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might be need for more pressure from USG, for perhaps Soviet Government "didn't get the message" that this issue is of priority concern to "more than just a section" of the American people.

11. The Secretary replied that it is necessary to differentiate two aspects of problem, namely, the trial and the overall situation of Soviet Jewry. He expressed certainty that we took the most effective action. possible in our effort to obtain mitigation of sentences. On more general question of Soviet Jewry, Secretary stated that he is perfectly prepared to discuss alternative courses of action. He cautioned, however, that private organizations have a tendency to exaggerate amount of pressure which USG can bring to bear on Soviet Government in regard to what Soviets consider internal matters. Secretary stated that critical commentary in Soviet press on internal U.S. developments sometimes influences Americans in opposite direction, and he expressed view that the same might be true of U.S. statements on the USSR.

12. Mr. Fisher replied that to remove any possible misunderstanding, he wanted to assure Secretary that leaders of Jewish community were grateful for fact that Administration "had moved immediately" in response to Leningrad sentences. Mr. Fisher also expressed his appreciation for the Secretary's positive comments on the efforts of Jewish organizations to arouse public opinion on this issue. Rabbi Schachter, too, expressed appreciation for USG action, but asked whether "one more step" might not be possible. He suggested that one of most effective steps would be to have President receive a small group of Jewish leaders while emergency conference was underway in Washington. Rabbi stated that Jewish leaders would not expect President to make a major statement, but hoped only that he would state publicly that he was pleased to receive delegation and that he "shared their concern." Mr. Fisher expressed his conviction that both President and Secretary were "one hundred percent with us," and he stated that such a meeting would therefore have great effect within the American Jewish community.

13. The Secretary agreed that there were no basic differences of view between the Administration and the delegation, but he expressed his concern that a public statement of concern by President might be misconstrued by Soviets as political exploitation of this delicate situation. The Secretary pointed out that senior U.S. spokesmen at the UN have taken a strong public stand opposing Soviet Union's discrimination against its Jewish citizens, and he gave his assurances that these efforts will be continued. Secretary cautioned that although he did not doubt fact of discrimination against Jews in the Soviet Union, it was very difficult to present type of evidence which would persuade governments and peoples of other countries. He stated that it is easier to obtain agreement of other nations on principle of free emigration. Sec

retary expressed view that this principle was at the core of Leningrad case, and he suggested that USG efforts to relieve the situation of Soviet Jews should be based on this principle.

14. The Secretary cautioned again, however, that a public statement by the President could be interpreted by Soviet leadership as a USG effort to pit itself against the Soviet Government in an attempt to exploit this situation politically. He stated that he would be particularly reluctant to request such a statement because the lives of two men were involved. Secretary stated that if the Jewish leaders were willing to hold a private meeting with the President, following which they could return to Department and state in a low-key manner that they had had a satisfactory meeting with him, he would try to arrange this immediately. Dr. Wexler replied that the very fact that they were able to meet with the President and to express their concern to him would be of considerable importance to the Jewish community.

15. The Secretary agreed to try to arrange an immediate meeting on this basis. He pointed out, however, that if American Jewish leaders, after further reflection, believed that a public statement from the President or himself was essential to relieve the great concern within Jewish community, he would reluctantly consider such a statement. Mr. Fisher replied that a U.S.-Soviet "showdown" might have adverse consequences for our efforts to obtain commutation of the death sentences against Dymshitz and Kuznetsov. He stated that the Secretary was in a better position to judge how USG should proceed on this matter. Mr. Fisher expressed belief that it would nonetheless be highly useful for President to receive a small delegation of Jewish leaders, particularly in regard to the American Jewish community's strong concern over the fate of Soviet Jewry, even if no statement were made. Rabbi Schachter agreed that it would be best for any statement to be made by the Jewish leaders themselves.


16. After a 40-minute meeting with the President, to which they were personally escorted by the Secretary, the Jewish leaders returned to the Department, where they made a short statement to the press. Dr. Wexler told the press that the delegation met for an hour with

8 Ehrlichman called Kissinger in San Clemente at 10:10 a.m. (PST) on December 31, 1970, to discuss the meeting. According to a transcript, the conversation included the following exchange: "E: You should have been around for the meeting with the Jewish leaders. Shultz and I were in there doing budget stuff and Bill Rogers pranced in with the Jewish leaders and we got roped into attending the meeting. K: The President called me last night. He thought it went extraordinarily well. I don't know... E: It did. It was a very good meeting." After Ehrlichman told an anecdote, Kissinger commented: "He [Nixon] was all charged up about it and wanted to make a statement but I told him I didn't think it was a good idea." (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 8, Chronological File)

