WASHINGTON (Sep. 15)
Congress today passed and sent to the White House a foreign aid appropriations bill that branded as “repugnant” the discrimination of the type practiced by Saudi Arabia against Jewish citizens of the United States.
While the bill did not refer to Saudi Arabia by name, it was made clear during the Congressional debate that objection was being taken mainly to that country’s biased exclusion of U.S. Air Force personnel of Jewish faith.
Section 115, based on an amendment introduced by Sen. Wayne Morse, Oregon Democrat was a part of the final bill passed today shortly before adjournment. It was retained by a joint Senate-House conference.
The new measure is a reiteration of the Lehman Resolution of 1956. The 1956 resolution expressed the sense of Congress against foreign religious prejudice directed against Americans abroad.
The bill passed today provides for Presidential discretion in dealing with racial or religious bias on the part of nations receiving U. S. aid funds.
The bill declared it “the sense of Congress that any attempt by foreign nations to create distinctions because of their race or religion among American citizens in the granting of personal or commercial access or any other rights otherwise available to United States citizens generally is repugnant to our principles and in all negotiations between the United States and any foreign state, arising as a result of funds appropriated under this act, these principles shall be applied as the President may determine. “
Sen. Morse first introduced his amendment earlier this session. He sought to add it to a Mutual Security Authorization Bill. But the amendment was defeated by a narrow margin. He announced plans to renew his fight in connection with the subsequent Mutual Security Appropriation Bill.
In August, Sen. Morse offered his amendment anew when the Senate Appropriations Committee took up the new bill. He obtained bi-partisan support. The Appropriations Committee, influenced by members of both parties, accepted the essence of the Morse proposal despite State Department reluctance.
The final wording adopted was less strong than that initially advocated by Sen. Morse. It was the Senator’s original desire to withhold aid funds from nations employing bigotry against Americans on the basis of religion or race. The accepted measure, however, was considered, nevertheless, a valuable triumph and an effective reiteration of the Lehman resolution.