WASHINGTON (Nov. 19)
Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger was reported today to have told leaders of 14 Jewish organizations that they were justified in being outraged over the remarks about the influence of Jews and Israel in the United States made by Gen-George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to guarded comments from several of those who attended the 90-minute closed-door meeting in the Secretary’s office at the Pentagon Schlesinger indicated he shared the Jewish community’s feeling over Brown’s allegations at Duke University Law School last month. Schlesinger was said to have declared in effect that Brown fully understands now that he was wrong in both the substance and nature of his comments
Schlesinger also was said to have reaffirmed Brown’s regrets by reading the two statements the commander made last Thursday, one to the Jewish War Veterans and another at the Pentagon as a press statement. While the Secretary’s comments were well received by the group as a whole, some leaders reportedly were said to have come away feeling that Brown’s assurances to the American people should be made more fully known. After having issued a statement disassociating himself from Brown’s remarks. President Ford summoned the General to the White House last Thursday to rebuke him personally, but told a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona later that night that he will not dismiss Brown for his “one mistake.”
NO OFFICIAL STATEMENT ISSUED
A Pentagon memorandum yesterday on the meeting reported that Schlesinger had invited the leaders and released their names. According to those questioned about the meeting, the Jewish leaders present agreed that the discussion was not to be made public. The group came to the meeting, it was said, with no organized position and left without issuing a statement. Schlesinger was the only government official participating in the meeting.
According to a memorandum released by the Pentagon, the Jewish leaders who attended the meeting with Schlesinger were: Rabbi Israel Miller, Max Fisher, Raymond Epstein, Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, Elmer Winter, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Mrs. Rose Matzkin, Lewis Cole. Hyman Bookbinder, Dore Schary, David Brody, Ralph Plofsky, I.L. Kenen, and Yehuda Hellman.
Demands for Brown’s ouster as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been made by numerous Jewish organizations and members of Congress. The National Executive Committee of the Jewish War Veterans, it was reported, will meet this weekend to discuss the case in the light of yesterday’s session with Schlesinger.