The difference between how the Soviet Union and the United States treat human rights is the big stumbling block in the interpretation of the Helsinki accords.
Both countries believe in human rights, but there is a difference in their approach.
First, the Soviet Union: "On behalf of the Soviet writers seeking freedom to express their views, I present this petition protesting that our rights as citizens have been violated and we urge the men in power to obey the laws as written in the Soviet constitution."
A Soviet official responds: "Any one who would sign this petition must be crazy, and therefore I am recommending that everyone whose name appears on this list be sent to a mental hospital for a psychiatric examination."
Now, the United States: "On behalf of the writers in the United States we protest the use of nuclear weapons and the waste of money on larger and more expensive military hardware, when so many of our country's needs for health and welfare are being ignored."
The U.S. official responds: "Thank you very much. I will call it to the attention of the President. But it is my personal opinion that you would probably have a larter impact if you printed your petition as a paid advertisement in the The Washington Post or The New York Times where congressional sources will see it.
"The Soviet Union: "As a leader of the Soviet scientists for honest research, I can no longer keep quiet on the country's bureaucratic efforts to squelch any discovery that might conflict with Communist Party ideology."
A Soviet official responds: "Then we must consider you a traitor to the country, and you will be tried under Article X of the criminal code, which could mean 10 years' imprisonment and 20 years in exile. You are a disgrace to the ideals of Socialsim."
The United States: "As an American scientist I am shocked at the failure of the government to observe and carry out the law in regards to cean air and water pollution. I intend to alert and public to the administration's flagrant disregard for the health of the American people."
A telephone call from a U.S. publisher: "Dr. Blatchley, we understand you're willing to blow the whistle on the Carter administration for its reluctance to get tough over the environment. We'd be very interested in publishing a book on the subject in the Ralph Nader tradition. Would you consider a $25,000 advance and $25,000 on publication of what we hope will be our 'Book-of-the-Month Club' selection for Christmas?"
The Soviet Union: "My friend Boris has been arrested for talking to a Western journalist, and he is being held without charges. I wish to know where you are holding him and what you intend to do with him."
The Soviet official: "We do not know any Boris, and you would be wise not to admit knowing him, either. He will stay where he is until he has admitted he passed on official state secrets to a foreigner. If you ever come here agains, you will not leave until you confess as well."
The United States: "I hate this rotten, stinking government and all it stands for. As a student who has seen my brothers and sisters being turned into robots for IBM, AT&T, General Motors and Exxon, I say up against the wall with the capitalist pigs. We're going to turn this country around."
A call from a lecture bureau in New York: "Is this Michael Redfern? We saw you on the evening news speaking at Berkeley, and we were very impressed with you. We've been looking for a new hot radical for our women's club and businessmen's convention circuit. We'll pay you $2,000 a speech minus our commission. Just keep giving the establishement hell - that's what they'll be paying for."
The Soviet Union: "I wish to emigrate to Israel with my family and would like to apply for an exit visa."
The Soviet Union: "Ingrate, traitor, miserable dog. You will rue the day you came in here and asked to leave the country. I spit on you and I spit on your application."
The United States: "I wish to emigrate to Israel with my family."
The U.S. official: "Why tell me? If Israel lets you in, you have our blessing. I have a cousin in Tel Aviv, give him a call."
And finally, the Soviet Union: "President Podgorny, you're finished. You're a disgrace to your country. Get out of her and stay out."
The United States: "President Nixon, you're finished. You're a disgrace to your country. But before you go, David Frost would like to know if you would be willing to tell your story on television for $600,000 plus 10 per cent of the profits."