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Voa Yiddish Broadcasts Up to Nixon, JTA Told

July 26, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The ultimate decision as to whether the Voice of America will beam Yiddish language broadcasts to the Soviet Union will be made by President Nixon, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned from well informed sources here. The VOA, which is part of the United States Information Agency headed by Frank Shakespeare is on record an opposed to Yiddish broadcasts on technical grounds and because it believes that its present broadcasts to the USSR in various languages reaches a sufficient number of Russian Jews with news of Jewish affairs. The agency has argued that most Soviet Jews understand Russian and that Yiddish programs would only be redundant. Advocates of Yiddish VOA broadcasts say that apart from the news value they would constitute a tremendous psychological uplift for Soviet Jews. Bi-partisan pressure for special VOA Yiddish programming is building up in Congress where Senators Clifford Case (R-N.J.) and John V.Tunney (D-Calif.), have sponsored a resolution calling on the USIA to inaugurate it.

The USIA Advisory Commission, headed by Frank Stanton, president of the Columbia Broadcasting System, will announce a decision on the matter next month. It is virtually certain that an affirmative recommendation would be rejected by Shakespeare. In that case, sources said, the sponsors of VOA Yiddish programming would appeal directly to the President.

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