« PreviousContinue »
Fisher: I think the point is that if we can get some visible results. If you could get Dobrynin to move 258, that would be 50%.
Kissinger: And in a three-month period.
Fisher: Do you have any feeling about the number that is going to be leaving?
Kissinger: That the number will be the number you received, yes.
Kissinger: I don't know where the number 36,000 comes from, but it comes to my mind.
Stein: That is close to last year's figures.
Kissinger: We will get that done. We will do it in with a formal request from the State Department.
Maass: At no time have we felt that the numbers have been insufficient and false. They have been consistent. We don't pay much attention to monthly figures. One month they are down and another they are up. They fluctuate. Because a six-month figure is down, that has not been a problem. They have been fairly consistent in the flow.
Today there was an article in The New York Times on the distinction of the nature of emigration from Georgia and the problems of Israel. There is a trickle from major population centers. They represent the higher education Jews.
Stein: They make up the bulk of the list.
Kissinger: I don't mind telling Dobrynin for a big break and not to trickle out slowly.
Our problem is the MFN problem. I understand your position; you don't want to give up the pressure prematurely. I have talked to Jackson, who is a friend of mine. He can yell, but at the last minute I hope he will agree to a compromise. He might be willing to do this. That is what we have to have in the light of where we are all going.
Stein: We were thinking of a reformulation that Mills, Jackson and you can take. This frees the Jewish community not to be caught between the White House and Congress.
Kissinger: We will have to be cautious.
6 See “Angry Soviet Georgians in Israeli Port City Await Improvements,” by Terence Smith, The New York Times, July 19, 1973, p. 14.
Maass: Mr. Stein uses the word “reformulation.” I am not talking semantics when I use the word reformulation. I think this word is better than compromise.
Kissinger: I agree. We have not to give intransigence a push.
Stein: I think a considerable restraint was given during Brezhnev's visit. We were acting according to possibilities and to realities.
Kissinger: I agree and we are thankful.
Fisher: I talked to people in Rome (who had recently emigrated from the USSR) and I asked if it is easier now.
Kissinger: Is it?
Fisher: Yes. If this works-reformulation is the word—it is going to be necessary that we have the understanding, cooperation and drive of the President and yourself. You know the Russians, as you have said yourself.
Kissinger: That is why we don't mind having something that can be undone in the MFN if they backslide. We don't mind having it. In turn the Jewish community has to understand why we take our position.
Maass: You once submitted, as I understand, “you have to go down your road, and I mine, and we will meet in the fall." It is up to the point of final decision of the Jewish community.
Kissinger: Just as long as Mills and Jackson agree to the reform.
Fisher: People gave up a few credit cards to keep this under control. If we can push out some numbers.
Kissinger: I will talk to him on this.
Maass: The applecart could be upset if any new trials are scheduled. There are three trials for which the KGB has already prepared information, to my knowledge. They will have lost credibility if these go through
Kissinger: Nobody believes they are pro-Jewish. (Laughter] The KGB seems to be a world in themselves and very powerful. [Mr. Kissinger proceeds to discuss an incident at the reciprocal dinner given by Brezhnev at the Soviet Embassy where he wanted to be seated next to Liv Ullmann. He went to the head of protocol who said it couldn't be done. He then talked to General Antonov of the KGB who immediately arranged it.
Mr. Stein then recalled a luncheon where he described to Antonov all the Kosher laws.]
? A Norwegian actress.
Stein: I would suggest that as we are now closer to the critical dates that a larger group have an opportunity to meet with you or the President, to make the task a little bit easier.
Kissinger: My understanding is that the bill won't be close.
Kissinger: I think the House will vote on it in October. And the Senate in January or February—the beginning of February.
Stein: We were thinking earlier.
Fisher: I think that as far as we are concerned, we can announce certain results. We have to have a better feel at the time of the meeting. One of the things I found among the people I questioned was that most of the Jews were scientists.
