Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Jewish Leaders Resisting Pressure to Hold Back on Support of Jmv Bills

November 7, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

American Jewish organizational leaders declared yesterday that they will maintain full support for the Jackson/Mills-Vanik legislative proposals affecting Soviet emigration policy. This conclusion emerged at a meeting with Senators Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.) and Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.), the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed today by Capitol Hill sources.

The leaders made clear that there is absolutely no change in their position of full support for the legislation sponsored in the Senate by Jackson and in the House by Reps. Wilbur Mills (D.Ark.) and Charles A. Vanik (D.Ohio) and backed by overwhelming bipartisan support. Speculation had arisen that if the proposed legislation were to be dropped, the Soviet government would be more amenable towards softening its position against Israel in the current Middle East crisis.

Despite the contradictions in the Soviet and, American policies towards the Middle East, the Nixon Administration steadfastly favors granting both equal tariffs and credits to the Soviet Union as it had pledged in the Soviet-American agreement announced 13 months ago. The Jewish leaders meeting with the Senators, which lasted about 40 minutes climaxed a round of discussions they have had in Washington during the past two weeks on both the Jackson/Mills-Vanik proposals and the Middle East situation, the JTA was told.


Administration aides have been reported to have asked Jewish leaders not to press at present for passage of a specific denial of most favored nation status to the Soviet Union and to take a hands-off position if Congressional leaders desired to drop Title Four of the Trade Bill which bans this status.

Practically, the argument was presented, the result would be the same. The Soviet Union would not have equality in tariffs either way since MFN is prohibited to it under present law. Inclusion of Mills-Vanik legislation or the Jackson Amendment in the Trade Act would serve to stigmatize the Soviet government anew.

Some Jewish leaders, it was said here, sympathized with the Administration view in the light of current Soviet-American relations and were prepared to tell Congressional supporters of Jackson/Mills-Vanik that they would not object to dropping of Title Four if its Congressional sponsors desire.

Attending the meeting, besides the Senators and their aides, were Jacob Stein, chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman, World Zionist Organization, American Section; David Blumberg, president, B’nai B’rith; Richard Maass, chairman, National Conference on Soviet Jewry; Herman Edelsberg, director, B’nai B’rith International Council; Jerry Goodman, NCSJ executive director, and Eli Bergman and June Silver, NCSJ officials.

Blumberg said today that B’nai B’rith’s support for the Jackson Amendment is only re-enforced by the Soviet Union’s actions in the Middle East. Comments from other Jewish leaders who attended were not immediately available. The House is scheduled to debate and vote on the Trade Reform Act of 1973 next week.

Recommended from JTA