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teresting to see if the Vitali Churkin's of the world had the courage to face those kinds of interlockings before the American public.
Senator COHEN. You mentioned also, I think on page 11 of one of those pages of your testimony, about the need to perhaps look at some of the study, the open literature in military journals and so forth. Do they have the equivalent of "Aviation Week"?
General ODOм. They take a different approach. They don't put out the technical information. "Aviation Week" puts out lots of technical information, just detail.
The things that are really important to learn from the Soviet journals are the way they think about military affairs, the way they plan to employ their forces, the way they plan to organize and field and train their troops.
When you turn to technical details, they generally cite Western examples and in their own press as surrogates for a particular kind of technical capability they want to talk about as being used in their own doctrine context.
Senator COHEN. One final question.
General ODOM. But they have-I have gained a very grudging respect for the professional quality of the abundant Soviet military literature. It is higher quality across-the-board, particularly in its historical perspective, than most U.S. military literature.
Senator COHEN. Final question, Mr. Chairman. Should we be more concerned about the potential impact of redefection, such as that of Yurchenko and the significance that has in the Soviet Union as far as discouraging others, the blow to our "prestige" in allowing that to take place and not taking measures to make defectors' lives more rewarding and satisfying?
General ODOM. The Yurchenko case is special. It had, I think, a very adverse result of the kind you are talking about. Of course, I would be enormously enthusiastic to prevent the duplication of that kind of defection. We are inevitably going to face cases, Soviets, of emigres going back. The people who suffer in those cases are not Americans but, I think, the Soviet defectors who go back. We never follow up and discover that many of them try to redefect to the United States.
Senator COHEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator NUNN. Thank you, Senator Cohen.
Senator SASSER. Well, thank you. General Odom, I want to thank you for a very cogent and compelling statement and Mr. Chairman, I am compelled to observe that is just the kind of statement we expect from an officer from Tocqueville, Tennessee. I was pleased to hear it and receive it today.
General, in your prepared statement, you compared what the emigres, defectors have been telling us over the past seven decades with what our own scholars had been telling us about the Soviet Union, and you come to the conclusion that the biases of the emigres notwithstanding, they have been right much more often about the Soviet Union than our own scholars have been that study the Soviet Union.
[At this point, Senator Cohen withdrew from the hearing room.]
Senator SASSER. If that is correct, and I suspect it is correct, aren't we being badly served in not having a better method of debriefing these emigres?
For example, there is the example of Mr. Peter Nicholae, a highranking Romanian government official who was attached to the Communist economic community who defected, spent five years in New York running a laundromat and selling ice cream before he came to the attention of a non-profit organization dealing with emigres.
It occurs to me that this individual ought to have significant insights into priorities and policies in the Soviet Bloc.
I mean, there are accusations being made now that current Romanian economic policies are being used to virtually starve some people in that unfortunate country, and yet this man seemed to slip through the cracks, and nobody even debriefed him or talked to him for five years.
How can we do a better job of that, or do we need to do a better job? I think your statement might have reflected some doubt as to whether we do need to do a better job.
General ODOM. My statement, I did not mean in my statement to imply that we don't need to do a better job.
Quite the contrary, I would repeat one of the points I made to Senator Nunn's question.
Clearly, the kind of individual you are talking about in one whom we should debrief and learn more about. There will always be some we will miss.
I think the really important point that the subcommittee, at least as I understand your orientation and goal here, is to expand the number of these kinds of cases that we do exploit.
And as I said earlier, I think there are a considerable number we are missing and probably can do much better on, but there will always be an occasional exception out there.
But it is certainly the case that we could learn a great deal more from a broad number of these people.
Senator SASSER. And I take it, then, it is your view this morning that we do need to tighten up our means of determining which of these emigres have valuable information for us and which, perhaps, do not.
General ODOM. It is.
Senator SASSER. Is that a fair assessment of your view?
