169. Editorial Note

On April 2, 1973, President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs Peter Flanigan sent President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger a copy of the MFN Option Paper that he had sent to the President on March 28 (Document 168, Tab B). In a covering memorandum, Flanigan wrote: “As the Option Paper indicates, unless [Page 641] there has been a change in the way the Soviet law is being enforced, and that change is reflected in the attitude of the Jewish leaders in the US and Congressional leaders, I believe Option II is preferable. I understand you have determined the Soviet attitude with [Soviet Ambassador Anatoly] Dobrynin. It remains to determine the attitude of Jewish leaders in the Congress and we have very little time to do this. According to George Shultz, you have the responsibility for this decision. Unless I hear differently from you, the Bill will be sent to the Congress with the provision for granting MFN to the USSR, as indicated in Option I.” On April 2, National Security Council staff member Richard T. Kennedy forwarded Flanigan’s memorandum to President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft. Kennedy noted in his covering memorandum to Scowcroft Flanigan’s requests that his memorandum be forwarded to Kissinger “urgently” and “that we advise HAK that he has sent this memorandum to him and that the ball is now in HAK’s court with time running out as to how we approach Congress on this matter.” Both memoranda were sent to San Clemente, California. An April 4 note by Kennedy, written on his April 2 memorandum to Scowcroft, reads: “Per Gen. Scowcroft’s call from San Clemente, RTK informed Flanigan that HAK prefers Option 2 with fall-back to Option 1 if Mills balks too hard. Flanigan understands and agrees will go forward in that way.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 219, Agency Files, Council on International Economic Policy (CIEP) 1973 (Vol II))

On April 10, President Richard Nixon sent the Trade Reform Act of 1973 to Congress. For his remarks and transmittal message, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1973, pages 258–270.

On April 18, President Nixon, Shultz, Kissinger, Flanigan, President’s Assistant for Legislative Affairs William Timmons, Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler, and National Security Council staff member John Lehman met with Senators Michael Mansfield (D–Montana), Hugh Scott (R–Pennsylvania), George Aiken (R–Vermont), Henry Jackson (D–Washington), Jacob Javits (R–New York), and Abraham Ribicoff (D–Connecticut), Speaker of the House of Representatives Carl Albert (D–Oklahoma), and Representatives Gerald Ford (R–Michigan) and Thomas O’Neill (D–Massachusetts) on the issue of MFN for the Soviet Union. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No other record of this meeting has been found. According to an April 20 article in The New York Times, the President told the Congressmen that the Soviets were easing obstacles to Jewish emigration to Israel by waiving a tax imposed on educated emigration applicants.

In an April 19 memorandum to the President, Timmons wrote that “Hugh Scott and Jerry Ford are prepared to do battle to provide MFN [Page 642] for Russia.” Timmons also reported that National Security Council staff member Tom Korologos had spoken with Mansfield, whom Korologos quoted as saying, “It was an outrageous way to treat the President…. a man who is trying to do all of these things for peace. Jackson wants SALT II and MBFR to fail. Tell the President I’m behind what he’s trying to do. If Jackson and others succeed in their efforts, they are going to head this country toward a major wave of anti-Semitism.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 317, Subject Files, Congressional, Vol #8, January–May 1973)

President’s Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs Richard Cook wrote in an April 19 memorandum to the President that “Ways and Means Chairman Mills reiterated to me this morning what he told Peter Flanigan yesterday: that as far as he is concerned, the Soviet communication on Jewish émigré head tax is completely satisfactory. Further, Mills told me he granted an interview today, to the Washington Post in which he has authorized public commitment to granting the President’s request for MFN to the Soviet Union in the trade bill.” Cook commented that “with Mills’ support, we should be able to get MFN authority approved by the Committee on Ways and Means and probably by the House. Even if the proposition is rejected by the Senate, Mills is convinced the conference committee on the trade bill would restore the request. Tom Korologos and I agree. Recommendation: First, if the above proves to be an accurate appraisal, there is no need for further requests by the President and his staff for cooperation or compromise from anti MFN leaders such as Jackson, Ribicoff, Javits and [Representative Charles] Vanik [D–Ohio]. Second, it is essential that Henry Kissinger establish a personal relationship with Mills and [Representative Herman] Schneebeli [R–Pennsylvania] over the coming months on the MFN issue. Third, I think the President should communicate our success with Mills to the Soviets, inasmuch as Ambassador Dobrynin knows full well that Mills’ attitude on MFN is far more important from a legislative standpoint than Jackson, Ribicoff and Javits combined.” (Ibid.)

President’s Assistant Stephen Bull reported on a conversation between Flanigan and Mansfield in an April 19 memorandum to Timmons, noting that “Sen. Mansfield characterized the attitudes of Jackson and Ribicoff as ‘outrageous.’ He said that the Soviets have taken ‘an enormous step forward,’ referring to the elimination of the emigration tax. Continuing in his commentary on Jackson and Ribicoff, Sen. Mansfield said they would ‘lose’ if they maintained their position on the Jackson Amendment. Sen. Mansfield said that Peter Flanigan could tell the President that, in view of these new circumstances, he (Sen. Mansfield) is ready to ‘go to the mat’ on this issue if the President wishes him to do so.” (Ibid.)

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According to an April 19 memorandum from National Security Council Staff Secretary Jeanne Davis to Kissinger, Mills informed Flanigan “that ‘the Soviet statements meet his requirement’; he will drop the Mills Amendment [which mirrored the Jackson amendment] and believes he will have a unanimous vote for a clean trade bill in the Ways and Means Committee.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 290, Agency Files, U.S. Treasury, Vol. III, Jan. 1972–Sept. 18, 1973)