Jackson/vanik Measure Failed to Put Dent in U.s.-soviet Trade Despite USSR Stance on Jewish Emigrati
Menu JTA Search

Jackson/vanik Measure Failed to Put Dent in U.s.-soviet Trade Despite USSR Stance on Jewish Emigrati

Download PDF for this date

Despite the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the 1975 Trade Act and other restrictions making the Soviet Union ineligible for U.S. governmental credits, Soviet-American trade has vastly increased while Jewish emigration is continuing at a rate of slightly more than 1000 a month.

Two State Department reports issued independently in recent days “primarily for government use” summarize the state of U.S.-Soviet economic relations and the Soviet Jewish emigration situation. The Soviet Union denounced the trade agreement signed in 1972 and the emigration rate plummeted in 1974 when legislation linking U.S. credits to emigration practices was being overwhelmingly approved by Congress with the Ford Administration’s endorsement.

Nevertheless, “over the past five years, the U.S. and the Soviet Union have steadily expanded their economic relationship,” the Department’s report, “Gist,” said. Two-way trade totaled only $220 million in 1971 but stood at $2.5 billion in 1976, a ten-fold increase.

Last year, the trade balance was strongly in favor of the U.S., exports being roughly $2.3 billion, about 65 percent in agricultural products, and imports about $220 million. Principal non-agricultural products were machine and transport equipment at $605 million. The main U.S. imports were platinum group metals, petroleum products, and chrome are. U.S. firms are engaged in some major projects, the “two most important” being on exchange of fertilizer and construction of a truck factory.

The diplomatic missions in Washington and Moscow have established trade offices and a joint U.S.-Soviet commercial commission has been meeting regularly, the last time being in June. At least 55 American firms have entered into science and technology cooperation agreements and 25 firms have received permission to open offices in Moscow.


From 1948 through 1970, about 8600 Jews emigrated to Israel. From 1000 in 1970, the number leaped to 14,000 in 1971 and then to 31,500 in 1972, and 33,500 in 1973. In 1974, it was limited to 20,000 and in 1975 held to 13,000. Last year, the total was 14,000 and the rate was “about the same” while this “Gist” report was prepared.

“Roughly half of those now receiving exit visas for Israel end up going somewhere else, mainly to the United States,” Gist said. “The number of Soviet exit visas for the U.S. issued to Jews has remained relatively stable, ranging from about 500 in 1973 to 650 in 1976.”

To assist in the resettlement in Israel and else where of Soviet Jewish emigres, the report said, the U.S. has allocated $176.5 million over the past five years, “most of it earmarked for Israel.” The program is administered by the State Department under the 1972 Foreign Relations Authorization Act which, “authorizes the Secretary of State to assist Israel or other suitable countries in the resettlement of Jewish or other similar refugees from the USSR.”

The report added: “The U.S. has supported many programs in Israel for Soviet emigrants, including enroute care and maintenance, construction and acquisition of absorption centers, maintenance costs of the centers, construction of medical facilities, apartment construction and rental, university scholarships and vocational training, ” the report said. “Since 1974, we have also provided grants to a number of voluntary agencies in the resettlement of Soviet emigrants to the U.S.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund