207. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger1
- Discussions on Title IV of Trade Bill with Senator Jackson’s Staff
I have had two extended sessions, one with Bill Eberle present, the other with Bill’s deputy John Jackson.2 I cannot honestly say that we [Page 738]negotiated since Perle and Fosdick essentially took the position that they have the votes to pass their amendment and that they would agree to modify it only if certain very stringent conditions were met. In fact, they would not agree to talk about modifications of the amendment until they first had clear assurances that the demands on emigration would actually be put to the Soviets. (This represented a slight advance over their first position which was that they would talk about changing the amendment only after the Senator had received indications of a positive Soviet reaction to the demands.)
The Jackson demands are at Tab A. Originally, Perle gave them to me orally but I urged him to reduce them to paper in the form of generalized principles which would not have the character of direct intervention into domestic Soviet procedures. This resulted in the Basic Principles. But, in addition, there is the memorandum elaborating on each principle.
I pointed out that many of the points in the memorandum in fact described Soviet practices not only toward potential emigrants but their population generally and consequently the memorandum was tantamount to demanding the repeal of the Soviet system. I suggested at one point that perhaps a proper way to formulate the First Principle would be that any requestor for emigration and his family should be treated the same as any normal non-requesting individual and family (Bill Eberle’s idea). Perle and Fosdick were reluctant, though not wholly negative.
I repeatedly stressed my view that such a list of demands was non-negotiable with the Soviets. They insisted that the Soviets have an incentive to let out all who want to leave.
After much back and forth, the principal propositions that emerged seemed to be the following:
- Jackson does not necessarily require a written document by the Soviets.
- He does require an assurance from the President in fairly specific terms that he has reason to believe the Soviets would permit an increasing volume of emigration and that applicants would not be subjected to discrimination, harassment and indignities.
- Such a Presidential assurance would have to be in writing with some oral assurance that it was based on explicit discussions with the Soviets of the terms in the Jackson memorandum. There could also be a legislative history indicating the performance standards that would be employed to judge the Soviets.
- Jackson feels strongly about hard-core cases; hence the requirement to let out first those who applied first. He also feels strongly about “good faith” acts.
- It is not wholly clear whether Jackson’s agreement to a modified amendment and his support of the Bill will depend on Soviet assurances [Page 739](as conveyed by the President) alone or also require immediate Soviet performance. (I pointed out repeatedly that in the unlikely event that the Soviets accepted anything approaching the Jackson list they clearly would condition it on first getting MFN and retaining EXIM credits.) Perle has agreed to set down on paper how Soviet performance might be phased. I drew a careful distinction between assurances as the condition for passage of an acceptable bill and performance as the condition for continued granting of MFN and credits after some specified period of time written into the bill.
- While Jackson does not insist on an immediate increase to a rate of 100,000 emigrants per year (he thinks there are 500,000 people of all kinds who want to leave and wants the process completed in five years) he does insist on a rapid increase in the rate. 40–50,000 per year is not acceptable. 90,000 may be.
- A Presidential statement to Jackson that a document similar to the Jackson principles and memorandum has been handed to the Soviets and that the President believes the Soviets understand that retention of MFN and credits beyond a certain time depends on their performance is not acceptable to Jackson .
- In any revised bill, the burden of determining Soviet nonperformance must rest at least as much on the President as on the Congress.
- While Jackson would not raise the emigration issue in other legislation if he were satisfied with respect to it for the trade bill, he gives no assurance that he will not raise other issues concerning trade and technology transfers to the USSR. On the contrary, he insists on his right to question individual credit grants on grounds of national security, etc.; and on his right to question such projects as the gas deals and deals involving technology. (He plans hearings on technology transfer to the USSR.)
While I can continue, after my return from Europe, to try to whittle down the performance standards to more generalized language, I do not think I can shake the basic position without your having a further talk with Jackson and Ribicoff. I believe that in such a talk you should shoot for a generalized formula that would be put to the Soviets and form the basis of eventual Presidential assurances to Jackson:
- There will be no interference with the right to emigrate.
- The flow of emigration shall be steadily increased.
- Persons wishing to emigrate and their families shall not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, discrimination and other indignities by virtue of their desire to emigrate. In particular, there should be no efforts to prevent applicants from complying with emigration procedures.
If it were possible for you to agree with the Senators that these are the principles, you and they could then instruct me and their staffs to elaborate these principles by about one paragraph each. In addition, you [Page 740]could agree to raise with Dobrynin (not Brezhnev) some of the details in the Jackson memorandum to make the Soviets aware of more particular standards that we would apply in observing Soviet performance.
While I understand that there may be differences between Ribicoff and Jackson, Perle and Fosdick maintain that the two Senators are totally in tandem. You may be able to form some judgment on this point and on whether Ribicoff’s man could usefully be drawn into any future contacts.
That you indicate after my return from Europe whether, and if so, along what lines you wish us to pursue this matter with Perle and Fosdick.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Entry 5403, Box 5, Nodis Memcons, 1974. Confidential; Eyes Only. Sent for action.↩
- Eberle’s report to Kissinger on his meeting with Sonnenfeldt and Jackson’s staff members is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 404, Subject Files, Special Assistant for Trade (Ambassador Eberle).↩
- A vysov, or vyzov, was an invitation.↩