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Transcript: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings about the Activities of Agents of Foreign Principals in the Unites States, pages 1307-1312, May 23, 1963

Senator Fulbright: The Jewish Agency-American Section, Inc., is, I understand, a New York membership corporation organized in 1960?

Mr. Hamlin: It is, sir.

Senator Fulbright: And since 1960 it has been registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, as an agent of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel in Jerusalem?

Mr. Hamlin: Mr. Chairman, would you just repeat the date when that filing took place?

Senator Fulbright: 1960.

Mr. Hamlin: 1960: that is correct.

Senator Fulbright: The relationship between the Executive and the American Section, is this contractual or not?

Mr. Hamlin: The American Section is part of the worldwide body called the Jewish Agency Executive. The Jewish Agency Executive is composed of 22 individuals, of which 6 reside in the United States, and so the American Section is part of the worldwide organization.

Mr. Boukstein: May I be of some assistance, Mr. Chairman?

Senator Fulbright: Yes.

Mr. Boukstein: The Executive, as was stated this morning, the Executive of the Jewish Agency is in Jerusalem: the American Section is exactly what it connotes. It is the American Section of the Executive which resides in the United States and functions for and on behalf of the Executive in Jerusalem.

Senator Fulbright: I was trying to clarify the record precisely what the word "Executive" means here. Does it mean the Executive committee of the Jewish Agency?

Mr. Boukstein: It is do you want me to answer or the witness?

Senator Fulbright: The witness can answer.

Mr. Hamlin: It is in essence the Executive committee.

Senator Fulbright: Of the Jewish Agency?

Mr. Hamlin: Of the Jewish Agency; that is right.

Senator Fulbright: And it is composed of 22 people?

Mr. Hamlin: Pardon me?

Senator Fulbright: Of 22 people?

Mr. Hamlin: Of 22 individuals; yes sir.

Senator Fulbright: And six of those live in the United States?

Mr. Hamlin: Correct, sir.

Senator Fulbright: So that leaves 16 of them who live in Israel?

Mr. Hamlin: That is right, sir.

Senator Fulbright: Now are there any other members? Is this the whole body? Is there a board of directors other than the Executive?

Mr. Hamlin: No, sir. That is the governing body of the Jewish Agency, the total body.

Senator Fulbright: It is a corporation?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes.

Senator Fulbright: Does it have any stockholders?

Mr. Hamlin: No, not to my knowledge.

Senator Fulbright: It is incorporated by a special act of the Government of Israel, is that correct?

Mr. Hamlin: The Jewish Agency, yes, was recognized by special act of the Israeli Parliament.

Senator Fulbright: Are any members of the Executive living in Israel members of the Government?

Mr. Hamlin: Members of our Executive are members of the Government of Israel? Yes, sir.

Senator Fulbright: Who are they?

Mr. Hamlin: One member of our executive, Mr. Eshkol, is a member of the Israeli Government.

Senator Fulbright: What is his position in the Israeli Government?

Hamlin: He is the Minister of Finance. But, if I may add, in the Executive he has competence in one area of work, and that is the area of colonization.

Mr. Boukstein: If I may add, a member of the Executive, Mr. Shazar, was the day before yesterday elected the President of Israel, as you probably noticed in the newspapers.

Senator Fulbright: Does this disqualify him to be a member of the Executive?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, it would disqualify him.

Senator Fulbright: Could you describe how the Executive the relationship between the Executive and the American Section, how does the Executive, in other words, exercise control, if it does, over the American Section.

Mr. Hamlin: The American Section is the representative in the United States of the Jerusalem Agency did you say exercise control, sir?

Senator Fulbright: If it does; yes. Does it exercise control?

Mr. Hamlin: I would say that in the final analysis there would be a vote of all 22 members.

Senator Fulbright: Yes.

Mr. Hamlin: On an issue which might bind them.

Senator Fulbright: Yes.

Mr. Hamlin: But if my experience would indicate anything, I would say that in matters that deal with American affairs, such as we have, the Jerusalem Executive more or less depends on the opinions of their members residing in the United States.

Senator Fulbright: Does this organization have a set of bylaws?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes.

Senator Fulbright: Do we have a copy?

