63. Message From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1

Subject: Trade Bill.

1. I tried to reach Jackson in Washington state immediately upon receipt of President’s statement on trade bill.2 But I missed him and he is moving around. Consequently, I had text read to Jackson’s office here which will continue to try to track him down.

2. Meanwhile, Perle called separately to say that Jackson had been informed earlier this morning via McCulloch3 of Xerox, who had got it from Kendall 4 and Flanigan,5 that in view of references to numbers Soviets would have to repudiate agreement. Jackson wanted us to know that this would “ruin the bill” and that he would be obliged to publish list of 120,000 known Soviet applicants for emigration to prove that 60,000 was minimum if emigration would indeed rise to correspond to applications. I told Perle I had been shocked by gloss placed upon agreement by Jackson and his office which in my view was bound to produce Soviet reaction. I added that in any event, President would be issuing statement clarifying nature of correspondence in effort to save [Page 175] the agreement. I repeated that situation need never have arisen if they had permitted correspondence to speak for itself.

3. After President’s statement had been dictated to Jackson’s office, Perle called back to say they would not have to make response if (1) statement referred to your letter’s phrase on emigration rate corresponding to applications and (2) last sentence is revised to say “in exercising waiver authority which will be provided for . . .” I told him I could make no promise on any changes. He argued that your letter while not containing specific numbers did contain crucial reference to that issue which is key to agreement. I said I could only try to convey his views to you in President’s traveling party.

4. Please instruct if you wish me to do anything further.6

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 9, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974. Flash. The original is an uninitialed copy. The date is handwritten. On October 21, Kissinger accompanied President Ford in a trip to Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico for meetings with Mexican President Echeverria.
  2. On October 21, White House Press Secretary Ron Nessen, who was also with the President in Tucson, released the following statement: “The President would like to clarify one point regarding assurances on emigration as related in the exchange of letters published by Senator Jackson on October 18, a point which appears to have been widely misunderstood. All the assurances we have received from the Soviet Union are contained in the letter from the Secretary of State to Senator Jackson. This letter, as I am sure you have already noted, does not contain specific numbers. Rather, it sets forth the principles to be applied in handling applications and visas of those wishing to emigrate. The Senator, in his reply to the letter of the Secretary of State, set forth certain guidelines or understandings which he proposes to apply in the renewal when the President’s waiver authority is considered by the Congress. With respect to these guidelines or understandings in the Senator’s letter, the Administration has agreed only that, as stated in the Secretary’s letter, they ‘will be among considerations to be applied by the President’ in exercising authority provided for in the Trade Bill.” (Ford Library, Nessen Papers, Box 125, Foreign Guidance for Press Briefing, Trade)
  3. C. Peter McColough, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office of Xerox Corporation.
  4. Donald M. Kendall, Chairman of Pepsico, Inc., recently returned from Moscow where he attended the annual meeting of the Directors of the U.S.–USSR Trade and Economic Council.
  5. Peter M. Flanigan, Executive Director of the Council on International Economic Policy.
  6. In a subsequent message to Kissinger on October 21, Sonnenfeldt reported that Jackson had issued his own statement on Soviet emigration, “which Perle says was intended to be helpful.” “You will note that Jackson’s rejoinder below is not bad,” Sonnenfeldt commented, “until the last sentence where it again goes beyond the ‘among other considerations’ language to imply agreement on numbers and characterizes Soviet policy as a change from the past.” The last sentence in Jackson’s statement reads: “The 60,000 figure mentioned in my letter is a benchmark, ‘a minimum standard of initial compliance,’ to be used, by the Congress and the President, in judging the good faith of the Soviets in the transition from their present restrictive policy to the future liberalized policy to which they are committed by the assurances in Secretary Kissinger’s letter.” (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974)