168. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1

    • Efforts to Prevent Anti-Soviet Incidents by the JDL

Incidents have continued to occur, though of a markedly less violent character, with respect to Soviet personnel and establishments in the Washington area, and the Soviets have continued to register [Page 489] protests. Interestingly, during a recent meeting in Geneva at the Law of the Sea conference, the Legal Adviser of the Soviet Foreign Office, Khlestov, raised this subject with State’s Legal Adviser, John Stevenson. Khlestov took pains to stress the personal concern of the highest Soviet leadership (he implied Brezhnev and Kosygin) with the inability of the US to take effective action to protect Soviet diplomats from Jewish Defense League activities. Khlestov, whom Stevenson believes has a sound understanding of the US legal system, claimed that he spent several hours with the Soviet leadership trying to explain the problems we have, by virtue of the Federal system, in obtaining effective action from local officials. Despite his efforts, Khlestov said he was unsuccessful, and that the Soviet leaders believe that the US could deal with this problem if it had the will to do so.

For our part, there has been a substantial increase in federal investigative efforts which has led recently to several federal indictments of JDL members. State has been working in cooperation with New York authorities to speed up prosecutions, and a State lawyer will be assigned to New York to further improve this cooperation.

As a longer term effort, State has prepared and sent to Justice a proposed legislative package designed to improve federal law enforcement efforts to deter violence against Soviet and other foreign officials.

In the area of public affairs, State increased its public information efforts, particularly within the Jewish community. State officials are engaged in an expanded series of public speaking engagements with Jewish groups. In addition, the Israeli Embassy has been made aware of our desire for official Israeli statements condemning JDL violence and for a sustained private campaign with local leadership of Jewish groups throughout the US.

There is at Tab A2 a memorandum from Secretary Rogers enclosing a paper providing a comprehensive view of the measures State is taking, in cooperation with Justice and local authorities, to respond to the problems of Soviet Jewry and the anti-Soviet violence it has engendered here.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 715, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XIII. Confidential. Sent for information. Sonnenfeldt forwarded a draft of the memorandum, based in part on an attached March 19 status report from Eliot, to Kissinger on April 2. (Ibid.) According to notes and an attached correspondence profile, the President saw the memoranda from Kissinger and Rogers (Tab A) on April 13.
  2. Dated January 29; attached but not printed.