NEW YORK (Jul. 26)
Two Jewish leaders who met with Presidential advisor Henry Kissinger on July 19 on the problems of Soviet Jewry have criticized a report in The New York Times on that meeting as “misleading” and raising “false hopes.”
The two leaders were Richard Maass, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, and Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Max Fisher, of Detroit, also participated in the July 19 meeting in the White House. The criticisms were contained in a memorandum by Maass to the NCSJ membership, dated July 23 and made available today to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The July 19 meeting was a follow-up to earlier conversations held with Dr. Kissinger on the issue, including a meeting on May 2 at which the Jewish leaders handed Dr. Kissinger a list of 1000 names of “hardship” cases of Soviet Jews who have applied for exit visas and lost their jobs for so doing, among other harassments. Dr. Kissinger promised to present the list to Leonid I. Brezhnev, the Soviet Communist Party Secretary. during his visit to Moscow in May to make arrangements for Brezhnev’s visit in June to the United States.
STORY RAISED FALSE HOPES
“Reflecting my own view of the meeting.” Maass said in the memorandum, “Jacob Stein has advised member organizations in the Presidents Conference that in his view ‘The Times story raises false hopes whereas the meeting with Kissinger was discouraging in the lack of real progress reported.’”
The Times story on July 21 reported that Dr. Kissinger told the three Jewish leaders that Brezhnev had assured President Nixon that a large number of Jews who had repeatedly been denied permission to leave the Soviet Union would soon be allowed to emigrate to Israel.
“In actuality,” Maass said in the memorandum, “Dr. Kissinger reported on developments since the summit meeting between President Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev. He indicated that he expected the probable release of larger numbers of Soviet Jews from a list of names of hard core cases we provided him and which were submitted to Brezhnev in Moscow in May.”
Maass reported that Dr. Kissinger “indicated a lack of progress in regard to prisoners of conscience. He also reported that, at the Kissinger meeting, “there was no sign of any change in basic procedures which would end the harassment of Jews.”
Maass added that the three Jewish leaders “expressed disappointment in the lack of visible results to date, especially in regard to our demands on emigration and emigration procedures.” He added that Dr. Kissinger “did pledge that Administration efforts would continue” for Soviet Jews.