WASHINGTON (Jul. 17)
Senator Thomas E. Eagleton, Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee, said today he fully supports the five-point pro-Israel plank in the Democratic Party’s platform and will speak out in its favor during the election campaign.
“I am 100 percent for the platform as written and that includes the Middle East and Israel,” Eagleton said at his Senatorial office on Capitol Hill where he was besieged for interviews. Transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is one of the plank’s points.
Bryan Atwood, Eagleton’s legislative assistant on foreign policy and national defense, said that Eagleton will “not let this campaign go by allowing the public to believe Nixon has been a consistent supporter of Israel.” He added that “Eagleton believes Nixon dragged his feet on the delivery of Phantom jets to Israel in 1970-71.”
Both McGovern and Eagleton will deliver interviews on the Middle East during the campaign, At-wood said. “Both are very strong on this issue.” he added.
Digging into his files, Atwood reported that the Missouri Senator, shortly after taking his seat in Jan. “declared that he believes” unequivocally that “the United States must reaffirm its moral and political commitment to the continued existence and independence of the State of Israel.”
“The Senator has been consistent in his views ever since,” Atwood said. Other Eagleton actions, according to Atwood: In Jan. he signed a Congressional statement that “the parties to the (Middle East) conflict must be parties to the peace achieved by means of direct, unhampered negotiations.” In June, 1970, he signed a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Rogers recommending that the United States “announce its intention to provide Israel with aircraft so urgently needed for its defense.” Several months later he joined 72 Senators in a letter to President Nixon asking for resumption of deliveries of jet planes to Israel; in Oct. of last year, Eagleton and 77 other Senators asked the Nixon administration to back Israel’s request for Phantoms.
Regarding Soviet Jewry, Atwood said that Eagleton co-sponsored the bill providing for 30,000 visas for Soviet Jews which was subsequently withdrawn after the Department of Justice announced it could allow the entry of any number of Jews under its existing authority. Eagleton also voted for the bipartisan measure providing that the US government spend up to $85 million For resettlement of Soviet Jews and others abroad, which President Nixon signed into law Friday at San Clemente, Calif.