75. Memorandum From Paula Dobriansky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Allen)1


  • Romanian Emigration to Israel (Follow-up) (Reference Log. No. 2445)

In response to the questions you set forth on my informational memorandum (Tab I)2 regarding Romanian Jewish emigration to Israel, I have already forwarded you a memorandum dated May 27, providing background, policy considerations and recommendations (Tab II).3 The bottom line is that MFN should be renewed with Romania but the President at some point should seek assurances from the Romanians to improve their emigration practices, but without explicit linkage to MFN. (C)

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As I indicated in my earlier memorandum (Tab II), the Romanians have not appreciably improved their overall emigration record. Yet, due to a lack of concrete figures on the number of Jews residing in Romania and desiring to emigrate and the broad policy considerations (negative effect on U.S.-Romanians relations and possibly our relations with other East European countries, Jewish support of MFN, prospective minimal Congressional opposition), I would recommend unconditional renewal of MFN with Romania. (C)

Today, Jacob Stein informed me that the Jewish Community urges the President, in sending his message to Congress, to note the less than full compliance with agreements on exit visas. However, I believe it would be best not to make this issue public at this time, but to initially resort to quiet diplomacy given our various exchanges with Romania thus far (i.e., Kampelman/Baldrige visits to Bucharest, Foreign Minister Andrei’s visit to Washington),4 and the assurances we have extended. (C)

As I recommended in my memorandum to you of May 27 (Tab II), the President, in a letter to Ceausescu, should seek assurances from the Romanian Government that they comply with the 1979 understanding which would streamline the emigration process by reducing harassment and establishing a three-month timeframe for exit visas. By securing their compliance to formalize the emigration procedures, we could better determine how many Romanian Jews are interested in emigrating. (C)

However, if the President is unable to secure assurances from the Romanians through quiet diplomacy, we can always consider as a manifestation of our resolve, subsequent measures or possibly non-MFN extension next June. (C)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Country File, Europe and Soviet Union, Romania (5/29/1981–07/29/1981). Confidential. Sent for information. “RVA has seen” is stamped at the top of the memorandum.
  2. Not found attached. A copy of the May 22 memorandum is ibid.
  3. See Document 74.
  4. See Documents 72 and 73 and footnote 3, Document 76.