A Phone Plea From Sakharov
Russian scientist Andrei Sakharov, a dissident defender of human rights, invited Soviet officials yesterday to lift their ban and allow him to go under guard, if need be, to receive his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo next month.
"Let them do this if they're afraid I'll defect," he said from Moscow in a telephone call to three Nobel laureates and other Supporters at a press conference here.
Sakharov, a key figure in the development of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, was denied permission to attend the December 10 ceremony because Russian authorities said he poses "a knowledge of state secrets."
Dr. Robert Hofstadter, a Stanford University physicist and Nobel winner for science, told the conference at the Press Club that it would be "degrading" if the Oslo visit had to be made under guard.
"In any case, any state secrets Sakharov is supposed to have must be very old ones by now," he said.
Hoftstadter joined with fellow Nobel physicists Emilio Segre and Owen Chamberlain, both from the University of California at Berkeley, in urging Bay Area colleagues to protest the Soviet decision.
"A scientific exchange of ideas between our two countries is being stifled by the Soviet attitude," Chamberlain said.
Victor Sokolov, a dissident author from Moscow who moved recently to the Bay Area, said after a telephone conversation with Sakharov that the official attitude stemmed "from fear he would use the Oslo occasion to defend those (dissidents) in Soviet jails."
The press conference was co-sponsored by Amnesty International and the Bay Area Council on Soviet Jewry.
The San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, November 18, 1975