Mr. Sifton: We have, again, an uncertified copy and perhaps, formally, we should have a certified copy.

Mr. Boukstein. Mr. Chairman, we will be glad to furnish it.

Senator Fulbright: He says you will furnish a certified copy of the bylaws of the Executive.

Mr. Hamlin Yes; we would be glad to, sir.

Mr. Boukstein: He will have to certify it as the secretary.

Mr. Fulbright: Yes; that is correct. That is of the Executive. Now, you also have a corporation of the American Section. It is incorporated in this country?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, sir; New York State.

Senator Fulbright: And you could supply that?

Mr. Boukstein: I think there is a misunderstanding, Mr. Chairman. The Executive of Jerusalem has no bylaws.

Senator Fulbright: Not in Jerusalem?

Mr. Hamlin: I misunderstood you.

Mr. Boukstein. I though you were referring to the bylaws of the American Section and those, of course, we will supply you.

Senator Fulbright: What are the basic guidelines for the Executive in Jerusalem? Under what authority does it operate?

Mr. Hamlin: It is the constitution of the organization.

Senator Fulbright: Does that constitution set out how it should operate?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes. There is a constitution and there are standing rules of the organization.

Senator Fulbright: Could we have those then? Those are the equivalent of the bylaws; that is what I did not know exactly the terminology you used. But you could make that available?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, sir; I would be glad to.

Senator Fulbright: Do you execute and prepare the registration? [FARA registration]

Mr. Boukstein: Mr. Chairman, as I am the expert on the subject, having acted for the Agency as counsel. The constitution defines the function of the Executive. There is no document that I am aware of that lays down the working rules, such as we would in this country refer to as bylaws of the Executive. They act by resolution.

Senator Fulbright: Well, do they act under majority rule?

Mr. Boukstein. They act under majority rule by resolution.

Senator Fulbright: Do they have subcommittees?

Mr. Boukstein: They have subcommittees which they appoint ad hoc or sometimes continuing subcommittees, Mr. Chairman. But we shall search but I am aware of the existence of no document which would be the equivalent of rules or bylaws.

Senator Fulbright: Do they have minutes of meetings?

Mr. Boukstein: Yes, they do.

Senator Fulbright: Could you supply us with copies of the minutes of their meetings since 1960?

Mr. Boukstein: Mr. Chairman, I am not so sure that would be a pertinent document. The minutes are in Jerusalem. They relate to all kinds of matters. If you mean excerpts of minutes relating to activities in the United States, we will be glad to furnish them. But I don't think that you have any interest in minutes relating to matters of completely ungermane subjects.

Senator Fulbright: No; we wouldn't request anything ungermane. It was my understanding from testimony this morning that a very large percentage of the funds of the Executive derive from this country, is that correct?

Mr. Boukstein: That is correct.

Senator Fulbright: I will agree that not all of it would be. I was interested in how this Agency operates. I don't know of any precedent of anything like it in any other instance, and I thought it would be interesting to the committee to understand how foreign agents in this particular field operate and what kind of principals they represent.

Mr. Hamlin: Would you like for us to give you a description of the departments and operations in Israel, sir?

Senator Fulbright: Well, if you would care to very briefly.

Mr. Hamlin: All right. Do you want it now?

Senator Fulbright: You can do it in writing.

Mr. Hamlin: Yes sir, we can do it in writing, as you wish.

Senator Fulbright: Are you acquainted with an organization known as the American Zionist Council?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, sir, I am.

Senator Fulbright: Subsequent to April 1, 1960, did the Jewish Agency-American Section make payments to the American Zionist Council?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, sir.

Senator Fulbright: To the best of your knowledge, when did these payments begin?

Mr. Hamlin: If my memory serves me, I believe in 1961 for the budget of the Council.

Senator Fulbright: The first of the year, about?

Mr. Hamlin: I would have to look it up.

Senator Fulbright: Would you provide the committee with a record of such payments as you have made to the American Zionist Council?

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, sir, we would.

Senator Fulbright: The American Zionist Council.

Mr. Hamlin: Yes, sir.

Senator Fulbright: In general, what were the purposes of these payments?

Mr. Hamlin: The purposes of these payments were to assist the American Zionist Council carry out its Zionist educational and youth work, and its public informational activities.

 

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