Position of Presidential Candidates; Answers to JTA Questionnaire

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency submitted a list of 12 questions to President Carter, Republican Party candidate Ronald Reagan and independent candidate John Anderson on what policies they would adopt, if elected, on issues of vital concern to American Jewry.

Only Carter and Anderson answered the questionnaire by the Oct. 3 deadline that was set. Their answers appeared in the Oct. 21 Daily News Bulletin. Reagan’s answers were received at the end of last week and the JTA is publishing his response at this time.

The following is the text of the questions and the answers:

It has been perceived that commitments made by a Presidential candidate during the election campaign are not always implemented by his Administration when he is in the White House. With all due respect, therefore, can Americans expect you will as President adhere to your responses regarding the following:

Reagan; My support of the State of Israel is a matter of public record. Senator “Scoop” Jackson, a Democrat, presented an accurate picture of my history of concern for the State of Israel when he recently said “Governor Reagan has a long history of support. He was one of the original supporters of the creation of the State of Israel. So he has unique qualifications when he talks about the State of Israel.” My answers to the following questions are not new positions devised to capture votes, but rather long held beliefs and principles which I intend to honor fully when I become President, just as I have firmly held them in the past.

(1) Will your Administration impose or allow any power or organization to impose demands on Israel affecting her status as a sovereign, independent Jewish State?

Reagan: A Reagan Administration will tolerate no effort which would compromise Israel’s current status as a secure and independent state with its own rich culture and traditions. The bed nock of my Administration’s Middle East policy will be a secure Israel.

(2) Will your Administration adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 without changes in them or to them and also to the Camp David accords as the means for resolving the Arab-Israeli situation?

Reagan: I firmly believe that peace can be made between Israel and her neighbors if the peace process is governed by Resolutions 242 and 338. Therefore, a Reagan Administration will not tolerate any effort to supersede these resolutions. A Reagan Administration will not permit peace negotiations to be decoupled from these resolutions. Since the Camp David accords derive from Resolutions 242 and 338, we will continue to support that process as long as Israel sees utility in it.

(3) Will your Administration prevent, whether by vetoes in the United Nations or otherwise any action aimed at establishing a Palestinian state or allowing the PLO to be a participant in negotiations with Israel?

Reagan: A Reagan Administration will utilize all appropriate instruments, including — if need be — UN veto, to insure that the PLO has no voice or role as a participant in future peace negotiations with Israel. Unlike President Carter, I have no hesitation in branding the PLO as a terrorist organization.

(4) What is your concept of the status of the city of Jerusalem — east, west, north and south — in relation to Israel?

Reagan: Jerusalem is central to religious faiths throughout the world. Thus, Jerusalem must remain one city, undivided and with continued free access for all faiths to its holy places. Thankfully, Jerusalem today — unlike the days prior to 1967 — enjoys these freedoms.

(5) Will you end existence of two U.S. consulates in Jerusalem — a situation without equal or precedent under any flag in any city in the world — and maintain one consulate in Jerusalem with its American personnel, accredited only to the State of Israel and subject to control of the American Embassy in Israel?

Reagan: A Reagan Administration would be committed to the continued existence of Jerusalem as on a undivided city and would structure its consular offices accordingly.

(6) Will your Administration reject any proposal that provides Arabs living in what is known as East Jerusalem be allowed to vote for the West Bank’s administrative council under the autonomy plans being negotiated by Egypt, Israel and the United States?

Reagan: A Reagan Administration will not force the hand of either Israel or Egypt at the negotiating table. As long as there is no outside coercion present a Reagan Administration will support the agreements made between Israel and Egypt at the negotiation conferences.

(7) Will your Administration support, by legislative proposals to the Congress and or by administrative actions, Israel’s needs for her security against external aggression, terrorism and sabotage, and diplomatic isolation?

Reagan: A Reagan Administration will by legislative proposals and executive actions bolster Israel’s security against all forms of aggression. Specifically, a Reagan Administration will not continue to ship massive quantities of sophisticated armaments to so-called “moderate” Arab states who, in fact, might directly threaten Israel’s existence once they are in possession of such arms.

(8) Will your Administration regard Israel as an important strategic asset of the U.S. ?

Reagan: Israel is, of course, a major strategic asset to the United States. When we support Israel’s security we in fact support our own.

(9) Will your Administration speak out against persecution and/or harassment of Jews in the Soviet Union, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Argentina and other countries where it may exist? Will it continue support of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment regarding Soviet emigration policy?

Reagan: With regard to the Soviet Union, a Reagan Administration will not rest until the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords, to which the Soviet Union is a signatory, are fully honored. Proceeding from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, a Reagan Administration will make it clear to the Soviets that their compliance with the various human rights agreements will have a bearing on future bilateral trade. A Reagan Administration would want to utilize recognized international forums, such as the United Nations so as to promote rights for Jews and all peoples throughout the world.

(10) In seeking to restore America’s economic vitality, how will your Administration seek to lower the country’s inflation rate and her unemployment, particularly among minorities? In the latter connection, do you intend to implement affirmative action programs without resorting to quotas?

Reagan: I believe that the time has come to make a bold commitment to economic growth — to cut excessively high tax rates, to eliminate unnecessary regulations, and to establish a sound and stable monetary policy. These actions would reduce inflation and unemployment while increasing productivity which is the key to long-term growth and a higher standard of living for all Americans.

I am convinced that poor and minority Americans would benefit the most from this economic revitalization since they are suffering the most right now. I strongly support equal opportunity and will do everything I can to see that minority Americans join the mainstream of American life but I am firmly opposed to mandatory quotas.

(11) What means will your Administration outline to revive the viability of our large urban centers and item the flow of industries from northern industrial states to the sun belt? Would you impose limits on use of gasoline to cope with the energy crisis?

Reagan: I believe that our major cities are bearing the brunt of Mr. Carter’s recession, a severe economic contraction that has cost nearly two million Americans their jobs in the last year. I believe that my comprehensive package of economic reforms would improve the economic climate throughout America, including our troubled big cities.

I support federal aid to cities, including special loan guarantees to New York City, but I feel that the present system of categorical grants is often ineffective because the federal money is tied up in red rope and paper work. I favor instead a system of block/grants to be used at the discretion of local officials, who are more intimately aware of local problems and thus in a better position to solve them. I oppose gas rationing except in cases of extreme emergency such as war.

(12) Will your Administration ferret out Nazi war criminals living in the United States and deal with them according to our laws and have a thorough study made why these criminals were allowed to enter and live in this country?

Reagan: I believe that we must never forget the Holocaust that killed six million Jews and millions of equally innocent Christians. If elected President, I will order the Justice Department to continue full-scale investigations that will ferret out Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. We can never rest until those responsible for this great tragedy are punished.

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