NEW YORK (Jun. 6)
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry has welcomed the signing by President Ford of the Fenwick-Case bill which provides for a U.S. commission to monitor the 1975 Helsinki pact, especially its human rights provisions. The accord calls on the signatory countries, which include the Soviet Union, to observe international customs on the re-unification of families and other aspects that would help Soviet Jews obtain emigration visas to join their families abroad.
Stanley H. Lowell, chairman of the NCSJ said. “We believe that the Soviet Union’s signature to that document should not remain an empty gesture of detente, concerning human rights. In a shrinking world, the rights of citizens of any country can no longer remain the ‘internal affair’ of that country….The Jews of the Soviet Union, among others, anxiously await this affirmative action and they will be heartened by this firm step forward on the part of the U.S. government.” Lowell called on President Ford and members of Congress “to make certain that the requested appropriation is available to fund the work of the new body.” He expressed confidence that the President and Congress “will appoint Commission members who reflect a basic commitment to, and a knowledge of the field of human rights.”
Ford did not issue a statement when he signed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Clifford Case and Rep. Millicent Fenwick, both New Jersey Republicans. Case said the law was an “important step in implementing our concern for the cause of human rights.”