New York (Oct. 28)
The American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry sought today to clarify what it said was “some confusion” over the position it took on Attorney General John Mitchell’s promise to utilize his existing authority to admit to the United States Soviet Jews allowed to leave Russia. The Conference referred to the statement by its president, Richard Maass, read at a press conference called by Rep. Emanuel Celler (D., N.Y.) in Washington Oct. 6 at which Celler made public the letter he received from Mitchell containing the promise. That statement, it said, represented the position of the Conference and its nearly 40 constituent organizations.
Maass said. “While recognizing that the vast majority of Soviet Jews who wish to emigrate want to go to Israel, American Jews have also urged that admission be assured for those who might wish to come to this country. We therefore welcome the affirmative declaration by Attorney General John Mitchell. .,that he would exercise his discretion and utilize the existing parole procedure of our Immigration and Naturalization laws to assure the admission of Soviet Jews to the United States, should Soviet Jews be allowed to leave.”
Maass’ statement singled out for commendation Max M. Fisher of Detroit, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, whose efforts secured Mitchell’s letter to Celler and Rep. Edward I. Koch (D.,N.Y.) whose bill for 30,000 non-quota visas for Soviet Jews raised the level of public attention on the issue.