Secretary and was "very gratified with his concern." He said "it was suggested during this meeting that we go to the White House." Rabbi Schachter stated that the delegation was "heartened by the President's deep understanding and continuing concern for the problems of Soviet Jewry and of religious minorities throughout the world." He stated that the discussion with the President focused primarily upon the trial "and the fact that Jews in the USSR are denied elementary cultural and religious rights." Asked whether delegation had been informed of the action taken by USG, Rabbi Schachter replied negatively but reiterated that they were "heartened" by Administration's "continuing interest and concern." Asked if they were satisfied, Rabbi Schachter stated that delegation was departing with "a much happier feeling." Dr. Wexler stated that they did not wish to discuss in any further detail their meetings with either the President or the Secretary. Press then asked if Jewish leaders had received any response to their request to meet with Soviet officials, and Rabbi Schachter replied, "We can't comment."9


"The Supreme Court of the Russian Republic commuted the death sentences of Dymshits and Kuznetsov on December 31. ("Soviets Spare 2 Jews From Death Sentences," Washington Post, January 1, 1971, p. A1)


Memorandum From William Hyland of the National Security
Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National

Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

San Clemente, California, January 6, 1971.


Soviet Démarche on Berlin Negotiations2

Most of this note is a politely worded but fairly clear charge of bad faith, based on the Soviet interpretation of Gromyko's conversations with Secretary Rogers and with the President, and what the Soviets expected to flow from those talks.

1. At that time Secretary Rogers made quite an issue over the Soviet negotiators' unwillingness to discuss the question of Berlin access, without first reaching an understanding on their demand for a reduction in West German presence in West Berlin. Gromyko made a "concession" and agreed to discuss both issues simultaneously. On this basis the Soviets apparently expected the negotiations would go more rapidly.

2. This note suggests they believe we have not lived up to the bargain of simultaneous discussions. They expected to learn more of our position on West German presence, while they would reveal more of their position on access. In fact, Abrasimov did make a new proposal on access, and accompanied it with a reminder that he expected "parallel" progress on all the main issues.

Ambassador Rush, however, replied that the question of West German presence would have to cover activities to be excluded and those permitted. This latter point was new, Abrasimov claimed and in

1 1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 691, Country Files, Europe, Germany (Berlin), Vol. III. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Printed from an uninitialed copy. Kissinger later incorporated most of Hyland's analysis in a January 25 memorandum to the President; printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969–1972, Document 166. Kissinger and Hyland were both in San Clemente on January 6, drafting the President's annual foreign policy report. According to Hyland's memoirs, during this trip Kissinger "indicated he thought that we had reached a turning point with the Soviets. And he plotted a strategy for his talks with Dobrynin. His plan was to bring matters to a conclusion in the German-Berlin negotiations, which he now took into his private channel with the Soviet Ambassador. Second, he said he would try to negotiate a breakthrough in the SALT talks, which had become bogged down. And he intended to undertake this plan while signaling strongly to China that Washington was ready for a significant move." (Hyland, Mortal Rivals, PP. 34-35)

2 Dated January 6; see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin,

1969-1972, Document 159.

contradiction of the understanding reached by the Foreign Ministers, including Secretary Rogers and Gromyko.3


3. The third complaint is that we have permitted continuing West German meetings and activities in Berlin, which force the Soviets to react. Probably, the Soviets believe we could prevent these incidents if we wanted to, and they expected us to following the Gromyko visit. On the more positive side:

-The Soviets indicate they are willing to move into more intensive discussions if that is desired (picking up the Brandt proposals).4 -The negotiators should be empowered to work out detailed texts and to put agreements in “formal shape."

-The Soviet "package" already introduced (i.e., a four power agreement, an intra-German agreement, and a subsequent covering document for the entire package) will provide a "definite assurance that the agreement will be observed in all parts."

If this latter could be translated into similar language in the negotiations one of our principal concerns would be met, since what we want is a Soviet assurance and not merely for the Soviets to pass on, as a kind of honest broker, the unilateral assurances of the GDR.

What do they expect of us?

1. Apparently, the Soviets expect some sort of procedural signal from us, either to hold the sessions more often, or perhaps break them down into working groups to come up with detailed language.

2. On substance, they are looking for us to reveal some of the fallbacks on German presence that their contacts with Bonn and other intelligence probably inform them we have considered.

3. Since the Soviet offer of December 10 did come some distance toward our position, they probably want a sign that we appreciated what they had done.

The note makes a special point that when the conversations start in mid January it will be "very important" what they start with and how they will be "arranged."

3 This exchange between Abrasimov and Rush took place at the quadripartite ambassadorial meeting in Berlin on December 10, 1970. Sonnenfeldt assessed the meeting in a December 11 memorandum to Kissinger; see ibid., Document 144.


* On December 15, 1970, Brandt sent identical letters to Nixon, Pompidou, and Heath, urging the Allies to intensify the Berlin negotiations by turning the periodic ambassadorial meetings into a “continuous conference." The letter to Nixon is printed ibid., Document 145. For the letter to Heath, see Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1970, Vol. III, pp. 2273-2275.

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