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State Department Concerned About Soviet Jews but Fears to Intercede Openly

The State Department said today that it has “strong concern” for the situation of Soviet Jews seeking to emigrate to Israel, but that it fears open intercession would be considered “merely cold-war propaganda” and thus be counter-productive. Martin J. Hillenbrand. Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, said in a letter to Seymour Graubard, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, that the United States would continue to make “numerous public representations emphasizing the right of emigration and our recognition of the plight of those denied it.” Mr. Graubard had sought President Nixon’s aid in effecting such emigration for six Soviet Jews who had signed a petition detailing their problems in seeking to go to Israel.

Mr. Hillenbrand wrote that the U.S. has been trying to convince the USSR that “unfeeling disregard for the basic human rights of persons seeking to emigrate stirs needless antipathy in public opinion abroad and hence becomes a political liability ill-befitting a major government.” But he cautioned that the U.S. must “choose very carefully the forum on which to support the right to emigrate,” so as not to “prejudice” the chances of Soviet Jewish emigration. In a related development, Albert Schlossberg, national commander of the Jewish War Veterans, met with President Nixon today and later told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “Mr. Nixon shared our concern (about Soviet Jewry), and he always has.” He said the President concurred in his “great alarm” at the situation.

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