NEW YORK (Mar. 11)
The American Jewish Congress today issued a statement explaining its representations to the State Department against the refusal of a U.S. visitor’s visa to Sydney Silverman, Labor Member of the British Parliament, who is also a member of the World Jewish Congress executive.
The visa was refused to Mr. Silverman because he was found “ineligible” to receive one under the terms of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act, State Department official said in Washington. Mr. Silverman, an adherent of the left-wing of the British Labor Party, was invited by the Rosenberg Clemency Committee to speak at a dinner in New York urging Presidential clemency for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who are now under death sentence on charges of delivering atom bomb secrets to Soviet agents.
The statement issued by the American Jewish Congress emphasizes the following points:
“1. Mr. Silverman’s visit was being made entirely in a personal capacity and not in any way as a member of the World Jewish Congress, with which we are affiliated, Mr. Silverman himself has publicly emphasized this fact.
“2. The American Jewish Congress has repeatedly dissociated itself from the purpose and sponsors of the occasions for which Silverman sought to visit this country, namely a clemency dinner for the Rosenbergs. ‘The American Jewish Congress has condemned those who have attempted to inject the issue of anti-Semitism into this case. We are not involved in any way in the movement for clemency. We regard judgment as to the sentence to be a personal and not an organizational matter. (A similar statement was issued today in London by the World Jewish Congress.)
“3. We have, nevertheless, made representations to the State Department against the denial of a visa because we regard this as an act of serious injustice to Mr. Silverman. From our association with him we know him to be a man deeply dedicated to the democratic system and human freedom and unalterably opposed to totalitarianism in any of its forms. His exclusion, under the McCarran Act, is unfair and unjust.”