Johnson, Rusk Give ‘sympathetic Reception’ to Pleas for Soviet Jewry
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Johnson, Rusk Give ‘sympathetic Reception’ to Pleas for Soviet Jewry

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A request that the United States Government use its good offices to make Known to the Soviet Government the extent of America’s concern for the situation of the 3,000,000 Jews in the Soviet Union was submitted here to the White House and the State Department at a series of conferences which included meetings with President Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

The appeal was made by a delegation from the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, which late yesterday afternoon conferred with top White House aides, headed by McGeorge Bundy, the President’s special assistant for national security affairs; In the latter part of that conference. President Johnson joined the meeting and gave what was described as “a sympathetic reception” to a report on the resolutions adopted by the Conference on Soviet Jewry which had concluded a few hours earlier.

This morning, the same nine-member delegation met with the Secretary of State and, later, with Assistant Secretaries of State William Tyler (European Affairs) and Harlan Cleveland (Intentional Organizations). After the State Department meeting, Lewis H. Weinstein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, who acted as spokesman for the delegation, told correspondents that their presentation gained a “very sympathetic reception” and that they were very pleased with the mood of the “full discussion” which took place on the subject.

At today’s usual briefing for correspondents. State Department spokesman Richard Phillips issued a statement, indicating that the Secretary of State is giving consideration to the suggestions presented by the Jewish delegation. The group submitted to the State Department, as it did to the White House earlier, the resolutions adopted by the 500 delegates representing the 24 Jewish organizations which participated in the Conference on Soviet Jewry.


The official statement issued by the State Department declared:

“The Secretary of State met his morning with representatives of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry and received with appreciation the statements and resolutions adopted by the Conference and conveyed to him in the meeting this morning. Representatives of the Conference also met with the President and the White House staff yesterday afternoon.

“At the meeting this morning, Secretary Rusk took occasion to reaffirm the concern expressed by Mrs. Marietta Tree, U.S. Representative at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, that anti-Semitism is used by some members of the United Nations to turn groups against each other, and to deprive Jewish minorities of religious and cultural heritage which makes this group unique.

“He confirmed the proposal made by Mrs. Tree that the UN members pledge themselves to eradicate anti-Semitism in accordance with their obligations under the UN Charter, The Secretary indicated that he would consider further steps the U.S. might take to be helpful in this matter.”


In the formal statement by the delegation to Mr. Rusk, the Jewish leaders described the subject of the conference as “an issue of urgent concern to all Americans, ” and submitted the request for the United States Government’s good offices to make known to Moscow “the extent of our Government’s concern for the situation and status” of Soviet Jews; The formal statement recalled that the U.S. Government has “ample precedent in American history for appropriate actions to deal with persecutions and oppression of minority groups.”

After summarizing the resolution passed by the Conference and the 18 specific” points of action adopted, the formal statement appealed to Mr. Rusk for the State Department “to bear the full weight of its influence” to convey the views of the conference and its deep concern for the full survival of religious life in the Soviet Union.

“Our action,” the statement declared, “is not to be considered in any way as an exacerbation of political conflict between East and West . This is not a political issue, It is, rather, an issue of the integral survival of the religious and cultural life of millions of members of the human family.”

The delegation which presented the views of the conference to the Administration Included, in addition to Mr. Weinstein, Isaiah Minkoff, National Community Relations Advisory Council; Label A. Katz, president, B’nai B’rith; Mrs. Siegiried Kramarsky, president of Hadassah; Adolph Held, national chairman, Jewish Labor Committee; Harris Berlack, American Jewish Committee; Rabbi Jay Kauiman, vice-president, Union of American Hebrew Congregations; Rabbi Joachim Prinz, president, American Jewish Congress; and Yehuda Hellman, secretary, American Jewish Conference of Soviet Jewry.

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