WASHINGTON (Nov. 2)
Rep. Paul Findley (R.III.), fighting for reelection against Democratic challenger David Robinson, has declared President Carter’s campaign chairman, Robert Strauss, gave him “full backing” on his contacts with Palestine Liberation Organization Chief Yasir Arafat and espousal of U.S. negotiation with the terrorist organization.
In Los Angeles, Strauss reportedly disavowed Findley’s statement and in Washington an aide to Strauss said Strauss “in no way encouraged” Findley in his PLO affairs. The report was first published in the Los Angeles Times, Oct. 19 which said in a dispatch from Springfield, III., by its reporter, Paul Houston, that Findley was in a tough battle because of his PLO contacts.
“Counter-attacking on the issue for the first time, ” the dispatch said, “he contended that his two meetings with Arafat and his correspondence with the PLO leader have the full backing of a rather prominent Jewish Democrat — Robert Strauss….”
“Findley said that in his contacts with Arafat, he conferred frequently with Strauss about what details were discussed and had received hand-written notes from Strauss that ‘recognized the importance and value of correct communication with Arafat.’”
Houston’s dispatch noted that official Administration policy is that the U.S. will not deal with the PLO until it accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and Israel’s right to exist. “Nevertheless, recently at the U.S. Capital, he (Findley) got another endorsement on his contacts with Arafat from Strauss,” Houston reported.
The Los Angeles Times’ bureau in Washington told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it had no record of a response from Strauss either here or in Los Angeles. The JTA made repeated efforts here to contact Strauss but he is immersed in details in the last days of the election campaign and therefore not available for comment. But the JTA was informed that Philip Blazer, publisher of Israel Today in Los Angeles, said Strauss had totally disavowed Findley’s charges.
At the Carter-Mondale Campaign Committee’s offices here, a spokesperson told the JTA that she was informed Strauss had said Findley should be ashamed of himself and the story was not worth commenting on.