WASHINGTON (Oct. 23)
American and Egyptian officials are cooperating closely in the public relations aspects of President Anwar Sadat’s first visit to the United States beginning Sunday. One aim is to present Sadat as “a leader of Arab moderation” and therefore deserving of American economic and military support.
Another is to enhance President Ford’s image in the conduct of foreign policy as the first American President in 27 years to achieve a breakthrough toward peace in the Middle East, embodied in the Egyptian-Israeli Sinai accord negotiated last August by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
The nation’s first un-elected President who is vigorously campaigning for his party’s nomination in 1976 and election to a full four-year term on his own merits, is believed to regard foreign policy and especially American success in the Middle East as crucial to his ambitions and views Egypt as a key to such success.
Therefore, the red carpet welcome to be extended to Sadat and Mrs. Sadat during their 10-day visit and tour of major American cities and the intensive public relations campaign is considered necessary to blur the negative image many Americans have of the Egyptian leader.
AIMING FOR FAVORABLE MEDIA EXPOSURE
The activities here surrounding Sadat’s visit are aimed at giving him maximum favorable media exposure as well as maximum security. The public relations program opens Sunday with Sadat’s appearance on ABC’s nationally televised “issues and Answers” program which was pre-taped in Cairo.
Sadat is expected to try to impress American viewers with his appreciation for the efforts of Ford and Kissinger in the Middle East and the “reasonableness” of his requirements for a Mideast peace. The broadcast is timed to coincide with the Sadats’ arrival at Williamsburg, Va,–a center of America’s bicentennial celebrations–where they will rest from their trip before entering Washington.
Sadat’s three-day stay in the Capital will include an appearance before the National Press Club, a day after the official White House welcome, which will keep the Egyptian President constantly in the news and on the TV screens.
SELECTION OF CITIES CAREFULLY CONSIDERED
The selection of the American cities that Sadat will visit also has public relations and political implications. He will visit Jacksonville when President Ford is in that part of Florida, thus sharing the limelight with the President. Houston, Texas has been selected for a Sadat visit because it is the center of America’s giant oil industry and of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).
Chicago and New York will be visited by Sadat because they are two of the nation’s three largest cities and important centers of finance and politics. While in New York, Sadat will address the United Nations General Assembly.
INVITATION TO ADDRESS CONGRESS
Whatever Congressional resistance was developing against Sadat addressing a joint session of Congress–an honor rarely accorded even to a visiting head of state–appears to have collapsed under Administration pressure. The House and Senate, at the State Department’s request, extended an invitation today to Sadat to address a joint session on Nov. 5, his last day in the U.S. An aide to House Speaker Carl Albert (D.Okla.) said today that a similar invitation was expected to be extended to Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin when he visits the U.S. again, probably early next year.