State Dept. Denies Condoning “nullification” of Anti-bias Laws

The Department of State today took pains to underline that it has never condoned “nullification” of U.S. anti-bias laws, as charged this morning by the American Jewish Congress.

Referring to a charge that Assistant Secretary William Rountree has supported indirectly a Saudi-Arabian request to ban Jews from employment with the Arabian American Oil Company, (Aramco) State Department spokesman Lincoln White said the Department “has protested against discriminatory practices by foreign governments against American citizens, and will continue to seek improvement in the Arab attitude in this matter, as opportunities to do so arise.”

The American Jewish Congress yesterday announced that it had requested, in a letter to Undersecretary Douglas Dillon, a meeting with Secretary of State Christian Herter, to discuss how best to protect the rights of American citizens against foreign religious bigotry. It charged that Mr. Rountree had written to the New York State Commission Against Discrimination that, if Aramco were required to comply with the state law, this might “prejudice the company’s operation” and “probably adversely affect other U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia as well. “

Mr. White said today that the State Department has not yet received the communication mentioned in the American Jewish Congress announcement. However, he added that he wanted to comment on the reports by emphasizing “as strongly as I can” that the Department and Mr. Rountree have never condoned discriminatory practices. Mr. White’s statement did not take issue with the basic facts as presented in the AJC version, claiming that Assistant Secretary Rountree’s letter to the New York SCAD was based upon “established policy” in this respect.

NEXT STORY