Javits to Press Probe on Smith Broadcast; Role of JTA Cited

An aide to Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) said today that the legislator was determined to “press his investigation” of the use by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services of a broadcast by Gerald L. K. Smith, a notorious anti-Semite and white racist. The aide quoted Javits as saying that he “considered it outrageous” that the AFRTS “would serve to broadcast” the words of Smith “who has been so discredited elsewhere through the nation.”

According to his aide, Javits was not satisfied with the Defense Department’s initial response to his request last week for a copy of the rules and regulations governing the use of materials heard over the AFRTS network. The Smith broadcast, in which the aging fundamentalist preacher touted his “shrine” at Eureka Springs. Ark, as a substitute for Christian holy places allegedly “marred and scarred” in Israel, was transmitted by the AFRTS to its 492 radio and television stations serving some 2 million U.S. servicemen throughout the world. Javits aide-told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Defense Department has so far failed to supply the Senator with the material he requested.

KILLED PROGRAM AFTER JTA INQUIRY

Javits’ office released to the JTA today the text of “a memorandum for the record” sent to Javits by John C. Broger, director of the Office of Information for the Armed Forces, which noted that the JTA played a role in the prompt withdrawal of the Smith program from AFRTS use.

The memo, dated Jan. 26, stated: “On Jan. 24, Mr. Joseph Polakoff, representing the Jewish Telegraphic News Service (sic) called to verify if we had carried a program entitled ‘Suggested Solutions’ featuring an interview with the Rev. Gerald L.K. Smith and hosted by Bill Bertenshaw. He asked if I knew who Gerald L.K. Smith was. I told him I did and would check out the program and let him know.”

Broger said in his memo that after discussing the JTA query with subordinates, he gave instructions “to kill any future airings of this particular show and to review this show for conformance with AFRTS standards.” The memo also referred to a call the next day from a member of syndicated columnist Jack Anderson’s staff on the subject. Anderson’s column subsequently carried a story on the Smith broadcast.

Broger’s memo said that Hoyt Wertz, chief of the AFRTS broadcast service and one of Broger’s subordinates, “called Mr. Polakoff and informed him that we had carried the show but that we did not screen network shows for acceptability.” That fact was contained in the JTA’s Daily News Bulletin of Jan. 26.

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