JEWS ARE CAUTIOUS AFTER SOVIET VISIT
Special to the New York Times
Published: December 14, 1985
WARSAW, Dec. 13— Edgar M. Bronfman, the president of the World Jewish Congress, spoke candidly today about his talks with the Polish leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, but he refused to say anything about the three days he spent in Moscow before his arrival here.
During his three-day stay in Poland, newspapers in Paris and London have published speculative reports suggesting that President Francois Mitterrand discussed with both Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, and with General Jaruzelski a proposal calling for 15,000 Jewish families to be transported from the Soviet Union to Israel by French planes.
At the lavish Polish Government guest house where he and three associates stayed, Mr. Bronfman acknowledged that the trip to Moscow was his second since September and that he hoped to visit there again soon.
He said that he was interested in the plight of Soviet Jews who want to emigrate but that no interests would be served by revealing who he met with, what they talked about or even where he stayed in the Soviet capital.
Link to Mideast Talks
One newspaper report of the plan suggested that it would be linked to a conference on the Middle East. Another suggested that the Soviet Jews would go first to Poland, where they would board French planes.
Mr. Bronfman dismissed the French and British reports as fanciful and declined further comment.
Elan Steinberg, the executive director of the World Jewish Congress, who is with Mr. Bronfman, said that ”there are a lot of rumors out there.” He added, ”Some are true, some are not.”
High Polish officials have said Soviet Jews were not mentioned in General Jaruzelski’s talks last week with Mr. Mitterrand. Officials at Elysee Palace denied that the Mitterrand-Jaruzelski meeting concerned Soviet Jews.
The Bronfman group was not reticent about its reasons for visiting Poland, where the prewar Jewish population of three million has been reduced to about 6,000 people, most of them old. ”We are businessmen who have come to do business,” said Israel Singer, the secretary general of the Jewish organization, which represents Jews in 70 countries around the world. The fourth member of the delegation is Kalman Sultanik, vice president of the congress.
‚The Road to the West’
”We wanted to emphasize to the general that the road to the West can lead through Jerusalem,” said Mr. Steinberg, adding that the group had stressed that ”the fact that Rumania and Hungary have most favored nation status in the U.S. is not just accidentally linked to the fact that those Governments have relatively good records in their treatment of Jews and Jewish issues.”
Poland lost the favorable tariff arrangements with the United States that is known as most favored nation status after martial law was declared in December 1981.
Mr. Bronfman said the general ”was gracious and appreciative” in their talks but ”bitter that there was not enough understanding in the United States about Poland’s social and political situation.” Mr. Bronfman said General Jaruzelski was resentful that American sanctions remain in force despite Poland’s release of political prisoners, which the Americans had said was a condition for lifting sanctions.
Though the visitors said General Jaruzelski never mentioned any other Communist country, they said they got the impression that he was pained by the fact that Secretary of State George P. Shultz is on his way to Rumania.
The three-day visit of the the Jewish leaders was well covered by the Polish press, with television reports of their attendance at a performance of the Jewish theater and their visit today to the site of the Treblinka death camp.
Photo of Edgar N. Bronfman with Kalman Sultanik and Elan Steinberg praying during visit to Treblinda death camp (NYT/Rebecca Kaufman)