Intellectuals Protest Soviet Policy

A White House statement said “President Nixon has never condoned and does not condone anti-Semitism in any form.” It added that “The President frequently sends messages of congratulations to persons being honored by testimonial dinners.” In this case, the statement said, a Nixon message had been requested by an unidentified “reputable source” in connection with a dinner organized by the Hungarian clergy of Greater Pittsburgh in Szebedinsky’s honor. “Nothing in our information about Mr. Szebedinsky or his Hungarian-language newspaper indicated other than that he was a reputable publisher of a paper devoted to the principle of freedom,” the White House contended.

Forty-five intellectuals, including four Nobel Prize winners, have issued a joint Open Letter calling upon the Soviet Union to release prisoners from jail, lift cultural restrictions and permit Russia’s Jews to freely leave their country. The 45 included Nobel Prize winners Jean-Paul Sartre, Rene Cassin, Alfred Kastler and Andre Lwoff. This appeal provoked the anger of the “France-USSR Friendship League” which, in a counter communique, termed the signatories of the appeal “bearers of a policy which was characteristic of fascism and Nazism.” This, despite the fact that among the signatories are well known leftist figures, including Vercors, the former resistance poet.

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