PARIS (Sep. 4)
The Soviet Union has cancelled French Socialist leader’s Francois Mitterand invitation to visit the USSR because of the stand he had taken on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The Soviet Ambassador, Piotr Abrassimov, in a letter to the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party, stated yesterday that after the anti-Soviet stand taken by Mitterand “his visit to the Soviet Union can serve no useful purpose.”
Mitterand was due to visit Moscow next month as the head of the newly established Socialist-Communist electoral bloc. The cancellation of the visit can thus have far reaching consequences on the forthcoming legislative elections due to take place next spring.
Abrassimov pointed to ” two fundamental anti-Soviet stands” taken by Mitterand: his intervention on behalf of Soviet Jewry and his recent appeal to the Soviet government to lift the ransom system as applied to Jewish emigrants. The other example cited by the Soviet diplomat was Mitterand’s intervention on behalf of the Czech intellectuals now being tried in Prague.
VITAL TO SOVIET INTERESTS
The Soviet ambassador’s letter claimed that the ransom system “is not an anti-Jewish action but is applied to an equal extent to all Soviet citizens.” Abrassimov also claimed that the Soviet Union “does not discriminate in any form whatsoever against its Jewish citizens.”
Abrassimov’s letter and the cancellation of Mitterand’s forthcoming trip to Moscow show for the first time the seriousness with which Moscow views this issue. Observers here point out that Moscow is prepared to erase all its electoral chances in France in order to openly show that it considers these two issues, Soviet Jewry and Czechoslovakia, as vital to Soviet interests.
Mitterand wrote the Soviet Ambassador on behalf of Soviet Jewry Aug. 28. In his letter, the French Socialist leader termed the ransom system as “discriminatory and contrary to basic human rights.” The Socialist-Communist electoral alliance, established in June, is the first real alliance between the two blocs since the 1936 Popular Front. For the French Communist Party it would have meant their re-emergence as a concrete political force.