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Jewish Groups Seek Statement from State Dept. on Visa Law

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Jewish organizations, joined by the entire Jewish press today continued to request from the State Department an explanation with regard to the new system practiced by some American consulates abroad in requiring Jews to identify themselves as such in their visa applications.

An appeal to President Truman and to Secretary of State Dean Acheson was addressed today by Adolph Held, chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee which represents 500,000 organized Jewish workers in this country. “If this discriminatory policy is true,” the appeal said, “it is not consistent with the fundamental ideals of the United States Government in our firm opposition to racial and religious discrimination.”

The action of the American consulates is allegedly based on section 222-A of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act which requires racial data from applicants for American visas. Although the McCarran-Walter Act does not enter into effect until Dec. 24, Herve J. L’Heureux, chief of the Visa Division of the State Department, had already issued preliminary orders to consular officers to elicit information on whether or not applicants are Jewish.

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