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Action on Saudi Arabian Bias Against U.S. Jews Debated in Senate

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The Senate today rejected an amendment to the Foreign Aid Bill that would have indicated a desire by the Senate to deny aid to nations like Saudi Arabia which discriminate against Americans on a basis of religion.

The amendment was introduced by Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat, who said “we desecrate the U.S. flag” by flying it over the Dharan air base in Saudi Arabia. He said “these discriminators go so far as to go through our army personnel lists and make an investigation as to whether or not a boy sent over there is a Jew.”

The Senator held that “we should not stand by and countenance that kind of discrimination against American citizens by pouring American dollars into the country which does it.”

The amendment was defeated by a vote of 47 to 43. Senators opposed argued that the United States itself practiced discrimination in its immigration legislation and that the proposed amendment would constitute undue American interference into the domestic affairs of other countries. One objection was a view that the Foreign Aid Bill should not be used “as a vehicle to convert the President of the United States into a policeman for the morals of all the nations which might be candidates for aid under the Mutual Assistance Act.”

Sen. Morse and Sen. Paul Douglas, Illinois Democrat, criticized the Administration for honoring the King of Saudi Arabia at a time when Saudi Arabia was discriminating against Americans of Jewish faith. Sen. Morse recalled the 1956 Lehman Resolution adopted by the Senate expressing the sense of the Senate against discrimination as practiced by Saudi Arabia.

“The sad fact is that the principle of non-discrimination contained in the Lehman Resolution is not being maintained,” Sen. Morse said. He felt the time had come “to make clear that we are not going to give aid or assistance to nations which discriminate against any of our citizens because of their race or religion.”

Among the Senators of both parties who voted against the Morse Amendment were virtually all the Senators representing Southern states.

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