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‘special Attention Was Devoted to the Middle East’

A four-line reference to the Middle East was contained in a communique issued by the White House today on the visit of Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. It said “Special attention was devoted to the Middle East. Both sides attached particular importance to the special role of the Geneva conference, the need for a peaceful Middle East settlement and for progress toward that end within the framework of the Geneva peace conference.”

Veteran newsmen said it was the first time in their memory that the White House had issued a communique in connection with the visit of any foreign minister. Gromyko, who came here Sunday at the invitation of the U.S. government after an official visit to Cuba, met with President Nixon for one hour yesterday. He had three meetings with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger– two at the State Department yesterday and one at the Soviet Embassy today.

The communique mentioned that other subjects discussed with Gromyko included strategic arms limitation, the European Security Conference and mutual force reductions in Europe. It was announced, however, that Kissinger would visit Moscow in the second half of March in connection with preparations for a visit by President Nixon to the Soviet capital later this year.

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