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Gilman Bill Urges U.S. to Protest Soviet Violations on Mail Laws

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Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R. NY) introduced a bill in the House yesterday instructing the U.S. delegation to raise the issue of Soviet violations of international laws governing the mails at the 19th Congress of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) which opened in Hamburg, West Germany today.

The bill also asks the UPU to consider the violations and possible sanctions against the violators. A similar measure was introduced in the Senate recently by Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.).

Gilman’s bill is the result of year-long hearings in New York City on “Soviet mail sabotage” at which witnesses representing Christian, Jewish, Ukrainian, Russian-American and professional and academic groups testified that the Soviet authorities were deliberately interfering with the overseas mails. According to Gilman, this is a calculated attempt to “cut the lifeline between Soviet citizens and their friends and relatives in the free world.”

Gilman said his probe, conducted under the Subcommittee on Investigations of the House Post Office Committee, turned up 2,388 exhibits clearly showing Soviet sabotage of the international mails. Witnesses at the New York hearing corroborated earlier claims at hearings in Washington and Chicago that the KGB was methodically screening all incoming and outgoing mails. This is in violation of the Soviet Constitution and several international treaties including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Helsinki Final Act and the Constitution of the UPU, Gilman pointed out.

His bill has the unanimous support of all members of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee.

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