NEW YORK (Oct. 7)
An American brokerage firm, Advest Company, that has been arranging businessmen’s trips to the Middle East, has agreed to desist from advising its clients to obtain certification from a clergyman that they are not Jewish as a condition of admission to certain Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.
Responding to a protest over the practice from the American Jewish Committee, an Advest Co. Partner, Randolph Guggenheimer Jr., said in a letter to AJ Committee executive vice president Bertram H. Gold that “We sincerely regret that we circulated a letter with the requirement that each participant on the trip produce a statement that he is a Christian.”
That requirement was also imposed on Jewish participants who were advised by Advest to secure a statement from a clergyman that would enable them to “pass” as Christians, Guggenheimer said in his letter that “Advest never intended to discriminate against any participant and would never knowingly do so. We will continue to make trips open to all participants and will make no attempt to have people participate under false colors.”
Responding to the letter, Gold said “it is reassuring to know that you will henceforth discontinue this practice.” But, he added. “We would be very much interested to hear from you how you intend to implement the fine statement of intentions expressed in your letter to us.”
URGES KISSINGER TO TAKE STEPS
The AJ Committee made its protest in a Sept. 29 telegram to Paul S. Campion, an Advest official in charge of the tours. At the same time, the AJ Committee wrote to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger noting that the Advest delegation “will be briefed by the United States Ambassador and other senior Embassy officials.” The letter said, “We are shocked that the United States government would actively assist a business venture that blatantly discriminates against American citizens on the basis of religion.”
The AJ Committee urged Kissinger “to take immediate steps” to convince Saudian authorities in particular to end their discriminatory practices against American citizens and, if unable to do so, “refuse official cooperation with any trips or business ventures established on a discriminatory basis.”
The Advest Co., whose Middle East tours included Israel, reportedly advised participants to apply for new passports if their old ones contained any stamps or markings by Israeli authorities. Participants whose passports contained evidence that they had previously visited Saudi Arabia were advised that they need not supply a statement certifying they were not Jewish.