KANSAS CITY (Aug. 18)
The Republican National Convention’s approval by voice vote early today of Ronald Reagan’s “morality in foreign policy” amendment to the party’s platform was generally regarded as a psychological harpooning of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger which the Ford Administration felt it had to accept to avoid further hostility from Reagan supporters.
The platform itself as it came from the drafting committee was formally adopted by a voice vote without any debate. Loud opposition was voiced when Rep. John Rhodes, of Arizona, the Minority Leader in the House and chairman of the convention, called for a vote. Most of it seemed to come from the Reagan forces, but the basis for the opposition was not indicated.
On the Middle East and other matters of concern and interest to the Jewish community, unanimity appeared to prevail within the leadership of both the Ford and Reagan forces.
The convention earlier in the night rejected by 111 votes the Reagan proposal to force Ford’s announcement of a running mate prior to the Presidential selection process tonight. The White House strategists thus tried to placate their adversaries by a total surrender on the diplomacy issue without impairing their main goal–Ford’s own nomination tonight.
This was virtually conceded by Presidential strategists when they told reporters the amendment was acceptable since, they rationalized, 90 percent of it was agreeable and the remaining 10 percent was not worth fighting for.
KISSINGER’S DIPLOMACY UNDER ATTACK
The speculation now is that Ford could explain all this to Kissinger and advise him that his tenure is as secure as ever. But, whether the Secretary would accept it in the same light was regarded as problematical.
Kissinger, who was scheduled to arrive here late today, will not be here until tomorrow. Other Cabinet members have been here since Sunday. His belated visit was set last week long before he knew the Administration would not contest the bitter attack on his diplomatic style. Although he has been a target for the Reagan forces for months, Kissinger was not personally named in the amendment.
The amendment concentrated on attacking current Soviet-American relations, including “detente” and the Helsinki accord and a “foreign policy in which secret agreements (are) hidden from our people.” The Middle East was not mentioned either in the amendment itself or by the array of pro-amendment speakers that preceded its acceptance, however, Reagan’s Campaign manager, John Sears, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Monday that the amendment did have implications bearing on the area.
The Sinai agreement Kissinger engineered between Egypt and Israel, the original U.S. Egyptian discussion on American nuclear equipment and the uncertainty of U.S. contacts with the PLO and the outlook for post-election tactics in the Mideast were noted here as incidences of the Kissinger style that has invoked criticism.