ARLINGTON, Va. (Apr. 21)
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) sent a letter today to President Reagan asking him not to go to the Bitburg military cemetery when he visits West Germany next month. Robert Asher, AIPAC president, announced this at the opening session of AIPAC’s 26th annual policy conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel here.
He told the 1,200 people in attendance that the letter by AIPAC’s Board stated that “As human beings, as Americans and as Jews, we join millions of our fellow citizens in calling you to cancel the visit to the Bitburg military cemetery.”
The letter stressed that it would be “a sign of strength, not weakness, to correct this in justice. To honor those SS soldiers (buried in the cemetery) who spread terror and death under the sign of the skull and crossbones dishonors their victims — the Jews and the American Gls they slaughtered only 30 miles away at Malmedy, and it dishonors those Germans who are today working to build a democratic and free country.”
Marshall Breger, President Reagan’s liaison to the Jewish community, who accepted the letter to take to Reagan, said he “understands your agony” and “I share your communal pain.”
He stressed that Reagan was “profoundly moved” by Eli Wiesel in both his public and private meeting with him last Friday. Breger declared that Reagan is the “best friend of our community who ever sat in the White House.”