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Questions Arise over Application of J/m-v Legislation to East Germany

Capitol Hill sources appeared today to question the validity of an assumption by State Department officials that the Jackson/Mills-Vanik legislation could be applied to East Germany in the event that it refuses to make adequate reparations to Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution.

The State Department officials intimated yesterday that if the upcoming discussions between a non-governmental East German group and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany bog down, the J/M-V legislation–if passed into law–probably would be invoked by the U.S.

But sources close to the legislation now pending in the Senate described that view as erroneous inasmuch as J/M-V applies to emigration rights, not monetary claims. They noted that the amendment to the Trade Reform Bill specifically refers only to banning trade benefits to non-market economy (Communist) countries that deny citizens their right to emigrate. Basically, its thrust is at the Soviet Union.

Other circles, however, indicated that the legislation could be invoked if East Germany desires exit visas to those of its citizens who wish to depart. These circles noted that East Germany, as indicated by its wall in Berlin and rigid barriers all along its borders with West Germany, prevents East Germans from departing to the West, in effect denying free emigration. There are reportedly about 8000 Jews in East Germany, many, if not most of them, refugees from the anti-Semitic campaigns in Poland in the late 1960s.

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