« ÎnapoiContinuă »
HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO FOREIGN ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
The subcommittee met at 11:12 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 4221, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Humphrey, Case and Javits.
Senator CASE [presiding]. The subcommittee will come to order. I am sorry that I am late. You have your exigencies, and we politicians have ours. A group of school children had to have its picture taken with the senior Senator from New Jersey, and that is not, perhaps, world-shaking in its importance, but for our little State and for me it has some significance, and I know that you will understand.
We welcome you this morning. Senator Humphrey unfortunately is delayed, but he assured me he will be here later and he asked me to go ahead with the hearing.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR CASE
As you know, of course, this is a hearing on violation of human rights in nations receiving foreign aid from this country. We have been interested in this subject as a committee long before this subject became quite as fashionable as I am glad to say it now seems to be.
We begin the series of hearings today on the role of human rights in foreign policy, specifically as it relates to our security and development assistance programs, and these are in conjunction with our consideration of the administration's foreign aid authorization legislation for fiscal year 1978.
For the benefit of our audience, fiscal year 1978 is the 12 months that end in June, June 30, 1978.
The groundwork goes back to the last session of Congress. Under the able chairmanship of Senator Humphrey who, as I say, will be here later, this subcommittee was involved in prolonged discussions with the previous administration over human rights amendments to last year's aid bill. The amendments as they were enacted into law require the State Department to furnish a report on the situation with regard to human rights for every country which is a proposed recipient of foreign assistance.
About 80 reports are expected to be transmitted to Congress within the next few days. In addition, a mechanism was set up by the amendments by which Congress, by joint resolution, can reduce or terminate assistance to countries if it concludes there is sufficient reason for doing this because of human rights violations.
The human rights amendments have helped, I am sure, to focus concern on the issue, and they have made it clear that Congress intends that the matter of human rights be given a much higher priority than it previously had received in our foreign policy and foreign aid programs. I know you will forgive me if I point out that in connection with the development of this legislation and these amendments, I personally wanted very much to have a director for human rights in the Department of State.
This was resisted for reasons which I am sure the Department felt justified, but we, I think, won the substance of our fight; though we don't have a director, we do have a coordinator, instead of a director, and if this is helpeful, as they believe it is, that is really all right with us. The substance is that we have an individual and an office charged specifically with that responsibility in the State Department, to advise both the Secretary of State and us in Congress on these human rights issues, and we are going to turn-I know I shall, and the committee will, I am certain-more and more to this person for advice on individual issues.
I know that it is not earthshaking either, but sometimes the mechanisms that you create here are more important or at least as important as the substance of the principles that you enunciate, and in this case we are counting very heavily on this office in the Department and upon the person called the coordinator for human rights.
I welcome the initiatives of this administration, though it is not one of my own party, on behalf of human rights, and the eloquent statement on human rights in nonrecipient countries, such as the Soviet Union, the declared intention to reduce aid to Ethiopia, Argentina, and Uruguay by our Secretary of State, under questioning, I think, by Senator Inouye, are in line with our goal of giving higher priority to human rights considerations.
I cite this history not to try and monopolize the conversation here— I will not do that in the future; I expect you to-but I do it to emphasize, because we have got to deal with many facets of this issue, and these include whether reducing or terminating assistance programs will be counterproductive, as many claim, or whether failing to make at least some reductions will be taken by the recipient nations and the world as acquiescence in governmental policies in foreign nations which are contrary to human decency and human rights.
I know there are no easy solutions to these and to many of the related questions, and perhaps the answer is that they have to be dealt with on a country-by-country basis, but be that as it may, it is important, I think, that Americans and the leaders and citizens of other countries, too, understand that this country's concern for basic human rights is widespread and very deeply felt, and I cannot emphasize that too much.
It is not a partisan issue. It is not the result of alleged domestic considerations or distaste for governments of other countries or peoples of other countries. Rather, it is an outgrowth of our basic American attitudes, stemming from our political, social, and constitutional his
tory, which put a very high priority on the rights of the individual, and this, I think, is the thing that makes this country distinctive. It has in the past. We don't always live up to it. Certainly we don't live up to our highest ideals. Certainly there are pockets of trouble and have been for a long time in this Nation, but underlying the whole thing is the sense which we have in our time the responsibility to perpetuate, to strengthen and deepen, that this country does stand for human decency and human rights.
