WASHINGTON (Aug. 27)
Sen. Mike Mansfield, the Democratic Majority Leader, expressed confidence yesterday that Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, as Secretary of State, will conduct U.S. foreign policy impartially in the Middle East his Jewish background notwithstanding. The American public will accept this “without question,” the Montana law-maker said.
Mansfield made his remarks in reply to questions on the CBS television program “Face The Nation.” One reporter noted that some observers felt the late President John F. Kennedy had leaned over backward on the religious issue to the disadvantage of Catholics” and suggested that “it might be possible that Henry Kissinger might lean backward to the extent that it would be disadvantageous to the Jewish cause, particularly in the Middle East.”
Mansfield replied, “No, not at all. I think as he said in San Clemente that he will work in the national interest.” Dr. Kissinger said at a press conference there last week that “I will conduct the foreign policy of the United States regardless of religious and national heritage.”
Meanwhile, reports from Arab capitals reaching here today indicated hostility toward the nomination of Dr. Kissinger. One Arab newspaper called his appointment a victory for the Zionists comparable to the defeat of the Arabs in the Six Day War. Another claimed that Dr. Kissinger doubtlessly would serve Israel more than the U.S. Arab diplomats took a similar view, although one suggested that due to his ancestry. Dr. Kissinger might be able to extract more concessions from Israel than outgoing Secretary of State William P. Rogers.