60. Letter From Secretary of State Kissinger to Senator Henry M. Jackson1

Dear Senator Jackson:

I am writing to you as the sponsor of the Jackson Amendment to the Trade Bill (H. R. 10710) which is currently before the Senate and in whose early passage the Administration is deeply interested. As you know, Title IV of that Bill, as it emerged from the House, is not acceptable to the Administration. At the same time, the Administration respects the objectives with regard to emigration from the USSR that are sought by means of the stipulations in Title IV, even if it cannot accept the means employed. It respects in particular your own leadership in this field.

To advance the purposes we share both with regard to passage of the Trade Bill and to emigration from the USSR, and on the basis of discussions that have been conducted with Soviet representatives, I should like on behalf of the Administration to inform you that we have been assured that the following criteria and practices will henceforth govern emigration from the USSR.

First, punitive actions against individuals seeking to emigrate from the USSR would be violations of Soviet laws and regulations and will therefore not be permitted by the Government of the USSR. In particular, this applies to various kinds of intimidation or reprisal, such as, for example, the firing of a person from his job, his demotion to tasks beneath his professional qualifications, and his subjection to public or other kinds of recrimination.

Second, no unreasonable or unlawful impediments will be placed in the way of persons desiring to make application for emigration, such as interference with travel or communications necessary to complete an application, the withholding of necessary documentation and other obstacles including kinds frequently employed in the past.

Third, applications for emigration will be processed in order of receipt, including those previously filed, and on a non-discriminatory basis as regards the place of residence, race, religion, national origin and professional status of the applicant. Concerning professional status, we are informed that there are limitations on emigration under Soviet law in the case of individuals holding certain security clearances, [Page 167] but that such individuals who desire to emigrate will be informed of the date on which they may expect to become eligible for emigration.

Fourth, hardship cases will be processed sympathetically and expeditiously; persons imprisoned who, prior to imprisonment, expressed an interest in emigrating, will be given prompt consideration for emigration upon their release; and sympathetic consideration may be given to the early release of such persons.

Fifth, the collection of the so-called emigration tax on emigrants which was suspended last year will remain suspended.

Sixth, with respect to all the foregoing points, we will be in a position to being to the attention of the Soviet leadership indications that we may have that these criteria and practices are not being applied. Our representations, which would include but not necessarily be limited to the precise matters enumerated in the foregoing points, will receive sympathetic consideration and response.

Finally, it will be our assumption that with the application of the criteria practices and procedures set forth in this letter, the rate of emigration from the USSR would begin to rise promptly from the 1973 level and would continue to rise to correspond to the number of applicants.

I understand that you and your associates have, in addition, certain understandings incorporated in a letter dated today2 respecting the foregoing criteria and practices which will henceforth govern emigration from the USSR which you wish the President to accept as appropriate guidelines to determine whether the purposes sought through Title IV of the Trade Bill and further specified in our exchange of correspondence in regard to the emigration practices of non-market economy countries are being fulfilled. You have submitted this letter to me and I wish to advise you on behalf of the President that the understandings in your letter will be among the considerations to be applied by the President in exercising the authority provided for in Sec-tion ________3 of Title IV of the Trade Bill.

I believe that the contents of this letter represent a good basis, consistent with our shared purposes, for proceeding with an acceptable formulation of Title IV of the Trade Bill, including procedures for peri[Page 168]odic review, so that normal trading relations may go forward for the mutual benefit of the US and the USSR.

Best regards,

Henry A. Kissinger4
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Name File, 1974–1977, Box 2, Jackson, Henry M. No classification marking. The exchange of letters was published in The New York Times on October 19 (p. 10).
  2. Document 61.
  3. Statutory language authorizing the President to waive the restrictions in Title IV of the Trade Bill under certain conditions will be added as a new, as yet undesignated subsection. [Footnote in the original.]
  4. Printed from a copy that bears Kissinger’s typed signature with an indication that he signed the original.