Kissinger-tackling Mideast Problem
Menu JTA Search

Kissinger-tackling Mideast Problem

Download PDF for this date

Secretary of State Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, who was sworn in yesterday at the White House, is plunging directly into the Middle East problem, State Department sources have indicated. He is expected to arrive here today from Washington to begin meetings with foreign ministers and other diplomats attending the General Assembly sessions.

According to reports still unconfirmed, he has scheduled a luncheon, at his initiative, with the heads of Arab delegations Tuesday and will meet privately directly afterwards with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed H. el-Zayyat. State Department sources would not confirm that such a luncheon has been scheduled. They said yesterday that Dr. Kissinger’s schedule at the UN was incomplete.

According to some sources, Arab diplomats are highly pleased that the new Secretary of State has taken the initiative to open a dialogue with them. But according to other unconfirmed reports, several Arab delegations invited by Kissinger have decided to boycott the luncheon meeting.

Dr. Kissinger will also meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban who is expected here next week, ahead of his original schedule. Eban, who was not due until the beginning of next month, will address the General Assembly Oct. 3. Sources said the Israeli diplomat advanced his arrival here because of concern about possible Arab-sponsored moves against Israel, particularly among the non-aligned nations which control the balance of votes in the Assembly.


The Middle East and related matters loom large at the 28th session of the Assembly. An agenda adopted Friday places the Mideast situation and the problems of colonialism before the plenary meetings. The legal committee will study terrorism as it did at the 27th General Assembly. The social, humanitarian and cultural committee will study the elimination of racial discrimination and religious intolerance. Israeli practices affecting the human rights of residents of the occupied Arab territories have been assigned to the special political committee.

Israel and East Germany, meanwhile, continued to clash verbally. The East German Foreign Minister, Otto Winzer, flatly rejected Israel’s assertion that the East German regime bears an obligation to the victims of the Nazi holocaust that it has consistently evaded. Winzer, in an interview published Friday in the N.Y. Times, and in remarks to a West German reporter, recalled that his brother-in-law, Rudolph Schwartz, had been tortured to death by the Gestapo in 1934.

“He was a Jewish anti-Fascist” and “I would defile the memory of my brother-in-law if I did not oppose Israeli militarism and aggression,” Winzer said. He also said that East Germany’s support for the Palestinians could not be equated with terrorist actions which, he said, he deplored.


In a statement issued here Friday, Israel’s Ambassador Yosef Tekoah declared that the fate of Winzer’s brother-in-law “is totally irrelevant to Germany’s responsibility for the holocaust.” He said it “does not relieve the government of the German Democratic Republic of its historical legal and moral obligations….Neither can Mr. Winzer’s personal experiences justify his government’s active association with the murder of innocent Jewish men, women and children carried on by Arab terrorist organizations.”

Tekoah recalled: “Only recently, the German Democratic Republic concluded an agreement with the notorious Yassir Arafat under which Arab terrorists are trained in East Germany, receive financial and military support from it and use its territory as a base for operations in Europe.”

Earlier, West Germany’s Foreign Minister Walter Scheel said at a press conference here Thursday that his country could do little with respect to the Middle East conflict. He said that the major role in solving the conflict fell to the parties involved and the two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Scheel said he believed the UN must take a greater part in trying to reach a settlement. Once a settlement is reached, West Germany would contribute any economic support needed, he said.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund