76. Note From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


Re Gromyko Letter on Jackson Exchange.2

It seems to me there are two choices:

(a) to treat this as a statement for the record, which was to have been expected after the hoopla in the US, to ignore it and to let matters take their course.

(b) to treat it as a repudiation of the idea that there will be an improvement in Soviet handling of the emigration issue, including an increase in numbers of emigrants; to so inform Jackson et al and to let the compromise lapse.

My inclination is to do the former, certainly as long as nothing similar is said publicly by the Soviets. (The letter does not ask you to make a public disavowal of the objectionable parts of the exchange with Jackson.) There is the risk, of course, that after the Bill passes nothing for the better happens and that the Soviets would reject any representations we make on this or that case, as provided for in your letter to Jackson. And the Soviets will have this letter to demonstrate that in this case there was no bad faith on their part.

But the risks of course (b) probably outweigh those of course (a) because of the political impact and associated effects. Moreover, the pressures will in fact be on the Russians to do better once the Bill passes and assuming things like SALT move forward.

I do not believe that any bargaining or nitpicking with Gromyko about just what the Soviets did or did not tell you makes any sense.

So, I think you should file this letter and see what happens.

Sonnenfeldt 3
  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. In an attached note, David Gompert, Kissinger’s Special Assistant, returned the note to Sonnenfeldt for his files.
  2. Document 75.
  3. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.