Air Force Reevaluates Complaints of U.S. Jewish Personnel in Libya

The U. S. Department of the Air Force made known today that it is reevaluating the situation of American military personnel assigned to Wheelus Air Base, Libya, because of complaints made to members of Congress pertaining to the anti-Jewish atmosphere in Libya.

If action for protection of American personnel is found necessary, “appropriate arrangements will be made,” said Col. Donald W. Paffel, USAF, in a letter to Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican.

Col. Paffel said, however, that as a result of previous inquiries to the local commander and reports through State Department Channels “we have not found any basis” for American Jewish personnel to feel insecure among the Libyans. He said “we have carefully watched the situation and in each instance concluded that there was no immediate concern for the safety of our personnel.”

But on the question of censorship of pro-Jewish material and deletions from broadcasts by the U. S. armed forces radio and television station at Wheelus Air Base, Col. Paffel announced anew that “we have a self-imposed program of deleting items which are considered objectionable to the country concerned.” Explaining the deletions, the colonel said that “in order to prevent embarrassment to our Government we must respect the views of our host nations and avoid placing our own people in a position opposed by those among whom they must live.

He conceded that “it is possible that confusion may exist on the subjects of the State of Israel, Judaism, and those of the Jewish faith. The Air Force is taking action that these restraints are not being improperly applied,” he said.

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