WASHINGTON (Nov. 2)
Secretary of State George Shultz said Friday that he will “emphasize” the Soviet Union’s violations of human rights when he goes to Vienna Tuesday for the 35-nation conference to review the implementation of the 1975 Helsinki Accords.
“Arms control agreements with a regime that violates human rights cannot be truly successful in guaranteeing international security,” he said in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. The text of the speech, which concentrated on the human rights issue, was made available at the State Department.
“Governments which abuse the rights of their own people cannot be expected to act in a more civilized manner abroad,” Shultz said. “For this reason we emphasize human rights issues in all our official dealings with the Soviet Union.”
Shultz said the United States will raise the Soviet Jewry and other human rights issues at Vienna “not to score propaganda points,” but to give an actual picture of the situation in the USSR. “For Soviet Jewry the situation is bleak and deteriorating,” the Secretary noted. “Jewish emigration in 1986 has fallen to the lowest level in 20 years, down 98 percent from the all-time high of 1979.”
While the Soviets claim that those Jews who want to emigrate have left, “we know the names of 11,201 who have applied for and been denied permission to emigrate,” Shultz said. “We can also confirm that at least 380,000 additional Soviet Jews would like to leave the Soviet Union.”
A ‘PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE’ ISSUE
Shultz said this was a “perfectly legitimate” issue to raise with the Soviets. “The Soviet Union has signed politically binding international instruments which require respect for basic human rights, including the right to leave one’s country,” he said. “Commitments assumed under these documents are as binding as any other international commitment.” Shultz noted that “Soviet leaders have shown increasing awareness of the public relations price they pay as a result of their conduct in the field of human rights” through “some high profile actions.”
While “these gestures are welcome,” Shultz said, “they are no substitute for genuine and sustained progress in the human rights areas.” Shultz stressed that all the democratic countries must continue to exert pressure on the Soviet Union. “The Soviet authorities will have no incentive to change if they believe we do not care,” he said.
He particularly noted that before President Reagan met Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, there was “one of the most intensive series of domestic human rights consultations in American history. Non-governmental organizations and members of Congress directly participated in the formulation of our negotiating position.”
This meant when Reagan raised the issue with Gorbachev, “he was speaking not only for himself and his Administration, but for an America united in its concern on this issue,” Shultz said. “Perhaps for this reason, we succeeded in obtaining grudging Soviet acknowledgement of the rightful place of human rights issues on the agenda of official Soviet-American discussions.”
REJECTS LIMITED CONTACTS VIEW
Shultz said he rejected the view of some that contacts with the Soviets should be limited. Instead he urged more contacts between the governments as well as between the American and Soviet peoples.
“If we in the West are ever going to develop constructive relations with the Soviet Union, they will not come by shunning contact,” he said.
“On the contrary, we must take advantage of the new style of Soviet diplomacy to expose Mr. Gorbachev, his associates and the Soviet people to the depth of our revulsion at Soviet human rights abuses. We must make use of every channel we can, of every forum that presents itself, to get the Soviet leadership to acknowledge the reality that less repression at home is the key to greater acceptance abroad,” Shultz stressed.