Jackson-vanik Measure Undergoing Revaluation in the Administration
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Jackson-vanik Measure Undergoing Revaluation in the Administration

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President Carter’s endorsement during his election campaign of the Jackson-Vanik legislation is undergoing revaluation within his Administration and is now an open issue. Senior U.S. officials made that known Friday on the eve of the Soviet-American conference in Moscow at which trade and emigration are the major topics along with transfer of arms and a reduction of armaments, including nuclear weaponry.

The Administration has not made any decision on specifics of the Jackson-Vanik legislation that it may propose to Congress, the officials stressed but the fact that they said it that way gave rise to speculation that the Administration is preparing to separate trade and human rights as Carter himself has indicated since taking office.

The Jackson-Vanik measure, a part of the U.S. Trade Reform Act adopted in late 1975, ban U.S. credits and other benefits to the Soviet Union until it modifies its policy on emigration by Jews and other minorities.

This legislation, officials said, is being discussed within the Administration preparatory to taking a governmental position Carter’s election campaign views will be reflected in the position, they said, but they did not say to what extent. The officials added that they cannot say Carter now has “a fixed position”.


Meanwhile, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance received appeals from members of Congress and American Jewish organizations to help Soviet Jews to emigrate if they wish. A list of names of Jewish families which have members who have been refused Soviet visas to emigrate and reunite with their families were given to Vance by Jewish leaders when he conferred with them at the State Department last Thursday, hours before the Secretary was to leave for Moscow. The list is understood to have about 900 names of family groups representing about 2000 individuals.

At the same time, 18 Senators wrote to Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev requesting the release of Anatoly Sharansky who was arrested in Moscow March 15. Their letter, originated by Sen. Claiborne Pell (D.R.I.), said Sharansky’s detention constituted a violation of the Helsinki accord. “Failure to release Sharansky will surely raise questions about the Soviet Union’s intention to live up to its obligations it has undertaken in international accords,” the Senators wrote.

Rep. Benjamin Rosenthal (D.N.Y.), in a letter to Vance, pointed out that the Soviet government “has changed its policy toward Jewish emigration” since Carter took office. “In efforts that seem clearly designed to test the new Administration,” Rosenthal wrote,” the Soviets have cut emigration dramatically, have become less tolerant of Jewish activists and are openly encouraging anti-Semitism in their country.”

Rosenthal specifically urged Vance to try to obtain freedom for Iosif Begun, a refusnik who was jailed two weeks ago for “parasitism.” Saying he is deeply concerned about Soviet efforts to eradicate Jewish life in the country. Rosenthal also expressed hope to Vance that the Secretary “will be able to persuade Soviet authorities to permit Jews to bake and receive matzohs for Pass over”. In a similar move on the eve of Vance’s departure for Moscow at the head of a 15-member delegation, 58 Senators endorsed Carter’s stand on human rights.


Meanwhile, former President Ford, in a breakfast meeting with reporters in Washington yesterday, criticized Carter’s approach to the Soviet Union on the issue of human rights. He said his Administration’s use of quiet diplomacy had “worked reasonably well” in easing the repression of dissidents and in aiding the emigration of Soviet Jews and other minorities. The question of which results were better will have to await the test of Carter’s efforts, Ford noted. “There haven’t been any results so far . . . . There hasn’t been anything yet but words,” Ford said.

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