Special to JTA Senator Meets with Soviet Jews

A U.S. Senator indicated to a group of Moscow Jews yesterday that he was surprised by what they told him of the situation of Jews in Russia because it was at variance with what he and six of his colleagues were told by Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev at a meeting earlier in the day. Senator Howard W. Cannon (D. Nev.), took the initiative of contacting Jews in Moscow after the meeting with Brezhnev, the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jewry informed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

The Council learned of Cannon’s meeting with five Moscow Jews in a telephone conversation with Jewish sources in the Soviet capital. The sources identified the Jews as Boris Einbinder, Benjamin Levitch, Kiril khenkin, Vladimir Slepak and Lev Lebov. All are scientists who were dismissed from their posts and have been refused exit visas to leave the USSR.

They reportedly told Cannon that the education tax, which Soviet leaders say has been suspended, is not the only barrier to emigration but one of many obstacles. They said that their particular situation was not related to the education tax but to the fact that the Soviet authorities claim they cannot be permitted to leave because they had been exposed to State secrets.

Cannon was reportedly told that many other Jews were in their position although no Soviet Jew has ever been exposed to State secrets. According the sources, Cannon said he was surprised by what the Jews told him and expressed regret that he had not met with them prior to meeting Brezhnev. Cannon reportedly told the Jewish group that Brezhnev claimed that the only Jews not permitted to leave the USSR were those whose departure would be contrary to the interests of the State.

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