NEW YORK (Oct. 23)
Top aides to Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan told a Jewish audience last night they could be certain Reagan would keep his campaign promises on Israel based on the former California Governor’s “record,” and his “principled” position on Taiwan.
One of them, Edwin Meese, Reagan’s chief of staff, also said that anyone appointed by Reagan, especially in the foreign policy field, will have to be “identically aligned with the Governor’s position, particularly as regards Israel.”
Meese was responding to a question on whether former Texas Gov. John Connally and others with close ties to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries would be appointed to high positions by Reagan. He said that Reagan is not considering potential appointments until after the Nov. 4 election.
Meese, Richard Allen, Reagan’s top foreign policy advisor; Alan Greenspan, his top economic advisor, and Raymond Tanter, another foreign policy advisor, answered questions for 90 minutes at a meeting in the St. Regis Hotel sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC) attended by some 200 persons.
Both Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the JCRC, and George Klein, a JCRC vice president who chaired the meeting, said they hoped to have a similar meeting with advisors to President Carter.
LONG STANDING SUPPORT OF ISRAEL CITED
The assurances on Reagan’s position came when a questioner pointed out that the Jewish community hears promises on Israel every four years only to see them broken after the election. Meese said that Reagan’s support of Israel goes back long before he ever considered entering politics. “Look at the record,” he said. “I can assure you on that basis you don’t have to worry about Ronald Reagan.”
Allen added that Reagan’s “principled defense” of Taiwan, despite strong pressure on him to abandon that position, is proof that he will stand by the friends of the United States, including Israel.
Allen said that Reagan supports the Camp David framework based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. He said any expansion of the framework must come through the desires of the parties involved and not U.S. pressure. Allen added that a Reagan Administration would “probably not” seek to bring the UN into Mideast negotiations and would “probably categorically not” seek to involve the Soviet Union in the talks.
On Jerusalem, Meese said that Reagan believes Jerusalem must remain undivided with “Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.” He said the designation of where a country’s capital should be and thus where embassies should be located, is a matter for a sovereign state.
Meese said that a Reagan Administration would take the lead in fighting terrorism throughout the world and would not hesitate in branding the Palestine Liberation Organization as “outlaws.”
Allen said that in any arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries by a Reagan Administration there would first have to be assurances that it would not damage the balance of arms power against Israel. He said the first test will be Israel’s ability to defend itself.
STAND ON FAR RIGHT FUNDAMENTALISTS
When the question of the far right fundamentalist groups which support Reagan was raised, Meese replied that Reagan has “mode it clear” that groups like Moral Majority who support him must accept his views and not he accept theirs.
He said Reagan believes in the separation of church and state and that no religious group will be able to impose its beliefs or doctrines on a Reagan government. Allen also said Reagan believes in tuition tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools, including parochial schools, as a way of protecting their right to send children to the schools of their choice.
Klein, a leading supporter of Reagan, also introduced several other major supporters of the Republican candidate, including Max Fisher, of Detroit; Albert Spiegel, of Los Angeles; and Maxwell Rabb, John Loeb and Rita Hauser, all of New York.
Klein said that the audience was made up of the leaders of the organizations in the JCRC. Meese said he was told that while there were some Reagan supporters and even Carter backers, most of the audience was undecided. JCRC president Laurence Tisch who arrived at the end of the meeting, stressed the importance of voting.