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American Jewish Committee Opens Annual Conference Today in New York

The American Jewish Committee warned here today that the John Birch Society, which has doubled its membership in the past two years from 40,000 to 80,000, is seeking to enter the political arena to promote the extreme rightwing position in Congressional districts throughout the country.

Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee, made public extensive factual material on what he called the “amazing growth of the six-year-old John Birch Society,” on the eve of the opening of the Committee’s 58th annual meeting at the American Hotel, here. The meeting, lasting five days, will be attended by 500 leaders from communities throughout the country.

Annual income of the John Birch Society, Dr. Slawson said, has gone from $130,000 in 1959, when it first got under way, to over $3,200,000 last year, not including funds derived from its publishing and book-selling enterprises. He pointed out that the Birch Society has been expanding in the face of a barrage of adverse publicity, including denunciations by high government officials. In fact, he said, the Society’s chapters have increased from 50 in 1959, when they were mainly underground, to more than 500 currently in 50 states and the District of Columbia.