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Carter: Soviet Spy Charge Against Shcharansky is ‘patently False’

President Carter reiterated today that Soviet charges that Anatoly Shcharansky was a spy for the United States are “patently false.” In his first public remarks since Shcharansky and Alexander Ginzberg went on trial in the USSR, the President condemned the trials as attacks on all people who love freedom.

Carter’s remarks were made at the White House in an interview with West European television correspondents. Asked about the Shcharansky trial, the President replied:

“I think it is an attack on every human being who…believes in basic human freedom and is willing to speak for these freedoms and fight for them. The allegation that Shcharansky was a spy for the United States is patently false. The Soviets know it to be false. They are prosecuting Shcharansky because he represents an element, a small group, in the Soviet Union who are fighting for the implementation of international agreements which the Soviets themselves have signed. I don’t believe that this trial will arouse anything throughout the world except condemnation of the Soviet Union….I don’t think it will still the dissident voices.”

Carter added that the U.S. will continue “through every legitimate means to let the Soviets know of our displeasure….” He noted, however, that “we have no mechanism by which we can interfere in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union, nor determine the outcome of the trial.”

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