Stanford University was forced to cancel a panel discussion on arms control after the State Department ruled last week that Soviet arms control specialist Yuri Kaprolov could travel to the West Coast but could not go to the Stanford University campus.
The incident is the latest in a series in which universities have tangled with the State Department or other agencies over issues of intellectual freedom.
Last month, Stanford refused to go along with State Department restrictions on the proposed visit of Nikolay V. Umnov, a Soviet specialist on robots designed to move on rough terrain. Some at Stanford, including the organizer of the arms control panel, Episcopal Chaplain Philip Wiehe, charged that last week's ruling by the State Department amounted to retaliation for Stanford's lack of cooperation.
Stanford Vice President Robert Rosenzweig said, "Even the appearance of a link between this action and the Umnov case is cause for alarm. Nobody profits when free intellectual exchange is inhibited."
A State Department Soviet specialist said there was "no connection at all" between the two cases, which were handled by different offices at State.
The reason for not allowing Kaprolov to go to Stanford, he said, is the principle of "reciprocity," which is expected to be enforced more strictly by this administration than by previous ones.
"If the Soviets don't permit our diplomats to go to inform people, talk to their university people about our views, we don't see why we should. We are supposed to allow the Soviets to propagandize here all they want, but how far do we get if we try to get our point of view on Poland across over there?"
"It's a pretty far-fetched reciprocity," said Philip Farley, former deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and now a Stanford professor who was to be one of the panelists. "This was an invitation from an American group. You're not depriving the Soviets of anything, you're just depriving the students and faculty here of the Soviet view on an issue of great importance."