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No Changes Expected in U.S. Mideast Policy with Appointment of Jordan

July 24, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Carter’s appointment of his chief strategist and confidant Hamilton Jordan as Chief of Staff at the White House to supervise the Administration’s operations is not expected to affect foreign policy in general or the Middle East in particular, according to State Department and other sources here yesterday Jordan himself, in a national television appearance said he will not stand between Cabinet level members and their access to President Carter.

The principal foreign policy officers will have direct access to the President and this avenue most probably will not be patrolled by Jordan whose commanding position reportedly will be concentrated on domestic affairs, officials said.

The U.S. course in the Israeli-Egyptian and other negotiations connected with the Camp David framework was given to special Ambassador Robert Strauss to pursue. American and foreign observers noted. The President cloaked him with Cabinet level authority and an open path to the President himself, they pointed out. As far as they can see, the Strauss role apparently is unchanged.

Furthermore, they added, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Defense Secretary Harold Brown and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski have been established as a continuing trio in command of foreign policy as a whole. “I don’t see Hamilton’s appointment as affecting Middle East policy at all,” one well placed U.S. official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Another emphasized that “the President made his change on Middle East policy when he named Strauss. Foreign policy is excluded entirely from Hamilton’s role.”

A similar view was expressed by Israeli and other diplomatic sources along with an American official who noted that Carter set his Middle East policy at Clinton, Mass. early in 1977 and that course continues, stipulating a true peace in the Middle East, a homeland for Palestinian Arabs and secure borders for Israel which the President left undefined.


A change in policy with the Strauss appointment is to affect movement toward that goal, it was noted Jordan’s personal views on the Middle East are considered to be fully consonant with the President’s. How the Presidential election campaign will affect Administration policy may be visible late this year. For the time being, there seems to be no great change, one well informed source pointed out, since Strauss “is a political strategist himself when it comes to electing a President.”

Although not regarded as a foreign policy advisor in any way, Jordan has been sitting in on foreign policy discussions, particularly on the Middle East insofar as it affects domestic policy, one observer noted. He was with the President at Camp David last September and on his Cairo-Jerusalem-Cairo shuttle in March. He is said to be on friendly terms with both Arabs and Israelis.

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