190. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

107269. Subject: Meeting With Dobrynin on Jackson-Vanik.

1. Confidential-entire text.

2. The Secretary met with Ambassador Dobrynin on April 27 and handed him an oral note containing talking points, approved at the highest level, which could form the basis for movement on the Jackson-Vanik issue. Treasury Secretary Blumenthal was also present at the meeting.

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3. Dobrynin stated that he would transmit the approach to Moscow.

4. There follows the full text of the talking points handed over to Dobrynin. Begin text:

—Our consultations with Congress and Jewish leaders lead us to conclude that an effort to delete or amend Jackson-Vanik would be lengthy and not likely to succeed.

—There is a favorable attitude in Congress and the Jewish community toward the recent increase in Jewish emigration and the improvement in procedures and treatment of applicants for emigration.

—Taking advantage of this favorable climate, we believe the President could consider waiving the Jackson-Vanik limitations as provided in existing legislation so that the 1972 Trade Agreement will come into force. In doing so, he would simply report to Congress that he is assured on the basis of information available to him and relevant discussions that the emigration practices of the USSR will henceforth lead substantially to the achievement of the objectives of Section 402 of the Trade Act.2

—In our consultations here we have made it clear that neither the President’s report on the waiver nor subsequent testimony would contain any statement that we had “received assurances.”

—The USSR would not need to confirm nor deny that it had provided assurances to the US. It would be essential, however, that the Soviet Government say nothing inconsistent with the President’s waiver and report to Congress.

—We believe the course outlined would be generally well received and would fulfill the requirements for granting MFN to the USSR.

—In deciding whether to adopt this approach, it is important for the President to have confidence in his understanding of the present situation and to know that there is a basis for maintaining the support of those in the Congress and the public interested in this question. Accordingly, we wish to ask if the President is correct in his understanding of prevailing Soviet policies and practices on the matter of emigration, as follows:

A) Soviet policy has recently resulted in an upward trend in the numbers of emigrants.

B) Soviet policy is to improve the efficiency of emigration processing and the circumstances of persons who have applied for emigration.

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(C) Soviet policy is to regularize as soon as practical the criteria for refusal based on national security considerations.

D) The Soviet Union has no intention of changing the foregoing policies.

—In connection with this matter, we appreciate recent moves regarding some refusenik hardship cases and prisoners. We would consider it of particular symbolic value if exit permission were given to more of those prominent cases known to Ambassador Dobrynin from his own contacts with Jewish leaders. End text.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 116, 4/14–30/79. Confidential; Sensitive; Priority; Nodis. Sent for information Priority to the White House. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Reference is to the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which prohibits the U.S. Government from providing export credit to any nonmarket country that does not allow for the free emigration of its citizens.