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American Jewish Groups Protest Against Austria’s Restitution Laws; Seek U.S. Veto

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Protesting against the action of the Austrian Government in enacting the Second and Third Restitution Laws, Jewish organizations today united in a cabled plea to General Mark Clark, American representative on the Control Council for Austria, that the United States move to veto this legislation.

The three organizations – the American Jewish Conference, American Jewish Committee and World Jewish Congress – charged that the restitution laws contained “many dangerous ambiguities and exceptions” and give “excessive protection” to holders of property wrongfully acquired. Many provisions of the law, they stated, would make restitution “illusory” and would thus violate the Inter-Allied Declaration of Jan. 4, 1943, which warned that all property transactions consummated under duress during the Nazi rule would not be recognized.

The organizations also charged that the enactment of these laws at this time”would prejudice the possibility (of obtaining) more equitable provisions in the Austrian treaty, along the lines of the Rumanian and Hungarian treaty provisions.” Steps were also taken by the organizations to bring the matter to the attention of the French, British and Soviet authorities asking them similarly to exercise their veto.

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