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All 100 Senators Urge Reagan to Push Gorbachev on Human Rights

November 30, 1987
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All 100 members of the Senate have signed a letter to President Reagan urging him to continue to “keep the subject of human rights high on the agenda” at his summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The letter is “a statement from the full U.S. Senate that this issue cannot be swept under the rug,” according to Sen. Lawton Chiles (D-Fla.), who initiated the letter along with Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

The senators suggested to Reagan that when he meets with Gorbachev on Dec. 8 he may want to describe the massive rally that is to be held here Dec. 6 in support of Soviet Jewry.

They noted the Washington mobilization on the eve of the summit will deliver the message that “we will not turn our back on the plight of the Jewish minority and others in the Soviet Union who are denied their human rights.”

While noting that they are “encouraged by positive steps taken recently by the Soviet government,” the senators stressed that “we remain concerned that harassment of activists continues and that emigration figures are still far below expectations.

“We are also concerned about the apparent increase in refusals based on alleged possession of ‘state secrets,’ often in cases where security clearance was never held or had long since expired,” the letter said.

It urged Reagan to “continue pressing Secretary Gorbachev, as you have done in the past, on the Soviet human rights record and the emigration process.

“It is imperative that we remind the Soviet government, as signatories to numerous international accords, of their obligations to uphold human rights and freedoms for all citizens of the Soviet Union.”

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