The 1975 Helsinki Agreements

The 1975 Helsinki Agreements

Ten years ago, several dissidents from the Soviet Union created a public group to monitor Moscow`s compliance with the Helsinki Agreements. Our idea was that many of the human rights issues that divide the governments of the Eastern and Western blocs could be accepted by independent representatives of public opinion, the citizens of The East and west, who have a vital interest in implementing the Helsinki Agreements in their own country. We have therefore voluntarily taken on the task of examining how the Helsinki agreements are implemented in the Soviet Union. Domestic political opposition to the helsinki final act must also be seen in the broader context of US-Soviet relations, as the root of much of the criticism was a greater critique of Ford`s détente policy. Before the signing of the helsinki final deed, the case of Saigon, the fighting in Angola, the 1973 war in the Middle East and the failure of a SALT II agreement had signalled the “virtual collapse of détente”. Footnote 23 Thus, in the summer of 1975, the CSCE became a focal point for critics who felt that the United States had over-admitted on the path of détente and wondered whether the promise of the policy had been kept. Footnote 24 26 As Mr Kissinger Ford presented, the purpose of his meeting was to convince ethnic leaders that the Helsinki Final Act was not a treaty, that it could not harm the interests of the Baltic Americans and promote European peace. Memorandum, Kissinger to Ford, Administrative Subject File, Presidential Meeting with House Members, July 1975, Box 6, Max L. Friedersdorf Files, GRFL; Transcript, July 24, 1975, No. 280, Box 11, Ron Nessen Files, GRFL; and Genys, 251-4.

On 1 August 1975, 1 representatives from 35 European and North American countries signed the Helsinki Final Act, including US President Gerald Ford and Soviet Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev. Mike Bowker and Phil Williams, Superpower Relaxed: A Reappraisal (Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications, 1988), 63; Peter Wallensteen: “American Soviet Relaxing: What Went Wrong?”, Journal of Peace Research, 22, 1 (March 1985), 1-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 1; Gregory A. Flynn: “The Content of European Detente,” Orbis, 20 (summer 1976), 401-16Google Scholar, 402-3; William G.


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