214. Memorandum From Stephen Larrabee of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron)1


  • Request by Romanian Ambassador for Meeting

Ion Besteliu, DCM at the Romanian Embassy, called me today to ask for an urgent appointment with you on either Thursday or Friday. He wishes to discuss with you the problems Romania is currently facing on the Hill regarding an extension of the MFN Waiver.2

Nimetz testified before the Vanik trade subcommittee on Friday on behalf of an extension of MFN for Romania and Hungary. The Hungarian portion went O.K. but there was considerable opposition to an extension of MFN for Romania, particularly from Congressman Schulze who introduced a disapproval resolution which was referred to Vanik’s sub-committee. The main problem is that the B’nai B’rith and several other Jewish groups who originally supported an extension, have received some information about current emigration to Israel which has caused them to withdraw their support. While this information appears to be wrong, this support is crucial for obtaining MFN for Romania.

Vanik is very concerned about the mood on the Hill and is prepared to do battle on behalf of an extension as are influential members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee such as Derwinski, Findley, and Hamilton. Vanik is working with the Romanians and Jewish groups in an effort to work out a solution. However, if we [Page 685] cannot get the Jewish groups on board, he feels MFN for Romania may be doomed.

There is a time constraint, however. A resolution of disapproval can be held within a committee no longer than 30 days after it has been introduced. Vanik intends to hold hearings on July 9, after talking to the Jewish groups, and then report to the Full Committee on July 11. He hopes to get a favorable report out of the Full Ways and Means Committee, and call for a debate on the House Floor about July 17. The main thrust of the strategy is for Vanik to take the initiative rather than Schultze. At the same time we are pressing the Romanians to allow more Jews to emigrate to Israel and to simplify emigration procedures generally.


That you authorize me to set up a meeting between you and the Romanian Ambassador tomorrow or Friday.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 66, Romania: 4/79–3/80. Confidential; Outside the System.
  2. On June 22, hearings took place in the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee on Carter’s recommendation to extend MFN to Hungary and Romania. While MFN for Hungary was not met with any opposition, extension for Romania faced opposition from several subcommittee members as well as Jewish groups convinced that Romanian Jews were not given fair opportunity to emigrate. In telegram 161636 to Bucharest and Budapest, June 23, the Department warned: “It appears that MFN for Romania faces serious challenge.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790325–0974) In telegram 161619 to Bucharest, June 23, the Department informed the Embassy that, as a result of the events June 22 hearing, Vanik had requested that Romanian Ambassador Ionescu meet with him and leaders of the B’nai B’rith organization to discuss the matter of Jewish emigration from Romania. The Department also reported that Vanik had suspended the hearing before B’nai B’rith testified in opposition of the waiver. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790325–1024)
  3. “Tomorrow or Friday” is crossed out and replaced in handwriting with “Tuesday, July 3.”Aaron approved the recommendation. A note below reads: “DA appointment set for Tuesday, 3:30 pm.”