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Congressman Kelly Explains Omission of References to Soviet Jews

Chairman Edna F. Kelly of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe said today that she favored elimination of specific reference to Jews in the resolving clause of a resolution originally conceived as a condemnation of Soviet anti-Jewish practices because other faiths were also victimized.

Rep. Kelly, New York Democrat, stated that proponents of the resolution, various Jewish leaders, had asked her to summon non-Jewish witnesses on Communist religious policies when her Subcommittee held hearings. She said she held the hearings because of Jewish requests. Had there been no such request, she stressed, the House version of the resolution would have been drafted to conform with the Senate wording, along the lines of the original Ribicoff resolution. But once non-Jewish witnesses publicly detailed the plight of Catholics and others in Communist countries at the House hearings, it would be unjust and improper to confine the resolution merely to Jewish problems, she said.

Rep. Kelly said she did not share the Jewish view that the problem of Jews in Eastern European nations differed from the Jewish situation in the Soviet Union. Therefore, she felt the resolution was strengthened by broadening it to include “the governments of other Eastern European countries.”

Asked about the original aim of the proposed measure to meet the specific and different problems of the Jews in Russia, as distinct from the difficulties of other minorities, Rep. Kelly said she thought the revised and broadened wording “better serves the purpose and responds to the plight of all the oppressed religions.”

Differences between the Senate and House versions of the resolution will be resolved at a Senate-House conference in which Rep. Kelly will participate, it was learned.

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