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Senate Body Weakens Foreign Aid Clause Aimed Against Arab Blockade

Chairman J.W. Fulbright, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today waged a bitter last-ditch fight against a foreign aid clause pertaining to Arab bias and blockade tactics, and succeeded in adding language to nullify the effect of the anti-discrimination measure.

The Senate committee defeated by a vote of eight to six a last-minute move by Senator Fulbright, Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, Iowa Republican, and others to delete the so-called “Kennedy clause.” The clause was a policy statement aimed at the Arab League’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discriminations. A motion to strike the clause was introduced by Senator Hickenlooper and vigorously backed by the chairman.

After the Hickenlooper motion was defeated, the chairman won adoption of an offsetting paragraph to nullify the effect of the “Kennedy clause.” It was passed by 14 to 0. The nullifying paragraph said: “These principles shall be supported in such a way as to avoid taking sides in any controversy between countries having friendly relations with the United States, while urging both sides to adjudicate the issues involved by means of procedures available to the parties.”

Senator Fulbright said he opposed using the foreign aid bill as “a club” to force Arab states to change their policies. He said the bill should avoid taking sides in such “controversies” as those affecting Israel and the Arabs. Other committee members disagreed, pointing out that Arab bigotry affected American citizens of Jewish faith, and that the United States should withhold aid from nations discriminating against our citizens.

The wording, submitted by President Kennedy, that-Sen. Fulbright and his faction opposed, was actually weaker than last year’s Douglas-Keating amendment. The new clause merely is part of a preamble supporting “freedom of navigation in international waterways, and recognition of the right of all private persons to travel and pursue their lawful activities without discrimination as to race or religion.”

Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, announced that he would fight in the House against the Fulbright amendment because it “seeks to nullify the already watered-down anti-discrimination clause” in the new Mutual Security Act and is “a further retreat from previous expressions by Congress against discriminatory Arab tactics.”

Rep. Halpern said Senator Fulbright’s wording calling for “the avoidance of taking sides” actually “obscured the whole issue because we have too long delayed taking sides between right and wrong not only in the Suez Canal blockade issue but also in defense of the basic rights of our own citizens and shipping subjected to Arab prejudice.”

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