Maine schoolgirl calls for granddaughter exchange

KOBE, Japan, Dec. 26 -- Samantha Smith, the American girl invited by Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to tour his country, today proposed 1984 be made the year of 'International Granddaughters Exchange' to promote understanding between nations.

'I propose leaders of nations send their granddaughters to nations where they have little understanding,' Samantha told about 200 people - mostly children -- at the opening ceremony of the Childrens 21st Century Symposium.


Samantha traveled to Japan with three other teenage members of the Childrens Express, a news service written by children, at the invitation of the Japan Association for the International Exposition, Tsukuba 85.

'For example, leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union send their grandchildren to each others nation. And this can be expanded to other nations,' she said.

'By the year 2001, we will be able to look around and find only friends. When I think of the year 2001, I can picture people who don't look the same as me being my very good friends,' Samantha said.

The 11-year-old American girl made international headlines when she wrote Andropov a letter asking questions on war and peace. She traveled to Russia with her parents at the invitation of Andropov, but did not meet the Communist Party leader.


Samantha, who is on a 10-day tour of Japan, also described her vision of a 'very friendly international computer' that would show the world's foods supply, needs and transporation situation and could coordinate them to fill the needs of the world's poor.

Samantha, of Manchester, Maine, appeared at the symposium held at the western Japanese port city of Kobe. She shared the head table with Stephen Naplan, 13, of Marblehead, Mass., and Rebecca Walkowitz, 13, and Felycia Kornbluh, 17, both from New York.

Earlier in the day, the American teenagers visited Mayor Tatsuo Miyazaki at the city hall. The children received the city memorial medallions and T-shirts with the logo of the 1985 International Collegiate Olympiad which the city will host.

In return, Samantha presented a jar of Maine maple syrup and told the mayor: 'You put this on pancakes.'

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