NEW YORK (Jul. 16)
The U.S. Government agreement with Saudi Arabia under which American citizens of the Jewish faith are not being assigned to military service or employed in defense installations in that country was criticized today by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Patick Murphy Malin, ACLU executive director, released a letter sent to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles scoring the practice as a violation of the American principle of freedom of religion and urging that it be ended in the new agreement now being negotiated with Saudi Arabia.
“The Union recognizes,” Mr. Malin said, “the legal right of the Saudi Arabian Government to control the entrance to that country of private persons. But it is a far different thing for our government to enter into an agreement with a foreign government to exclude not an objectionable person, but a whole class of people participating in official American enterprises paid for by the money of all sorts of American taxpayers. This is true especially when the prohibition is contrary to a basic American principle that all our citizens are to be accorded equal treatment regardless of race, religion, color or national origin.”
The arrangement which prevents Jews from being hired on government defense contracts in Saudi Arabia “has special significance,” the ACLU said, “for this Administration is pledged to a policy of eliminating discrimination in government contracts. The Executive Order creating the President’s Committee on Government Contracts directs it to make recommendations to the contracting agencies for improving and making more effective the non-discrimination provisions of government contracts. The President’s Committee is empowered to insure compliance with the non-discriminatory provisions, and has indeed succeeded in several cases.
“If the new agreement with Saudi Arabia continues to condone religious discrimination against American citizens, it will conflict directly with the policy of this government to insure non-discrimination in government contracts, a policy which supports the great national effort to erase discrimination from all segments of American life,” the ACLU pointed out.