Argentine Minister Says Jews Misunderstood His Stand on Human Rights

Foreign Minister Nicanor Costa Mendez of Argentina said today that there had been misunderstanding by Jewish organizations of Argentine’s neutral position on the question of inclusion of a human rights committee in the charter of the Organization of American States. Argentina abstained in a vote on the proposal during the Third Foreign Ministers Conference of the OAS last week.

Dr. Isaac Goldenberg, president of the DAIA, the central representative agency of Argentine Jewry, told a luncheon last week attended by Jose Mora, general secretary of the OAS, that in abstaining, Argentina had not lived up to the expectations of the Argentine people. The vote had been 18 for, none against and Argentina abstaining. The luncheon was tendered by the South American executive of the World Jewish Congress and the DAIA.

At a reception in his honor given today by the delegation heads, the Foreign Minister told journalists that Argentina’s abstention “should not be viewed as showing unmindfulness of human rights” and “much less as a type of discrimination.” He said the decision to abstain stemmed from the Argentine delegation’s belief that the proposed human rights committee had not been given the “necessary structure” and its competence had not yet been defined.

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