NEW YORK (May. 16)
The Ford Motor Company has assured the American Jewish Congress that it will “continue doing business in Israel” and will refuse to certify the Arab boycott status of its suppliers, despite company plans for a joint venture in Egypt to build engines and assemble trucks and tractors.
As a result, the AJCongress has withdrawn a resolution calling for disclosure of company policy toward the Arab boycott that would have been presented at the annual shareholder meeting of the Ford Motor Co. in Detroit last Thursday. The assurances were contained in a letter from Henry Ford II to Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the AJCongress, which was made public Thursday.
In his letter, Ford noted that in 1966, despite repeated Arab requests to the contrary, Ford Motor Co. authorized the Palestine Automobile Corporation in Israel to assemble and distribute certain Ford vehicles in that country. As a result of that action. Ford was placed on the Arab boycott list where it remains to this day.
“Our company has not in any way reduced the scope of this arrangement in the intervening years, nor would it accede to pressures of any kind to eliminate or undermine the arrangement,” Ford’s letter stated. “We intend to continue doing business in Israel as we have done for some 40 years. I reaffirmed this policy at the annual meeting of Ford stockholders in 1975 and in a number of communications to organizations and individuals since that time. At the same time, we would, of course, like to restore normal trade relations with Arab countries.”
Ford added that, “We have not received any Arab requests which would require us to discriminate against any American firm because of its Jewish directors, stockholders, officers, or employes; neither have we received any request relating to the boycott status of marine insurance carriers. If any such requests were to be received, we would not honor them.”