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Congressman Urges Hearings on Coca-Cola Rejection of Israel Trade

April 13, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Congressional hearings to obtain testimony from the Coca-Cola Export Corporation were urged today by Rep. Seymour Halpern, ranking Republican member of the House Subcommittee on International Trade, as part of a drive to strengthen anti-boycott provisions of the export control act.

In a letter to Secretary of Commerce John T. Connor, Rep. Halpern charged that the Coca-Cola Company submitted to Arab boycott pressures because important provisions were omitted last year from the legislation adopted. He announced that he had studied the Coca-Cola case and “decided to institute legal action by amendment to revive the deleted language and provide potency and teeth to the law. “

Rep. Halpern asserted that “despite assurances by the Departments of Commerce and State that the non-mandatory provisions” that would discourage American commercial vulnerability to the Arab boycott were adequate, Coca-Cola and other American companies continue to be subjected to “Arab dictation as to trading with Israel. “

“Inadequacy in the wording of the law is forcing companies to comply with the Arab intrusion into American foreign trade and they camouflage such submission as the Coca-Cola Company has done, ” he stated. He recalled that a warning was sounded during last year’s Congressional debate “that just such a situation would ensue unless a specific measure prohibiting compliance with foreign boycotts was retained. “

The Congressman asked for a “detailed and comprehensive report on why gaps and loopholes in the anti-boycott law have emerged despite assurances to the contrary given to Congress when we reluctantly agreed to accept the weakened version of the bill recommended by the Executive Department. ” It was learned that a number of other subcommittee members supported the Halpern proposal for strengthening the anti-boycott law. If hearings are called, representatives of other corporations in addition to Coca-Cola may be asked to testify.

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