WASHINGTON (May. 21)
Legislative resolutions and governors’ proclamations from 30 states, urging President Nixon to intercede for Soviet Jews during his talks with Soviet leaders in Moscow were transmitted by a B’nai B’rith delegation to Assistant Secretary of State Martin J. Hillenbrand, a senior member of the United States delegation accompanying the President to the Soviet Union.
The official documents were presented prior to the departure of the US delegation by David M. Blumberg, B’nai B’rith president, during a meeting between B’nai B’rith officials and Hillenbrand, ranking State Department executive for European affairs, and his deputy, Richard T. Davies. Blumberg said Hillenbrand assured the B’nai B’rith group that the actions of the 30 states “will be brought to the attention of my superiors.”
The documents included resolutions enacted by legislatures in 20 states and proclamations from 11 governors. In Louisiana, both the governor and the legislature took official action on the issue. Blumberg said B’nai B’rith had initiated the effort in state capitals “because we believe it strengthens the President’s hand if Soviet officials know that the rights of Soviet Jews are of concern to all Americans–to middle America as well as the big cities.”
Blumberg said he was “confident” that the President would raise the issue, “perhaps formally” with the Soviet leaders, adding, “our specific interest is for the President to urge the USSR to revise its policies by releasing some 40 Jews who have been jailed for agitating for their human rights, by allowing emigration without discrimination or harassment, and by restoring cultural and religious institutions to the Soviet Jewish community.”