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23 Congressmen Put USSR on Notice

Twenty-three New York area Congressmen responded to the call last week for a “Special Order of Congress” made by 11 of their colleagues, Stanley Lowell, chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, reported today. The bipartisan response put the Soviet Union on notice that their restrictive policy on Soviet Jews will effect Congressional debates on pending USSR-US trade relations. Lowell noted that “the critical nature of the situation now facing the Soviet Jewish community is clearly seen with grave concern on the part of New York area Congressmen.”

The Special Order meeting was called to discuss “the bearing the restrictive emigration policy and the Soviets’ ransom demands have on issues Congress will deal with–including the Soviets’ wish for most favored nation status, commodity credit, corporation loans, Export-Import Ban credits, and change in Overseas Private Investment Corporation legislation to allow Soviet credits.”

Among the Congressmen who participated in the meeting was Rep. William F. Ryan (D.NY) who died of throat cancer Sunday night at the age of 50. Lowell, in a tribute to the Democratic Reform movement leader, stated: “Congressman Ryan was a good friend to the Jewish community and, in particular, to the cause of Soviet Jewry. He was among the first to speak out on behalf of Soviet Jewry, and even with pain and discomfort, Mr. Ryan never failed to respond to the plight of Soviet Jewry.”

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