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State Dept. Says Nasser Has Right to Bar Return of Jews to Egypt

The State Department considers the United Arab Republic within its rights in barring former Jewish residents from returning to Egypt and questions the extent to which anti-Jewish discrimination is applied by the UAR against American Jews.

Assistant Secretary of State William B. Macomber, Jr., in a letter to Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, said that insofar as it affects entry to the UAR, an Egyptian decree barring previous Jewish residents,” is asserting a right which is claimed by all sovereign states and which has been accepted by the United States Supreme Court as in accordance with international law.”

“We do not yet know to what extent the decree has been or will be applied on a discriminatory basis to persons of the Jewish faith. It may be doubted, however, whether many United States citizens would be affected, since few of the persons of Jewish faith who resided in Egypt and recently moved elsewhere were citizens of the United States,” the State Department communication stated.

Should the UAR decree cause discrimination against American citizens on the basis of religion,”the Department would be prepared to make appropriate representations to the United Arab Republic Government,” Mr. Macomber said. He pointed out that” the United Arab Republic nationality law of June 22 does not refer to Jews as such, although Article 22 gives the Minister of the Interior the right to declare forfeited the UAR nationality of a person who at any time was “known for Zionism.”

The Assistant Secretary’s communication was in reply to Sen. Javits’ letter to the State Department expressing the Senator’s concern over anti-Jewish measures adopted by the UAR. In comment on the State Department reply, Sen. Javits said: “I believe it is vital that the UAR Government be impressed with the negative reaction in this country to the UAR decree.” He commended the Department’s expression of intention to pursue with the UAR any case in which an American citizen meets discrimination in the UAR because of his religion.

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