WASHINGTON (Oct. 18)
Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson said today that he did not initiate any discussion of Soviet emigration policy in the negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union on a lend-lease settlement and bi-lateral trade agreements, Peterson made the statement In response to a question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at a White House news conference which followed the announcement of the signing of the settlement and trade agreement this afternoon. The Soviet Foreign Trade Minister, N.S. Patolichev was the chief negotiator for the USSR.
Peterson said later that “We find the Soviet negotiators to be careful readers of our media and they informed us that they were aware of our views on the matter.” The White House also announced that President Nixon has directed the US Export-Import Bank to extend credits to the Soviet Union because “it is in the national interest.”
Secretary of State William P. Rogers who opened the press conference, reminded that 2/3 of the Senate supports the Jackson Amendment to the East-West Trade Act which opposes trade benefits for the USSR unless Soviet emigration restrictions are eased, replied, “We’re going to handle this in channels we have been using.”
The Secretary of State said in response to questions that “Quiet diplomacy holds out the greatest promise of success” in this matter. He added that Jewish leaders with whom he has talked on the matter of emigration agreed that “quiet diplomacy Is the best approach.”
QUIET APPROACH IS RIGHT
Asked if he was encouraged of possible changes In Soviet emigration policies as a re suit of his negotiations with the Russians, Peterson said “We leave it entirely to Nixon, Rogers and Kissinger. They believe the quiet approach is right.” Asked if he had been instructed to proceed with the trade talks without regard to the Jackson Amendment, Peterson replied that he was not told by the White House explicitly to ignore the amendment but only to proceed.
He added that the President would proceed at the right time with this matter. He said Nixon had a long talk with Patolichev following the signing of the lend-lease agreement at the State Department and the trade agreement at the Department of Commerce.
Asked if the issue of Jewish emigration from Russia would be a factor in Congressional approval of the most favored nation clause in the trade pact, Peterson observed that “We have 3-4 months before the “treaties are submitted to Congress.” The Jackson Amendment will not come up for debate until after the new Congress convenes in Jan. At another point Peterson remarked that “we can do a lot of trading” without a most favored nation clause.