WASHINGTON (Feb. 10)
The State Department, under pressure in Congress, was reported today to be giving “serious consideration” to seek the entry into the United States as emigrants of approximately 2000 Soviet Jews in Rome. Ambassador Francis L. Kellogg, special assistant to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger for Refugees and Migration Affairs, was asked last Thursday by Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D.Pa.) at a House Judiciary Committee hearing to recommend action to the Department of Justice.
Since then Eilberg has written Kissinger and Attorney General Edward H. Levi requesting prompt action on his request. “We hope these people can come to America right away,” Eilberg said in a press statement. “They have been living on charity in Rome for several months and have been draining the resources of agencies which help refugees.”
PAROLE SYSTEM COULD BE USED
Entry into the U.S., Eilberg said, could be arranged by means of paroles by the Department of Justice which can allow entry in an emergency situation. The parole had been used to allow the immediate entry of Hungarians and Czechoslovaks following their unsuccessful revolts in 1956 and 1968, and Cubans following Castro’s accession to power, Eilberg observed. According to Eilberg, 950 of the Soviet Jews now in Rome have “been completely processed and could leave immediately,” and the remainder would be ready in a short time although “there will be more people arriving in the same predicament in the future.”
U.S. officials said that Kellogg has not yet asked Kissinger to recommend to Levi to grant the paroles, and indicated that action must await Kissinger’s return from the Middle East. Both Eilberg and government sources indicated that the 2000 in Rome had left the USSR primarily to emigrate to the United States. According to Eilberg, they had “no intention of going to Israel.”
A government source observed that the fact that the Jews are in Rome, the source said, indicates they “had it in their heads they were going elsewhere, and that elsewhere is the United States.” The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which processes prospective emigrants, does not have an office in Vienna but does operate in Rome. This fact was given as a major reason why some Soviet emigrants go there from Vienna.