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Gerald R. Ford

Presidency

What was the Helsinki Agreement?

The Helsinki Agreement or Helsinki Accords was an international agreement signed by more than thirty-five countries, including the Soviet Union. The United States and other Western countries agreed to recognize the territorial boundaries created by the Soviet Union in the wake of World War II. In exchange, the Soviet Union and other Eastern countries agreed to observe human rights principles. The act’s ten major principles included: recognizing territorial boundaries; preserving peace, equal rights, and self-determination for people; and refraining from the use of force.

Some critics charged that the Ford administration caved to the Soviets, but Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger believed that by formally recognizing the Soviet control in Eastern Europe, there would be expanded cultural and diplomatic exchanges.



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