WASHINGTON (Jan. 16)
Twenty-nine “refuseniks,” denied permission to emigrate from the Soviet Union because they possessed “classified information,” have appealed to the United States to seek an international ruling on what constitutes “government secrets.” The petition, bearing their names and addresses, was directed to the U.S. Commission which monitors the Helsinki Agreement. It was made public today by B’nai B’rith at the midwinter meeting of its policy-making Board of Governors here.
The two-page document was described by David M. Blumberg, B’nai B’rith’s president, as “part of the continuing courage and persistence of Soviet dissidents to struggle openly for their freedom and part of the continuing evidence of Soviet violations of the Helsinki Accord.” The petition was presented to the B’nai B’rith Governors by Max Meshon, a Philadelphia attorney who met with Soviet dissidents during a visit to the USSR last month. Meshon was given the petition by a dissident leader, Aba Taratouta, with a plea that “it get to the proper authorities in the United States.”
Blumberg said the appeal would be submitted to the Commission on Security and Cooperation, the joint body of Congress and the Executive set up to monitor how well signatories to the Helsinki Accord–the Soviet Union in particular–adhere to its human rights provisions.
In their appeal, the 29 refuseniks noted that the USSR provided “no legislation or any published instructions” dealing with emigration and “even a listing which could give one an idea as to what is considered ‘classified information’ is an unobtainable document.”