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Special to the JTA U.S. Olympic Committee Head Says Issue of Human Rights in the USSR is Political,

July 26, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Robert J. Kane president of the United States Olympic Committee, said that the current issue of human rights in the Soviet Union is political in nature, not one of sports. “As such it is far apart from sports and the Olympic Games (scheduled to take place in Moscow in 1980) and should be settled at the national level,” he said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Kane, however, pledged that the Committee “will continue to support the principle of human rights as it applies to the Olympic Games, under the International Olympic Committee Charter.” He warned that “if we impinge on the authority of foreign governments, the United States Olympic Committee would be guilty, itself, of infusing politics into the world Olympic movement.”

He said that the U.S. Committee “is diametrically opposed to any organization injecting politics into the Olympic movement” and stated that the Israel Olympic Committee is also “distressed at the infusion of politics into sports. They will resist every effort to mix politics and sports.” Kane said the Israel Committee informed him yesterday that they are continuing to make preparations and will participate in the Games in Moscow.


According to Kane, Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and the officials of the Moscow Olympic Organizing Committee “have pledged their support of all International Olympic Committee rules, as has the President of the United States in supporting the bid of Lake Placid (N.Y.) to host the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.”

Kane noted that the U.S. Committee is responsive to its mandate from the International Committee “that we must be autonomous and must resist all pressures of any kind whatsoever, whether political, religious or of an economic nature.”

Continuing, he said: “We are conscious of the many pressures in today’s world of trying to infuse politics into sports. However, if any country violates the accepted rules contained in the International Olympic Committee Charter, the United States Olympic Committee will exercise its right (as we have done previously) to bring the question directly to the International Olympic Committee and insist that they enforce the International Olympic Committee rules, if the Games are to be recognized as Olympic Games.”

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