U.s., Soviet Talks Will Focus on Curbing Arms Flow to the Mideast
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U.s., Soviet Talks Will Focus on Curbing Arms Flow to the Mideast

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The American and Soviet delegations, which will meet in Moscow next week for overall discussions of major global issues, will devote particular attention to possible means of curbing the flow of arms to the Middle East, the State Department indicated. The American group, headed by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, leaves for Moscow Friday.

State Department spokesman Frederick Z. Brown said yesterday the agenda would contain all of the items covered by Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in his speech Monday to the Soviet Trade Union Congress. These included the human rights issue and the Middle East. Brown noted that Brezhnev gave “considerable prominence” to the Middle East and said, “We look forward to the elaboration of the Soviet views, especially his suggestions” regarding control of the flow of arms to that region.

Asked by reporters why he singled out the arms flow issue among the many other remarks by Brezhnev related to the Middle East. Brown replied that he would not “characterize” the arms race as being primary. But he said a discussion of the arms race in the Middle East and elsewhere would be “indeed appropriate.”

Brezhnev proposed in his speech that the Soviet Union, the U.S. and other countries supplying arms to the Middle East should study ways to end the arms race in that region. He said that “in general, the problem of the international arms trade seems to merit an exchange of views.”

The 14-member delegation of specialists accompanying Vance to Moscow includes Paul Warnke, the U.S. arms control director and Marshall Schulman. Vance’s consultant on Soviet trade matters.


In his speech, Brezhnev expressed displeasure with President Carter’s position on human rights in the Soviet Union as interference in Soviet internal affairs. Brown said that Brezhnev had laid out the Soviet position on a number of issues and “it is intended that these matters will be discussed in detail” at Vance’s meetings with Soviet officials. He said that Carter has “spoken clearly” on human rights and that Brezhnev has “put forward his views.”

Asked if the views of the two leaders would interfere with the talks. Brown replied that “the public positions will not be an impediment” to the talks and added that this would be a “fruitful discussion.” He said he didn’t know if Brezhnev himself would participate.

Replying to another question. Brown said he did not know if Egypt will be asking the U.S. for arms in the near future. When the U.S. agreed to sell Egypt six C-130 military transport planes last year. Congress was told that the Egyptians would make no further requests for American military equipment in 1976. But the subject is expected to be raised during Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Washington, beginning April 4.


It was reported, meanwhile, that Samuel W. Lewis, 46, a career foreign service officer who was Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations under Henry A. Kissinger, will be appointed the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. He will replace Malcolm Toon who has been named ambassador to Moscow. The choice of Lewis was conveyed to Israel in the last few days and no objections are expected.

Lewis won out against two other candidates who had been top runners for the post; Marvin Kalb, diplomatic correspondent for CBS, and George S. Vest, a career diplomat. The choice of ambassador to Israel is considered particularly important in view of Carter’s attention to the Middle East.

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