LOS ANGELES (Jun. 25)
Leaders of two Los Angeles Soviet Jewry groups, expressing “bitter disappointment” with the results of President Nixon’s talks with Soviet leaders during his May Moscow visit, said today that they had started a “grass roots” effort to persuade the Nixon Administration to release details of the President’s conversations with the Russian leaders on behalf of Soviet Jews in general and some 40 Jewish political prisoners in particular.
The White House has refused to release details of the President’s Moscow talks, declaring that the formal reports had been made classified documents by both governments. Dr. Henry Kissinger, the President’s national security adviser, who was present at the Moscow talks, said later in Kiev that the question of Soviet Jews had been discussed but declined to give details. After Sen. John Tunney, (D, Calif,) expressed skepticism that such talks had been held, Sen. Charles Percy (R. Ill.) was quoted on June 22 by Capitol Hill sources as informing Jewish constituents that the Soviet Jewish issue “was discussed at the highest levels” at the Moscow conference and that he had been so informed by the White House. Sen. Henry M. Jackson, (D. Wash.) told the National Press Club last Thursday that the nation’s news media should demand from the President at a press conference what he said in Moscow on the issue and what response the Soviet leadership made.
Si Frumkin, chairman of the Southern California Council for Soviet Jews, and Zev Yaroslavsky, chairman of the California Students for Soviet Jews, cited the nation-wide campaign, in advance of the Moscow summit, which resulted in more than 50,000 letters, postcards, and telegrams to the White House asking the President to discuss the problem with the Soviet leaders and more than one million signatures collected on petitions.
They said legislatures of all 50 states passes similar resolutions and that the House of Representatives, by a 359-2 vote approved a resoluting asking top priority on the issue during the Moscow talks, as did “hundreds of mayors and city councils.” Asserting that the White House “was aware of the importance” of the issue felt by “millions of Americans of every race, creed and color,” the White House “refused to commit itself before the trip and there has been only silence and evasion since.”
The two officials cited reports from Jews in Russia that Soviet authorities had been intensifying repressive measures against Jewish dissidents since the Moscow summit. They said that Russian Jews “had very high hopes for the Nixon visit.” They asserted that “the actual results will go far to demoralize the Jewish resistance fighters.” They said the two organizations are urging that letters and telegrams be sent to the President asking him to report to the American people on the issue. They said the President “was asked to speak for all of us and we have the right to know whether he did.”