Thant: Jews Should Have Right to Leave Soviet Union

Secretary General U Thant said today that “In an ideal society, everybody should have the right to leave the country in which he does not want to live,” or to return to a country from which he emigrated, as stipulated by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. “So,” Thant observed, “in an ideal society. I think that those Soviet citizens of Jewish faith who want to leave should be permitted to leave.” The Secretary General added that “at the same time the Palestinians who have been refugees for more than 20 years should be allowed to return to their homes” in Israel. Thant made this “brief observation” at his annual pre-General Assembly session press conference–his last light of his forthcoming retirement.

Thant, asked if there was any chance that the Mideast peace-Keeping mission of Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring will be reactivated, replied: “This depends primarily upon certain factors including a more positive response to Dr. Jarring’s aide-memoire of January 5.” The “aide-memorize” was a paraphrase of United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers’ proposal that Israel with draw to “international frontiers.” Israel considered the Jarring suggestion a violation of what the Swedish diplomat was empowered to do under his mandate. Thant said Dr. Jarring would be here for the General Assembly session which begins Sept. 21. He said Dr. Jarring’s presence could be useful since most foreign ministers will be there.

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