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Letter to Tito

To the Editors:

The following letter to President Tito was sent December 23, 1974, by the recently organized International Committee of Concern for Academic Freedom in Yugoslavia.

Dear Marshal Tito,

The international community of scholars and scientists feels increasingly concerned about the news of repressive measures against intellectuals and attempts to curtail academic freedom in Yugoslavia. Particularly shocking is the recently introduced law for the Republic of Serbia, abridging the self-management of the universities and authorizing the Parliament to suspend, on political grounds, university teachers from their positions. It is understood that the introduction of the law is part of a concerted attack on a number of internationally known and respected Marxist philosophers and their students. If the law is applied, it threatens with ruin the entire inner organization of Yugoslav universities, the autonomy and self-management of which has been a pride of the nation and a model for the world at large.

In view of these developments, we in whose names the present letter is written have decided to form a standing International Committee of Concern for Academic Freedom in Yugoslavia. We are friends of the country, who admire Marshal Tito’s achievements for the liberation of the Yugoslav peoples and for the building of a new, democratic and humanist socialism. We should hate to see these achievements ruined by a return to authoritarian and reactionary forms of political management.

The aim of our Committee is to raise the issue of academic freedom in Yugoslavia in all national and international academic institutions and organizations and to keep the news media informed of the developments. The Committee will be in existence as long as repression in Yugoslavia continues.

We regard it as our right and duty to protest any further infringements on academic freedom and violations of the United Nations Charter on human rights in Yugoslavia. In particular, we protest the new amendments to the university law in Serbia and urge Marshal Tito to use his influence and statesmanship to repudiate this law and see that it is not applied. It is our conviction that only by restoring autonomy to the universities and abstaining from repressive measures against the country’s intellectuals can Yugoslavia survive as a respected member of the family of progressive and peace-loving nations.

We who form the Committee are the following scholars and scientists:

Sir Alfred J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Past President, Institut International de Philosophie (Paris); Professor Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Professor Robert S. Cohen, Professor of Physics and Philosophy, Boston University, USA; Professor Dagfinn Follesdal, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oslo, Norway, and Stanford University, USA; Dr. Jürgen Habermas, Max-Planck-Institut, Starnberg, BRD; Professor Jaakko Hintikka, Professor of Philosophy, Academy of Finland and Stanford University, USA, Vice-President, International Union of History and Philosophy of Science; Professor Harald Ofstad, Professor of Philosophy, University of Stockholm, Sweden; Professor Chaim Perelman, Professor of Philosophy, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, President, Institut International de Philosophie (Paris); Professor Paul Ricoeur, Professor of Philosophy, Université de Paris; Professor Georg Henrik von Wright, Professor of Philosophy, Academy of Finland and Professor-at-Large, Cornell University, USA, Past President, International Union of History and Philosophy of Science.

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