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Memorandum From the President's Special Counsel
Washington, September 19, 1972.
It seems increasingly likely to me that the only way educated Jews are going to get out of the Soviet Union will be by paying the education tax. Many Jews in the Soviet Union are beginning to assess their situation in the same way, relating it in large part to the success of the Summit and the bilateral stake in commercial arrangements now under negotiation, but also recognizing that pressure from other Russian nationality groups for increased freedom is affected by the Jewish emigration. In the short run (until November) the leaders of the Soviet Jewish émigrés do not want any concession on the issue; they hope that commercial pressures stirred by political protests will force a Soviet backdown.? After that, my information is they will want help, in whatever form possible.
My personal view is that the Soviets have an arguable point, in the context of their ideology, in demanding some repayment for the state investment in education. It is the size of the tax, and the obvious inability of Russian Jews to raise large sums of money without outside help that makes the procedure so odious, and justifies the characterization of "ransom." I understand that some Russian Jews are beginning to panic, to commit economic crimes (black market operations) in order to raise the tax money, and anxiety is expressed about show trials and other repressive moves.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 721, Country Files-Europe—USSR, Vol. XXVI. No classification marking. Sent via Haldeman. A stamped notation at the top of the memorandum indicates the President saw it. In a September 20 covering memorandum to Haldeman, Garment wrote: “I discussed this subject with Henry Kissinger, gave him a draft, and am sending him a copy of the attached memorandum to the President. He said I could cite his general concurrence."
2 In a memorandum to Garment, September 5, Seattle lawyer and principal legal assistant to the Attorney General of Israel, Leonard W. Schroeter, reported on a trip to the Soviet Union, where he spoke with leaders of the Jewish community in Moscow, Leningrad, Riga, and Minsk. He wrote: “The Soviet Jewish leaders believe that the only hope of rescinding the tax is if, prior to the American elections, massive political and economic pressure can be mounted in the West. If this does not occur, they consider the chances of rescission remote. Thus, they give us a period of less than two months to accomplish the goal of securing rescission of the ukase." Garment forwarded Schroeter's memorandum to Nixon as an attachment to his own memorandum, undated, regarding Nixon's upcoming meeting with Max Fisher, September 26. (Ibid., President's Office Files, Box 90, Memoranda for the President, Beginning September 24, 1972)
3 Schroeter wrote in his September 5 memorandum to Garment that Soviet Jewish leaders "also advise us, with the strong request that this not become known to the Soviet Union, that if this goal [rescission) is not accomplished within the next two months, it will be essential to physically save them—to raise the sums of money involved. This is due to their assessment of the gravity of the situation and the extreme danger facing Jews in the Soviet Union."
In a conversation with Al Haig a few weeks ago, I suggested that thought be given now to stimulating the creation of some nongovernmental and basically non-Jewish apparatus (perhaps a private Commission) to begin to set the basis for the negotiation of reasonable terms of compensation to the Soviets, and then to undertake to raise the funds, preferably from nongovernmental sources. The idea was generated by comments at a private meeting of the USIA Advisory Commission (Stanton, Hobe Lewis, John Shaheen, James Michener),4 all of whom argued that such a procedure was feasible and even desirable. Herb Stein, in a private conversation, expressed similar sentiments, as did Jack Javits, who talked generally along these lines when I spoke to him last Friday (a memorandum of my conversation with Javits is attached).” Arthur Burns has suggested that some part of the Soviet Lend-Lease debt might be utilized as a source of funding for the education tax.
In the short run there will be a great deal of generalizing about the inhumanity of the Soviet decree—and justifiably so. But we are confronted with escalating political pressure involving potential barriers to important U.S.-Soviet agreements and we must therefore start to deal with the reality of the Soviet situation. If our information is that they're not going to back down, and if we are to do what is humane and practical, something more substantive than a speech in the UN, a handholding conference with Jewish leaders, or a démarche to Dobrynin will be needed, and fairly soon. The objective at this point should be, quite simply, to develop some realistic modus operandi which will enable the Jews to emigrate and the Soviets to save face.
