52. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Ford1


  • Jackson Amendment to the Trade Bill

I had a session with Senators Jackson. Javits and Ribicoff following your speech at the Capitol today.2

On the matter of the third letter acknowledging Jackson’s interpretations of the Administration’s assurances, the Senators agreed to drop such a letter. Instead they presented a modification of the basic Administration letter in which it would be noted that Senator Jackson had submitted certain guidelines and in which the Senator would be advised that these guidelines would be “among the considerations” to be applied by the President in exercising a waiver authority. In short, the Jackson letter would not constitute a commitment on the part of the Administration.3

Concerning the number of emigrants, we agreed that it should correspond to the number of applicants and that good faith Soviet performance on the assurances we have received would have to result in substantial increases in applications.

Jackson pressed hard on the question of Soviet use of security clearances as an impediment to emigration. I pointed out that we had received no assurances on that point, but were, of course, in a position to use the appeals procedure with the Soviets if it appears that security clearances were being used unreasonably to prevent emigration.

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I believe the letters as now drafted are acceptable.4 They are attached at Tab A. I recommend your approval.5

On the question of the waiver procedure, I pointed out your strong reluctance to accept Jackson’s proposal for Congressional initiative. I also noted your concern that the Jackson “compromise”, whereby his procedure would be used after the initial 18 months and the veto procedure thereafter, could result in major controversy in the middle of the 1976 Presidential primaries.6

It was left that Jackson would be authorized by the two other Senators to take this matter up directly with you.7

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974. No classification marking. The original is an uninitialed copy. In an attached note to Sonnenfeldt, Marilyn Biery, however, reported: “The Secretary signed off on this. No changes.”
  2. On October 8, the President delivered his “Whip Inflation Now” speech on the U.S. economy to a joint session of Congress. Although no formal record of Kissinger’s meeting with the Senators on October 8 has been found, Sonnenfeldt’s handwritten notes are ibid., Box 5, Misc. Memcons. Excerpts from his notes, transcribed by the editor, are provided in the footnotes below.
  3. The revised letters are attached but not printed. The texts are essentially identical to the letters exchanged between Kissinger and Jackson on October 18. See Documents 60 and 61.
  4. According to Sonnenfeldt’s notes (see footnote 2 above), Kissinger explained that the redrafted exchange of letters might be acceptable: “I can live with this letter. But all I can promise—[I] hate to be fussy—is that emigration will rise with applications. With at most 1½% less for security clearances. All Gromyko said in long lunch was that individual security cases can be raised with them.” Kissinger subsequently sounded a more positive note: “I will propose [to Ford] to accept your redraft. Can get word [to Senators] tomorrow. Not asking [for] redraft on national security, just telling you what Soviets said so we understand each other.” “My word will weigh” with the President, Kissinger assured Jackson. “[I] would be astonished if he rejected.”
  5. There is no indication of the President’s approval or disapproval of the recommendation.
  6. According to Sonnenfeldt’s notes, Kissinger stated that Ford was “adamantly opposed” to an 18-month waiver, arguing that it would “fall into maximum contention period,” i.e., the 1976 Presidential campaign. The meeting also included the following exchange: “Kissinger: On waiver, [you] should talk to President who knows better than I. Ribicoff: Trade Bill won’t come up till after recess. So time. Javits: Should try to settle & get tranquility on this issue. We are both with you (Scoop). If President wants 2 years rather than 18 months, [it would] give you refusal after election. Jackson: Don’t want 2 years. Trust went down [in] grain deal when Soviets refused to give data. 2 years too long. Kissinger: Well, President feels strongly. He knows how it works. I don’t. He fears big acrimonious argument.”
  7. In a memorandum to Scowcroft on October 9, Sonnenfeldt reported: “I talked to Jackson’s people; he, himself, was not available. Apparently Henry called Jackson before he left last night and agreed to the letters. In any case, I confirmed that point again.” Sonnenfeldt added: “Perle says that if the Bill should be reported out, it would of course be with the original JacksonVanik Amendment. The waiver amendment would be introduced from the Floor by Jackson. This could not occur before the recess and consequently Perle says there would be time for the Administration and Jackson to work out the precise language, based on whatever agreement is reached between the President and Jackson. Perhaps you should report these considerations to the President and see how he feels about it.” (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974)