From the Stars and Stripes archives

Ted Kennedy asks aid for Viet refugees

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is given a tour of Amerika Haus' 20th-anniversary exhibit by the consulate cultural center's director, Osborn T. Smallwood, in May, 1966.


By JOHN KRUEGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 10, 1966

FRANKFURT, May 9 — Sen. Edward Kennedy, D.-Mass., made a plea for world aid to the refugees of Viet Nam when he visited the America House here Monday.

The tour of the America House, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, was part of a busy one-day schedule in this German city for Kennedy.

The senator told reporters during his 30-minute stop at the America House that private groups, as well as governments, can greatly contribute toward the humanitarian efforts being carried out in South Viet Nam. He cited the need for medical teams and teachers.

"There have been 700,000 refugees," Kennedy said, "and 50 per cent of them are 14 years of age or under. Only 20 per cent have had any education at all. We have to do a great deal for them."

The senator added that he had round Germans "particularly sensitive to the problems of refugees." He attributed this to the country's own postwar and Berlin wall resettlement undertakings. He praised the German efforts as "an outstanding job."

Kennedy called the Berlin wall a "constant reminder" of the grief and agony of family separations and an encouragement to aid others suffering the same plight.

The senator said that whether one approves or disapproves of American action in Vlet Nam, there is still a genuine, nonpartisan need for a "humanitarian alliance" to aid the innocent victims of the conflict.

"No political party can dispute this," he declared. "All nations are under obligation to eliminate ignorance, poverty, inequality. and injustice."

He said that he had been "encouraged by my conversations with West German parliamentarians and citizens" as regards the need for additional programs to carry out the work now being conducted by such organizations as the International Rescue Committee.

The senator said that he felt that the "prosperous nations" had an obligation to help the "disadvantaged" of Southeast Asia. He commended the programs that were already working toward this crusade.

Kennedy delivered the same message in an address earlier in the day to a luncheon meeting of German political and business leaders. He arrived here on a morning flight from London. He flew to Geneva Monday afternoon for a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration.

The 34-year-old senator, younger brother of the late President, John F. Kennedy, was accompanied on his America House tour by its director, Osborn T. Smallwood, and by American Consul General James R. Johnstone.

The anniversary exhibit included mounted pictures of President Kennedy during his German tour in 1962 and of the senator's wife opening the Kennedy Memorial Library exhibit here in 1964.