ROUTING AND RECORD SHEET
4 April Letter From VISA on Soviet Family Visitation Policy
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Director. Public Affairs
MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence
of Public Affairs
Director of Soviet Analysis
SUBJECTApril Letter Fron VISA on Soviet
Family Visitation Policy
1. Action Required. None. This memo is ln response to your query on the issue
raised by the .subject letter, regarding visitations between family nembers in the US and USSR.
2. Background. As the attached correspondence shows, this subject has becone an important issue on Capitol Hill. The Congress has unanimously passed resolutions calling for the Administration to raise this Issue at all appropriate opportunities, and the organization "VISA" apparently hopes to put it on tho agenda of the upcoming summit.
Hew Soviet Rules and
Although the Kremlin has taken several major steps to ease travel for individuals between the United States and the USSR (In botht has notystem of control over travel ln general, nor are procedures for tourists entering or leaving the USSR as easy as those in the West. Soviet officials have opened the door to foreign travel in large part to try to curb dissent by appeasing moderately critical citizens and to reduce the attractiveness of tasting "forbidden fruit." Moscow also hopes these changes Hill headush to emigrate by allowing reunification with family and friends by neans short of emigration. Among the steps taken are the following:
esolution that took effect7 reduced sons of the red tape that traditionally has restricted short-term travel abroad. New regulations speed up and simplify the consideration of applications and the Issuance of visas and set definite dates for considering requests for temporary travel. Travel requests are now supposed to be considered within one month or, if the trip is to visit seriously ill people or In connectionelative's death, within three days.
oviet Foreign Ministry official involved in human rights told an Assistant Secretary of State early this year that, as ofhoss applying for temporary visits no longer required Invitations from first-relatives.
o Easier rules also have been applied to former Soviet citizens wishing to return to the USSR temporarily to visit relatives.
o Judging from the number of tourist visas Issued by the US Embassy In Moscow and by the Leningrad Consulate, many more Soviets left the USSR on temporary trips7 than
o The Israeli press hasrowing wave of Soviet tourists arriving In Israel to visit relatives, and many Israeli citizens have been traveling to the USSR for the same purpose. An Israeli paper reportedlacard in the Moscow emigration office announced, "Those wishing to visit Israel can now submit their request.'1
o Moscow also has relaxed the rules for those seeking to visitJust aoross the Soviet border. In June Izvestlya announcedof cross-border formalities for people living in specifiedthe frontiers with Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania. etter of invitation and their Internal passports forup to one week. 8 the Sovietonof formalities for Soviet citizens traveling to Easternthat citizens planning trips would have to fill Inhortsupply only two references.
ut Restrictive Measures Continue A. At the sane time, the regine has put into place some new restrictions on those wishing to travel abroad for family visitation purposes:
intending to marry Soviet
citizens race several nasi imWilkmMtlca banmarriages when the foreign partner is traveling on aratherisitor's visa. (The visitor's visa Is harder Foreigners must also provide Soviet marriage authorities withof their passports into Russian, with the accuracy ofauthenticated by the foreigner's Embassy, foreignnotary.authorities there
are requiring aaaltiOnal paperwork for blnational Marriages, even when all of the required documents have been duly submitted and notarized. These new regulations are probably intended to slow down the marriage route to emigration.
o The new rules permitting greater contact with the West have been applied in an inconsistent, arbitrary, and often contrary Tashlon. For example, despite the official claim that Soviets can make as many trips as they desire, one potential traveler asserted that the new rules allow only one trip per yesr to socialist countries and one every two years to capitalist countries.
5. These new restrictions nnd the regime's reluctance to abolish allprobably reflect resistance within the leadership and theGorbachev's supporters undoubtedly recognize the risks ofpractice and allowing individual Soviet citizens greater access Proa the reglae's perspective, one of the aostof increased foreignboth officials andthe possibility of Increased defections. For example, aostcouplesare barred from taking foreign trips together, for fsardefect.
ucugias j. KacKacrun
of Congressional Affairs
4 May 8
Would youriefyou to tho DCI explainingissue of familyto- Because thesent thisyou
should send your reply DacK cnrough to keep the books in order.
dH. Con. Res..unrestricted familyssue of family visitation ato many Americans, deserves more
c of peace would be well served il personalo exchange visits in their
ecent caller and her two
>ho have never seen il>eir
Sisa to- Why were
on and visitation are separaio xilicy must focus equally on both.
loved ones in the Soviet Union and citizens arc allowed to visit relatives tour to sec their family in Ihc Soviet Iren, grandparents, grandchildren,
mily visits on the Moscow Summit Is issue io the attention of President
mmsly (copy enclosed).
aM lo speaktn
sk Ihem to raise ihc family vi*ts issue and promote ihc fockwedrocedure*.
I'loise Htfntl VISAopy of your Idle lo ihc President .iihI Sivrcl.uy ol St-ik* .iml Ihnr ri'ply
William Webster irector
Central InteUigence Agency
ss ynanlmQUSly passed. S. Con. Res.nd H. Con. Res.: :fhese Resolutions called on the President and his Administration to promote "unrestricted family visits" between millions of relatives In the USA and USSR, and to "raise the issue of family visitation at all appropriatehis basic right, which affects the lives of so many Americans, deserves more than the scant mention it received at the Washington Summit
Before 5 Geneva Summit President Reaganhe cause of peace would be well served if more individuals and families could come to know each otherersonalnfortunately, relatives, some as close and parent and child, find it difficult or impossible to exchange visits in their homes like normal people.
