NEW YORK (Sep. 1)
President Carter has assured Jewish leaders that the American position regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization remains unchanged, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today.
Carter issued this reassurance in a handwritten letter to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The President’s letter, which the JTA obtained from independent sources, was dated Aug. 26, the same day that Rabbi Alexander Schindler, chairman of the Conference, and Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Conference, gave Carter a letter during a brief meeting at the White House which expressed “deep apprehension” by Jewish leaders that the President was weakening the U.S. stand on the PLO. (See Daily News Bulletin dated Aug. 30.)
In his letter to the Presidents Conference, which the organization received yesterday, Carter stated: “I appreciate your letter of this date (Aug. 26). I assure you that our position regarding the PLO is consistent with commitments previously made-voluntarily to the Israeli government, with private and public statements made to present leaders in the Middle East and with my own personal beliefs and hope for permanent peace.”
Commenting on the letter, Hellman said it was reassuring and shows the importance the President attaches to the issue. The letter which was presented to Carter was signed by Schindler on behalf of the Presidents Conference and conveyed the feelings of the leaders of the Conference’s constituent bodies. The letter was drafted following a meeting of the Conference last Thursday evening. The meeting between Carter and Schindler and Hellman was arranged last Friday morning for that afternoon. At the time Carter promised that he would give the letter his fullest consideration.