Local Activists Plan Campaign For Amnesty
More than 100 people, many of them representatives of New England activist organizations, attended a conference Saturday to develop strategies for a nationwide drive for reconciliation with Vietnam and unconditional amnesty for all Vietnam war resisters.
The all-day conference at the Divinity School, one of seven regional meetings held across the nation, included workshops on veterans' problems, recognition and aid for Vietnam, and amnesty for was resisters.
The meeting sought to unite individuals and organizations concerned about war-related issues in an effort to influence the incoming Carter administration, Anita J. Greenbaum, a conference organizer, said yesterday.
Greenbaum said one focus of the meeting was to begin a nationwide campaign to obtain signatures for a petition to be presented to President-elect Jimmy Carter on Inauguration Day.
The petition will ask the new administration and Congress to:
Normalize relations with the nations of Indochina and accept admission of Vietnam to the United Nations:
Provide reconstruction aid to Vietnam;
Grant unconditional amnesty to "all draft, military, and civilian resisters and veterans with less than fully honorable discharges":
Assure adequate rehabilitation and compensation to all physically or psychologically wounded veterans.
Greenbaum said the campaign will begin officially this week or next with a press conference and ceremony, during which Sen. Edward M. Brooke (D-Mass) and other legislators will sign the petition.
The meeting Saturday, sponsored jointly by Friendshipment and the National Council for Universal Unconditional Amnesty, was organized locally by the Massachusetts Coalition for Amnesty and Friends of Indochina.
Cora Weiss, national coordinator for Friendshipment, said one immediate goal of the conference was to generate support for U.S. recognition of Vietnam.
Friendshipment is a coalition of 45 religious and activist groups organized to raise money for the reconstruction of Vietnam.
Conference participants issued a statement to President Ford asking that the U.S. not veto the entrance of Vietnam to the U.N. when the question arises.
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