I want to bring to your attention an urgent appeal on behalf of Soviet dissidents from Dr. Andrei Sakharov. The appeal was sent on February 1 to the Social Democrats, U.S.A. on the occasion of its presentation to this great Soviet dissenter the Norman Thomas Freedom Award, in memory of the great American dissenter.
In his eloquent plea for peace and human rights for all people, Dr. Sakharov said:
We are all welcome the negotiations that are now being held aimed at preventing a thermonuclear war, as well as the armaments race, and to promote negotiations directed to increased trade relations — in short, all that is denoted by the word "detente." But at the same time … the external detente is tragically not accompanied by an internal and human detente."
To achieve a human detente, Dr. Sakharov urges us to support a program of what he calls "social campaigns" on behalf of Soviet dissidents which include: A campaign for free access by the representatives of the International Red Cross and World Health Organization to inspect the Soviet places of incarcerations and mental hospitals; a campaign for freedom of emigration; a campaign to defend all the honest writers who have been harassed.
If there is to be peace in the world, then those in the East and West, like academician Sakharov, who oppose military solutions to political problems and insist on human rights for all, must be free to speak out. He needs the support of those with diverse views who believe in the principles of civil rights.
The plight of Dr. Sakharov and other Soviet dissidents is extremely grave. Those who want to help can volunteer their participation, or offer financial contributions to the Andrei Sakharov Campaign; Bayard Rustin, chairman; 1182 Broadway, Suite 802; New York, N.Y. 10001.