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State Dept. Says It Will Oust Diplomats Having ‘improper’ Propaganda Ties

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The State Department disclosed today that it would consider declaring Arab diplomats in Washington persona non grata and expelling them from the United States if it is found that they have entered an improper propaganda relationship with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

William B. Macomber, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, in a letter today, answered an inquiry by Rep. Bob Wilson, Cal. Rep., on whether Arab embassy contacts with the Black Power movement violated diplomatic protocol. Rep. Wilson had protested that “there is enough hate being fomented on our domestic scene without allowing organizations to import hate propaganda from abroad through foreign embassies.”

Mr. Macomber said “it would not be consonant with established diplomatic procedures and with friendly relations between states if a foreign embassy were to make use of an American organization to involve itself in domestic political affairs in the United States.” The State Department official said that “if it were found that such an association existed and appeared to be of a nature inconsistent with normal diplomatic comportment and practices, the Department of State would consider the advisability of taking steps, including declaring the offending diplomat persona non grata, to remedy the situation.”

He added that “the exact procedure decided upon would naturally depend on the circumstances of the case and of the time.” He made reference to the consideration of the issue by the Department of Justice in the specific case involving SNCC. Ralph Featherstone, SNCC program director, publicly acknowledged “that the source of some of SNCC’s material was Arab embassies,” it was pointed out by Rep. Wilson.

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