General ODOM. That is my view, and I also added, as an amplification to that view, that it has resource implications, not only money, but also sophisticated, sufficiently sophisticated staff, personnel, to conduct this kind of exploitation of defector or emigre resources, and an ability or a capability of dealing with the social and political tensions that go along with interaction with emigres. Senator SASSER. You made the point, also, in your statement, General, that policy-makers and academicians in this country are unwilling to accept bad news that the emigres bring us on occasion. Could you be more specific about that? What are some examples? General ODOм. Well, if you-I think if you sample the emigre opinion today, if you could poll the emigres in this country, their optimism about what Glasnost and perestrojka in the Soviet Union
would bring would not be nearly as high as a poll within the American policy here. That is an example.
Senator SASSER. So there is a tendency on the part of American policy-makers and American academicians, perhaps, to see Soviet behavior through rose-colored glasses? The emigres would perhaps be a little-I don't mean to put words in your mouth-but perhaps be a little more unrealistic perhaps than the average emigre; is that a fair assessment?
General ODOM. I would like to state it a slightly different way. Maybe it is politically appropriate that we remain excessively optimistic. I don't know. I am not offering a judgment on that; I am merely stating what I think would be the results of taking emigre views more seriously. It may be politically inappropriate to be pessimistic or it might be more politically appropriate to be pessimistic and vice versa. I just think that the emigres give us more reason for a negative view of Soviet politics.
I will give you another example that not only concerns the United States, but one that concerns France. The French, for a long, long time, were reluctant to be as hard-nosed as many of the U.S. scholars were about the Stalinist period. Then, large numbers of people returned from camps, but not until Solzhenitsyn arrived on the scene in 1974, 1975 in Paris, did they accept the full truth about the camps. The impact he made in bringing that issue up and forcing the French intellectuals to deal with it is still visible in French public opinion today.
But French scholars for years had an enormous amount of evidence from many defectors coming to the West who told them stories with equally disturbing facts, details, specificity that one finds in the "Gulag Archipelago." They simply did not have the literary talent and genius that Solzhenitsyn had and was thereby able to bring it to such attention that it could not be sloughed off as an emigre bias and ignored.
Senator SASSER. General, thank you very much.
Senator NUNN. General, thank you for your very helpful testimony. We continue to stay in touch with you as we work our way through with this. In particular, when we get down to making recommendations, which may be weeks in the future. We appreciate your testimony. We appreciate your splendid service for our nation, both in the Army and in your current role.
General ODOM. Thank you very much, sir, for the opportunity to be here.
Senator NUNN. We have two more witnesses. We also have five minutes left on a roll call vote. So Senator Sasser and Cohen and myself will have to take about a ten-minute break. Then we will hear from Senator Gordon Humphrey, a colleague here in the Senate and our final witness will be Dr. Lawrence Martin-Bittman, who is a former Czechoslovakian intelligence officer who is a professor now at Boston University. We will take a ten-minute break. [At this point, Senators Nunn and Sasser withdrew from the hearing room.]
[At this point, Senator Nunn entered the hearing room.]
Senator NUNN. The subcommittee will come to order. As we said on many occasions, we swear in all witnesses before the subcommittee. Senator Humphrey, we are delighted to have you here.
Do you swear the testimony you give before the subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Senator HUMPHREY. I do.
Senator NUNN. Senator Humphrey, we are delighted to have you and would be pleased to take your statement.
TESTIMONY OF HON. GORDON J. HUMPHREY, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE 1
Senator HUMPHREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree with your statement, Mr. Chairman, that we must learn to better assist and utilize the genuine defector who usually arrives at our doorstep in his flight for freedom with nothing more than the shirt on his back.
We have not done enough in this country. That we are not doing enough was never more evident than the case of Miroslav Medvid, and it is worth noting in connection with this hearing that the report of investigation which the Helsinki Commission conducted found that not only were laws violated by minor officials, but laws were violated by officials at the highest levels of our government in connection with that case.
