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U.s Officials in Europe to Monitor, Evaluate Helsinki Accord

November 8, 1976
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Despite the refusal of the Soviet Union and its five Eastern European allies to provide visas, nine members of the 15- member U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe left Friday for Brussels on its first attempt to monitor and evaluate the 1975 Helsinki agreement that includes provisions bearing on Soviet emigration policy.

The Commission, headed by Rep, Dante Fast cell (D.Fla.), also had a brush with Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger before its departure. Kissinger forbade the three Administration members to go with the Commission beyond Brussels, its first stop on a 13-nation tour lasting 18 days. The Commission consists of six Senators, six Representatives and three Administration officials. Among those on the trip are Reps. Jonathan Bingham (D.NY). Paul Simon (D.III.), Millicent Fenwick (R.NJ) and Sen. Claiborne Pell (D.RI);


In a rejoinder, the Commission said Kissinger’s “last minute decision” to withdraw the Executive branch members is “a deeply regrettable policy reversal” and “will present our allies and our rivals with a confusing picture of divided counsel in Washington on the importance and potential of the Helsinki accords.”

According to the Commission statement, Kissinger opposed the formation of the Commission, but he was expected to accept President Ford’s decision to implement it when the President signed the Commission legislation into law and the State Department began cooperating with the Commission’s planning.

The Soviet Union has attacked the Commission’s interest in human rights, a part of the accords signed by both the United States and the Soviet Union, as constituting interference in the Soviet’s internal affairs.

The Commission said its trip affords an opportunity to explore with European officials and private organizations on implementing the “sensitive international understandings” of the accords. It noted it is the only Western agency charged with monitoring and encouraging the accords and the only U.S. advisory panel on foreign policy issues to have both Congressional and Executive representation.

The first paper presented to the Commission was a report by Dr. William Korey director of B’nai B’rith’s International Council, who referred to the relationship between the accords and Soviet emigration policy.

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