WASHINGTON (Dec. 19)
State Department spokesman Robert Anderson said today that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger “stands by his letter of Oct. 18″ to Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.) outlining a U.S.-Soviet understanding on Russian emigration practices. The text of a letter from Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko to Kissinger denying that any understanding existed on the subject of emigration was released yesterday by Tass, the official Soviet news agency
Anderson reported that Kissinger met yesterday with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin and that the subject of the U.S. trade bill did come up. He said the meeting was held after the disclosure of the Gromyko letter.
Meanwhile, Congressional leaders, ignoring the Gromyko denial of a linkage between emigration and U.S. trade concessions, pushed ahead today for quick enactment of the Ford Administration’s Trade Bill with the Jackson Amendment intact.
The House and Senate passed versions of the bill, each embodying such an easement in exchange for such benefits as most favored nation trading status. Members of a Senate-House Conference Committee resolved minor differences in the two bills. The Senate version contains an amendment sponsored by Sen. Henry M. Jackson and the House version contains the Mills-Vanik amendment, which link the two matters. Jackson said yesterday he would push for quick final approval of the bills by the Senate and House in time for President Ford to sign the bill into law before the end of the current Congress, this month.
In a telephone interview broadcast over Kol Israel, Jackson said he had assurances from Ford that, during the initial 18-month trial period of the projected trade pact, the President would not hesitate to halt most favored nation treatment for the Soviet Union if he felt the Soviets were not acting in good faith on the emigration commitment.
ISRAEL TAKES WAIT AND SEE APPROACH
(The Israel government remained silent on the Gromyko letter but political sources in Jerusalem referred newsmen to Jackson’s statement that the linkage agreement would be “tested in practice,” not in letters.
(The “wait and see” theme also was sounded by Moshe/Rivlin, the Jewish Agency director general, speaking on Israel Radio. He said he would not like to commit himself on any aspects of Soviet emigration policy, adding that “We will have to wait and see how things work out in reality.” He also said that regardless of what the real meaning of the Gromyko repudiation letter might turn out to be, Israel should continue plans for large-scale immigration from the Soviet Union.)
CONTINUED VIGILANCE SOUGHT
Jewish leaders meanwhile called for continued vigilance over Soviet emigration policies. Dr. Judah J. Shapiro, president of the Labor Zionist Alliance, said “This new Soviet announcement rejecting the terms of the Jackson Amendment is
Kings County District Attorney Eugene Gold, chairman of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, demanded “unshakable proof” from the Ford Administration that it has received assurances that the Soviets will ease their emigration policies in exchange for trade concessions. “It is difficult to understand how Dr. Kissinger could testify in support of the trade bill only a few days ago before the Senate Finance Committee when the Soviets had written him of their position nearly two months ago,” Gold said. “It is urgent.” he added “that Dr. Kissinger clarify the situation immediately so that the American people will not believe that they have been deceived.”
Meanwhile, it was learned that Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Stanley Lowell, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, are to meet tomorrow with Ford at which time they are expected to discuss, among other items, the Gromyko letter to Kissinger. Sources here said the meeting had been scheduled earlier but that in view of the latest developments, this item will also figure in the discussion.