WASHINGTON (Oct. 17)
President Ford has taken over from Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger the task of completing negotiations for the Administration with three key Senators on U.S. monitoring of Soviet emigration practices, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. The move came five days before Kissinger goes to Moscow.
Kissinger’s withdrawal was reported at the Capitol as based on his belief that he lacks sufficient expertise in drafting legislation to continue his efforts with Sens. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.), Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) and Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.) that began early this year.
Timing and Kissinger’s diplomatic relations with Soviet authorities also were seen as factors Ford, who personally involved himself in the issue shortly after his inauguration Aug. 9, is eager to have a trade law before Congress adjourns in Jan.
Holding up the trade bill in Congress is the Jackson/Mills-Vanik legislation. Congress wants to judge Soviet practices while Ford and Kissinger, up to now, have insisted on Administration authority. All other differences between them have been settled. including Senatorial assurances regarding the emigration of Soviet citizens, including Jews, and the end of harassment of prospective emigrants or their families.
EXPECTED TO SEEK LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE
With Congress departing on its election period recess and Kissinger leaving for Moscow Tuesday on a trip that will keep him out of Washington for two weeks. Senatorial staff and Presidential aides are expected to seek legislative language over the next three weeks that will enable the Senate Finance Committee to present the trade bill to the Senate when it reconvenes about Nov. 15 for a brief post-election session. The House will have to reconsider the legislation since a change in the J/M-V provision is likely to accommodate the new language on Judgmental authority.
Kissinger’s withdrawal reportedly came a day after Soviet Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev assailed as “utterly irrelevant and unacceptable” the emigration-trade linkage. His attack while U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon was in Moscow was first interpreted as jeopardizing the Soviet assurances but American business. Congressional and diplomatic sources have discounted that view.
Donald F. Kendall, chairman of Pepsico Inc. and co-chairman of the U.S.-Soviet Trade Council which strongly opposes the J/M-V legislation, said in Moscow he did not interpret the attack as an ultimatum. He told newsmen that Jackson had informed him a compromise had been reached with the Soviet government on the emigration issue.
Indicating no rupture in Soviet-American understandings on emigration, the State Department yesterday publicly referred to Kissinger’s meeting Oct. 9 with the three Senators at which language in an exchange of letters between him and Jackson on Soviet assurances was settled. Kissinger had charged that the Senators wanted “guarantees” that he could not give on Soviet assurances.
Competent Capitol sources said Brezhnev’s remarks may have been designed for Soviet domestic consumption to remove suspicion that Soviet sovereignty was being impaired by a U.S.-Soviet trade agreement that involved emigration practices.