Riga (Mar. 11)
There is no specific Jewish problem in Latvia, the Prime Minister, Mr. Hugo Celmins, whose coalition Government formed in 1928 has just been reconstituted under his Premiership, said to-day when he received Mr. Jacob Landau, the Managing Director of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Mr. B. Smolar, J.T.A. Special Representative, at the Parliament House (Saeima).
The national minorities enjoy equality, the Premier declared. Their schools and theatres, including the Jewish schools and theatres, are subsidised by the Government. There is also a special Jewish Department in existence for the purpose of looking after Jewish cultural interests.
Latvia will never forget the relief which the American Jews, through the Joint Distribution Committee, gave our country during the war, the Prime Minister continued. We appreciate especially the reconstruction work of the Joint Distribution Committee in building a large number of houses in Dwinsk and other cities which were destroyed by the war, the Premier said. Nor shall we forget the relief on behalf of the children and the war orphans. The Jewish Hospital in Riga, which was built by the funds of the Joint Distribution Committee, he added, is one of our best medical institutions, treating all people without distinction of Jew or Christian. It is an institution of which our capital is proud, and it deserves the splendid reputation which it enjoys throughout the country.
Asked why there is no law in Latvia to enable the Jewish Communities to impose a tax of their own on their members, as is done in other countries, for the upkeep of the local Jewish social welfare institutions, the Prime Minister said that such a project is now under consideration by the Government.