In 1977, Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan and New York Rep. Frederick Richmond traveled to Cuba to secure the release of American prisoners. Nolan personally lobbied Fidel Castro and the two bonded over a shared love of fishing. After agreeing to release the prisoners, Castro invited Nolan to return to Cuba for a fishing trip.
Trip to People's Republic of China
In January 1978 Senate Majority Whip Alan Cranston urged the United States yesterday to normalize relations with the People's Republic of China "as soon as possible" along lines suggested by the Chinese. Cranston, who led a 10-member congressional delegation on a four-city tour of China, said he doesn't believe that Peking will try to take Taiwan by force if the United States renounces a mutual defense treaty in effect since 1954. The California Democrat, declaring that he feels more urgently about the need to set up diplomatic ties with China because of his trip, said, "I feel we should do so swiftly, that we should recognize the absurdity of maintaining our relationship with Taiwan on the grounds it is the government of all China. Clearly, it is not. . . Cranston noted the terms outlined by Peking for normalized relations: an end to U.S.-Taiwanese diplomatic relations although trade and cultural ties could continue; an end to the mutual U.S.Taiwanese defense treaty and withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from the island off the Asian mainland.
"I think we should proceed on those termsas soon as possible," Cranston said. Defense treaty He noted that renouncing the mutual defense treaty would eliminate a legal obligation for the United States to intervene if Peking moves militarily against Taiwan. It would not preclude such a move, however, if the United States decided one were necessary. Cranston said he discussed his views with President Jimmy Carter on Monday aboard the plane carrying Carter back to Washington from Minnesota, where he attended funeral services for Hubert Humphrey. Carter "didn't comment," he said. United States policy, as set out in the Shanghai Communique signed at the end of President Richard Nixon's trip to China in 1972, favors eventual normalization in diplomatic relations. But the question of Taiwan has been the main stumbling block. Cranston declined to say precisely how soon he thinks the United States can move toward normalized relations with Peking. "I doubt that practically it can be done this year," he said, especially in view of administration foreign policy concerns with the Panama Canal treaties and strategic arms limitation talks with the Soviet Union. Not fearful But he also said he was not fearful that the issue would be politically damaging if it were raised in advance of the 1980 presidential elections. "I think there will be some uproar and then when China doesn't make an immediate grab for Taiwan it will die down," he said.
With Cranston in China for a 14-day trip that ended a day early because of Humphrey's death were Sens. Charles Mathias (R-Md.), James Abourezk (D-S.D.), Gary Hart (D-Colo.), and Richard Lugar (R-lnd.) and Reps. Charles Whalen (R-Ohio), James Weaver (D-Ore.), Stephen Neal (D-N.C.), Fred Richmond (D-N.Y.) and Steven Solarz (D-N.Y.). The group traveled to Peking, Shanghai, Nanking and Canton, touring numerous facilities as well as holding discussions with several Chinese officials. Cranston said he found among Chinese leaders a "discouraging acceptance of the inevitably of war" because of differences between the United States and Russia.
- Tom Harkin
- Homer Jack
- Seymour Melman, co-chairman
- William Winpisinger, co-chairman - president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
- Ramsey Clark
- William Davidon
- Jerome Frank
- David Livingston
- Robert Maslow
- Joseph Miller
- Michael Moffitt, IPS
- Robert K. Musil
- Leon Quat
- Marcus Raskin
- Rep. Fred Richmond
- Alex Rosenberg
- Morton Stavis
- Edith Tiger
- Sr. Mary Luke Tobin
- Kosta Tsipis
- Rep. Ted Weiss
The Chile letter
On August 1 1979 Thirty-five U.S. Congressmen signed a letterto President Jimmy Carter demanding that private bank loans to Chile be barred unless the Chilean government chose to extradite three military officials, including the former director of the Chilean intelligence service. The three had been indicted for complicity in the assassination of marxist Unidad Popular government member and KGB agent Orlando Letelier and the killing of Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) staffer Ronni Moffitt in 1976.
In May 1978 the Chief Justice of the Chilean Supreme Court rejected the U.S. request for extradition.
Chief sponsor of the letter was Rep. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who was joined by Congressmen John Burton (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Robert Kastenmeier (D-WI), Ron Dellums (D-CA), Berkly Bedell (D-IA), Richard Ottinger (D-NY), Fred Richmond (D-NY), Robert Drinan (D-MA), Leon Panetta (D-CA), Don Edwards (D-CA); Norman Mineta (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA}, Anthony Beileson (D-CA) George Brown (D-CA), Toby Moffett (D-CT), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Eugene Atkinson (D-PA), Michael Barnes (D-MD), David Bonior (D-MI), Adam Benjamin (D-IN), William Brodhead (D-MI), Robert Carr (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Tom Downey (D-NY), Harold Hollenbeck (R-NJ), Pete Kostmayer (D-PA), Stewart McKinney (R-CT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Andrew Maguire (D-NJ) Rick Nolan (DFL-MN), Gerry Studds (D-MA), Bruce Vento (DFL-MN) and Howard Wolpe (D-MI).
The Harkin letter characterized the Chilean government as "an enemy of the American people" and urged the President to "take strong action against this terrorist government." The letter was released (9 A.M. on August 1 1979) at the same time a press statement from the Washington, DC, Chile Legislative Center of the National Coordinating Center in Solidarity with Chile, staffed by veterans of the Venceremos Brigade and the Communist Party USA, supported the Congressional letter and urged pressure so that the State Department does not accept a military trial of the three Chileans in Chile as a substitute for extradition and trial in the US
- CLW bio, accessed July 10, 2013
- [The Stanford Daily, Volume 172, Issue 61, 18 January 1978]
- SANE letterhead May, 1978
- Information Digest August 10 1979 p 244