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U.S. Delegation at Helsinki Review Confab Urged to Act on Jewish Issue

October 14, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sen. Claiborne Pell (D. RI), co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Sen. Edward Brooke (R. Mass.) are urging the U.S. delegation to the Helsinki review conference in Belgrade to take specific actions on human rights including the treatment of Jews. Pell circulated a statement they made to the Senate urging that the U.S. recognize its own shortcomings, including failure to ratify the Genocide Convention, and adopt a “realistic attitude toward what can be expected of the Communist governments in the area of human rights.”

In “areas which least threaten the political stability of the Communist regimes, the governments concerned should be most receptive to pressure for movement,” Pell said. “Specifically, the Soviets and East Europeans could be encouraged” to permit free circulation of holy scripture and religious books; adopt a policy of non-interference with clergymen in carrying out their non-political, clerical functions and “recognize the value and unity of the family, including permitting religious education for children, at least in the home and or in the churches or synagogues.”

In exemplifying his views, the Senator said actions such as “the issuance of exit visas to Soviet Jews pose no threat to the Communist system, whereas full acceptance of political human rights would threaten the Communist regimes with collapse.”

Brooke wrote President Carter to instruct the U.S. delegation to “raise specific instances of human rights violations,” including treatment of Anatoly Shcharansky who is facing trial on treason charges. Brooke pointed out to the President that the Congress “is particularly concerned” about Shcharansky’s fate and the U.S. delegation in Belgrade should “express the official concern of the United States” about his case.

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