Now, there are limits to what we can allocate to foreign aid. I remember Senator Symington preaching that for many years, and he is quite right. The point of this thing now, at this particular time, in relation to this issue, is that we do have to make decisions as to which countries deserve priority and a share of the assistance that we can give, and that is the point.
On Monday, March 7, next Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Patricia Darien, Coordinator for Human Rights designate I hope pretty soon we will get these things confirmed-will testify on behalf of the administration. Today, we have a distinguished panel of witnesses from outside organizations who now finally are going to be allowed to assume the proper place they should have been occupying for the last 20 minutes, and I am sorry for the delay.
Mr. David Weissbrodt, of the University of Minnesota Law School, Mr. Patrick Breslin, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Mr. Bruce Cameron, of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), and Mr. Edward Snyder, of the Friends Committee for National Legislation.
Gentlemen, you all have prepared statements, and we will give them the fullest attention. I suggest, if it is all right with each of you, that we arrange that they be placed in full in the record, and that we start this exercise by having each of you, if you will, summarize your statement, perhaps taking 10 minutes or so, so that we can as quickly as possible get together as a panel for discussion. Senator Javits would you like to make a statement?
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR JAVITS
Senator JAVITS. Thank you. I just want to say that I am embarrassed today that because of my problems with other committees and other engagements, I shall not be able to stay and really question the witnesses, however, I think this testimony is critically important. I would like to assure them that their testimony is extremely worthwhile. There are many new ideas contained in it, and we are very much, I feel, in the market for new ideas to reconcile those paradoxes, dilemmas, and riddles.
Personally, I am very grateful to them, as one Senator, for the time, the attention, and devotion which is represented on their part and on the part of their organizations by their testimony.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator CASE. Thank you, Senator Javits.
Professor Weissbrodt, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF DAVID WEISSBRODT, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA LAW SCHOOL, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.
Mr. WEISSBRODT. Thank you, Senator Case.
It is an honor to appear before you today. I have been impressed by your work in the cause of human rights, particularly your sponsorship on the Senate side of the commission to monitor progress under the Helsinki accords and your support for the antidiscrimination provision, section 505 of the Foreign Assistance Act, which was added by International Security and Assistance Act of 1976. That provision, section 502B, which will probably be discussed at length today deserves far more attention as one of the mechanisms you mentioned for improving human rights.
U.S. POLICY REGARDING INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS
I should like to outline the present status of the U.S. policies in regard to international human rights, and to make a few suggestions for this subcommittee to consider.
We are now just emerging from a period during which the past administration subordinated human rights to every other major concern of foreign policy-economic, political, and military. This Nation has a genuine, albeit not unblemished, tradition of respect for civil liberties at home and concern for human rights abroad.
Unfortunately, during the deepest period of the cold war our concern for human rights became so politicized that we were blinded to the sins of our allies and only criticized the errors of our adversaries. Then the past administration became so preoccupied with détente that our Government even failed to speak out when rights were trampled in Socialist nations.
Congress, I think, is chiefly responsible for bringing our country out of this sad state of affairs. Beginning in 1973, Representative Donald Fraser chaired a series of human rights hearings in the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, which criticized the administration's disinterest and caught the attention of Members of Congress in human rights problems throughout the world.
This more even-handed concern for human rights generated a very tentative human rights provision in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1973. As Congress encountered administration resistance and even obstruction to its legislative initiatives on human rights, however, each succeeding provision in 1974, 1975, and 1976 became more detailed and more directive than the preceding.
I think this series culminated with section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act, which declared that a principal goal of the foreign policy of the United States is to promote the increased observance of internationally recognized human rights.
The previous administration generally complained about and failed to implement faithfully this legislation, but while he was campaigning for the Presidency, I think Jimmy Carter picked up the congressional human rights concern. The first 6 weeks of the Carter administration have been impressive, as you pointed out, in the attention devoted to human rights.