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Mondale Defends Carter

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Vice President Walter Mondale said yesterday that President Carter’s address to the World Jewish Congress last Wednesday “was exceedingly well received.” Appearing on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press,” he said Carter has made it “as clear as any person could that he is totally committed to a secure and permanent Jewish State of Israel.”

Challenged as to what the President means by the “legitimate rights” and “homeland” for Palestinians, Mondale did not define the terms. He noted that the President has left them to be “defined in the process of dealing with the Palestinian issue at the Geneva conference.”

Mondale said it is “important to observe” that the President is “talking about rights and not national rights. The old formulation was national rights.” Deleting the word “national,” Mondale said “is a very significant concession.” He said the “old formulation was legitimate national rights which implied an independent state.”

On another television program yesterday, Defense Secretary Harold Brown told interviewers on ABC’s “Issues and Answers” program that questions about Israel having atomic weapons “is a subject of much speculation to which I won’t add.” Pressed on the subject, Brown repeated that it was “speculation” and added:

“We certainly have made strong representations to the Israelis along the lines that their acquisition of nuclear weapons would not be a factor for stability in the Middle East, and they themselves have said, as you know, that they would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.”

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