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German-jewish Talks Must Bring Speedy Agreement, Goldmann Says

March 27, 1952
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The negotiations on Jewry’s and Israel’s claims against Germany, now in progress in The Hague, must be conducted without “unnecessary delay or dragging out” if they are to be successful, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the praesidium of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, declared at a press conference here today upon his return from Europe and Israel.

At the same time, he warned that in view of the many legal, financial and economic questions involved, “no one could expect these negotiations to end in a week or two.” He stressed that the Jews will demand “maximum satisfaction in the shortest possible time.” It was impossible to foresee how long the discussions with the Germans would last and what the outcome would be, he added.

“The negotiations have started satisfactorily,” Dr. Goldmann said, “but only when the German Government will submit her concrete proposals on meeting the Israeli and Jewish claims will we know how determined the Germans are to fulfill the obligations publicly acknowledged by both the Chancellor and the Bonn Parliament.”

Discussing the London meeting of the praesidium of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims, Dr. Goldmann said that body felt it was inadvisable for members of the praesidium to participate in the Hague talks but decided instead to send a delegation of four Claims Conference experts to meet with the German representatives. They will act under the instructions and authority of the praesidium, he reported.

Reporting on his talks in Israel with Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, Dr, Goldmann scoffed at rumors that the Israel Government had withdrawn its agreement for granting a status in Israel to the Jewish Agency which was reached in principle before the last World Zionist Congress. He stated that:

1.There is complete accord between Zionist leaders and Prime Minister Ben Gurion on the future role of the World Zionist movement. A bill will go to the Knesset shortly to grant the Zionist movement authority to coordinate the activities of all Jewish organizations operating in Israel in the spheres of immigration, absorption and colonization.

2. The Jewish Agency executive and the Israel Government are agreed that efforts must be made to avoid friction and competition among campaigns for Israel in the United States.

3. A global conference of Zionist and Jewish intellectual leaders, writers, scholars, thinkers and publicists will be held in the near future, probably in Israel, to discuss the status of world Jewry in light of the rebirth and development of the Jewish State.

Dr. Goldmann, who is chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, said that while certain concepts in the resolution of the World Zionist Congress on the requested status were omitted from the draft bill, the essential meaning of the status remains unaltered. The draft bill, he revealed, expresses the desirability of establishing a united front of all sections of the Jewish people, including non-Zionists who are interested in aiding the development of Israel. “Far from being imposed on the Zionist movement, this principle is in line with old established Zionist policy,” he said.

The plenary session of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem dealt also, Dr. Goldmann reported, with the situation regarding fund-raising for Israel in the United States and reached the unanimous conclusion that “both U. J. A. and the Bond issue are vital sources of income for Israel and would remain so for quite some time.”

“In order to develop both activities to a maximum and secure the best possible results for Israel, the Jewish Agency executive and the Israel Government feel strongly that the two campaigns must be carefully coordinated, in order to avoid competition and the resultant loss of good will for themselves and Israel, “Dr. Goldmann said. Certain proposals were made on how to effect coordination but a final decision is yet to be taken, he added.

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