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State Department ‘deeply Concerned’ over Anti-semitism in Russia

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Republican Senator Kenneth Keating of New York said today he has been advised by the State Department that the United States Government “is deeply concerned” about reports of Soviet anti-Semitism, but finds “it difficult to contribute to the direct solution of the problem of minorities in a territory where the Soviet Government exercises full control.”

The Department indicated it thinks that pressure by private Jewish organizations might be helpful. As one course of action, it suggested that “a useful purpose” may be served by “appropriate publicity in this country on the initiative of religious groups themselves, without any reference to the United States Government, concerning violations of the rights of their co-religionists in the Soviet Union.” The Department’s view, expressed by Assistant Secretary Frederick Dutton, were put forth in a letter to Senator Keating.

For its own part, the U S. Government “has endeavored through every available means to bring the inhuman actions of the Communist regime to the attention of all peoples” in the belief that “the force of world opinion can be an important factor,” Mr. Dutton’s letter said. The State Department official stressed that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations is “kept fully informed in this respect and they will seek, as they have in the past, an appropriate occasion to direct attention to the violation of human rights in Communist-controlled areas in the hope of bringing relief to people who are unjustly treated.”

BACKS U.N. STUDY ON DISCRIMINATION OVER SOVIET OBJECTIONS

In terms of specific actions, Mr. Dutton pointed out that the UN Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities conducted a study–with U.S. backing and over Soviet objections–which will be considered by the UN Human Rights Commission in March. Mr. Dutton expressed the belief “that the discussion of this issue by the Subcommittee may have had at least some effect on reducing anti-Semitic propaganda in the Soviet Union.”

The State Department letter was in reply to queries by Sen. Keating concerning reports of evidences of anti-Semitism in several black market trials and synagogue closings in Russia. The Department said that it would have to hold up an official position on these specific issues, pending confirmations of the reports. “It is not clear from available information whether police action against various individual Jews has its basis in anti-Semitism or whether this arises from the intensified campaign of the Soviet authorities to stamp out black marketeering and various forms of speculation,” Mr. Dutton’s letter said.

On the synagogue closings, he said that although the Department “has not been able to confirm” the reports, it is known that “the Soviet Government continues to endorse anti-religious propaganda directed against religion generally.”

In another letter from an administration official made public today by Sen. Keating, U.S. Information Agency Director Edward R. Murrow informed him that the Voice of America broadcasts to Europe, the Middle East and Africa have carried reports during the last several months of “persecutions of Jews and suppression of Jewish institutions in the Soviet Union.” Mr. Murrow said USIA has also prepared a background report on the situation for distribution among the foreign press.

“You may be assured that we will continue to do our part to keep the world informed of these and similar Communist violations of human rights,” Mr. Murrow wrote.

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