WASHINGTON (Apr. 5)
The more than 500 persons from throughout the country who gathered in the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel for the concluding session yesterday of the American Jewish Congress biennial convention treated the first Jewish Secretary of State’s first meeting with a Jewish organization with appreciation and friendliness. They rose and applauded Henry A. Kissinger when he appeared and they duplicated the cordiality when he left.
When he emphasized his assurances of permanent American commitment to Israel he received warm applause but for most of his speech–billed in advance by the State Department as “not a major address”–they listened in silence.
Kissinger’s schedule, it was said, did not permit questions afterwards unlike the practice in his numerous other recent appearances before private organizations. Later, an organization observer grown gray in the Washington scene, summarized this historic “first” this way: “Dr. Kissinger said nothing new. He spoke in generalities. Some things were good to hear, of course. What it boiled down to was “trust me.”
Another observer, noting the absence of any appeal to Israel’s adversaries to recognize the “realities” of the Middle East that the Secretary and others consistently urge Israel to take into account, remarked: “Our Secretaries of State must be pro-Arab, not pro-Israel. Israel has never had a sympathetic Secretary of State since Cordell Hull. We must have faith Dr. Kissinger will squeeze Israel less than anybody else in his place.”
POSSIBLE REASONS FOR KISSINGER’S APPROACH
Kissinger characteristically joked at the outset of his remarks. Exaggerating the old saw about differences among Jews, he chided Israel’s three million people for having six million opinions, and he, as he has