BUENOS AIRES (Dec. 25)
Four Latin American leaders who recently returned from a visit to the Soviet Union, have appealed to Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev to end widespread harassment and discrimination against Russian Jews, permit all those who wish to leave to do so and to halt the dissemination of anti-Semitic propaganda in the USSR. An open memorandum addressed to Brezhnev was released at a Latin American forum on the condition of Soviet Jewry which opened here last Friday. It was attended by delegations from 16 countries in South and Central America and the West Indies.
The memorandum was read by Alfredo Concepoion, a former Argentina Minister of Commerce and Industry. The forum received a message of support from Argentina’s Vice-President Mrs. Maris Estela Martinez-de Peron. Dr. Ricardo Balbin, leader of the Union Civica Radical, the strongest opposition party, addressed the gathering on the subject of human rights and political freedom.
Concepcion and three other Latin American leaders toured the Soviet Union to investigate the condition of Russian Jews in the aftermath of the latest Middle East war. Some of their findings were described in the memorandum. The other members of the delegation were identified as The Rev. Father Benjamin Nunez, former Costa Rican Ambassador to the United Nations, to Rumania and to Israel and the recipient of the 1970 Latin American Jewish Congress Prize for Human Rights; Prof. Modesto Seara Vazquez, professor of law and political science at the National University of Mexico; and Prof, Ohal of Colombia.
The four visited Moscow. Leningrad. Tblisi and Kiev where, according to their report, they contacted many Jews including members of the Soviet Academy of Science who, they said, were being harassed for having applied for exit visas.
WITNESSED POLICE REPRESSION
They stated in their memorandum to Brezhnev: “It is obvious that the Soviet government is giving its many nationalities the opportunity to express and cultivate their respective cultures. languages and schools but it is a cause for consternation to us to find out that the Jewish nationality in the USSR is being discriminated against. It is not able to express itself fully. We were given even more cause for serious concern to find that abundant anti-Semitic literature of undeniable official origin was easily obtainable in public places.”
The visitors said they were witness to police repression on Oct. 18-19 in front of the Moscow synagogue against Jewish youths who tried to express their religious feelings peacefully. They charged “widespread discrimination against Jews who request emigration visas…They and their families are objects of reprisals, they lose their jobs or are imprisoned.”
The forum resolved to appeal for support to United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, the UN Human Rights Commission and governments, parliaments and other representative institutions all over the world. The countries represented at the forum were Argentina. Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.