WASHINGTON (May. 18)
Rep. Lee Hamilton (D. Ind.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee an Europe and the Middle East, has denied inviting Farouk Kaddoumi, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s foreign policy spokesman, to visit Washington in June.
News agency reports from Damascus and Beirut today, quoting a Beirut newspaper, said that according to high ranking Palestinian officials, Kaddoumi had accepted an invitation from Hamilton to meet him in Washington next month and that he was also expected to meet with Sen. Charles Percy (R.Ill.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But a staff member of Hamilton’s subcommittee told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that no such invitation was extended by letter or otherwise. What did happen, the staff member said, was that several weeks ago some Palestinians telephoned from New York to ask if they could meet with Hamilton in Washington. The staff member said the Congressman has never refused to meet with Palestinians who come here but that those who telephoned did not come.
A staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he had also seen the report of the invitation to Kaddoumi that first appeared in a Beirut newspaper but could find nothing to confirm it among committee members.