WASHINGTON (Jun. 16)
George Shultz said Thursday that being able to help people like former Soviet refusenik Ida Nudel gain freedom has given him the greatest pleasure as secretary of state.
“In the end, it’s these things that you can feel you at least had a little bit to do with that make some human being’s life a little better.” Shultz said.
He was responding to a question from Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, who asked what brought him the most satisfaction in the job he will be leaving next January.
Shultz noted that he had “worked a lot on the human rights aspects of our relations with the Soviet Union.”
He said that tears came to his eyes last Oct. 15, when Nudel, whom he had seen a few months earlier at a Passover seder at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, called him after she arrived in Jerusalem.
“Mr. Secretary, this is Ida Nudel, I’m home,” Shultz quoted her as saying.
“I’ve met her quite a few times since then,” the secretary said. “Whenever I go to Israel, she comes around, and we talk and share experiences.”
At the subcommittee hearing, which dealt with foreign aid programs, Shultz was challenged by Sen. Robert Kasten (R-Wis.) on why the State Department recommended only $10 million for the 1989 fiscal year to help Soviet and East European emigrants settle in Israel.
The current budget calls for $25 million in aid. Kasten questioned the decrease in light of the fact that the number of emigrants from the Soviet Union had increased.
Shultz replied that the State Department had asked for $10 million for the current fiscal year also, but Congress had increased the figure to $25 million, the same as it was in 1987.
He said that the refugee budget is “a very constricted one,” and the State Department feels $10 million is adequate. But if it turns out more money is needed, then “we probably could reshuffle the funds,” he said.