Sharp to Discuss with Kosygin Problems of Soviet Jewry

Foreign Secretary Mitchell Sharp has assured Canadian Jewry that the problem of Soviet Jews and their right to emigrate to Israel would be brought up with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin when he visits Canada starting Oct. 17. Sharp made the pledge in a letter to Monroe Abbey, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. The letter was a follow-up to Sharp’s meeting with a Jewish delegation led by Abbey which visited Ottawa last week to ask the Canadian government to raise the question of Soviet Jews with Kosygin.

“I thought I should let you know that the government is aware of the continuing widespread concern in Canada about these matters and is considering in what way this issue might best be pursued with the USSR and in particular with Premier Kosygin during his forthcoming visit to Canada,” the letter said. It noted that Canadian Premier Pierre Elliott Trudeau said after his visit to the Soviet Union last May that such sensitive issues can be broached only in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and trust. “The government believes that Canada has, to a certain extent, been successful in achieving such an atmosphere,” Sharp wrote.

“The extent to which both the public as well as the official reception accorded Premier Kosygin next month is positive and friendly will have distinct bearing on this. In that context it would be reasonable to expect that representations based on humanitarian principles would be carefully listened to by a Soviet guest. The government intends to make such representations to pursue the enquiries made by the Prime Minister (Trudeau) of Premier Kosygin last May concerning immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel or other countries of their choice and to raise again the question of the reunification of Soviet citizens of all ethnic origins with their relatives in Canada.”

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