NEW YORK (Feb. 3)
Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.), a contender for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, told the Queens County Council on Soviet Jewry that he will “never retreat” from his determination to promote freer emigration from the Soviet Union and the West European nations. “If we back down on the Jackson Amendment now, we lose all right to call ourselves, the leaders of the free world.” he said.
Jackson said that all candidates for the Presidency “should be required to take a specific stand on this specific issue. There is no issue more important to the abuse of freedom around the world than this one.” He noted that politicians seeking votes this year “will ask that we abandon our commitment to free emigration” by claiming that the American people “don’t give a damn” about what happens to Soviet Jews or to the oppressed in the Ukraine. Lithuania. Latvia. Estonia and other countries under Soviet domination.
Jackson stated that “Tens of thousands of people–Jews and non-Jews alike–escaped from captivity because of the Jackson Amendment.” It was only after Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger “pledged that the Administration would destroy the amendment that the Kremlin tightened the screws once again,” he added. The Presidential hopeful said that if the Soviets want some of the trade benefits from the U.S. that other countries enjoy “let them at least honor the right to emigrate. On this matter of principle and human life I will never retreat.”