WASHINGTON (Dec. 27)
An official invitation extended to a well-known anti-Jewish and pro-Nazi Lebanese editor to visit this country, has been explained by the State Department as part of a program to foster “mutual understanding.” it was reported here today.
The Lebanese is Said Freiha, owner and editor of the Beirut daily Al-Anwar, which recently published a cartoon suggesting that Adolf Eichmann’s real crime was his failure to exterminate all Jews. The U.S. Government invitation extended to him was questioned, among others, by the Jewish War Veterans.
In a letter to the JWV from the State Department, G. Lewis Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, explained that, in accordance with the exchange program directed at increasing mutual understanding, and assuming that much of the anti-American criticism in the Lebanese press stems from ignorance, a group of Lebanese Journalists was invited to observe the recent Presidential elections.
The candidates for this invitation, Mr. Jones declared, were chosen by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in cooperation with the Lebanese Press Association. Among those nominated was Said Freiha, “one of the most widely read and influential journalists in the Middle East.” Mr. Jones stated. He added that Mr. Freiha’s articles, written since he returned to Lebanon after a month’s visit to this country, “while by no means wholly uncritical, have reflected a better understanding of the American policies on the international scene.”
The Assistant Secretary of State concluded his letter by saying that “I deplore, of course, the type of pernicious journalistic comment contained in the excerpt from Al-Anwar.”