Shultz: Human Rights Will Get ‘an Important Share of Attention’ Atthe Reagan-gorbachev Summit
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Shultz: Human Rights Will Get ‘an Important Share of Attention’ Atthe Reagan-gorbachev Summit

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Secretary of State George Shultz stressed Tuesday that human rights “will get an important share of attention” during the meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 11-12.

The differences between the United States and the Soviet Union is reflected “in our attitudes toward individual human beings.” Shultz said at a White House briefing on the upcoming meeting. He noted that some progress has been made on the issue of divided families.

“But there is a crying need for more observance of freedom of religion, more readiness to accept the fact that people can be critical without having to be thrown in jail, and more readiness, if people want to leave the country, to let them leave,” Shultz said.

While Shultz did not specifically mention the issue of Soviet Jewry, he is expected to discuss it in detail when he meets with the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) at the State Department on Wednesday. Shultz also said that regional issues will get a good deal of attention while bilateral issues will only play a small part. However, arms control, in all its elements, will get a “great deal of attention,” he said.


President Reagan also stressed, in a speech to business leaders Monday, that he would press Gorbachev on human rights violations and military intervention in regional conflicts. Reagan noted that Yuri Orlov, who arrived in the U.S. Sunday after being freed from exile in Siberia, “was persecuted simply because he led an effort to get

“When the Soviet state’s ideology makes it a crime to advocate living up to international commitments, the rest of the world has to take notice. And this point, as well as the entire range of Soviet human rights abuses, must be addressed at future summits.”

The Reagan Administration has stressed that the meeting in Iceland is not a summit but a preliminary to Summit II in the U.S. which Reagan and Gorbachev agreed upon at the first summit in Geneva last year. Shultz said Tuesday that it is the Soviets that have held up scheduling the summit.


In discussing regional issues, Shultz did not mention the Arab-Israel conflict. The U.S. has ruled out Soviet participation. But the Secretary did mention Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq war. On Afghanistan, the Secretary said there have been reports that the Soviet may move troops out before the conference in Iceland, but added he did not think this would mean much since new troops would be moved in.

Shultz said the U.S. would like the Soviets to join the U.S. effort to end the Iran-Iraq war so that there are no winners or losers. The U.S. sees Iran as the “recalcitrant party” and is trying to stop the flow of arms to that country, Shultz said.

“An awful lot of arms comes from states with whom the Soviet Union has, we think, great influence,” Shultz said. “So we would like to see them use that influence” to curtail the sale of arms to Iran.


Meanwhile, Reagan met with Orlov at the White House Tuesday afternoon. This was followed by a meeting of the President with representatives of human rights and religious rights organizations.

Jewish representatives attending are: Morris Abram, NCSJ president and chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Presidents Conference; Jerry Goodman, the NCSJ’s executive director; Shoshana Cardin, president of the Council of Jewish Federations; and Robert Blut, past president of the United Jewish Appeal.

Blut and Cardon are also co-chairpersons of Campaign to Summit II, the organized Jewish community’s effort to arouse public awareness to the need to stress the human rights issue at the summit.

As part of this, a Leadership Assembly for Soviet Jewry is being held Wednesday starting with the meeting with Shultz at the State Department. This will be followed by another meeting on Capitol Hill and a prayer vigil at Lafayette Park across from the White House. The vigil will be led by a group of rabbis from across the nation. Rabbi Milton Polin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, will lead the vigil.

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