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Coordinating Board Wins Reprieve, Will Retain Old Status As Non-governmental Unit

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The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) decided today that the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations should continue to enjoy the status of a non-governmental organization which allows it to speak before that body though not to vote. The Coordinating Board represents the B’nai B’rith and the boards of Jewish deputies of Great Britain and South Africa.

The Council’s decision, contained in a “statement of understanding” approved 13-8 in a roll call vote, represented a defeat for the Soviet-Arab bloc which had been striving to eliminate the Jewish body from its present category which includes more than 100 other non-governmental groups from all over the world. Soviet-Arab pressure succeeded in sending the question of the Coordinating Board’s status back to a committee of the Economic and Social Council at a session last May 21.

Today’s decision stemmed from a proposal by the United States. However it still left a shadow of doubt over the Coordinating Board’s future status. The ECOSOC statement said it was its “understanding that the Coordinating Board of Jewish organizations continue in the consultative status as a non-governmental organization with the rights and obligations exercised by it in the past” but added the words, “until its future relationship with the Council was finally determined.”

The U.S. proposal was adopted after the Council rejected a Pakistani amendment which would have interpreted its May 21 action as a “decision” that the Jewish group “does not enjoy” consultative status while the results of further examination of its future were awaited.

Votes in favor of the U.S. proposal were cast by Argentina, Belgium, France, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Norway, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay. Opposed were Bulgaria, Congo (Brazzaville), Indonesia, Kuwait. Libya, Pakistan, Sudan and the USSR. There were seven abstentions and one member was absent.

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