WASHINGTON (Sep. 24)
Whether the Congress or the President will determine the results of a United States-Soviet understanding on Soviet emigration practices was reported today as the only major obstacle to adoption of U.S. legislation on the emigration-trade issue between the two countries.
Capitol Hill sources confirmed in interviews with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Administration and the Soviet government have reached an understanding and that the focus now is on the Administration’s willingness to allow Congress the authority to review and judge the results each year.
Under the U.S.-Soviet agreement, reportedly “nailed down” last weekend between Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, the Soviets pledged to allow about 60,000 Soviet citizens, including Jews, to emigrate annually and not to molest these applicants and family members.
However, key Congressional figures involved in the Jackson/Mills-Vanik amendments to the Trade Reform Act pending in the Senate, insist that both Houses of Congress must approve legislation each year to allow trade benefits to the Soviet Union to continue. The Administration, however demands that the President report annually on Soviet emigration practices and if the House or Senate were dissatisfied, it could then vote against further benefits. The JTA was informed that the Congress position is firm and it is now up to the Administration to act. “The ball is in the White House court,” one source said, “A decision might come any time.”