Stein: They are of top nature—biologists, chemists, doctors. By the way this will be helpful, if I can tell the folks at the right time. This has just come to Henry.
Kissinger: If this is in the White House's discretion. Is it?
Stein: Not until mid-August. I see ten names listed (on Dobrynin's note at Tab A). Do you think we can get the list? (from Dobrynin)
Kissinger: I would ask him. You can ask him more questions than I can. I think it would be better for you to ask him. (The meeting then ended. Mr. Fisher stayed to talk to Mr. Kissinger alone.)
8 A reference to the Trade Bill of 1973, which included the Jackson-Vanik Amendment (see Document 76). Documentation on the Nixon administration's attempts to modify the bill and the amendment is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976.
136. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National
Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for
Jewish Emigration from USSR to Israel Increased in August
You should read the attached Moscow Embassy telegram (Tab A). The decline in the emigration rate, apparently associated with Soviet concerns about appearing soft in connection with the US summit, may now have ended. The August figure was 3024, compared to an average of about 2300 in the preceding three months. The eight month figure for 1973 is running slightly ahead of 1972 now, but to reach or surpass the 1972 total of some 31,000 there will again have to be substantial surge in the final months of the year. This could well happen, together with additional action on the hardship lists which are of special concern in the US. (The US Embassy has not yet registered improvement on the latter score, but it is not fully informed.)
There apparently has also been some decline in harassment of would-be emigrants, beyond the removal of the most specific form of persecution, the educational exit tax.
At the same time, the earlier trend of increasing anti-semitism of a general character continues. In my view, supported by the Embassy's telegram and other sources, this results from the feeding of endemic Russian and Ukrainian anti-semitism by (1) the better economic status of many Jews, (2) the support Jews enjoy abroad and (3), the ultimate paradox, resentment that Jews are able to leave the USSR by the thousands.
If you should get drawn into further colloquies on this issue in your hearing, you must not in any way compromise our sless than 1 line not declassified) sources on numbers.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 722, Country Files—Europe-USSR, Vol. XXIX, May-October 22, 1973. Confidential. Sent for immediate information.
At Tab A is telegram 10726 from Moscow, September 7.
3 A reference to Kissinger's confirmation hearing as Secretary of State. On August 22, following Rogers' resignation, Nixon appointed Kissinger as Secretary of State. He was confirmed on September 22. Kissinger described the process and his first days at the Department of State in Years of Upheaval, pp. 3–5, 423–432.
137. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, September 28, 1973, 10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
After pictures were taken, the conversation began at 10:07 a.m.
The President: It seems our meetings have become annual events. And our summits have also become annual events. I think this is a constructive development. Since on this occasion I am the host, why don't you lead off.
Gromyko: [In English] Thank you very much Mr. President for receiving me again. [Translated from the Russian] I would like, if it is acceptable, to talk through Viktor. It is easier that way and I will go sentence by sentence. If I forget myself and go too fast, stop me.
First, I wish to convey very warm greetings from L. I. Brezhnev to you, personally, and also from Chairman Podgorny and Chairman Kosygin, who asked that I extend very good wishes to you.
Several months have passed since the General Secretary's visit and there has been time to appraise it. This is even truer of the earlier summit, that is, your visit to the Soviet Union. Looking back we can say, and indeed this is our feeling, that the turn in Soviet-American relations has been of immense significance. We say this outright. Brezhnev said it to the people and to our Party and it is, in fact, the general assessment in the world of the two meetings.
In our leadership and in our country as a whole immense significance is ascribed to the forthcoming meeting on which you and L. I. Brezhnev reached agreement.
[At this point, coffee and tea was served.)
On the eve of my departure from Moscow, I talked to L. I. Brezhnev–I had of course talked to him earlier also—and he asked me to emphasize the truly great significance that he ascribes to the forthcoming meeting. He asked me to mention some ideas regarding timing.
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 68, Country Files-Europe—USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 19, July 12-October 11, 1973. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. Brackets are in the original.