Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Jihan Sadat, wife of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, will be leaving the United States after her husband's state visit here with some tips she picked up from Rosalynn Carter on giving diplomatic ties.
Mrs. Sadat noted at a Blair House interview Tuesday that she has numerous social and state duties involving the wives of foreign dignitaries when they visit her country.
"Usually I invite them for a cup of tea. It is only an hour or so and we don't discuss anything very serious. But Mrs. Carter gave me a lesson," she said, referring to Monday's White House tea held in her honor by Mrs. Carter, a gathering that featured discussions by half a dozen experts on social problems.
"I will not stop giving teas," she said, "but I will make a place where the ladies of my country who are interested in social issues can exchange ideas with the visitors."
The 42-year-old Mrs. Sadat shares with Mrs. Carter an interest in rehabilitation, mental health problems and other social concerns in her country.
Five years ago, she started a welfare project in her husband's native village to raise the standard of living of Egyptian peasants. More recently she has branched into women's cooperative projects, hospitals and education programs.
She has tried to reform the divorce laws of Egypt, a country where Moslem law allows a man to divorce his wife merely by repeating three times the fact that he is divorcing her, and has called for Islamic monogamy unless the wife permits her husband to take a second wife. She lobbied for and recently got the law to provide alimony for divorced wives.
Although Mrs. Sadat champions many women's issues in her country, her feminism is a different kind from that with which American feminists would be familiar. "We (Egyptian and other Arab women) have our own environment, our own traditions, but emancipation of women in Egypt is my beloved thing," she said, adding that, with the exception of Tunisian women, Egyptian women are the most liberated women in the Arab world.
Unlike Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Sadat said she didn't give her husband advice on political issues. "I don't think he needs my advice," she laughed. "At home it is my family life, except discussing something like the tragedy in Lebanon. Then it is on everyone's mind and everyone talks about it. But it doesn't mean I give him advice on political policy."
But on social problems, Mrs. Sadat says she is the authority because "I think I know it better."
Her independence in the area of social issues even extended to communicating with Israeli women during the 1973 Egyptian-Israeli war. She said she received several letters from Israeli women through the Red Crescent organization, comparable to the Red Cross, and answered them.
When she told her husband, President Sadat suggested that perhaps the time wasn't quite right for such interactions, "but by that time, I'd already done it," Mrs. Sadat beamed.