WASHINGTON (Jul. 24)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger told American Jewish leaders yesterday that he understood their concern for Soviet Jews who seek to emigrate to Israel and that he was actively pursuing the matter. Kissinger met with Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Max Fisher, chairman of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency; and Stanley H. Lowell, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.
The meeting in Kissinger’s inner office was held prior to a meeting with 17 American Jewish leaders in which the overall situation in the Middle East, continued American economic and military support to Israel, the concern over the fate of Syrian Jewry and other matters of what was described as mutual interest were discussed. Rabbi Miller and Fisher characterized the meeting as comprehensive, candid, constructive and friendly. Leonard Garment, counsel to President Nixon, attended both meetings.
In the meeting on Soviet Jewry, the three Jewish leaders said that the American Jewish community wants to see an end to the continued harassment of Jews who want to emigrate. They said the 40 percent drop in emigrants in recent months must be reversed and free emigration must be available to those Jews who wish to leave the USSR. They also said that the “Prisoners of Conscience,” those in prison only for the “crime” of wishing to leave, must be released.
DETENTE IS TWO-WAY STREET
While repeating their support for detente and improved trade relations, the three spokesmen emphasized that detente was a two-way street and that continued Soviet repression of Jews must not be permitted to continue. The Soviet authorities must recognize that American Jewry, indeed all of America, is firm in its commitment to ease the plight of Russian Jews, they stressed.
Kissinger briefed the three Jewish leaders on his talks with Soviet officials and talks last week with Sens. Henry Jackson (D.Wash,), Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.) and Jacob Javits (R. NY) on this issue. The meeting yesterday was a follow-up to a meeting by American Jewish leaders with Nixon and Kissinger in the White House June 4 prior to Nixon’s trip to the Middle East and the Moscow summit.