WASHINGTON (Dec. 5)
Leaders of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry told Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Walter J. Stoessel that “the Jewish community is solidly behind” the Jackson/Mills-Vanik legislation. The statement came at a meeting with Stoessel and his staff at the State Department in which the NCSJ leadership sought to convey their concern on the evident deterioration of conditions for Soviet Jews. They pointed to the two recent trials, new arrests and the possibility of additional trials.
Richard Maass, NCSJ chairman, said “This is not evidence of a changed position of the Soviet Union toward improved conditions for Soviet Jews.” Maass said that Stoessel, who is expected to be named shortly as the new U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, expressed his own concern and awareness of the situation and that both he and the State Department will give it attention.
Besides Maass, the NCSJ was also represented by Rabbi Israel Miller, Jerry Goodman and June Silver. The meeting came after House Speaker Carl Albert (D.Okla.) disclosed that he had received a letter from President Nixon warning that he would veto the trade bill if the J/MV measure is adopted by Congress with its provisions on emigration still intact,–While calling on Congress to vote on the bill, Nixon said in his letter, its language calling for free emigration would have “a damaging effect” on Soviet-American detente and would “slow down” diplomatic progress toward inducing the Soviet Union to allow more Jewish emigration.