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“congressional Vigil” Begins in House

A “Congressional vigil” of one minute speeches every day began yesterday in the House of Representatives on behalf of victims of restrictive Soviet emigration practices. The vigil, its sponsoring Congressmen announced, will continue until the House adopts the Mills-Vanik legislation. Rep. Hugh Carey (D.NY) began the series with a demand that the Soviet authorities free Sylva Zalmanson who is serving a 10-year sentence.

Reps. Elizabeth Holtzman, prime mover for the vigil, and Edward Koch both New York Democrats, will address the House tomorrow. Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. (R.Cal.) will speak Thursday. At a news conference today held by a half dozen Mills-Vanik sponsors. Rep. Alphonzo Bell (R.Cal.) said that he had written last week to President Nixon protesting that Soviet statements on easing emigration restrictions, are not consonant with their practices of harassment.

Rep. Jonathan Bingham (D.NY), referring to the Nixon Administration’s position that refusal to grant most favored nation status to the Soviet Union would appear to constitute interference with Soviet domestic policy, declared that “the authority to answer that view is Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov who has said explicitly ‘that the Jackson-Mills-Vanik legislation’ does not interfere with Soviet internal affairs.” Rep. Bella Abzug (D.NY) urged standing up for ideals “in the light of the serious problems of discrimination” against Jews, intellectuals and others in the Soviet Union.

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