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British Government States It Has No Legal Standing to Intervene for Soviet Jews

August 4, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The British government has no legal standing to intervene on behalf of Soviet Jewry and “must be careful lest intercession on their behalf by Her Majesty’s government should be counter-productive,” according to Foreign Undersecretary Anthony Boyle. He made that statement in reply to a letter on the question from Alderman Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Fidler, a member of Parliament, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had also sent to the Undersecretary a copy of a letter he had sent to Prime Minister Edward Heath, asking the Prime Minister for a public declaration on the plight of Soviet Jewry. Fidler said he had written the two letters after receiving a deputation of his constituents who asked him to take some action on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The Undersecretary also wrote that both Prime Minister Heath and Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home “spoke informally of the government’s concern on behalf of Soviet Jews to Mr. (Andrel) Gromyko” the Soviet Foreign Minister, “when he visited this country.” More recently, the Undersecretary added. “Sir Denis Greenhill, the Permanent Undersecretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, conveyed our concern about the trials of Soviet Jews and the exclusion of the foreign press from those trials, to a senior official in Moscow. We do not exclude the possibility of further informal representations,” he wrote.

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