State Dept. Expresses ‘great Concern’ over Arab Boycott of U.S. Jews

Discrimination by the Arab Governments against American Jewish firms is a matter of “great concern” to the United States Government, the State Department said today in a communication to Louis Segal, General Secretary of the Farband-Labor Zionist Order. The communication was an answer to a complaint that the Government of Kuwait has addressed letters to American enterprises requesting information about their relations with Israel or Israeli firms.

Mr. Segal referred specifically to a letter addressed by the Boycott Affairs Department of the Kuwait Government to Samuel Shulsinger, head of a New York printing firm engaged in the printing of Jewish books, periodicals and other printed matter. He attached a copy of this letter to his complaint to the State Department. Kuwait, a sheikhdom on the Persian Gulf, has sent such letters to American firms all over the United States warning them against doing business with Israel on pain of Arab boycott.

Pointing out that these letters are “an outright example of the Arab boycott which is being conducted in the United States against American citizens,” Mr. Segal asked the State Department to advise him as to what action can be taken “in this most serious and urgent matter.” In a reply received from the office of the Near Eastern Affairs of the State Department, Mr. Segal was told that the Kuwait letter “will be cited” by the State Department “as we continue to register our Government’s disapproval of Arab boycott activities. “

The text of the State Department’s letter to Mr. Segal outlining the U.S. Attitude toward the Arab boycott of Israel and of American firms doing business as with Israel reads as follows:

“The letter from the Government of Kuwait is a manifestation of Arab boycott and blacklisting practices which, as you are aware, are highly regrettable outgrowths of tension arising from the Arab-Israel conflict. The Arab nations assert that as sovereign nations they are entitled to establish rules and regulations regarding the entry of goods into their territories and to restrict trade activities in accordance with what they deem to be in their national interest. They cite in this connection trade restrictions which they claim the United States and other countries occasionally apply for political reasons.

“The Government of the United States neither condones nor recognizes the Arab boycott of Israel. We have consistently made clear at every appropriate opportunity our disapproval of boycott regulations, particularly so far as those regulations provide for discriminatory actions which adversely affect American firms and citizens. United States views were most recently enunciated publicly in a statement of policy issued by the Department May 6. Paragraphs 3 and 4 make clear the Department’s intention to pursue every avenue whereby private American interests in international trade may be fully safeguarded and restored. Our diplomatic missions in the Arab countries have been instructed to make these views known directly to the Governments concerned.

“As you know, the boycott is only one of several disturbing problems arising out of the Arab-Israel conflict. It is our conviction that, as progress is made toward a general solution of the basic conflict, such problems as boycotts, transit restrictions and homeless Arab refugees will disappear. We believe that effective and peaceable progress toward a resolution of the fundamental problem can be made only through a spirit of accommodation on both sides, facilitated by the efforts of the United Nations. Our Government continues to support in fullest measure all such efforts.

“You may be assured that discrimination by the Arab Governments against Shul-singer Brothers and other American companies is a matter of great concern to our Government. The Government of Kuwait’s letter will be cited as we continue to register our Government’s disapproval of Arab boycott activities. Meanwhile, we shall continue to do what we can to facilitate progress toward a solution of the root problem from which these unfortunate boycott and blacklisting practices stem. “

NEXT STORY