Kampelman Hopeful but Not Expectant That Madrid Agreement Would Lead to Improvement of Human Rights
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Kampelman Hopeful but Not Expectant That Madrid Agreement Would Lead to Improvement of Human Rights

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Max Kampelman, the chief United States delegate to the Madrid Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, declared here that he was hopeful though not expectant that the “provisional agreement” reached in Madrid last month would lead to the improvement of the human rights situation in the Soviet Union.

“We like the agreement,” Kampelman said at a briefing for foreign correspondents last Friday. But he said signing an agreement is not enough. “Agreements are more important when they are lived up to,” he said. The agreement is expected to be signed in September.

Kampelman said that during the course of the Madrid follow-up conference the Soviet Union “learned” that “we do hold them accountable” for the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki accords. “The Soviet Union fully understands that if they wish to contribute toward improving the atmosphere with the United States, it is essential that they address, for example, the humanitarian concerns that we forcibly brought to their attention for two years and ten months.”


At a press conference, following a July 14 prayer vigil on the steps of the Capitol, the day before the provisional agreement was approved in Madrid, Avital Shcharansky expressed the fear that if the United States signed this agreement, it would endanger her husband, Anatoly, and other Jewish activists and dissidents imprisoned in the Soviet Union.

She repeated this fear in an article published in the Washington Post yesterday. “If the USSR sees that the West is willing to reach agreements without requiring actual and concrete concessions, the Soviets will feel still more free to suppress human rights” Mrs. Shcharansky wrote. “The result will be not to protect human rights but to destroy them.”


Kampelman said Friday that he had met with Mrs. Shcharansky at the State Department July 25 and sought to reassure her. But he stressed that the Madrid conference was never aimed at arriving at agreements that would deal with individuals by name.

However, he pointed out that the plight of Shcharansky and other prisoners, Jews and non-Jews, in the USSR was constantly raised at Madrid by him and other Western spokesmen. He said it was hoped that the Madrid conference could lead to their release and it is still hoped that it may happen.

Kampelman said the United States believes that the continued imprisonment of Shcharansky and some other Helsinki agreement monitors, as well as the harassment of the few that are not in jail, “is not only a gross violation of human standards but a gross violation of the Helsinki Final Act.”

But he said that no one expected that the conference would change “the brutal and totalitarian” nature of the Soviet Union so that “it becomes a more humane society.” He said that, in his final remarks in Madrid on July 18, he charged that the Soviet government is “engaged in acts of anti-Semitism” and that repression there now is worse than at any time since the Helsinki accords were signed in 1975.


However, Kampelman said he had faith in “words” because they set forth standards which countries should try to reach and by which countries “can be judged.” In addition, he said he believed the Madrid agreement has some enforcement mechanisms which the Helsinki accords do not.

But above all, Kampelman cautioned patience, saying he believed moral and political pressure and public opinion do have an effect on the Soviet Union. “I do not think that they relish being a power which is looked upon by so many other powers as a pariah,” he said.

“I am hoping the time will come when this insecurity upon their part which leaves them to be prepared to weather that punishment … will be less pronounced so that they will be free to be able to accomodate these concerns upon the part of the West.”


Speaking in New York last Thursday, at a meeting convened by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), Kampelman pointed out that the Madrid talks made some improvements over the original Helsinki accords, specifically with regard to human and religious rights and “human contacts,” notably family reunification.

He stressed that Madrid was not a forum at which any nation, including the Soviet Union, was prepared to make major alterations in its emigration policy. He added, however, that it served as the only continuous forum for U.S.-Soviet dialogue in recent years. Kampelman asserted that the campaign on behalf of Jews in the Soviet Union is being conducted on many levels, private and public.


Morris Abram, chairman of the NCSJ, noted that August 1, which is the eighth anniversary of the signing of the Helsinki accords, has been declared Helsinki Rights Day by President Reagan. Abram welcomed the President’s support of the Helsinki process, but stressed that there is “little solace” for Soviet Jews in the Madrid agreement, which provides for a follow-up meeting on human rights in two years and one on human contacts a year later.

Abram noted that “Jews in the Soviet Union continue to languish in prison, to suffer increasingly restricted access to higher education and employment, and are victims of a rampant anti-Semitic campaign, including that in the media, organized under the guise of ‘anti-Zionism’.”

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