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Human Rights and U.S.-Soviet Relations It is a great honor to be your speaker this evening. I bring you greetings from the Secretary of State who, along with all Americans, shares your deep concern about the plight of Soviet Jewry. I should like to address my remarks this evening to the human rights situation in the Soviet Union and the impact this has on U.S.-Soviet relations.
The State of U.S.-Soviet Relations
First, a comment about the state of U.S.-Soviet relations. The world is awash with commentary on the subject as preparations intensify for the November meeting between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev. The question leaders on both sides must address is whether the basis for a more durable U.S.-Soviet rapprochement can be established. A distinguished Harvard historian, Adam Ulam, has recently commented that: "What concretely upsets ... Americans about the U.S.S.R. is what the Kremlin does, and what must be a continuing source of apprehension to the latter springs from what America is."
American hopes for detente in the 1970s foundered on Soviet efforts to achieve geopolitical advantage in Indochina, Angola, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan; to back anti-American forces in Central America and the Caribbean; to quash attempts at liberalization in Poland; and to build military forces beyond any reasonable need for defense.
If there is to be real improvement in the relationship, these underlying difficulties must be addressed. For our part, we are determined to make such an effort. The task is great.
* A basis must be found for resolving through political means such regional issues as Afghanistan. It is not, after all, weapons themselves that cause wars but political actions.
* In coping with problems of arms competition, propagandistic offers of moratoria are not the answer. The test is whether we can achieve major, stabilizing reductions in offensive nuclear arms now, while examining whether in the future deterrence can rely more heavily on defense than on threats of mutual annihilation.
* in our bilateral relations the range of mutually beneficial contacts and exchanges must be expanded.
Moreover, there is the burden on our rlations imposed by the way Soviet authorities treat their own people. We raise human rights questions with our Soviet counterparts not to score debating points, nor to achieve political advantage, but because of the kind of people we are. Freedom is fundamental in our society. Americans have always attempted …