The chief U.S. delegate at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, in a hard-hitting speech to a plenary session of the 35-nation conference, today itemized what he called continuing Eastern Bloc violations of human rights.
In a survey of the status of the lengthy Madrid meeting, Max Kampelman referred to dissidents and refusedniks--those refused permission to emigrate from the Soviet Union--as well as to Poland and Afghanistan. This sparked accusations from the Soviet and Polish delegations that the U.S. ambassador was returning to a Cold War attitude.
His remarks today appeared to break an undeclared truce on raising contentious issues that had characterized the Madrid proceedings since the delegates returned here last month from a Christmas recess.
In the past month there have been regular sessions of drafting groups on drawing up a concluding document to the marathon Madrid phase of the detente negotiations. Both East and West bloc delegates have said there was at present a more positive mood in the conference, which has been meeting in Madrid off and on since November 1980 to review the 1975 Helsinki accords on security and cooperation in Europe.
Kampelman said today: "There has been discernible forward movement in our negotiations. A few of our difficulties have been narrowed and, in some cases, textually resolved."
He added, however, that in the U.S. view "vital issues" remained unresolved and listed provisions on freedom of religion, safeguards against the jamming of western radio broadcasts, the right to form free trade unions, guarantees for journalists and proposals to hold a separate meeting of experts to establish ground rules for the reunification of families divided by the blocs.
Questioned on the prospect of agreement, Kampelman told reporters: "There is no room for euphoria."
Kampelman listed as especially important the issue of Soviet human rights activists who have formed watch committees to monitor Moscow's compliance with the Helsinki Final Act. "There are today 51 men and women, known as the Helsinki monitors, in Soviet jails, labor camps, psychiatric hospitals and in internal exile," Kampelman told today's session. "On this issue, the integrity of this meeting and of the Helsinki process is at stake."
In reply, Soviet delegate Serge Kondrashev accused Kampelman of "calumny" and said "nobody has been imprisoned in the Soviet Union for living up to the Helsinki Final Act," according to western diplomats who attended the closed-door session.
Despite the toughness of the U.S. language and the Eastern Bloc replies, senior western officials at the conference said they hoped for an early breakthrough that would allow the main business of the Madrid meeting to be concluded before a March 25 deadline for an Easter recess.
Compromise proposals are due to be put before the conference next week by neutral and nonaligned nations attending the meeting. These, according to neutral diplomats, will seek to balance the western demands for human rights safeguards with an East Bloc proposal that the Madrid meeting give a mandate for a conference on disarmament in Europe.
A neutral diplomat stressed that a significant factor in the framing of such proposals was the outcome of the West German elections. It was judged that the Christian Democrats' victory in Bonn Sunday would make the Soviet Bloc more amenable to compromise on human rights in return for a disarmament conference this year in advance of the prospective deployment of NATO missiles in Europe.