-Rep. Charles Vanik (D.-Ohio) said today that increased Jewish emigration has brought the Soviet Union into substantial compliance with emigration procedures Congress requires before special trade credits can be authorized.
Vanik is cosponsor with Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.) of the congressional amendment that ties most favored nation trade status to relaxation of Soviet emigration policies for Jews.
Vanik has proposed using provisions of the amendment that empower the president to declare that the Soviets have complied with the amendment's emigration requirements and grant the special trade status unless Congress objects. Jackson does not back the proposal.
Jewish emigration this year is averaging about 4,000 a month.
"The atmosphere is improved, the numbers are up," Vanik said. He said he had been told that "people who are applying are actually being treated cordially."
Vanik, who is one of 1 congressmen visiting here, said Soviet officials have called his plan to seek a temporary waiver of restrictions on Soviet trade an "inadequate but constructive" step toward better bilateral relations.
He said this reaction "emerged" this week from Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, candidate Politburo member Boris Ponomaryov and other senior Soviet officials with whom he has discussed the idea.
The Soviets long have denounced the amendment as unwarranted congressional meddling in internal Soviet affairs.Last year, however, in a move interpreted as Soviet desire to be rid of the amendment, more than 31,000 Soviet Jews were allowed to emigrate, the highest total since the amendment took effect as part of the 1974 Trade Act.
At the same time, Vanik indicated the response to his plan among some groups of longtime refused Jews has been mixed.
He and other congressmen have met with various Jewish groups in the past few days, including a delegation led by Dr. Alexander Lerner, one of the most active "refusedniks." In a statement issued several days ago, Lerner and about 10 others voiced opposition to Vanik's move, saying that it would effectively eliminate the only leverage available to them.
But Vanik claimed the group's united front weakened after he explained that his proposal would require a "finding of fact" from the president that the Soviets are complying with the amendment's provisions. Lerner told correspondents today that his own attitude may be changed by the release last week of five Jews imprisoned since 1970 for a foiled attempt to escape the Soviet Union by hijacking a plane.