Nixon-brezhnev Confer – Soviet Jewry and Middle East Not Discussed Today
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Nixon-brezhnev Confer – Soviet Jewry and Middle East Not Discussed Today

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President Nixon and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid 1. Brezhnev met for 3 1/2 hours at the White House today but discussed neither the Middle East nor the issue of emigration from the Soviet Union.

Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency whether the two leaders raised either of those matters, White House press secretary Ronald Ziegler replied, “My understanding is they did not.”

Ziegler said that Nixon and Brezhnev met privately for an hour with only their translator present and continued their discussion for another two hours and 45 minutes with Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Presidential advisor Henry Kissinger, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin and Kissinger’s aide, Helmut Sonnenfeldt present.

Asked by a reporter whether Nixon and Brezhnev will take up the Middle East and the emigration issues at their subsequent meetings this week, Leonid Zamyatin, director general of Tass, the Soviet news agency who is spokesman for the Brezhnev party replied that there was no pre-set agenda and that each side can raise questions to obtain the opinion of the other side.

Zamyatin took exception to the JTA’s question as to whether the emigration issue was raised. Ziegler had replied that “no useful purpose will be served by commenting on this specific matter,” adding that “You all know we have expressed our interest to the Soviet Union” on the matter.

At that point Zamyatin interjected to remark that those who ask such-questions are proceeding from the basis of interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries. He said the Soviet Union has never asked about U.S. emigration policies, adding that it is possible to ask such questions but it “never entered our head” to do so.


Much of the questioning at the press briefing referred to U.S. Soviet trade relations and the matter of most favored nation status for the USSR, a point of contention between the Nixon Administration which considers it essential and a majority of U.S. Senators and Congressmen who want to condition it to the Soviet’s easing restrictions on emigration.

Zamyatin said he felt sure that a majority of Congress will realize the importance of this matter and that trade cannot be conducted on the basis of discrimination. He said he hoped “common sense and farsightedness will prevail in Congress.”

Earlier today, Brezhnev told President Nixon and tens of millions of television viewers around the world that although more than 6000 miles separate Washington and Moscow. “International politics has its own concepts of relativity, not covered by Einstein’s theory.”

Brezhnev will lunch at Blair House tomorrow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will meet with President Nixon at the White House at 3 p.m. for their second round of talks.

Soviet journalist Victor Louis has just completed a two day visit to the Sinal. Louis, known for his close contacts with the Kremlin, attended the International Press Institute conference now meeting in Tel Aviv.

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