Human Rights Diplomacy

Looking for an exciting, thrilling, absorbing course for the spring? Peer at the attached.

Senators Frank Church (left, Democrat of Idaho) and John Tower (Republican of Texas) at the CIA oversight hearings. The committee's focus on assassination plots (as seen in this photo, with Church brandishing a weapon allegedly designed by the CIA to facilitate assassination) wound up distracting the committee from broader issues of intelligence oversight.


Human rights diplomacy assumed a number of forms: anti-communist and Jewish activists united behind the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which linked US trade with the Soviet Union to Moscow's policy on Jewish immigration. The Ford administration's interpretation of the amendment as an intrusion on executive authority met with resistance when the President appeared at a mystery location in 1976.

NOTE: The reading for this class is all available on-line.

Watergate, Vietnam, Cold War excesses of the CIA--all of these forces combined to create a resurgence of congressional activity on international matters in general, and a renewed emphasis on human rights in particular. After introductions in the Cmiel and Haines pieces, we'll read the report of the key congressional investigative panel of the era, chaired by Democratic senator Frank Church of Idaho. From there, some reminisces by the most important congressional staffer of the time, Pat Holt of the Foreign Relations Committee. This activism did not deter Henry Kissinger--as we see. And, more important, the emphasis on human rights produced a counter-reaction, most articulately stated by Jeanne Kirkpatrick's "Dictatorships and Double Standards" article.


bullet Kenneth Cmiel, "The Emergence of Human Rights Politics in the United States."
bullet Gerald Haines, "The Pike Committee and the CIA"


bullet Church Committee Report
bullet Pat Holt oral history--CIA oversight and the Foreign Relations Committee
bullet Kissinger and Pinochet
bullet Jeanne Kirkpatrick--on dictatorships