Melbourne, Australia (Dec. 23)
Premier John Curtin of Australia does not favor special Jewish representation at the forthcoming peace talks “because similar demands may be made by other national minorities,” it was stated here today. “Such a situation would only multiply confusion,” a spokesman for the Premier said.
The spokesman explained that it was because of this that Premier Curtin, who is a Laborite, opposed a suggestion that the Australian Labor Conference, held last week at Canberra, adopt a resolution asking for Jewish representation at the peace table. The resolution had also voiced opposition to anti-Semitism and condemned Nazi atrocities.
“It was only to the part of the resolution dealing with Jewish representation at the peace talks that the Premier took exception,” the spokesman pointed out. Other members of the Labor Party emphasized that the fact that the labor conference rejected the entire resolution should not be interpreted to mean that organized labor in Australia is unfriendly to Jews. “We have condemned anti-Semitism on more than one occasion, but we are not willing to commit ourselves on the issue of recognizing the Jewish race as a nation,” one of the labor leaders said in a statement today.
A meeting of leaders of the Zionist Federation of Australia took place last night to act on the rejection of the resolution by the labor conference. The meeting concluded without issuing any statement. Although no official response has been issued by the Jewish community to the action of the Laborite conclave, a feeling of deep disappointment prevails among Jews here since it was taken for granted that the resolution on Jews would be adopted by the conference without any discussion.