34. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The Secretary
  • Senator Henry Jackson
  • Senator Jacob Javits
  • Senator Abraham Ribicoff
  • Mr. Helmut Sonnenfeldt
[Page 90]

Kissinger: There are two issues I would like to discuss. The first is the waiver, the second is a moral question. Let me take the second one first.

This has to do with our exchange of letters. I can fully justify my letter to Scoop from our talks with the Soviets—last April in Moscow and then confirmed in June in Moscow at the summit. I can also accept your interpretations as reasonable extrapolations of the points in my letter. But I can’t apply this to the numbers. My view is that if they (the Soviets) live up to the understandings and there is a certain number of applicants then the number of applicants should rise substantially over what it was before. But I can’t say that the Soviets accept the number (in Jackson’s interpretive letter). And I can’t be responsible for that number.

(Jackson: There is also the business about the three-year provision for security cases.

Kissinger: Well, I don’t have a reaction yet from Dobrynin on that.)

Kissinger: Dobrynin’s position is that the letters are my business but that they are consistent with the talks we had with Gromyko and Dobrynin. (Kissinger then mentioned some details of the Kudirka case.)

Kissinger: On the numbers we will do our damndest but we can’t take responsibility for the specific number.

Javits: Well, as far as I am concerned the President’s pledge is the most important: he will do all he can to get Soviet compliance and he will cut off the trade benefits if necessary.

Kissinger: That we can do. But the number is a different problem.

Ribicoff: It really is up to Scoop. What is he going to say publicly? People do expect a certain number.

Kissinger: Our position is that if there is no harassment, if there are no obstacles to applications then the number should be all right. I have gone over the harassment and related problems with Gromyko and he accepted it all. On numbers he first said (in Geneva) that 45,000 was reasonable assumption. Then two weeks later he confirmed it in Cyprus.2 But then in Moscow at the summit he said a number is not compatible with their self-respect, and he refused to give a number.

[Page 91]

Javits: Well, we need a figure so we can make a judgment. The Soviets must not stop after say 100,000 have come out.

Kissinger: That is true. Lowell says he has pretty good information on total numbers and on what is happening. That is of course unless they cut off telephone communications.

Jackson: Yes. But if communications break down, it would be very bad.

Kissinger: That’s right.

Javits: I can justify the arrangement we have made to the Jewish Community—and remember I am up for election.

Ribicoff: Well and we three will be here if the Russians violate it. (Scoop gets re-elected with 80% plus and Jack and I will be back.)

Kissinger: All of us will be here.

Jackson: What was it that Gromyko said about the 45,000?

Kissinger: That it was a reasonable estimate.

Javits: But we don’t want a quota. That has a bad connotation and goes back to the old business of restrictive quotas.

Jackson: That is why we wrote it the way we did.

Kissinger: Well, I will raise the whole issue again when Gromyko comes this week: the numbers, the three years on security cases.

(Other discussion dealt with the waiver issue and the problem of whether and how to publish the exchange of correspondence.)

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974. Eyes Only. Drafted by Sonnenfeldt. A typed notation indicates that the memorandum was an excerpt of the conversation. The meeting was held in the White House. In an attached memorandum to Eagleburger, Sonnenfeldt reported: “This record should be maintained in a manner so that it can be referred to if this issue should come up later. I have made no distribution, but I assume you will wish to send a copy to Scowcroft in addition to whatever disposition the Secretary wants to make to it here.” Sonnenfeldt’s handwritten notes of the meeting, including discussion of the proposed waiver and publication of the exchange of correspondence, are ibid., Box 5, Misc. Memcons. According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger met Jackson, Ribicoff, Javits, and Sonnenfeldt for breakfast from 7:48 to 9:03 a.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 439, Miscellany, 1968–76)
  2. Kissinger and Gromyko discussed the JacksonVanik Amendment during their meeting at 12:20 p.m. on April 29 in Geneva. For a record of the meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974, Document 176. A memorandum of conversation on May 7 at Nicosia, Cyprus, is in National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 91D414, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, May 1974. For a summary of the conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974, Document 179. Based on these records, Kissinger and Gromyko did not discuss Soviet emigration in Cyprus.