WASHINGTON (Jun. 17)
A delegation representing the American Jewish Congress and the National Community Relations Advisory Council, met here with the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, William M. Rountree, to make formal complaint against continued Arab violation of the rights of American citizens.
The delegation, headed by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the AJC, urged the State Department to take action to halt these abuses. The delegation particularly called to Mr. Rountree’s attention the Dhahran air base lease with Saudi Arabia which provides for the denial of entry to the base of persons deemed “objectionable” by Saudi Arabia. This provision has been interpreted by that Arab country to justify the exclusion of all United States military and civilian personnel who are Jewish and the interpretation has been accepted by the State Department.
The delegation also pointed out that while the United States was granting American dollars to Jordan and other Arab countries as part of the United States foreign aid program, these countries had forbidden their nationals to use such dollars in trade with American Jews. To counteract this discrimination against American Jews, the delegation asked the State Department to adopt the following measures:
1. To instruct George Wadsworth, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, now renegotiating the Dhahran Air Base lease, to insist upon provisions that would allow the United States to assign military and civilian personnel to that base without regard to their religious affiliations;
2. To prevent Arab states from discriminating against American Jewish businessmen in their purchases in the United States made possible by U.S. economic assistance to such states;
3. To protest directly to these Arab countries and in the United Nations their refusal to issue entry or transit visas to American citizens solely because of their religion.
Mr. Rountree expressed the State Department’s disapproval of the discriminatory practices but gave no assurance that any public or effective protest would be made. Following the meeting, Dr. Goldstein stated on behalf of the delegation: “The failure of the State Department to take appropriate action does not mean the end of this matter. We intend to let the American people know that the State Department is unwilling to make effective protest against a well-organized and intensive campaign by the Arabs against American Jews.”
Dr. Goldstein added that American taxpayers will particularly resent the fact that their tax dollars are being used to import anti-Semitism into this country and to make it possible for Arab states to carry on their boycott in the United States against American citizens solely because of their religion.