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Congressional Compromise Sought on Anti-bias Clause in Foreign Aid Bill

A Joint Senate-House conference is expected to begin tomorrow to act on compromises including reconciliation of differences between the strong House anti-bias clause in the foreign aid bill and the weaker Senate clause, conflicting legislation on Arab discriminatory practices having been embodied in the bills passed last week by the two bodies of Congress.

As the Senate debate closed, a number of Senators protested the “watered-down, largely meaningless language” of the Senate clause pertaining to the Arab blockade and discrimination against Americans of Jewish faith.

Senators Kenneth Keating and Jacob K. Javits, New York Republicans, and Senator Prescott Bush, Connecticut Republican, joined on the Senate floor in advocacy of deletion of the Senate clause and substitution by the conferees of the stronger wording adopted in the House bill.

However, Chairman J.W. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be a conferee representing the Senate at the conference. Even though Senate phrasing was less forceful than in prior years, Senator Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat, sought total elimination of the clause when it was before his committee. Failing this, he arranged addition of modifying language to further nullify the already weak clause.

“I hope that when the bill goes to the conference, this will be one place where the House language will prevail, and that the House conferees will not yield to accept the watered-down, largely meaningless language which the Senate committee has brought to us, “Senator Keating told the Senate today. Denouncing Arab discrimination against American Jews and boycott practices, Senator Keating said: “I believe that the preamble prepared by the House Foreign Affairs Committee is necessary.”

Senator Keating deplored “denial by the United Arab Republic of the right of freedom of navigation in the Suez Canal and Arab discrimination against American Jews in regard to the right of private persons to travel and pursue their lawful activities without discrimination as to race or religion.”

He pointed out that “the U.S. Government provides assistance to both the UAR and Israel, but it is clearly contradictory to attempt to help one nation while another, also a recipient of U.S. aid, is trying to undermine the development of the first nation. Such a state of affairs is contradictory to the entire thinking behind the Act for International Development of 1961.”

SENATE VERSION IS CONSIDERED ‘DILUTING’ THE HOUSE VERSION

Senator Keating explained that the Senate wording “disappoints me, because, although it does refer to the principles of the freedom of the seas and non-discrimination, an amendment added by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vitiates to a great extent the effect that this reference to principles might have.”

The Senate wording declared “it is the policy of the United States to support the principles of increased economic cooperation and trade among nations, freedom of the press, information, and religion, 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.”

The committee amendment, also adopted in the final bill, said that in the administration of these principles the U.S. will “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 Keating said that actually “this clause says the U.S. will do nothing to uphold the principles for which we have battled for years. If we are going to do more than wave these words like insignificant handkerchiefs in a turbulent sea, if we are going to do more than issue euphemistic but meaningless platitudes, if we are going to stand up for the rights we have always supported, we must demonstrate a truly organic, fully integrated policy which puts our principles into practice.” He stressed that the foreign aid bill should be used for this purpose.

A statement backing Senator Keating was made by Senator Javits, Senator Javits joined in urging conferees to adopt “the language used by the House of Representatives, rather than what I consider to be the diluted version the Senate committee has included.” Senator Bush associated himself with Senators Keating and Javits in urging final adoption of the House rather than the Senate version of the anti-bias clause.

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