WASHINGTON (Mar. 21)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger today cited “friction in the Middle East” and the failure of Congress to approve tariff benefits and trade credits for the Soviet Union as the reasons why his trip to Moscow, beginning this Sunday, will be “more difficult” than his previous visits. Addressing a press conference at the State Department three days before his departure for the Soviet capital, Dr. Kissinger appeared to agree with a questioner who suggested that “at this time the atmosphere is much chillier than on previous visits.”
He said it was true that the failure so far to pass the Trade Reform Act free from the Jackson and Mills-Vanik legislation “raises some questions about the understandings that the Soviet Union had every reason to believe were valid of what the U.S. would contribute for its side of the detente.” Referring to the Middle East, he said it was inevitable that when countries like the U.S. and USSR are engaged in an area “of such strategic importance” as the Middle East, “there will be some friction,” especially when each country is “tied to” individual states in the area.
“Both of us have the obligation to contribute to peace in the Middle East and both of us are contributing ideas,” Kissinger said. He warned that “a settlement in the Middle East cannot be achieved against the opposition of the Soviet Union” and said the U.S. “will try to work cooperatively with the Soviet Union whenever that is possible.”
USSR NOT BLAMED FOR GOLAN FLARE-UP
“We also have to keep in mind,” he added, “that in any individual negotiations, the method that should be chosen is that which is most likely to bring success because that is in the interests of both countries.” The Secretary of State apparently had in mind Soviet discomfiture over current U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East.
Referring to the present high state of tension and shooting on the Israeli-Syrian front. Kissinger observed that “If we look back to the Egyptian-Israeli negotiations we recognize that some military clashes tended to occur prior to the final settlement.” He also stated that “We do not hold the Soviet Union responsible, to be specific, for the artillery exchanges now going on in the Golan Heights.” He said the U.S. believed negotiations would make more progress if both sides exercised military restraint.
READY TO SEEK COMPROMISE ON J/M-V
Referring to the Jackson/Mills-Vanik legislation linking trade concessions to Russia with Moscow’s emigration policies, Kissinger reiterated what he told the Senate Finance Committee a week ago–that the Administration was prepared to seek compromises that would “protect the values” of the J/M-V measures and enable the U.S. to advance its “political objectives” in relations with the Soviet Union. Kissinger said that so far he had held “only preliminary talks” with Congressional sponsors of the J/M-V on those measures and would not “characterize the progress made” toward compromise.
Asked whether he would again raise the question of Soviet emigration policies during his three-day stay in Moscow next week and specifically the case of Valery and Galina Panov who are seeking to emigrate to Israel, Kissinger replied. “It is reasonable to assume that we do from time to time raise individual cases.” (By Joseph Polakoff)