WASHINGTON (Sep. 27)
Two spokesmen for American Jewry made public today a letter to President Nixon demanding that the United States use Us economic power to bring about changes in the Soviet Union’s treatment of its Jewish citizens who wish to emigrate. The letter asked the President “to make known to Soviet leaders our country’s inability to enter into new and close trade relationships” unless the Soviet measures against would-be emigrants “are stopped.”
The letter, signed by Richard Maass, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, and Jacob Stein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was made public following an “emergency meeting” at B’nai B’rith headquarters here last night at which the deteriorating situation of Jews in the Soviet Union was discussed. It followed hard on statements made in New York yesterday by Presidential press secretary Ronald Ziegler that President Nixon told a group of Jewish leaders that he was working through “diplomatic channels” to help Soviet Jews.
The letter to Nixon urged the President “to make known to us, to all American people and to the Soviet leadership your determination not to recommend most favored nation treatment for the Soviet Union nor to qualify the Soviet Union for large-scale loans or credits so long as it continues Its unconscionable demands upon a defenseless minority.” The letter stated that the situation of Soviet Jewry had “worsened” since the President’s summit visit to Moscow last May.
JACKSON OFFERS TRADE ACT AMENDMENT
In a related development today. Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D, Wash.) offered an amendment to the East-West trade relations act in the Senate which would bar any country from receiving most favored nation treatment or to participate in US credit and Investment guarantee programs “unless that country permits its citizens the opportunity to emigrate to the country of their choice.”
Jackson’s office told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D. Conn.) was a co-sponsor of the amendment but declined to name other co-sponsors at this time. Jackson said his measure “arises out of, and is rooted in, our traditional commitment to the cause of individual liberty.”
It was disclosed, meanwhile, that Maass and several other leaders of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry went to the White House today but It was not announced with whom they met. Maass announced earlier that he, Max Fisher of Detroit, and Stein will meet with Secretary of State William P. Rogers at the White House.
In response to questions at a press conference; Maass, Jerry Goodman, the NCSJ executive director, and Dr. William Korey, head of the B’nai B’rith United Nations office, observed that the US has already raised the issue In various forms, including the UN, and called attention to former Attorney General John Mitchell’s action toward admitting Soviet Jews to the US, However, Goodman noted, “there Is no question” that since the Soviet-American summit conference the Jewish situation in the Soviet Union has “drastically” worsened and “Soviet propaganda has increased for whatever reason.”