WASHINGTON (Jun. 6)
“U.S. friendship for Israel has not been diminished and will not be diminished as a result of increasing friendship toward the Arab countries,” Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger declared today at his first full dress press conference at the State Department since his return from 33 days of intense personal diplomacy in the Middle East that resulted in the Israeli-Syrian disengagement accord.
“The security of Israel to which we remain committed can best be secured in the context of a peace settlement” in the Middle East, Kissinger added. He made those remarks in response to questions by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and other reporters after he had referred to the era of “the new relationship” by the U.S. with Middle Eastern countries including Israel.
In other comments relating to the Middle East, the Secretary of State denied that there was any hidden diplomacy in connection with the Israeli-Syrian and Egyptian accords he helped achieve, said that the issue of Palestinian representation at the Geneva peace conference had not yet come up and insisted that the U.S. has had “no contacts” with the Palestinians.
Regarding assurances given Israel against terrorism. Kissinger noted that former Israeli Premier Golda Meir had “read the entire American assurances with respect to terrorism.” There is “no other part” to those assurances, he said. He said the method of disclosure, through Mrs. Meir to the Israeli parliament, was chosen because of the “deep concern” on the issue among the Israeli public.
U.S. MADE NO COMMITMENT
Kissinger said the U.S. had made no commitment to Israel on the restriction of Arab terrorism apart from the promise, disclosed by Mrs. Meir, of American political support should Israel be forced to retaliate against terrorist incursions from Syria. Asked by the JTA if he had gotten any assurances against terrorism from the Syrians, Kissinger replied, “We obviously had discussions with Syria” but it is “totally contrary” to any purpose of all concerned to make public disclosures of those discussions which were “entirely bilateral.”
He sidestepped another JTA question as to why the U.S. had not obtained similar assurances from Lebanon from where virtually all terrorist acts against Israel originate. To this, Kissinger would say only that the U.S. regrets acts of terrorism from whatever area.
Kissinger said that “some progress” was being made on the Soviet emigration issue. He refused to say, in response to the JTA, whether the “progress” represented Soviet action to end the harassment of Jews seeking emigration and the easing of restrictions or whether he meant that supporters of the Jackson Amendment in Congress were moving toward the Administration’s point of view against that amendment.
Kissinger said, in that connection, that “the consensus of all” at his breakfast meeting yesterday with amendment supporters. Sens. Henry M. Jackson, Abraham Ribicoff and Jacob K. Javits, was that “It would not further the objectives we all want” If details of the discussion were revealed. (By Joseph Polakoff)