WASHINGTON (Apr. 24)
Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D. Wash.) said today that he would stand by his amendment to the U.S.-Soviet trade act despite what Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev told seven of his Senatorial colleagues in Moscow yesterday. “The White House got taken “in” and “a lot of people” have been “fooled” by the Soviet promise of suspension of the education tax, Jackson said. “They assumed that the tax is the only problem,” he added.
Jackson made his remarks after press reports said that Brezhnev had assured the visiting Senators that the education tax has been suspended and that the Soviet Union was prepared to go to great lengths to remove the issue of Jewish emigration as an obstacle to improved U.S.-Soviet trade relations. The Jackson Amendment, which has the support of 76 Senators, would bar most favored nation treatment and other trade concessions to the Soviet Union as long as it maintained restrictions on the emigration of its citizens, including more than a “nominal” fee for visas.
President Nixon had told Congressional and Jewish community leaders last week that the “Soviet leadership” had suspended the education tax. Jackson said today that despite the Soviet assurances on the tax element, he is not withdrawing his amendment until the Soviet government allows its citizens to emigrate freely.
Four of the seven Senators who met with Brezhnev in Moscow are co-sponsors of the Jackson Amendment. Some of the law makers apparently were persuaded that the Soviet Union is sincere in its suspension of the tax. Sen. Robert P. Griffin of Michigan, the Republican Minority Whip who is not among the co-sponsors, said that Brezhnev had “confirmed the information” relayed to Nixon that the education tax was suspended.
“I hope now in the light of these developments, the Jackson Amendment will not be offered on the floor.” Griffin said in Moscow. Sen. Frank E. Moss (D, Utah), another member of the group who is not a co-sponsor, predicted that the Jackson Amendment “is going to have a tougher time” in view of Brezhnev’s latest move.
MOSCOW JEWS: DO NOT ABANDON US
Coincidental with the Senators’ meeting with Brezhnev, a group of over 100 Moscow Jews released an appeal yesterday to American Jewish leaders not to abandon their support of the Jackson Amendment while Jews were being refused exit visas. The appeal said, “Those who are refused exit visas under the pretext of ‘national security’ or without any move at all must not be sacrificed.”
They warned that “An attempt to made to make you admit that arbitrary selection in granting exit visas is compatible with freedom of emigration and does not contradict it.” Acceptance of such conditions, the appeal said, “would have a tragic, irreparable effect and would mean the end of all hope of repatriation for many thousands of Soviet Jews.” The signers of the appeal said that they “distinctly fear forthcoming reprisals.”
The other Senators who met with Brezhnev yesterday were Vance Hartke (D. Ind.); J. Glenn Beall (R. Md.); Howard H. Baker (R. Tenn.); Howard W. Cannon (D. Nev.) and James B. Pearson (R. Kans.).