KANSAS CITY (Aug. 18)
Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager John Sears answered a complaint of an Egyptian newspaperman today on why Reagan’s previously expressed views on “Palestinians” are not included in the Republican plank on the Middle East by saying the GOP platform is a “party document as well as a candidate document.”
Identifying himself as a correspondent for Cairo’s influential daily. Al Ahram, the Egyptian reporter, Levon Keshishian, said to Sears at his news conference that “the Middle East plank does not reflect truly the public views of Reagan” because “in public statements he has time after time said that they should also speak to the Palestinians and not a single reference to Palestinians is found in that plank.” The correspondent did not clarify whom he meant by “they.”
Sears replied that “other positions taken by Reagan in the past” are “not quite included” in the platform. “You have to read the platform as a party document as well as a candidate document,” he continued. “Therefore, smaller issues–I don’t mean to say this is a smaller issue, it is not, but issues that are of a more particular variety than general–have to be taken into the context of whether the whole platform is a good document or not.”
The Mideast plank makes no mention of “Palestinians” or “refugees.” The drafting committee had included “parties” in its language regarding negotiations for a Middle East settlement but on reconsideration, the committee rejected “parties” and replaced it with “states” and “nations.”
PLANK WARMLY ENDORSED
Both Ford and Reagan delegates, including state delegation chairmen and platform committee members who were interviewed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, warmly endorsed the plank. Of a dozen delegates from heavily pro-Reagan Rocky Mountain states, only one voiced objection. A Wyoming delegate felt the United States should “call the shots” about Israel because the U.S. gives her aid.
The JTA asked Sears to interpret the Ford leadership’s decision not to oppose the “morality in foreign policy” amendment to the platform and whether dropping the fight indicated the Administration considered Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger as “expendable,” Pointing out that Kissinger is not mentioned in the amendment, Sears said he thought the Ford people’s decision was “more a matter of politics.”
He noted that the ford forces had won on Rules regarding the early naming of Ford’s Vice-Presidential nominee and they did not want to risk another roll call. Sears’ remarks were in line with informed conjecture that this was actually the thinking by the White House.