219. Memorandum From Secretary of State Kissinger to President Ford1


  • Jackson Amendment to the Trade Bill

I had a session with Senators Jackson, Javits and Ribicoff2 following your speech at the Capitol today.3

On the matter of the third letter acknowledging Jackson’s interpretations of the Administration’s assurances, the Senators agreed to drop such a letter. Instead they presented a modification of the basic Administration letter in which it would be noted that Senator Jackson had submitted certain guidelines and in which the Senator would be advised that these guidelines would be “among the considerations” to be applied by the President in exercising a waiver authority. In short, the Jackson letter would not constitute a commitment on the part of the Administration.

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Concerning the number of emigrants, we agreed that it should correspond to the number of applicants and that good faith Soviet performance on the assurances we have received would have to result in substantial increases in applications.

Jackson pressed hard on the question of Soviet use of security clearances as an impediment to emigration. I pointed out that we had received no assurances on that point, but were, of course, in a position to use the appeals procedure with the Soviets if it appears that security clearances were being used unreasonably to prevent emigration.

I believe the letters as now drafted are acceptable. They are attached at Tab A.4 I recommend your approval.5

On the question of the waiver procedure, I pointed out your strong reluctance to accept Jackson’s proposal for Congressional initiative. I also noted your concern that the Jackson “compromise”, whereby his procedure would be used after the initial 18 months and the veto procedure thereafter, could result in major controversy in the middle of the 1976 Presidential primaries.

It was left that Jackson would be authorized by the two other Senators to take this matter up directly with you.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 18, Jackson/Vanik Trade Bill. No classification marking. A notation on the memorandum indicates Ford saw it.
  2. On October 7, Kissinger met with President Ford: “[Kissinger:] On the Jackson Amendment. He [Jackson] is saying you agreed to three letters and therefore this is my change. But we never agreed to the numbers—if we had, we wouldn’t need a third letter. The President: The change was because of a strong representation by the Democratic leadership. We never agreed to the numbers. I remember that clearly. Kissinger: I asked Javits to get a meeting and we will try to get a letter which does not commit us. The President: Jackson must know the leadership reaction. Kissinger: His response is they didn’t understand and we ran it quickly by them. Gromyko said he would disavow it if we put out any numbers. The President: I don’t think we should panic. Jackson must be under pressure from the Jews.” (Memorandum of conversation, October 7; ibid., Memoranda of Conversation, Box 6)
  3. On October 8, the President spoke to a joint session of Congress on the economy. See Public Papers: Ford, 1974, pp. 228–238.
  4. Attached but not printed. The draft letters are essentially the same as those eventually signed; see Document 223. The only substantial difference between these draft letters and the ones that were signed appears in Kissinger’s letter to Jackson: the draft contains no mention of Jackson’s status as sponsor of the Jackson Amendment, whereas the final version does.
  5. The President did not indicate his approval or disapproval.