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Meese Says Justice Dept. Probing PLO Office Activities in Washington

Attorney General Edwin Meese told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Tuesday that the Justice Department was “looking very carefully” into the activities of the PLO office in Washington and hinted that the office might be closed down.

Responding to a question following an address to the Conference, Meese said the Department was “taking certain steps to see if there was any violation of law” in the PLO’s activities in Washington. He added: “We will not allow that office to aid terrorists or to be a source of support for terrorists anywhere.” The Attorney General said there were “sensitive aspects” to the situation that he said “may affect actions we may take.” The PLO was permitted to open a so-called information office in Washington during the Carter Administration.

On other issues, the Attorney General said an early decision was expected on whether to bar President Kurt Waldheim of Austria from the United States as a former Nazi. The Presidents Conference and other groups have called on the Administration to refuse entry to Waldheim under the “watch list” provision of the immigration law.

Meese said that he deplored recent “leaks” emanating from his department that charged various Israeli officials with wrongdoing. “I share your remorse at these leaks, which are a matter of great distress to me personally and to this Administration,” he said.

He declined to comment on the case of confessed spy Jonathan Pollard, noting only that sentencing would take place in November. “I hope that other problems” related to the case “will conclude rapidly,” he added.

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