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Lipshutz: Carter’s Meeting with Jewish Leaders Was to Explain U.S. Position, Not to Allay Anxieties

White House Counsel Robert Lipshutz said today that President Carter’s meeting yesterday with more than 40 American Jewish leaders “was not a question of allaying anxieties” in the American Jewish community. “It was a question of making certain that everybody who was there fully understood what the policy of the Administration is, what the hopes of the Administration are and on the other hand, what are the concerns and interests of the American Jewish community,” Lipshutz said at the Overseas Writers Club in response to questions.

He declined to go into detail about the meeting. But he said it was a “very constructive” one “in which, I believe, a lot of people both in the Administration and in the group of Jewish leaders who were there got a much fuller understanding of what Administration policies are and what the problems are and what the anxieties are.”

Lipshutz would not comment when he was asked if he felt the Administration had indulged in too much discussion of details of a possible Middle East settlement and thereby prompted Israeli concern over the possibility of an imposed settlement. He said, however, “We think what is being done is going to be for the benefit of all parties concerned.”

Lipshutz said he was “not aware” of any Presidential action on human rights in the Arab world and said there was “no direct connection as such” between the Administration’s human rights policy and the President’s recent statements on a Palestinian homeland. Asked about the Administration’s position on the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, Lipshutz said he did not know of any recent statements on the matter but that “obviously it will be enforced because it is on the books.”

MEETING PLANNED SOME TIME AGO

The meeting yesterday between Carter and the Jewish leaders was planned in advance of Carter’s announcement last Thursday that he was placing a moratorium on statements on the Middle East before Israeli Premier Menachem Begin’s visit here July 19-20, a White House spokesman said today. He noted that Carter’s remarks to the more than 40 Jewish leaders were “totally within the framework” of that moratorium.

The spokesman explained that the moratorium applies only to comments “on specific” aspects of the Mideast situation, none of which were reportedly touched on during the meeting. The spokesman also said he found nothing inconsistent between what the President said yesterday and his previously announced policy.

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