WASHINGTON (Jan. 26)
A bipartisan bloc of 45 Senators today asked Senator J. William Fulbright (D., Ark), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to begin hearings at the “earliest possible date” on a Senate concurrent resolution regarding the plight of Soviet Jews. The resolution was referred to Fulbright’s committee July 12, but no hearings have yet been scheduled. Fulbright did not immediately respond to the JTA’s request for comment on the Senators’ action.
Sen. William E. Brock (R., Tenn.) and Henry M. Jackson (D., Wash.), the original co-sponsors of the resolution, pointed out in a letter to Fulbright that the House Foreign Affairs Committee had held hearings Nov. 9-10 on the House concurrent resolution. According to the letter, made public this afternoon, the House resolution “expresses that it is the sense of Congress that Soviet Jews and all others within the border of that country should be entitled the free exercise of religion.”
The Senate resolution, Brock and Jackson said in a joint statement issued with the letter, “calls on President Nixon to raise the issue of the denial of religious freedom in Russia with the highest levels of the Soviet government,” and “also calls on the State Department to present Soviet violations of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights before the General Assembly.” At the House hearings the State Department presented a statement, read by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Richard T. Davies, saying it would be “appropriate” for the Congress to pass a resolution on the plight of Soviet Jews.”