Imagini ale paginilor


A recent article in the Washington Post pointed out that last week, the Soviet government granted more than 300 exit permits to Jews wishing to emigrate. It is widely believed that foreign pressure on the Kremlin is responsible for the relatively large number of Jews being granted permission to leave (the figures could reach 10,000 for all of 1971).

The force of world opinion has been proven to be a viable instrument of change. World opinion persuaded Soviet leaders to commute the death sentences of Soviet Jews accused of hijacking an airplane. It has led to an increase in the number of exit visas issued to Soviet Jews. And this is what our resolution is designed to accomplish-to focus world opinion on the unjust treatment of minority groups living in the Soviet Union in the hopes that this will lead to substantial improvements in the treatment accorded these people who ask nothing more than the right to exercise the fundamental rights of man.

Mr. ANDERSON. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to appear before your committee this afternoon in support of House Concurrent Resolution 390, a bill that I introduced calling for presidential, diplomatic, and United Nations action to protest the Soviet denial of the legally guaranteed rights of Soviet Jews and other minority groups.


Over 100 of my colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle joined in introducing this measure which illustrates the strong support that does exist for congressional action in this matter of truly international concern.

I am sure by virtue of the testimony you have already heard that this committee is well aware of the harsh plight of minority groups in the Soviet Union; 2,000 Roman Catholics from a single parish in Lithuania recently charged in an open letter that their freedom of religion was being restricted by local authority.

The Ukrainian Catholics have complained of systematic persecution and harassment. Other Christians, especially Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Baptists, have been subjected to governmental pressure and restriction. Nevertheless, the mistreatment of Jews in the Soviet Union is especially severe because they are discriminated against both because of their religion and their nationality. Judaism is not permitted any central or coordinating structure; unlike the other 10 recognized religions in the Soviet Union, each congregation must function in isolation.

Publication of religious literature is not permitted nor is manufacture of religious articles, and there can be no replacement for the few aging rabbis because there are no schools nor are theology students permitted to study in foreign lands.

In 1956 you had 450 synagogues in the Soviet Union. In April 1963 that number was 100 and today it has dwindled to less than 60. Unlike most of the other nationalities, the distinctive language, activities, and community institutions of Jews have been severely restricted. There are no longer any Jewish publishing houses or communal institutions. Discrimination against Jews exists in the vital decisionmaking sectors of the Soviet society, particularly in government, political life, and in fields involving foreign contacts.

I think I would add at this point that the mere fact that there are a few Jews in these posts or in these various sectors I have enumerated does not, I think, expunge the record of discrimination that does exist. They are virtually excluded from sensitive positions in the bureaucracy and army and foreign service. The quota system at universities, which is the key to advancement in Soviet society, operates particularly to the disadvantage of the Jewish population.


They make up 3 percent of the total student population at institutions of higher learning but it is still impossible, despite that figure, for many highly qualified young Jews to receive higher education.

At this point, Mr. Chairman, as I said earlier, I would like to insert in its entirety in the record a brief study by Marc Hurwitz entitled “Soviet Educational Policy and the Jews."

Mr. ROSENTHAL. Without objection it shall be included in the appendix of the record.

Šír. ANDERSON. The often tense international situation creates additional problems for Soviet Jews. Soviet hostility toward the State of Israel, on official policy, makes Soviet Jews vulnerable to official attacks. They are suspected of having ties with Western Jews, and Czechoslovakian Jews were blamed in the Soviet press for developments that took place in that country when Soviets invaded it in 1968:

Despite this attempt on the part of the Soviet Government to obliterate all external manifestations of Judaism, Soviet Jews cannot shed their identity, and become fully assimilated Russians because they are treated as a nationality. They must list their nationality as Jewish on their passport. And, therefore, Soviet Jews today yearn to emigrate to Israel and other lands where they would be afforded the opportunity to freely practice their religion and preserve their rich cultural heritage and yet they are not permitted freedom of emigration despite the fact that this is guaranteed to them under the Soviet Constitution.


It is true that during the last 3 years some 40,000 Jews have filed applications for exit visas to Israel but only a small number have actually been granted permission to leave and those who have applied have lost jobs. They have been subjected to intimidation by the police and KGB regularly searches the homes of visa applicants and carts them off to jail on trumped-up charges.

There is no way of ascertaining how many Soviet Jews would apply for exit visas if they could do so without fear of economic reprisals. The number has been estimated at 30,000 human beings who are being denied basic human rights and freedom to emigrate to lands where these rights would be honored. The resolution which I have introduced and which you are considering this afternoon is an attempt to alleviate the intolerable situation just described. It calls for governmental commitment to use formal and informal channels, including the United Nations, to express this concern at Soviet suppression of religious and cultural freedoms as well as restrictions on the right to emigate.

Specifically, the President is asked to call upon the Soviet Government to honor the words of its own constitution by permitting the free expression of ideas and exercise of religion by all citizens and he is asked to utilize all available channels, formal and informal, to convey this position.

We request in this resolution that he demand of the Soviet Government that it permit its citizens the right to emigrate to countries of their choice as affirmed by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The right to free emigration is basic. Without this right, national borders become prison walls. We must not remain silent while the Soviet or any other

government imprisons its own citizens in a society where they can neither practice their religion nor make their way to countries where they may give full expression to religious and cultural identity.


Finally, this resolution calls upon the State Department to raise in the General Assembly of the United Nations the issue of the Soviet Union's transgression of the Declaration of Human Rights, a declaration that was unanimously adopted by the United Nations. I think this is the appropriate forum for raising an issue of international concern.

Article 55 of the United Nations Charter states that the United Nations shall promote universal respect for an observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction to race, sex, language, or religion. And article 56 makes this clearly binding on all member nations. And what we are talking about when we refer to this collective body of human rights are those rights which have been spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in various United Nations conventions.

