WASHINGTON (Oct. 8)
Early conclusion of the painstaking negotiations on a U.S.-Soviet agreement on emigration and trade appeared distant today after the Ford Administration and the Senate leadership appeared at the point of an amicable compromise on the issue last week. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s news conference statement yesterday that the Administration could not be held to guaranteeing Soviet compliance with aspects of a bilateral agreement on its emigration policy angered Capitol sources close to the negotiations.
Kissinger said that the “difficulty” between him and those Senators arose at a meeting in which he presented what “we could guarantee in the area and what in effect could happen.” However, he said that “we have every intention to work them out with good will.”
One primary Capitol source, however, said it was “outrageous for the Secretary to withdraw part of the agreement unexpectedly.” This source and others told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Kissinger never had been asked to “guarantee” the agreement with the Soviet government to ameliorate conditions for emigration of Soviet Jews and others and end harassment of visa applicants or members of their families.
What had been expected, they said, was that the President would report the facts of Soviet compliance to Congress for its review and judgment on renewal each year of trade benefits to the Soviet government. The Administration had insisted that renewal should be vested in the President with either house of Congress having the right to veto his decision.
COULD NOT GUARANTEE A. FIGURE
The figure of 60,000 emigrants that had frequently appeared in press reports without specific identification of source also appeared to be a factor in the Kissinger-Senatorial controversy. Kissinger said that he had “always made clear that I could not guarantee any figure.”
Capitol sources told JTA that the 60,000 figure was a bench-mark figure that would indicate Soviet good faith in the first year of a U.S.-Soviet agreement. Presumably, the Capitol sources said, the figure would be higher after the first year when more Soviet citizens, recognizing they would not be dismissed from their jobs and threatened in other ways, would apply for visas.
Kissinger was to meet with Senators Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.). Jacob K. Javits (R.NY), and Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.) later today to renew their discussions. The Secretary leaves tonight on his tour of five Middle East countries regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their meeting was scheduled for late yesterday but Kissinger asked for a postponement after he found himself engaged in a White House conference.