WASHINGTON (Sep. 4)
Secretary of State Dean Rusk has encountered criticism from the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee because an anti-discrimination clause pertaining to Arab bias against American Jews was eliminated from this year’s appropriations bill, soon to come before Congress.
A foreign assistance authorization bill, to which anti-bias language was added by Congress, was passed previously this summer. But the foreign assistance appropriations measure, which actually appropriates the money, is far more important and contains no anti-bias expression.
Rep. John J. Rooney, New York Democrat and member of the Subcommittee, told Secretary Rusk at a hearing he was “utterly surprised” to find that “the Department of State and/or the Agency for International Development requests that it be taken out of this bill.” Secretary Rusk replied that his understanding was that a provision in the authorization bill took care of the matter. He said:
“There is no question whatever on the policy on this point and in all of our discussions with these highest officials of the government, whether they come here or we negotiate with them out there, we do take up this point with them and our Ambassadors do frequently.”
“We have had more success, quite frankly, with individual visa problems, for example, and individual relationship than we have had with broad government policies in the case of certain countries, but there is no difference whatever on the underlying policy of the clause,” the Secretary of State declared. He said he would like to explore legislative questions on Arab bias “a little bit further.”
Rep. Rooney interrupted the Secretary to say that “the fact it might be in some other bill would not preclude the inclusion of it in this appropriation bill.” He stressed that there was nothing in the appropriations law on this subject and thanks only to the committee, it was in the previous appropriations act. “It is only fair to express our policy for the protection of American citizens,” he told the Secretary of State.