The Soviet Union said today it was "quite natural" to bar U.S. Ambassador Malcom Toon from delivering a July 4 speech on Soviet television because his address contained a reference to human rights.
The official Tass news agency described American outspokeness on human rights issues as part of a campaign by "certain circles . . . to distort the essence of socialism and interfere with improvemenentator Yri Kornilov, "it is quite natural that Soviet mass media by no means intend to promote such a noisy campaign which is at variance with the goals of constructive development of relations between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A."
Soviet officials told Toon on Monday that he had to delete a human rights reference in his proposed Independence Day speech or not be allowed to deliver it. Toon refused and the speech was canceled.
The paragraph to which Soviet officials objected said, "Americans will continue to state publicly their belief in human rights and their hope that violations of these rights whereever they occur will end."
Kornilov, described by Western sources as an authoritative commentator, said news stories in the United States about the incident were an "ill-intentioned hullabaloo around alleged violations of human rights in the U.S.S.R."
Meanwhile, as if to counter reports of bad health, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev attended a ballet at the Kremlin Hall of Congresses last night, acknowledging applause from the audience with waves of the hand.
Brezhnev and Toon had met early a few hours earlier and reportedly engaged in spirited talks about human rights and other issues during their almost two-hour session.
Western diplomatic sources suggested that both activities by Brezhnev were in part designed to refute recent reports from French diplomats that the Kermlin leader is in poor health. Brezhnev paid a state visit to France last month.
The ballet was a performance of Aram Khatchaturian's "Spartacus" by the state ballet of Dnepropetrovsk, the city where Brezhnev's political career began. He was accompanied to the ballet by Yuri Andropov, head of the Soviet secret police, the KGB and Dmitrii Ustinov. defense minister.