Trudeau Pledges His Government Will Try to Alleviate Plight of Soviet Jews

Canadian Premier Pierre Elliot Trudeau, re-affirming his government’s pledge to do what it can to alleviate the plight of Soviet Jewry, has warned that efforts in that direction by foreign governments can sometimes be counter-productive. Mr. Trudeau’s warning was contained in a letter to 300 Jewish students at the Wagar High School here who had petitioned him last month to intervene with Kremlin leaders on behalf of Soviet Jews. At the time Mr. Trudeau was scheduled to visit Moscow, a trip since postponed. “Your concern for the position of Jews in the Soviet Union is shared by both the government and myself and various efforts have been made in the past to do whatever is possible to ease their situation.” Premier Trudeau wrote. He said that the pressure of public opinion and representations from other countries “may sometimes help Soviet Jews to preserve their religious and cultural heritage.” But, he cautioned, “It can also have an opposite effect of causing the attitude of Soviet authorities to harden.” He said the Soviet leadership was extremely sensitive to criticism on the subject of Russian Jews.

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