WASHINGTON (Jun. 17)
Unprecedented security precautions have been clamped down in Washington and at the Presidential retreat of Camp David during Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev’s visit here.
Brezhnev, who arrived yesterday afternoon at Washington’s Andrews Air Force Base, was spirited away to Camp David in a U.S. Air Force helicopter. His official visit will begin tomorrow morning when he meets with President Nixon at the White House.
Andrews Air Force Base was closed to the public and news media when Brezhnev arrived. Roads leading to it were blocked and it was impossible to get even a telescopic view of the Soviet leader as he left his plane to board the USAF helicopter.
The extraordinary security measures taken for Brezhnev’s visit seem to be motivated by an American desire to avoid a repetition of the Pompidou incidents. During the visit of the French President to the U.S. three years ago, Pompidou was faced by Jewish demonstrators in New York and Chicago.
The Nixon Administration felt at the time that the incidents undermined American prestige and its tradition of hospitality. The security measures taken here aim at preventing any direct contact between Brezhnev and the tens of thousands of Jews who plan to demonstrate here on behalf of Soviet Jewry.
(A crowd estimated by the assistant chief of the Capitol Police at over 10,000 gathered in the West Plaza of the Capitol this afternoon for the opening of the Freedom Assembly for Soviet Jews. They were addressed by Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D. Wash.) who delivered a slashing attack on what he called unfulfilled promises by the Soviet Union and the U.S. to allow Soviet citizens to emigrate freely.) (See separate story on page 4.)
SIX JEWS ARRESTED IN MOSCOW
Two Jewish groups used the occasion of Brezhnev’s arrival to focus attention on what they described as deteriorating conditions for Jews seeking to leave the Soviet Union. Richard Maass, president of the National Conference for Soviet Jewry, said in a statement over the week-end that the weeks preceding the Soviet leader’s departure for the U.S. were marked by drastic cuts in emigration from the USSR.
Maass offered no figures but expressed concern over what he called “harassment by the secret police of Jewish activists and would-be emigrants” and periodic arrests, searches and threats.
(The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported from Vienna today that the Soviet police have arrested six Jews in Moscow according to Jewish sources there. No reason for the arrests was given but the sources believe the Soviet authorities were concerned about possible demonstrations during Communist Party Secretary Brezhnev’s visit to the U.S. All of those arrested are known activists who have applied, unsuccessfully, for visas to go to Israel. They were identified as Lev Kogan: Anna Novikov; Moise Belfo; Boris Tsylyonok; Leonid Tsypin; and Valery Kryzhak.)
The Union of Councils For Soviet Jews mean-while filed with the House Ways and Means Committee the names and biographies of 58 Jews in the Soviet Union who have been denied exit visas, on the pretext of “national security.”
The Council charged that while the Soviet authorities have suspended the education tax on emigrants, they have adopted a policy of selectivity – denying visas to certain applicants. The purpose, according to the group, is to intimidate others from seeking visas.
The security precautions adopted for the Brezhnev visit which veteran observers of the Washington scene say were never employed for any other visiting national leader included the cancellation of Brezhnev’s trips outside of Washington and the well-guarded Presidential retreats at Camp David. Md., and San Clemente, California.
Among the originally planned Brezhnev stopovers cancelled were one at Houston, where the Soviet leader was to have visited the National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA) headquarters and another at Detroit where Brezhnev, an auto buff, was to have visited the plants of major American automobile manufacturers. A visit to New York was also cancelled for security reasons.
In Washington, the street on which the Soviet Embassy is located has been blocked to vehicular traffic and police barricades have limited pedestrian traffic.
Most Jewish organizations seem to have accepted the Nixon Administration line and mass demonstrations during the week will take place well away from Brezhnev’s sight or hearing.
The organizers of today’s demonstrations at the Capitol and Washington Monument grounds behind the White House were aware that the Soviet leader would be at Camp David in the hills of Western Maryland at the time.
Demonstrations in Los Angeles and San Clemente will be held before Brezhnev gets there. Others are planned for Long Island and New York City where Brezhnev will not visit.
STEIN AND FISHER AT WHITE HOUSE DINNER
The American public has up to now showed little interest in the Brezhnev visit in startling contrast to what happened 15 years ago when Nikita Khruschev visited the United States. The only interest aroused by the visit is the new “Jewish angle” which weighs heavily on the meeting between the two most powerful men in the world today.
White House officials have indicated that the President will raise the Soviet Jewry issue “in the appropriate manner” during his talks with the Soviet leader.
A number of Senators also intend to raise the subject when they meet Brezhnev at the various functions due to take place this week in Washington. Max Fisher, of Detroit and Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and their wives, are among several national Jewish leaders who have been invited to attend the State Dinner President Nixon is giving for Brezhnev at the White House tomorrow night.