WASHINGTON (Jul. 6)
The House Foreign Affairs Committee agreed today to press for insertion of the strongest anti-discrimination clauses ever included in Mutual Security aid legislation. Its decision was announced tonight by Rep. Thomas E. Morgan, Pennsylvania Democrat, the committee chairman, who took a sharply divergent position from that of Chairman J.W. Fulbright of the Senate-Foreign Relations Committee. The Arkansas Democrat seeks elimination of a watered-down clause in the preamble of the bill.
That clause replaced Section 108 of the Mutual Security Appropriations Act of 1960, which gave the President discretionary powers to halt aid to countries practicing discrimination against American citizens because of their race or religion, or conducting hostile acts against countries friendly to the United States.
The so-called “Kennedy clause,” in the preamble of the current Mutual Security bill, states that it is the policy of the United States to support freedom of navigation and the right of individuals to pursue their lawful activities without discrimination as to race or religion. Last week, in Senate committee hearings, a State Department spokesman agreed with Chairman Fulbright that his clause could be dropped from the bill.
HALPERN TESTIFIES ON ARAB DISCRIMINATIONS, HITS STATE DEPT
Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, was the chief witness at the House committee’s hearing today. He gave the committee details of Arab discrimination against American citizens and on the boycott and blockade conducted by the Arab States against Israel, charging the State Department with failure to take action.
Chairman Morgan indicated dissatisfaction with the weak working of the anti-bias measure in this year’s Administration bill. He said he was sure that the committee would seek restoration of the stronger language of previous bills, including specifically Section 108 of the Mutual Security Appropriations Act of 1960.
Rep. Lawrence Curtis, Massachusetts Republican, moved to introduce language to implement anti-discriminatory principles, asserting that the Administration clause proposed this year was “watered down.” Rep. Curtis supported not only Section 108 against religious bias. He also added a provision from the Mutual Security Act of 1954, stating that the purposes of Mutual Security “are negated and the peace of the world is endangered when nations which receive assistance under this Act, wage economic warfare against other nations assisted under this Act, including such procedures as boycotts, blockades, and the restriction of the use of international waterways.
The clauses that the Committee indicated today it would incorporate in the bill would authorize severance of aid at the discretion of the President, to nations that discriminate.
CHARGE FULBRIGHT WITH WEAKENING PREAMBLE, URGE STRONGER ATTITUDE
When Rep. Halpern pointed out that Senator Fulbright, with State Department agreement, was attempting to delete the clause in this year’s preamble, Chairman Morgan said that strong anti-bias language, in past Mutual Security bills had originated in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He recalled that he had fought, along with Rep. Walter Judd, Minnesota Republican, in the Senate-House conference on the Mutual Security Act last year, to retain anti-discrimination wording, when Sen. Fulbright sought to eliminate it.
All Committee members at today’s meeting, of both parties, indicated support of a strong stand against Arab discrimination. Rep. Judd, who supported Chairman Morgan, said in referring to the State Department: “We get our principles and expediency in conflict.” Rep. Barratt O’Hara, Illinois Democrat, urged strong language to end Arab transgressions and advocated a stronger moral stand. Rep. Robert Barry, New York Republican, pointed out that Arabs in the Israel population lived harmoniously and that a struggle must be waged to end bigotry such as that experienced by Rep. Halpern, who was denied a visa by Saudi Arabia because he is Jewish.
Rep. Halpern in along description of Department appeasement of “Nazi-like discrimination” affecting American Jews imposed by the Arabs, drew support from all members of the Committee which had invited him to testify. He thanked the Committee for its plans to adopt strong anti-bias clauses and asked the Committee to say in its formal report that Congress wished Executive Department implementation of measures against Arab bigotry.