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Baker Discussed Anti-semitism with Soviet Leaders in Moscow

February 15, 1990
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In his talks with Soviet leaders in Moscow last week, Secretary of State James Baker expressed concern about increasing anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

“Glasnost has unleashed a lot of forces in the Soviet Union, and one of them is anti-Semitism,” the official said. “Glasnost should not be something that provokes intolerance, quite the contrary.”

The official, who was briefing reporters on Baker’s meetings last week with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, said the secretary raised the issue with the two Kremlin leaders, at the request of President Bush.

“We turned over a good deal of material that we had seen,” the official added.

A delegation of American Jewish leaders who met with Bush on Feb. 4 reported that the president had voiced concern about the growing visibility of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, including physical threats against Jews.

There was no indication Wednesday of what, if any, replies were made by the Soviet leaders. But the administration official stressed that there was no suggestion “that, in any way, either Gorbachev or Shevardnadze sanctioned this kind of behavior.”

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