First Effects on USSR Emigration Not Expected to Be Felt Until Reform Act Becomes Law Next Year
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First Effects on USSR Emigration Not Expected to Be Felt Until Reform Act Becomes Law Next Year

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The first effects of the successful negotiation on Soviet emigration policy probably will not be felt until early next year after the Trade Reform Act becomes law. But the Soviet authorities, as a token of good faith, may lift their barriers earlier.

Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.), in making, public Friday the texts of two letters between himself and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger on the Soviet assurances regarding emigration practice “henceforth” thought that the trade bill will be legislated by Congress in Dec. The Senate Finance Committee, he expects, will present the measure to the Senate shortly after it returns Nov. 18 from its reelection recess.

After enactment there, the bill will go to the Senate House conference where the language of the two branches on the bill as a whole including the Jackson/Mills-Vanik measure linking Soviet emigration with U.S. trade benefits and credits, will be made to conform and then voted by both chambers. From there it will be sent to the President for signing into law. Sentiment for the J/M-V measure is overwhelming in both chambers. The House passed it last a 4-1 margin and 78 Senators have sponsored it in the Senate.


Jackson pointed out in his letter to Kissinger that he considers the issuance of visas by the Soviet authorities at the rate of 60,000 a year “a

To newsmen at the White House where he made the historic announcement, Jackson emphasized that “the agreement is based on, and the Secretary’s letter conveys, the assumption that the rate of emigration from the USSR will begin to rise promptly from the 1973 level and that it will continue to rise to correspond to the numbers of applicants.”

Jackson stressed, “This figure is not a quota” and that in his Judgment “if the agreement is implemented in good faith, the actual number will exceed 60,000 per annum since there is abundant evidence of a current backlog in excess of 130,000 and the agreement calls for the number to rise to correspond to the number of applicants.”

When a reporter indicated to Jackson that he thought the Jackson/Mills-Vanik legislation affected only Soviet Jews, Jackson pointed out that neither the word “Jew” or “Jewish” appears in the legislation and that the third element in Kissinger’s letter on Soviet assurances says that applications for emigration will be “non-discriminatory” as regards “the place of residence, race, religion, national origin and professional status of the applicant.”


Kissinger’s letter of approximately 800 words spelled out the assurances he said he received from “Soviet representatives on the “criteria and practices” that “henceforth govern emigration from the USSR.”

Jackson and others in Congress did not consult with Soviet authorities apart from a meeting between Jackson and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin more than a year ago. “We purposely avoided negotiating with the Russians,” Jackson said, but worked through the President and Secretary of State as “we should do in all Administrations.”

In a prepared statement that he issued along with the texts of his and Kissinger’s letters. Jackson described the formula reached between Congress and the Ford Administration as a “fair and productive compromise.” The agreement. he said, “should signal an end by the USSR to punitive actions against persons wishing to emigrate.” Among its provisions include the ban on “unreasonable impediments” being placed against those Soviet citizens wishing to emigrate; “promises sympathetic and expeditious processing of hardship cases.”


Jackson also noted that persons Imprisoned. who prior to imprisonment expressed an interest in emigration, will be given “prompt consideration for emigration upon their release” and “sym pathetic consideration” may be given to their early release. He made this observation in speaking of several dozen Jewish “Prisoners of Conscience.”

The “safeguards are more than adequate” in the compromise Jackson said. Sen. Jacob Javits (R.NY) noted that “we have commitments” from the President and the Secretary. The Kissinger Jackson letters apply only to the Soviet Union. “The legislation Involves all non-market (Communist) countries and separate agreements will be required for them.

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