WASHINGTON (Jul. 12)
A “strong, vigorous and sustained” protest by the United States and its European allies against violations of the human rights provisions of the Helsinki accords by the Soviet Union was urged yesterday by William Korey, director of B’nai B’rith’s International Policy Research Department. He also said that action in Congress to circumvent the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links U.S. trade with the Soviet Union to the latter’s performance on human rights “ought to be rebuffed very quickly.”
Korey was one of several witnesses yesterday testifying before the U.S. Helsinki Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the agency established by Congress to monitor compliance with the treaty. Others testifying were Jerry Goodman, executive director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, and Natalya Solzhenitsyn, the wife of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The Commission is headed by Rep. Dante Fascell (D.Fla.).
ACTIONS BY CONGRESS, WHITE HOUSE
Also yesterday, the Soviet Union was condemned in resolutions in the House and Senate. Among the resolutions was one by Sen. Robert Dole (R.Kansas) which asked for an indefinite postponement pending Soviet compliance with the Helsinki agreement. Dole also demanded the release of 12 Soviet Helsinki monitors and the acquittal of those now on trial, Anatoly Shcharansky and Alexander Ginzberg.
Rep. James Jefford (R.Vt.) offered a resolution with 25 sponsors calling upon Congress to urge President Carter to inform the Soviet government that the trials would “influence the nature and extent of agreements and arrangements between the U.S. and the Soviet Union on strategic and economic issues.” Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.) and Rep. Robert Drinan (D.Mass.) introduced identical resolutions calling on the USSR to release Shcharansky immediately and permit him to emigrate to Israel.
The Senate approved by voice vote a bipartisan “sense of the Congress” resolution expressing dismay and deep concern about the trials in the Soviet Union. The resolution was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D.W.Va.) and Minority Leader Howard Baker (R.Tenn.). The resolution was adopted in the House after being introduced by Majority Leader Jim Wright (D.Tex.) and co-sponsored by Minority Leader John Rhodes (R.Ariz.). In a separate statement Rhodes said the Shcharansky trial is “a throwback to the days of the pogroms. The difference between then and now is that the setting today is in a Moscow courtroom instead of a rural village.
Meanwhile, the Carter Administration is considering cancelling trade agreements with the Soviet Union. The first deal being studied by the White House is the proposed $144 million sale of oil drilling equipment by Dresser Industries, Inc. of Dallas. The White House is also studying a proposed sale of a large Sperry Rand computer to Tass, the Soviet press agency. The proposed ban has reportedly triggered a dispute between Zbigniew Brzezinsky, President Carter’s national security advisor, who supports the ban, and the State and Commerce Departments which are opposed.
URGES RE-EXAMINATION OF ACCORDS
In his testimony before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation, Korey said that if the Soviet Union diminishes the human rights elements of the Helsinki accord, the U.S. should make a reciprocal diminution of other provisions favored by the USSR. He noted that there are ll executive agreements between the U.S. and the USSR on exchanges ranging from technology to housing and from energy to sports. “These ought to be reexamined to ascertain whether our adherence to them does not reinforce the imbalance imposed on the (Helsinki) Final Act by the Soviet threat against human rights, “he said.
Goodman said the Commission’s hearings means “The Soviet Union has to pay a price for its actions. Its violations of human rights can no longer be swept under the rug of diplomacy, “he said. He noted that by the end of 1977 there were 190,000 Jews in the Soviet Union who asked to emigrate but were not granted visas by the Soviet authorities. “Fifty percent more Jewish families wish to emigrate this year than last year,” Goodman said.
Both Korey and Goodman urged that the U.S. not withdraw from the Helsinki agreement after being asked by Fascell whether they were in disagreement with the concept of the U.S. and other countries abrogating the Helsinki Act. They suggested, however, that the Soviet Union be served notice that it must pay for its violations of human rights. Mrs. Solzhenitsyn described to the Commission the condition of Soviet prisons and the political dissidents in them.
ACTIONS IN THE U.S. AND ABROAD
In related actions, 27 participants at the Computer Science Department Chairmen’s Conference in Snowbird, Utah, addressed a warning to A.P. Alexandrov, president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, that the trial of Shcharansky will “poison the atmosphere” necessary for U.S.-Soviet scientific exchange. The warning, contained in a telegram, was initiated by Dr. Jack Minker, chairman of the department of computer science at the University of Maryland and vice-chairman of the Committee of Concemed Scientists.
In San Francisco, hundreds of protesters rallied yesterday in front of the Soviet Consulate. Nobel Laureate Owen Chamberlain, Father Donald Mackinnon, Rev. Anthony Ubalde added their protests to those of a large group from Los Angeles led by Los Angeles Federation president Irwin H. Goldenberg and representatives from Phoenix, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley. The San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council organized the rally. Petitions carrying thousands of names collected in southern California were slipped under the Consulate fence by Carole Oken, chairman of the Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry of Los Angeles.
In Montreal, an all-night vigil began last night outside the Soviet Consulate to protest against the trials of Shcharansky and Ginzberg. Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration during the afternoon which included speeches by Jewish leaders and members of Parliament.Martin Penn, leader of the Montreal Committee for Soviet Jewry, said that the vigil will continue on a 24-hour basis until Shcharansky’s trial is over.
In Mexico City, the Soviet Embassy yesterday refused to receive a delegation from the Central Jewish Committee which was seeking an explanation of the situation of Shcharansky and of Vladimir Slepak and Ida Nudel who were sentenced to internal exile last month. The Embassy also refused to accept a memorandum from the delegation protesting against harassment and discrimination against Jews in the Soviet Union. As a result, the Mexican press will publish the memorandum.
In Johannesburg, the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies issued a joint statement assailing the trial of Shcharansky. “Enlightened public opinion can only react with a sense of deep shock at this palpably false accusation against the latest victim of Russia’s policy to prevent free emigration to Israel, “the statement said.”We address an urgent appeal to governments and people of good will in the free world to take prompt action to save Anatoly Shcharansky’s life and to have him set free.”
In London, the British Communist Party daily criticized the trials as a threat to detente. An editorial in today’s “Morning Star” attacked Moscow’s “repressive” prosecution of dissidents, which it blamed on “sinister and dangerous forces.” The paper also carried prominent reports on a Labor Party call for the right to form free trade unions in the Soviet Union and a British Communist leader’s appeal for the rehabilitation by the Kremlin of Nikolai Bukharin, one of the leading Bolsheviks in the October Revolution, shot after a Stalinist show trial in 1938.