Whatever is done should be organized informally, and quietly set in motion before the election. I think some of the people I've mentioned above would be prepared to help organize that effort. I emphasize that the approach should involve a serious and businesslike negotiation, addressed fundamentally to the question of reasonable terms, and based on the premise that there is legitimacy to the Soviet demand for some capital compensation from trained people who decide to leave the country and renounce their citizenship. The major hurdle, at the outset, would be the current Jewish position of opposition to any payment, but there is a reasonable chance, I think, that this can be altered by discussions with responsible Jewish leadership here and abroad.
* Frank Stanton, former President of Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS); Hobe Lewis, President of Reader's Digest; John Shaheen, President of Macmillan Ring-Free Oil Company; James Michener, author.
5 A memorandum of Garment's conversation with Senator Javits is not attached.
6 Garment signed “Len" above this typed signature.
National Security Decision Memorandum 190
Washington, September 20, 1972.
The Secretary of State
Lend-Lease Negotiations with the USSR
I have reviewed the status of lend-lease negotiations with the Soviet Union. The US position at the resumption of negotiations shall be based on the following points:
1. The agreement shall state the total Soviet obligation to the United States, including principal and interest on the “pipeline" account and the regular lend-lease debt. I reserve the decision concerning the amount of the total obligation until I have had an opportunity to review the progress of all commercial and related negotiations scheduled to resume in September.
2. All Soviet payments are to be completed by the year 2001.
-Based on a “pipeline" debt of $46 million at 298% interest there shall be one Soviet “pipeline" payment in 1972 representing a quarter of the total “pipeline" debt; a double “pipeline" payment in 1973 representing half the total “pipeline" debt; and a final “pipeline" payment in 1975 representing the last quarter of the total “pipeline" debt.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 495, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 13. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. Copies were sent to the Secretaries of Commerce and Treasury.
this canh here and abroad
--Beginning in 1974 or with the granting of MFN status to the USSR, whichever is later, there shall be a stream of payments of equal annual installments on the regular lend-lease debt to be completed by the year 2001.
4. The Soviet Union shall have the option to defer a total of four annual installment payments on the regular lend-lease obligation, with the stipulation that if this option is exercised the final payment of the total obligation shall still be completed by the year 2001. Annual installments shall be adjusted to reflect any installment not paid by reason of the USSR's exercising its deferment option. The interest on deferred installments shall be 312%.
The US negotiator shall work out a precise US negotiating position based on the above points in coordination with, and with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce whose representative shall participate in all aspects of the negotiations.
NSDM 180/CIEPDM 9 of July 20, 19722 is superseded by this Memorandum.
The contents of this Memorandum shall be made known to authorized officials of the US Government on a highly restricted “exclusively need to know" basis. Stringent measures are to be taken to prevent leaks concerning these negotiations and to ensure that there are no contacts with or briefings of the press except as expressly authorized by me. There are to be no briefings or consultations with the Congress until expressly authorized by me.
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2 Document 13.
National Security Decision Memorandum 191
Washington, September 20,
The Secretary of Commerce
Commercial and Related Negotiations with the USSR
NSDM 181/CIEPDM 10, July 20, 19722
The pending negotiations with the Soviet Government on various commercial and related issues should be completed at the earliest feasible date.
US positions on the substantive issues involved will be based on the Decision Memorandum under reference and on developments in the negotiations since that Memorandum was issued.
The negotiations of a Maritime Agreement with the USSR should be completed at the earliest feasible date proceeding from the status of the negotiations at the time of your visit to the Soviet Union and developments since that time.
A separate Decision Memorandum will be issued concerning the negotiations of a Lend-Lease settlement.3
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 495, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 13. Secret; Nodis. Copies were sent to the Secretaries of State and Treasury.
Document 14. 3 Document 49.