Kovno (Mar. 8)
The order under which all non-citizens were to have been dismissed from their employment in Lithuania beginning next January, which has been causing anxiety among the Jewish population, including as it does large numbers of non-citizens, most of them Staatenlose who have been resident in Lithuania for many years and have no other home than Lithuania, has been practically annulled by the Minister of the Interior, M. Aravichus, in a written statement given to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, following a conference which he had to-day with Mr. Jacob Landau, the Managing Director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Mr. B. Smolar, Special J.T.A. Representative, in the presence of the Kovno Chief of Police, M. Navakas, over whose signature the order was issued last January “notifying aliens living in Kovno City and District that I am calling upon the proprietors of enterprises employing aliens to arrange before January 1st., 1932 for engaging Lithuanian citizens in their stead”.
In this written statement the Minister of the Interior makes it clear that the employment restrictions will be enforeed only against such aliens who came into Lithuania after July 1929 and will not apply to anyone who was resident in the country before that date. Sinco most Jewish non-citizens have been resident in Lithuania for many years, they will not be affected by the new restrictions.
The Minister gave an assurance that those Jews who have been compelled by the authorities in the provincial parts of the country to sign pledges that they will not seek employment after January 1932 need have no fear, because the pledges will not be considered.
In reply to a question why the Government does not give citizenship to people who have been resident in Lithuania for more than ten years and are thus under the Constitution entitled to citizenship, the Minister announced that a new Citizenship Law will be published in April, after which the naturalisation of Staatenlose will be carried through en masse. The Minister also gave an assurance that all persons living in Lithuania who were born in the Vilna District will be given immediate citizenship.
Referring to the new law project for restricting the number of lawyers admitted to the bar, by making it a condition that they must first have worked in the courts for two years, the Minister gave a definite assurance that the project is in no way aimed against the Jews. The Jews find no difficulty in obtaining employment in the law courts in Lithuania, he said.
A consid orable number are now employed in the courts, and there are even three Jewish judges. The intention of the bill, he explained, is only to improve the status of the legal profession.
The written statement given by the Minister of the Interior to the J.T.A. embodying these various assurances has had the effect of allaying Jewish anxiety and the general impression is that the Staatenlose question in Lithuania is now taking a favourable turn.
Mr. Landau and Mr. Smolar have also been received by the Minister of Justice, M. Zaunius.