NEW YORK (Jun. 17)
Eighty Russian Jews who have been refused exit visas released an open letter to President Nixon today urging him not to help the Soviet regime make their situation “more unbearable,” the National Conference on Soviet Jews reported today. The letter said its authors held little hope for positive results from Nixon’s forthcoming summit meeting in Moscow which opens June 27.
The letter was the first from Soviet Jews openly critical of Nixon. It said: “Many hopes were placed on your first visit and unfortunately none were realized.” It recalled that when Nixon visited the USSR in June, 1972, there was an escalation of harassment, detentions, and disconnections of the telephones of Soviet Jews. “Please do not help your partners, in the Moscow talks make our situation more unbearable.” the letter continued. It said the Soviet Jews were “deeply troubled” by President Nixon’s recent remarks at the Annapolis graduation exercises that emigration from the USSR is an internal problem of the Soviet Union. Signatories included Alexander Slepak, Benjamin Levich, Alexander Lerner, Mikhail Agustry, and 76 other Soviet Jews.