WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), issued the following statement today:
It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Ambassador Max Kampelman, long-time friend of the Helsinki Commission and a champion of human rights and democracy. Ambassador Kampelman had a long and storied career spanning more than half a century, and the Helsinki Commission was fortunate to have worked with him as a partner during many of those years.
Max Kampelman led U.S. negotiating teams during some of the most difficult periods of U.S.-Soviet relations. Whether he was working for the release of Soviet refuseniks or imprisoned Solidarity trade unionists in Poland, his calm and understated demeanor covered a resolve of steel and set of principles that never wavered from true north.
His contributions to the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals were considerable, but he is owed a special debt of gratitude for his stewardship of the U.S. team in 1990 in Copenhagen. As head of the delegation to that historic human rights meeting, he played a pivotal role in securing agreement on the first international instrument to recognize the specific problem of anti-Semitism and the human rights problems faced by Roma. Moreover, at a moment when Europe stood at a crossroads, Max Kampelman negotiated standards on democracy and the rule of law that remain unmatched.
It was a privilege for me and so many of my colleagues to work with a great and good man, whose example reminded us every day: this is what leadership looks like.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.