WASHINGTON (Aug. 29)
The Senate, with little debate, adopted Friday four provisions to help combat the Arab economic boycott of Israel and also approved an amendment condemning international terrorism in approving extension of the Export Administration Act. The vote was 65-13. A companion measure is pending in the House International Relations Committee. (See related story p. 4.)
Opponents of the bill centered most of their criticism on the mandatory “disclosure” provision of the boycott section, claiming it would interfere with trade. Among them were 11 Republicans, led by John Tower of Texas, and two Democrats, James Allen of Alabama and James Abourezk of South Dakota.
The anti-terrorist amendment by Sen. William Huddleston (D Ky) urges the President to use his powers “to encourage other countries to take immediate steps to prevent the use of their territory or resources to aid, encourage or give sanctuary to those persons involved in directing, supporting or participating in acts of international terrorism.”
EXPLAINS IMPORTANCE OF THE ACT
Sen Adlai Stevenson (D III) who was floor manager of the act, told the Senate that “the bill directly attacks the most repugnant dimensions of the Arab boycott against Israel,” and
Stevenson cautioned that the act will not stop the boycott. “It will only be stopped by an overall political settlement.” in the Middle East, he said. “And that requires an even-handed American initiative beyond the competence of the Congress alone.”
PROHIBITIONS CONTAINED IN BILL
The bill prohibits compliance with Arab boycott demands for discrimination against U.S. citizens on the basis of sex, religion, race or national origin. It requires disclosure by American companies of their participation in foreign boycotts and prohibits U.S. firms from discriminating against other U.S. firms in order to aid nations at war with nations friendly to the United States.
In addition, American firms would not be permitted to disclose racial or religious characteristics of their ownership or management as a condition of doing business with foreign countries.
“These requirements protect the most fundamental American rights from interference by foreign powers,” Stevenson said. “They defend the sovereignty of the United States and prevent American companies from being drawn into the conflicts of foreign nations…They will enable American companies to resist efforts to enlist them in a war against Israel.”
Continuing, he declared: “This act may cost some business in Arab nations. If so, then it will be known that the sovereignty of the United States and its principles of decency and fair play are not for sale. It will be known, too, that the commitment of the United States to the survival of Israel is unequivocal. Israel will not be sold out for a barrel of oil.”