However, the matter on which I wish to focus this morning is our effort or perhaps I should say non effort with regards to Soviet defectors from the Army in Afghanistan. The administration's policy on Afghanistan was outlined in the State Department's latest annual assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, to wit, "It is clear that only steadily increasing pressure on our fronts, military, political, diplomatic, will induce the Soviets to make the political decisions to negotiate the withdrawal of their forces."
Surely, a powerful way to bring pressure to bear on the Soviet Union is through an active program to accommodate defectors from the Soviet army in Afghanistan. We have failed miserably and abjectly in this regard.
Let me outline three major reasons why we should increase our efforts: First, it is an issue of humanitarian importance. The war in Afghanistan has brought untold suffering to the people of that country. At the same time, the war has also been a tragedy for those young men who are sent to fight in Afghanistan.
How deeply disturbing it must be for young Soviet soldiers to be forced by their government to wage a brutal, indeed, genocidal war against an innocent civilian population. An estimated several hundred such Soviet soldiers have joined the Afghan resistance. Many have requested asylum in the west, yet only a handful, a pitiful handful have been accommodated.
Senator NUNN. Senator Humphrey, we have a good many of them which are fighting with the Afghan resistance?
Senator HUMPHREY. That is correct, an estimated several hundred.
1 See p. 244 for Senator Humphrey's prepared statement.
Second, such a policy could significantly undermine the morale of the Soviet army and hasten the day when the Soviets will be truly willing to withdraw under conditions of a just peace. There is no question that the Soviets are taking a substantial beating in Afghanistan, and increasingly so. Two years ago, the Afghan resistance was in serious jeopardy.
Today, the situation is dramatically reversed. The Soviets no longer enjoy the air superiority that once permitted them to devastate resistance bases and supply docks, and this past summer, the resistance scored a series of military victories, not only against the puppet forces, but indeed against units of the Red Army. The cost to the Soviets in lives and Rubles for their occupation of Afghanistan has soared.
We have heard for years that morale of the Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan is low and that many resort to the use of drugs. Imagine the effect if many Soviet soldiers learned that they simply had to cross over to the resistance in order to achieve political asylum in the west.
Third, such a policy could greatly heighten international awareness in the war that, for the most part, has been hidden from the world. The few Soviet defectors that have left Afghanistan have provided invaluable information about Soviet policies and tactics in this war.
Moreover, the Voice of America Radio Free Afghanistan and Radio Liberty could all carry routine interviews with Soviet defectors.
Yesterday, Mr. Chairman, one such defector, Nicolay Movchan, a Soviet soldier who joined the Afghan resistance and was granted asylum in the United States, testified before the Congressional Task Force on Afghanistan. His testimony provided important insights into the strain Soviet barbarities against Afghan civilians and has placed on the conscience of the individual Soviet soldier.
An extraordinary woman named Ludmilla Thorne of the organization Freedom House in New York, has single handedly led the way on the issue of asylum for Soviet soldiers defecting in Afghanistan. She has traveled inside Afghanistan on four separate occasions and has interviewed 22 Soviet prisoners of war.
Nine of the Soviet defectors that have been brought to the West owe their freedom to the dedication and perseverance of Ms. Thorne. Were not for she, we would have no information about Soviet soldiers wanting to come to the West.
In May of last year, Mr. Chairman, I personally visited with President Reagan and discussed this issue. During the meeting, I handed the President five letters addressed to him by name from Soviet soldiers seeking asylum in the West.
These are letters which were brought out by Ludmilla Thorne and entrusted to me and which I, in turn, gave to the President. I might add that he took a great personal interest in these cases, and as a result of his interest, those soldiers were extracted from Afghanistan are now enjoying asylum in Canada.
Despite the pressing humanitarian need, despite the valuable strategic opportunity to shorten the war, I regret to say the Administration has no program whatsoever to accommodate Soviet defectors from the Afghan war.