’s itinerary, White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler disclosed yesterday afternoon that apart from state dinners no schedule of meetings has yet been fixed, Five days are listed as open for talks. Because no agenda has been set up. it is uncertain when the Middle East talks will be held. While it is seen here as certain that the President will bring up the issues of Soviet Jewry there is no indication how or when that will ensue.
Since Soviet Jews have appealed directly by letters to President Nixon and have made known In other ways that they desire to see him when he visits Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev on his trip, speculation here is that in some way some will meet with him. An unconfirmed report here is that the American Embassy in Moscow has been asked to use its influence with those activist Jews with whom it has contact that they should refrain from demonstrations regarding emigration to Israel and the right to live as Jews in the Soviet Union.
Nixon will be armed with a legislative argument should the Soviets counter his appeal for the Soviet Union to honor its international pledges of freedom of emigration. The Soviets have frequently complained about violence done to their personnel and property in the United States by Jewish militants and may cast that up to him. Against that the President may point out that a bill, strongly backed by the State Department has been approved by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that will provide stiff punishment on those convicted of attacking foreign diplomats or their dependents and possessions.
President and Mrs. Nixon will leave on their trip Saturday morning from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington. They will stop overnight in Salzburg, Austria, and proceed to Moscow on Sunday. While in Moscow they will stay at Spasso House, the residence of American Ambassador and Mrs. Jacob Beam. They will visit Leningrad for a day. May 27, and be in Kiev May 29. The following day the Nixons will fly from Kiev to Teheran. On May 30. they will depart from the Iranian capital for Warsaw. After overnighting in Warsaw they will leave late on June 1 to arrive in Washington that night.