Soviet dissident writer Andrei Amalrik is believed to have embarrassed the France government by his attempts to speak to President Valery Giscard d'Estaing about the human rights questions in the Soviet Union.
Soviet dissident writer Andrei Amalrik is believed to have embarrassed the France government by his attempts to speak to President Valery Giscard d'Estaing about the human rights questions in the Soviet Union. The france, who are fostering a policy of detente with the Russians, are expecting a visit from Soviet Communist party leader Leonid Brezhnev before June. A Presidential spokesman offered Mr Amalrik a chance to speak to foreign ministry officials in charge of preparations for next June's ministerial conference in Belgrade, Yugoslavia -- but he turned it down. President Giscard d'Estaing was on a skiing holiday until Tuesday (22 February).
SYNOPSIS: After the spokesmen's statement Mr Amalrik delivered a letter to the Elysee presidential place. He would not reveal the contents, but he did speak to reporters on leaving.
Mr Amalrik, who travelled from his home in Amsterdam in hope of the meeting, was asked through an interpreter if he believed President Giscard d'Estaing would agree to interfere in internal Soviet affairs?
Mr Amalrik replied that he did not believe respect for human rights could be regarded as interfering in a country's internal affairs. He said France had signed the Helsinki agreement with the Soviet Union and personal rights of freedom had been included.
Mr Amalrik was then asked what President Giscard d'Estaing could actually do even if he were to protest?
He said that at a practical level President Giscard d'Estaing could ask the final act of the Helsinki agreement which covered humanitarian rights. Mr Amalrik suggested the President could tell the Soviet Union that if it did not apply the humanitarian clause signed at Helsinki, western countries could refuse to recognise the borders set up at the end of the war. The final part of the Helsinki agreement could not be separated, Mr Amalrik argued -- you could not reject half and implement the rest.