Pittsburgh (Aug. 22)
Edgar J. Kaufmann, a leading figure in American Jewish life, is taking the initiative in a movement to organize “the independent delegates to the American Jewish Conference and the delegates elected by organizations who come to the Conference open-minded.”
Mr. Kaufman, one of the independent delegates to the Conference, has addressed a letter describing his plan to the delegates to the Conference, acting in the matter in behalf of various national leaders, including Jacob Blaustein of Baltimore, Md.; Mrs. Maurice L. Goldman of San Francisco, Cal.; Benjamin Kaufman of Trenton, N.J.; Fred Lazarus, Jr. of Columbus, Ohio and Judge Joseph M. Proskauer of New York, N.Y. These individuals all represent various points of view.
The letter points out that under the Conference procedure, “every delegate may affiliate himself with one or a number of listed groups, or, if he prefers to remain unaffiliated, with any these groups, he is asked to register ‘designation reserved.'” Unaffiliated delegates may be represented in the membership committee only by being organized into a unit of ten or more. Thus, without his plan, Mr. Kaufman contends, the voice of unaffiliated members will scarcely be heard.
Stressing that his plan appeals to delegates of “various points of view but who come to the Conference open-minded,” the letter calls attention to a meeting to be held before the opening of the Conference.
TEXT OF THE LETTER
“We, the undersigned,” the letter reads, “are addressing our letter to you as a delegate of the American Jewish Conference. You have received, or will soon receive, a letter from the office of the American Jewish Conference describing a procedure under which every delegate may affiliate himself with one of a number of listed groups, or if he prefers to remain unaffiliated with any one of these groups, he is asked to register ‘designation reserved.’
“According to this plan unaffiliated delegates will be able to be represented in the membership committee only by organizing themselves into a unit of tem or more. Unless such a unit is created, unaffiliated delegates will have no opportunity of taking part directly or indirectly in the work of the various committees, will even be circumscribed in the plenary meeting of the Conference, and so be greatly restricted in expressing their views whatever they may be and asserting an influence on the Conference.
“The undersigned delegates entertain various points of view, but come to the Conference open-minded. We urge you to join us and thus make your participation in the Conference effective, because if you are an independent delegate, this is the only way for you to participate in the work of the committee.
“It is of vital importance that the decision of the Conference shall reflect the composite sentiment of American Jewry and not those of any particular ideological or political group. With this in mind, the larger the active participation of independent delegates, the greater the promise of such result. If you are an independent delegate, register ‘designation reserved’ and immediately inform Mr. Edgar J. Kaufman to this effect. A meeting of the unaffiliated delegates will be held on Saturday evening, August 28.”
Mr. Kaufman several years ago organized the General Jewish Council, composed of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, the Jewish Labor Committee and the American Jewish Congress, which was an earlier attempt to create a united voice for American Jewry.
Following up his letter with a telegram today to each of the delegates of the American Jewish Conference, Mr. Kaufman said: “It is my judgment that the problems confronting us require most earnest and impartial consideration. Delegates who are not committed to any specific party program but are willing to consider all proposals in an independent and open-minded manner can best meet the urgent problems confronting the Conference and be of most service in the unification of conflicting approaches. For these reasons, it is advisable that such delegates, at this time, remain free of any partisan commitment. I, therefore, intend to register ‘designation reserved’ and hope you will do like-wise.”