PARIS (Dec. 4)
Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin said here yesterday at a press conference that “we will do everything to enable” reunification of Jewish families in the Soviet Union with members living in other countries.
In what was believed to be his first statement on the problem as Premier, Mr. Kosygin, who is now in Paris on a state visit, made the statement in reply to a question by one of the newsmen. He was asked whether the Soviet Union would give permission to Jews in Russia to join their families in other countries. He coupled his reply with a denial of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.
He also said — in reply to another question — that a Soviet-sponsored peace conference in the Middle East was not possible because the “belligerents” did not want it. In reply to the question about permitting the reunification of Jewish families, the Soviet Premier said:
“Many people in the world have already raised this question. Some are speaking about anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. Others speak about reunification of Jewish families. I have to say to you that there is no anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. That is pure imagination and not a very brilliant way of struggle against the Soviet Union. That is not serious.
“Concerning the problem of families and their reunification, we will do everything to enable this. We will make it easy; we will open the road for those who want to leave. There is no problem about reunification of families. There is not a single country in the world which found a solution to the problem of interior nations as did the Soviet Union. We have in the Soviet Union very many nations and all of them are equal. We take care of the interests of all nations represented in the Soviet Union. This concerns Jews as well as all the others.”
The question posed to the Soviet Premier about arranging a Middle East peace conference referred to the peace talks arranged by the Soviet Union in Tashkent between India and Pakistan which brought a cease-fire in the war between those two countries. Replying to the question, Premier Kosygin said: “There is no question of a Tashkent conference for the Middle East. You must understand that there can be such a conference only in case that both sides, that means both belligerents, would agree on such a conference. This is impossible in the Middle East because there they do not want it.”