U.S. Commission to Assess Soviet Compliance with Helsinki Accord

The U.S. commission established to monitor the Helsinki agreement plans to interview Soviet emigres to Vienna, Rome and Tel Aviv as a way of assessing the Soviet compliance with its human rights provisions, an official of the agency said today.

Spencer Oliver, staff director of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a joint body of Congress and the White House, told the annual plenary of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council “since the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries won’t let us in, we plan to meet with people who got out so that they can describe to us the gauntlet they were forced to run.”

Oliver said the commission’s documentation is being prepared for an international meeting in Belgrade later this year at which the 35 signatories to the Helsinki agreement are to review how well its human rights provisions are being adhered to.

Since its formation, the U.S. commission has met with government representatives and private groups in 27 countries outside the Soviet orbit to encourage the establishment of similar watchdog agencies and to urge that “the plight of those denied fundamental rights common in the Western world not be ignored,” Oliver told the 350 delegates at their concluding session. The decision of Congress to create the commission was an indication of American rejection of the arguments that human rights are an “internal matter” among nations, Oliver said.

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