TEL AVIV (Aug. 28)
Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said today that UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim is intervening personally in connection with the excessive fees now charged by the Soviet Union for exit visas for educated Jews wishing to leave the USSR. “I have grounds to believe that Dr. Waldheim has already and will continue activity over this problem,” Tekoah said on his arrival here from New York.
The ambassador returned home for a brief vacation and consultations. He said the action taken by Israel against the high visa fees has won the approval of American public opinion. He said Israel would bring the problem before the General Assembly this fall. Foreign Minister Abba Eban announced that intention at a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem today. Max Fisher of Detroit expressed hope that the US government would exert its influence to persuade Moscow to abolish the high visa fees. Fisher addressed the opening session of a two-day meeting of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors of which he is chairman. He called on enlightened nations and governments to do their utmost to change Soviet policy towards their Jewish citizens. “We must not submit to blackmail and we must not show any sign of weakness or vacillation in this struggle but we have to coordinate all efforts and carefully decide on methods and tactics,” Fisher said.
Louis Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, reported on the latest developments in the visa fee matter. He said that efforts to have the fees rescinded must be swift and efficient and warned that delays or wrong moves would damage the cause of Jewish emigration from Russia. Pincus said he was sure the Soviet government would listen to public opinion in the free world. He stressed that the Jewish Agency must make all necessary preparations for the absorption of immigrants from Russia. (See related stories P. 4)