Jewish Leaders Meet with Kissinger on PLO and Soviet Jewry Issues
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Jewish Leaders Meet with Kissinger on PLO and Soviet Jewry Issues

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The U.S. position on the issue of recognition by the United Nations of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) will have the approval of the American Jewish community. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger was reported to have told 15 American Jewish communal leaders today. Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in disclosing this also said that Kissinger had told the leaders the United States has not yet taken a formal position on the PLO issue which is to come up soon before the UN General Assembly.

“The Jewish community would never approve of the United States abstaining on the issue and certainly would oppose approval by the United States of the participation by this terrorist group in the United Nations.” Rabbi Miller declared in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after the meeting with Kissinger at the State Department.

Rabbi Miller also said that Kissinger reiterated that he has never wished to put the Jewish community in a situation where it had to choose between Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D. Wash.) and the Administration on the Soviet Jewry matter. “He never has spoken against Jackson to us,” the rabbi said in summarizing the seventh meeting thus far between the Conference leaders and the Secretary.

Reporting Kissinger as saying that the Soviet case is solvable, Rabbi Miller said that Kissinger was to meet late today with Sens. Jackson, Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) and Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn). Weekend press reports said that the negotiating process between the Administration and Congress is falling apart because the Administration no longer wishes to put into writing a guarantee of Soviet willingness to allow 60,000 Jews and other Soviet citizens to emigrate annually and end harassment of exit visa applicants or their families.


Conceding that “difficulty” has arisen between himself and the Congressional leaders, Kissinger said, however, that he believes “a reasonable solution” can be achieved. The difficulty, Kissinger said at a press conference just before his meeting with the Jewish leaders, “arises from the fact that some assurances have been given to me that I can defend and which I can transmit,” regarding Soviet pledges. But he said he could not “guarantee things that had not been told to me.”

Capitol Hill sources expressed surprise to JTA over his statements, asserting that Kissinger had never been asked to guarantee Soviet pledges. What they wanted, they said, was assurances that President Ford would report Soviet practices annually on its commitment on emigration in return for American trade benefits. Kissinger also said he had not guaranteed any emigration figure, alluding to the 60,000 number.


Kissinger told the Jewish leaders, Rabbi Miller said, that the United States would go to the absolute limit of that which is possible on Soviet emigration. The rabbi replied that the problem is not Kissinger Jackson but Soviet Jews. There has been too much foot-dragging, he said. Those getting hurt were Soviet Jews. He hoped there would be a resolution of the issue at today’s meeting.

Regarding his Middle East trip this week, Kissinger told the Jewish leaders that as the talks progress the situation becomes more and more complicated and the risks are greater. He plans to discuss with Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin an agreement on procedure on the next step in the negotiating; a possible time-table, presumably of negotiations; and the outlines of what Israel would agree upon, Rabbi Miller indicated.

Aid for Israel under the U.S. foreign assistance programs also was discussed. Rabbi Miller said that he and Max Fisher of Detroit, chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, met separately with Kissinger and Leonard Garment, consultant to President Ford, in which the Jewish leaders stressed the importance of a resolution of the Jackson Amendment issue.

Attending the meeting besides Rabbi Miller and Fisher were David Blumberg, Lewis Cole. Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, I.L. Kenen, Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson. Rose Matzkin, Rabbi Alexander Schindler, Rabbi Mordecai Waxman, Melvin Dubinsky, Yehuda Hellman, and, for the first time, Mrs, Eleanor Marvin, Harold Jacobs and Judge Paul Ribner.

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