The right to emigrate is affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 13(2) (1948). In order to implement the human rights provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights, the Commission on Human Rights established a subordinate body, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, to undertake studies.

In 1963 they completed a study of discrimination in respect to this right to leave or emigrate and in it was included information on the Soviet violation of the right of Jews to emigrate. So the evidence is there. It has been documented by the work of this Commission as well as many others. U.S. representatives to the United Nations have emphasized the importance of bringing this matter up before the United Nations. Both Ambassador Bush and Mrs. Rita Hauser, U.S. Representatives to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, have insisted that no nation may now assert that the violation of human rights within its territory is a domestic issue.

More than 12 years ago Vice President Nixon requested Premier Khrushchev to recognize the basic and moral human rights that exist for Soviet Jewry. It is interesting, I think, to find a letter that he wrote on August 1, 1959, in which he said:

In the interest of continuing improvement in relations between the United States and Soviet Union, I believe that matters such as this involving principles of non-separation of families which we both support should not persist as irritants to larger solutions. In this regard I can state that the United States Government does not stand in the way of persons, including its own citizens, who desire to depart from the United States to take up residence in the USSR.


And again more recently on January 11, 1971, President Nixon in a message to American Jewish leaders said:

You may be certain also that this administration, reflecting the traditional liberties upon which this country was founded, joins with you in urging freedom of emigration as explicitly provided in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in its commitment to cultural and religious freedom at home and abroad.

This is all we are talking about really. This is the sum and substance of the resolution under consideration by your committee. It seems to me that the language I have just quoted from this Presidential message and the history and background of this matter that I have given you indicates that this is certainly in accord with the policy of our Government. Let me say in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, there can be no doubt that there are simply countless numbers, perhaps as many as 300,000 as I indicated, Soviet Jews who would emigrate if given the chance.

Between February 1965 and October 1970, a total of 220 petitions from Soviet Jews were received by the United Nations.

This is part of an attempt to sensitize public opinion, world public opinion, and to make it aware of their plight. Many petitioners noted that Premier Kosygin in a press conference December 3, 1966, promised at that time, “The door is open" and "no problem exists" for those Soviet Jews who wish to leave the Soviet Union. There was an article we noted in the Washington Post last week that 300 exit permits had been granted recently by the Soviet Government; 300 exit permits to Jews wishing to emigrate and it is widely believed, and I think there is foundation for this belief, that foreign pressure, the pressure of international public opinion on the Kremlin is responsible for the relatively large number of Jews being granted permission to leave at the present time. The figure could reach 10,000 for all of 1971. So I repeat, the force of world opinion has proven to be a viable instrument for change. It was world opinion, I believe, that persuaded Soviet leaders to commute the death sentences of Soviet Jews accused of hijacking an airplane.


It has led to the increase in issuance of exit visas and this is what the resolution we present is designed to accomplish, to focus world opinion on the unjust treatment of minority groups living in the Soviet Union in the hope this will lead to substantial improvement in the treatment accorded these people who ask nothing more than the right to exercise the fundamental rights of man.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROSENTHAL. Mr. Findlev.

Mr. FINDLEY. Thank you, Nr. Chairman. I welcome my colleague from Illinois and appreciate his taking the trouble to prepare and present this very impressive statement. Perhaps you, like myself, are not aware of the statement that Professor Morgenthau has prepared for today's meeting of the subcommittee but I just glanced over it and the thrust of his statement is that the Soviet Union is very unlikely to permit a mass exodus of any of its citizens, including

the Jews, and that pressures upon the Soviet Union, if they are attempting to put the Soviet Union on the spot, are likely to be ineffective, whereas more subtle maneuvers are promising. Do you think there is any risk that the enactment of House Concurrent Resolution 391 might be regarded by the Soviet Union as insulting or dangerous to its interests and therefore have a reverse reaction?

Mr. ANDERSON. Certainly that is a legislative consideration and one we ought to concern ourselves with. I don't believe so. It seems to me that the kind of pressure, and this is somewhat repetitive, the kind of pressure that we seek to exert here is not designed to embarrass the Soviet Union. I think it is in a sense the kind of subtle pressure that Professor Morgenthau apparently believes would be more appropriate.

I think it is the kind of affirmation of principle, something entirely consonant with the past policy and record of our Government on this whole subject of human rights, and to remind another country, particularly one which is a member of the United Nations, who has subscribed to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, to remind them in the language of this resolution of what their fundamental responsibilities are under those conventions to which they have already acceded. I don 't think this is going to provoke any counterreaction.

Indeed, quite to the contrary, it would be my hope that it would have the opposite effect, that we would accomplish the goal that we seek to achieve.

Mr. FINDLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. ROSENTHAL. Thank you, Congressman Anderson. I do want to thank you for a very articulate and sensible statement. I particularly want to acknowledge my great respect for you and the leadership you have shown in the Congress. I assure you that this subcommittee, I hope in the next week, will consider this resolution and act in a positive fashion.

Mr. ANDERSON. Thank you very much.

Mr. ROSENTHAL. Our next witness is our distinguished colleague from Maryland, Congressman Gilbert Gude.



Mr. GUDE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I commend this subcommittee for scheduling these hearings on the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union and thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. I know that the members of this subcommittee have expressed their concern over this problem in the past. In fact, I feel that most Members of Congress would like to do something to help the plight of the Soviet Jews but don't really know how.

I have cosponsored a number of the resolutions that are the subject of these hearings, and, in addition, have worked with groups in my district who wished to add their voices to those protesting the inhumane policies of the Soviet Union.

The most important and effective thing we, as Members of Congress, can do is to keep this matter in the public light and urge the administration to do all it can to bring the matter before the world community at every possible opportunity.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »