WASHINGTON (Feb. 22)
Members of the United States Congress today indicated that they intend to take action aimed at securing the annulment of a reported “gentleman’s agreement” developed between Pakistan, on the one side, and the State Department and the U.S. International Cooperation Administration, on the other, barring American personnel of Jewish faith from assignment to the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Economic Mission in Pakistan.
The existence of such an arrangement was revealed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by highly placed U.S. Government sources. A measure of confirmation of the agreement was indicated here by the Embassy of Pakistan. The arrangement was described as “informal” as distinct from the formal agreement made by the United States with Saudi Arabia barring American Jewish personnel from being sent for service to the U.S. base in Saudi Arabia.
Members of the U.S. Senate today said they were opening a study on the Pakistani issue in the light of a belief that it is a violation of the Morse-Javits amendment to the 1959 Mutual Security Appropriations Act. This amendment called on the President to oppose religious discrimination against Americans by nations receiving U.S. aid. Pakistan, a predominantly Moslem country, but not a member of the Arab League, receives massive United States aid.
Candidates for assignment to permanent duty in Pakistan, the JTA learned, are now being informally screened to weed out the Jews. The heads of the Pakistan desks in the State Department and ICA keep the Jewish factor in mind when passing on personnel for service in Pakistan. There are no written instructions to this effect.
Muhammed Huq, press attache at the Pakistan Embassy, said his country admitted Jews as tourists but barred “Israelis and Zionists because we do not recognize Israel. ” He said “we are tolerant of other religions but do not desire Israelis or Zionists. “
The State Department denied that any screening of Jews took place before foreign assignment except in the case of Saudi Arabia. The ICA said it had “no comment” on the report except that its personnel had made no official complaints on the agency’s policies in Pakistan. It had, the JTA was informed, no official information to confirm charges of discrimination.
It was learned, however, that a number of individuals of the Jewish faith, employes of American agencies, had been barred from assignments in Pakistan because of the new pattern of selection. In instances where the religion of the individual was in doubt, it was learned, the individuals were asked privately if they were Jewish. This was done on an informal, man-to-man basis.
The State Department, it was said here, does not consider Jews for assignment to any country that informally advises it would prefer not to receive Jews. The ICA and the United States Information Agency appear less content about the “gentleman’s agreement” on assignment at of personnel, but they apparently follow the State Department’s lead.
Several years ago, the State Department entered into an agreement with the Saudi Arabian Government not to assign Jews to service in that country. The United States also acceded, without apparent resistance, to sentiment in the United Arab Republic, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon against assignment of American Jews for service there.
In one known case, an individual with a Jewish-sounding name was posted for assignment to Jordan. The Jordanian Government inquired specifically into his religion. The United States authorities, instead of rejecting the inquiry, called the man aside and asked him. It turned out that he was a member of the Unitarian Church. He was admitted.
In another known case, prior screening had failed to block the appointment of a man with a Jewish-sounding name. The host government interrogated Washington and the appointee was informally interrogated. He happened to be an American of German descent whose name was similar, to a common “Jewish name. ” He was shocked to learn of the practice and confided to Jewish friends about it.