Wexler Urges Johnson to Rescind ‘most Favored Nation’ Treatment Given to Poland

William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith, has urged President Johnson to rescind the “most favored nation” treatment extended to Poland by a tariff agreement four years ago in view of that country’s harassment of its Jewish population. Dr. Wexler, in a letter published today in the New York Times, said that if the President did not act, “I would hope that Congress would legislate to the same end.” The head of the 125-year-old Jewish service and fraternal organization noted that President Johnson and the United States State Department have condemned Poland’s anti-Semitic campaign. “But I feel that we have failed to take the appropriate substantive step called for by Poland’s continued defiance of world opinion,” he wrote.

“Four years ago President Johnson, acting pursuant to statutory authorization, extended to Poland the important tarrif benefit — most favored treatment, Mr. Johnson made no bones about the reasons for granting the concession. The United States, he said, wished to ‘encourage peaceful efforts toward loosening of control from Moscow.’ Another consideration he cited was that Poland was permitting greater freedom of speech and religion. But it is crystal clear that Poland today is more servile toward Moscow than ever,” Dr. Wexler wrote. “It is clear too that freedom of speech and religious liberty for Jews have been drastically curtailed. The reasons for granting the special tarrif concession to Poland have disappeared. The concession should be withdrawn…until such time as the Polish Government gives new evidence that it deserves it.”

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