216. Memorandum for the Record1
- Bipartisan Leadership Breakfast with the President—Wednesday [Thursday], September 26, 1974
- President Ford
- Secretary Kissinger
- Senator Mike Mansfield
- Senator Hugh Scott
- Senator William Fulbright
- Senator George Aiken
- Senator Hubert Humphrey
- Congressman Thomas O’Neill
- Congressman John Rhodes
- Congressman Thomas Morgan
- Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen
- Lt. General Brent Scowcroft
- Mr. William Timmons
- Turkish Aid; Jackson Amendment; Energy Cooperation
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the trade bill.]
The President: Let’s spend just a minute on Jackson–Vanik. I met with Scoop last Saturday.2 My position is to have a waiver. If, at the [Page 765] end of the year the Soviet Union hasn’t performed, I would kill MFN. The Soviet Union has agreed they wouldn’t interfere with applications and that any applicant could leave, except for security cases.
Secretary Kissinger: That’s about 1 or 1½% of the total.
The President: And no harassment. If they stick by that, I would so certify and MFN would continue. We proposed to Scoop a procedure like we had on the pay bill. Scoop wants affirmative action by the Congress under a complicated system he says will ensure that Congress will act.
Senator Fulbright: That won’t work.
Senator Scott: No, it won’t.
The President: Scoop has worked out a complicated procedure, but you know it can be circumvented.
Why, we would even be willing to let it be a one-House veto.
Senator Humphrey: What has Javits said about all this?
Secretary Kissinger: What the President described is what the Soviets have told us. But they won’t guarantee a specific figure and they also claim that emigration is down because of the Middle East situation. There is probably something to that. There is a problem in Western Europe already with people wanting to go back. We would communicate all these understandings in a letter to Scoop and he would answer back with his clarifications.
Senator Humphrey: To Scoop? And how about the rest of us?
Secretary Kissinger: Scoop would write back and say he understands that 60,000 is what we could expect as an adequate figure. The Soviets will not agree to that. And you know there is no way for the Soviet Union to live up to every detail of these requirements, so Jackson could use every isolated example to scream bad faith. The Soviets could ask for typed applications. No government could or should live up to this sort of intrusion.
Senator Fulbright: We certainly wouldn’t.
Secretary Kissinger: But we would certainly know through the Jewish network about systematic violations if there are any. And Brezhnev has promised to give his personal attention to individual cases. But the Soviet Union has not agreed to 60,000, and Jackson at the end of the waiver period could scream trickery. We do not accept his specific number.
[The President mentioned the Kudirka case to show Soviet cooperation.]3[Page 766]
Senator Humphrey: I’m glad to hear they are human. If you think the Greeks have pressure, we have more from the Jews. You’ve got to get the top Jewish leaders in and tell them what has been done. The President has an ironclad case on this.
Senator Scott: We have made these points to the Jewish Community. The Israeli Government has to … (interrupted).
The President: If the Jackson–Vanik Amendment comes up, we can’t buy it. So there would be no trade bill and probably no Jewish emigration. The way to go is our way so we can get a trade bill and emigration.
Senator Mansfield: I couldn’t vote for the bill as Henry has described the process.
Congressman Frelinghuysen: Would you leave Scoop’s letter unanswered?
Secretary Kissinger: We would reply saying we understand this is your view—which is a waffle. But he could always claim trickery.
Senator Humphrey: Why not spell out this to the leadership? Why to Scoop? I am mean too. We know the President won’t let non-compliance turn into a political football. It is absolutely safe. Democratic politics will be wild in ’76. The President should spell out the understandings—or Henry—but not to Scoop.
Senator Scott: If sentiment here is opposed, just tell Scoop what the leaders think.
Secretary Kissinger: We could put in a letter from me what I have described.
Senator Humphrey: Someone should spell it out to the committees, not to Scoop.
Senator Scott: Tell Scoop there should not be a private treaty.
Secretary Kissinger: There are two choices: If we write a letter to the leadership and he replies, he is just one Senator. But if we write him and he replies, it is part of the legislative record.
Congressman Rhodes: A letter should go to Senator Long.
Senator Humphrey: A letter should go to Long. Then anyone can send a letter back who wants to. If Scoop gets a letter, others who may have certain ambitions will want one.
The President: We brought this up because we are here working hard on this problem and I wanted the leadership to know the precise situation. I hope Scoop won’t feel we undercut him.
Secretary Kissinger: The Soviet Union says they can’t accept MFN if affirmative action is needed every year.
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the trade bill.]
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 6. Secret. The meeting took place in the First Floor Family Dining Room. It began at 7:55 and concluded at 10:08 a.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)↩
- September 21. No record of this meeting was found, including in the President’s Daily Diary. (Ibid.) President Ford was apparently referring to his Friday, September 20 meeting with Jackson; see Document 215. The President did refer to Jackson during a September 21 meeting with Kissinger and Scowcroft: “[Kissinger, discussing an upcoming meeting with Gromyko:] On emigration, they [the Soviet Union] won’t accept the numbers and they won’t specify a delay time in national security cases. You might think about getting Javits, Jackson and Ribicoff in before you finalize. Termination in April ’76 would be politically hard. Jackson is putting out that we are close to an agreement. President: This morning he said it had broken down. Kissinger: You must be on record with them on what you can do and what you can’t do. Gromyko said the Jews are great at raising a public relations crisis for publicity. President: I couldn’t see the relationship of the bulldozer story. Kissinger: The Russians are crude boors—but abstract art is banned and it was therefore moved off. You must get it into their heads you are a tough guy. They are measuring you for a crisis. But you should tell them if there is a race [in armaments] we must be first.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 6)↩
- Brackets are in the original. On August 23, the Soviet Union released from prison Simas Kudirka, a Lithuanian sailor who had tried to defect to an American Coast Guard ship in 1970.↩