WASHINGTON (Dec. 20)
The State Department today issued a statement defending Edwin M. Wright from criticism by Jewish groups, and supporting his expressions on Judaism and Israel.
Mr. Wright, an official of the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute; which trains young diplomats, had been charged with anti-Jewis and anti-Zionist public utterances.
The Department said that Mr. Wright has been asked, however, to review his future presentations “carefully and to eliminate any extraneous or interpolated comments which especially if taken out of context, might be interpreted as critical of any religion.”
In an official statement, the Department of State made known its communication to Rabbi David Panitz, of Washington. This communication served as a reply to the many protests from Jewish sources against recent expressions by Wright. The State Department said it had looked carefully into the Wright matter and arrived at the following conclusions:
“The recent reports of Wright’s statements on Judaism are incomplete and present an unbalanced and distorted view of what Mr. Wright said, or of the views that he states he holds. These reports had they been correct, would have justified the letters of protest which the Department received.
“The Department is convinced that Mr. Wright, in commenting on certain religious tenets, intended to indicate the varied facets of the problem and still to present a balanced viewpoint. Mr. Wright has been asked, however, to review his future presentations carefully and to eliminate any extraneous or interpolated comments which especially if taken out of context, might be interpreted as critical of any religion.
“Mr. Wright’s three-hour lecture before the Foreign Service Institute should be viewed in the context of a full week of lectures dealing with various world philosophies and Ziologies, and with the objective of presenting all sides of these controversial issues to our young foreign service officers. In the light of the foregoing, the Department believes Mr. Wright has not offended against the properties or the standards of the Department.
It was learned that the Wright issue was referred in the Department for a decision to Loy Henderson, Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Administration. Mr. Henderson whose own record as a diplomat once directly concerned with the Palestine issue is viewed controversially cleared Mr. Wright. Mr. Henderson reportedly told Mr. Wright he himself had once come under similar “attacks” from Jewish and Zionist organizations.