Intergovernmental Body to Study Jewish Emigration from North Africa

A special body of experts of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration will study the proposal made by Rep. Francis E. Walter chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, that Jews from North Africa be enabled to immigrate to Israel with financial aid from the United States Government through the Intergovernmental Committee, it was announced here today.

The announcement was made by Rep. Walter following a two-hour conference among him, John D. Jernegan, Assistant Secretary of State, and Ambassador Harold Tittman director of the ICEM. Rep. Walter told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he also intends to discuss the matter with Israel Ambassador Abba Eban. He is planning to visit Israel early next month and see how Jewish immigrants from North Africa are being settled there.

In order to pay for the transport of North African Jews through ICEM channels, Rep Walter said he would endeavor to increase the size of the United States financial appropriation granted ICEM. This amount might be matched by other member countries of ICEM The State Department, meanwhile, has expressed a generally favorable view and within a certain scope willingness to consider, the Walter plan.

Rep. Walter told the JTA today that the thought of moving North African Jews through the ICEM machinery was advanced by Hanan Cidor, who is the Israel Foreign Ministry’s director of International Organizations. Mr. Cidor was chairman of the last session of ICEM. Israel holds participating membership. When Rep. Walter arrives in Israel with members of his staff, he will see Mr. Cidor whom he described as his “contact.” Rep. Walter will be accompanied by Walter Besterman, counsel of the Immigration Subcommittee, and Mrs. Bess Dick of the House Judiciary Committee staff.

It was learned from exceptionally well-informed sources that one of the problems confronting ICEM on North African Jewry is the difficulty of determining the numbers that might be involved. The French, according to Washington sources, have restricted exit to some 3,000 monthly. This matter is one of the problems which the ICEM committee will study. Rep. Walter made known that it is by no means definite that the subject of North African Jewish migration will be placed on the agenda at Geneva. But he indicated that it is likely that it will be taken up.

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