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.