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Candidates Differ on Measures for Fighting Arab Boycotts and Bias

Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy differed sharply today on measures to deal with the Arab boycott and discriminatory measures invoked by the Arab States against American Jews and American firms doing business with Israel.

Senator Kennedy said that, if elected to the Presidency, he would exercise the authority the President holds under amendments to the Mutual Security Act, empowering him to withhold aid from countries engaging in economic warfare against other recipients of American aid.

Vice President Nixon made it clear that, if elected, he would not use these powers, asserting that “sanctions” would have an effect contrary to what was sought. He said it was “unlikely” that any United States Government would conclude that “the imposition of sanctions against a nation is the best way to secure cooperation in the world struggle against prejudice.”


Senator Kennedy’s position was set forth in a letter to the American Jewish Congress, which had asked him to tell how he would deal with the Suez Canal blockade and the various anti-Jewish discriminations enforced by the Arab States.

He averred that he would “act affirmatively to protect all American citizens from the practice of religious or racial discrimination by foreign states.” He said he had studied the various forms of discrimination against American citizens detailed by the American Jewish Congress and agreed that “this is a very serious problem that should be rectified as early as possible.”

Senator Kennedy pointed out that he had supported the amendments to the Mutual Security Act which called on the President to withhold economic aid from states engaging in economic warfare against other states receiving American aid. The Democratic Presidential candidate declared that “as President, I would certainly implement an act, expressing the sense of the Senate, when I so enthusiastically supported that piece of legislation.”

He added: “I would also carry out the mandate, twice expressed by the Senate, that the President act affirmatively to protect all American citizens from the practice of racial discrimination by foreign governments.”


Vice President Nixon’s statement was directed to the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, which had asked him what his attitude was on use of the President’s discretionary powers to combat foreign discrimination against American citizens.

Mr. Nixon said: “While it would hardly be proper or desirable for me to state at this particular time that I would or would not take a particular action under certain future circumstances, I do say that we must not resort to measures which would cause an effect which is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. And I believe it unlikely that any United States Government–regardless of the Administration in power–would conclude that the imposition of sanctions against a nation is the best way to secure cooperation in the world struggle against prejudice.”

Mr. Nixon outlined the “basic policies” he favored to meet the problem of discrimination in the Middle East. These were, he said, “strong and unremitting efforts to establish freedom of passage through the Suez Canal and to end discriminatory practices in the area”; continued and increased support to Israel; and measures to aid the Arab States to raise their living standards and provide opportunities for resettlement of the Arab refugees.

He called, “above all,” for “continued and tireless search for practical means to bring about lasting peace in the Middle East.” He warned that, as long as the boycott and blockade continue and Americans are barred from certain countries because of their religious faith, “the Middle East will be a source of tension and a threat to world peace.”

The Republican candidate pledged that, if elected, he would devote himself to the elimination of prejudice at home and, where manifest, against Americans abroad. He said he would work to this end through the State Department, the United Nations and “every diplomatic means available.”

Mr. Nixon hailed the “successful efforts of the people of Israel to make the desert bloom and to turn their country into a new land of promise.” He said that “by these courageous efforts, and by the technical aid it has extended to newly independent nations of Africa and Asia Israel has given to the world dramatic proof of the vitality and effectiveness of free democratic institutions.”