WASHINGTON (Aug. 18)
Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger was represented Friday as refusing to “characterize in any way” the high level discussions held last Wednesday and Thursday on the Soviet emigration issue which were described Thursday by three Senators as having made “good progress” towards a solution.
State Department spokesman Robert Anderson said Kissinger indicated it would “not be helpful” to discuss developments on the issue that has delayed enactment by the Congress of the trade reform bill. Kissinger has strongly opposed the Jackson Amendment in the bill, which he said threatened Soviet-American detente and would recommend a Presidential veto of the bill if the amendment remained in it.
The emigration issue, Anderson said, was “one of the topics” discussed by President Ford with Senators Henry M. Jackson (D., Wash) Abraham Ribicoff (D., Conn.) and Jacob K. Javits (R., N.Y.) at their breakfast meeting Thursday. “They covered the entire range of U.S.-Soviet relations,” he said. Anderson also declared that emigration was “one of the topics” when Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin met “at one of their regular lunches” after the breakfast session.”
Anderson reiterated that the Secretary and the Ambassador had “covered the full gamut of relations” between the two countries. Dobrynin met with Ford at the White House last Wednesday after seeing Kissinger on Monday. The Senators said Dobrynin had made a special trip to Washington from Moscow “largely” to discuss the emigration issue. They also indicated that the issue was virtually the only topic at their 70-minute breakfast meeting Thursday, and other subjects were peripheral.
U.S. – USSR TRADE-OFF DENIED
Reporters questioned Anderson as to whether he was cooling off the optimism that the Senators had appeared to have. The spokesman said “no,” but immediately added, “emigration was one of the subjects discussed.”
A reporter suggested to Anderson that his lumping of the emigration issue with other topics could indicate a “trade-off” was involved. Anderson replied that he could not see how a trade-off was included. Possible trade-offs for the Soviets would be to ease emigration restrictions in return for U.S. concession in other spheres of relations such as additional credits from the United States.
After their session with the President, which Kissinger also had attended, the Senators reported “significant Russian movement” had occurred on the issue which ties U.S. trade benefits to the Soviet Union to easing of Soviet restrictions on emigration. Senate staff members and State Department officials were working this weekend on compromise language in the trade bill which would keep the Jackson Amendment in it but give Ford discretionary authority to negotiate with the Soviet government on an end to restrictions of emigration and harassment of applicants for exit visas.