The State Department announced yesterday that it will investigate the unauthorized disclosure of confidential State Department information contained in an article published yesterday by a Harvard research fellow.
The article by Edward R. F. Sheehan, research fellow for the Harvard Center for International Affairs (CFIA), reveals tactics used in Middle East "shuttle diplomacy" by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger '50.
Robert Funseth, a spokesman for the State Department, told newsmen yesterday that any disclosure of confidential information on the Middle East talks by State Department officials "was unauthorized, a serious mistake in judgment, and disciplinary actions will be taken."
"We have a pretty fair idea who talked to Sheehan, but I don't want to prejudge," the spokesman said.
Funseth also denied that the article contains "verbatim" transcriptions of diplomatic dialogues between Kissinger and Middle Eastern leaders.
A statement made in the article's introduction by the editors of Foreign Policy, the journal that published the paper, saying that conversations quoted in the article appear "verbatim" is "inaccurate," Funseth said.
Funseth, however, refused to deny the substance of the article, saying only that the State Department will not comment on exchanges between the State Department and foreign officials.
In the article, Sheehan quotes conversations between Kissinger, President Ford and Middle East leaders, including Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
During one conversation, Ford contradicts the official U.S. position on the Middle East settlement by telling Sadat that the U.S. favors an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 war borders.
Funseth, however, said yesterday that the State Department remains in official support of a final territorial settlement to be worked out by both Israel and the Arab nations as endorsed by United Nations Resolution No. 242.
All information officially issued to Sheehan was strictly on a background basis, and Sheehan had no direct access to transcripts of conversations or official records, Funseth said.
Funseth also denied that Kissinger himself issued the quotes to Sheehan, as suggested by columnist William Safire in The New York Times yesterday, although he said Kissinger did meet with Sheehan "once or twice for a very brief time, perhaps 30 minutes."
Sheehan refused yesterday to comment on the sources for his article. However, Warren D. Manshel '49, editor of Foreign Policy, said yesterday officials of the magazine are "absolutely sure" that information contained in the article is accurate and that directly quoted conversations come from actual memoranda or from principles involved as indicated by Sheehan in the article.
Samuel P. Huntington, professor of Government and co-editor of Foreign Policy, and Manshel worked with Sheehan on the diplomacy study since its inception. Manshel said they "would not have published the article unless it was felt to be based on accurate sources."
Manshel refused to comment on Safire's allegation that Kissinger leaked the transcriptions, although he did call Kissinger's statement Sunday that he was "thunderstruck" by the article "a lovely expression.