We receive many calls Mid letters from people denied visas. Forecent caller and her two
children were denied visas. They wanted to visit her aged parents who have never seen their
grandchildren. Even the relativehite House staff member wasisa to Ihe US. Why were
they turned down? Because:
oviet poucy'tighuyirohtroUi travel in both directions.
he USrhas no coordinated policy on family visits. Emigration and visitation are separate
Jot various ethnic groups and US. policy must focus aptnllu on both.
An cstin^tedUUon Americans try lo maintain contact with their loved ones In the Soviet Union and
of many obstacles. At present few Soviet citizens are allowed to visit relatives
n expensive, guided tour to see their family in the Soviet
v Union. fXm, sure.ywagree itasic human right for parents; children, grandparents, grandchildren,
ns to exchange .visitsin their homes.
Millions of Americans need your help torominent place for family visits on the Moscow Summit agenda. Plcasferour position to correct this injustice and to bring this issue to the attention of President Reagan arid Secretary of State Shultz;
sk them to speak out publicly about ihe Issue oTfamily.visits. ^ ) Ask^nemfc raise" the family visits Issue and promote ihe enclosed Recommendationser^Uzed,.travcl procedures.
the President and Secretary' of State and their reply.
iojwt <MWodd WBwwi Wm Council o* Northern CaJtonla BarVtHor
The ideal, situation for relatives would be elimination of all visa requirements, and for American and their relatives in the Soviet Union and the Baltic Stales to be allowed to travel withalid passport Until auch time, the following changes are recommended:
rocedure for quick action in cases of serious illnessonth-long Invitation (vyzov) process for visitor's (private)all relationship requirements Tor private
Allow Americans the right to stay In their relative's homes.
a. Allow private visitor's visas to stay with relatives in their homea. rather thanmericans to take tours.
- For those Americans who prefer toour with visits io relatives, increase the prtK length of time permitted in each city (now limitedays except in major cities).
c. Open up closed cities to Americans beyond the present limit oi" aboutities for. stays and an additionalor day trips. '.llow Soviet clUzens to travel and to stay tn American homes.
t^JS-^Eumlnateuble visa fee for Soviet citizens (over one month's averageu*rnontha pensionollective farmer J.
_ BrADow mbre"
families to travel together.
period of validity of travel permission/international passports. Open up more entry/exit points into the Soviet Union and the Baltic Stales.
Also, improve other means excommunication: reinstate direct dial telephoneemove prohibitive duties from gift parcels: stop mall censorship and ensure delivery of all mail.
focus on emigration from the Soviet Union, and all out Ignore the need for million! ofncluding recentvisit loved ones.and vuiuag are separate but related Issues for marry Americans, and United State* policy jhouW focus equally on both.
. InlMT, recent emigres wereallowed to return to tne Sovietlike the millions ofemigrations, ,iwytake tours to seeo ftlorelgnersusually limited.to suyi offour days In ill except the
Each yearecent six yearan average of SSd Americanspermission to stayt takes four to six months to receiveisa,ourist visa takeseweparate visa is needed-to *MIn differentoviei cltiiem Wiltedhe United Siaim. anfromet* ft*i pastisa u> the Westubies,onth's aalary, ot five rnonths' pensionollective farmer. Travelers are mostly retired people, and two member* of one family may rarefy travel together.
While we welcome tbe recent changes tn Soviet policy, they art woefully inadequate when measured against the needs of three million 'Americans of Armenian,un. Estonian. Jewish, Latvian,Russian. Ukrainian or other descent who maintain contact wlui relailves in the Soviet Union.
Before the IMS Geneva meeting. President Reagan said, "the cause of peace would be well served if more individuals andould comenow each otherersonalnfortunately, lha Govern menu" Int erp relation meant that "cultural exchanges" and "cltl-icn diplomacy" flourish, whileIn the two countries find their difficulties In maintaining normal human contacts continue.
Visits International (or Soviet* and Americans. VISA, ofhairwoman, advocates simplifying travel procedures for family vUHs.
invitation procedure,noma visits, openingandethod fortn cases of serious illnessHorodwky
umM Immily vinu bawtematofU
(uScmiitki lit (Uva<in (be USAUS'iR.
House Concurrent Resolution ta uaaittmuuaij
House Concurrent Resolutionenate Concurrent Resolution 29
lOOih CONGRESS FIRST SESSION
the tense of Congress regarding the inability of American citizens to maintain regular contact with relatives In the Soviet Union
Whereas millloni of United Sine* diiim. Inc hiding rambas of national and ethnic groupsrmenians. Byelorussians, Eiuhuwu, Gcrmou. Jew.ussians, and Utaainleni, have relative* in ihe Soviet Union;
Whereas ihe Soviel Union, atsignatory of5 Final An of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe. oorrcaorJym Helsinki Accords, cwnrnfoed iaelf to "frrourably coruider appucetiorts tor travel with Ae purpose of aliowing person* to enter or leave their lerrtlory temporarily, andegular basis if desired, in order lo viiit member* of iheir families.";
Whereas in that larnedocurnent the Soviet Union pledged that 'eppiications for temporary visits to meet mem bensmiUes will be dealt wilh witriout distinction at to country of origin orase* of urgent nccassiiysuch al serious iltnes* or deathwiD be given priority trewmeu.":
Whereaa the Soviet Union has mificd the United Nation*
Charier and signed other internadonal human rights documents such a* Ihe International Covenant on QvJ andocumanU which clearly protect (he right to leave Jena's country and return thereto; f
i antklpaUon of (be Geneva Summit Conferenceresident Reaganhe cause of peace would ba lorved if more individueZa andooSd coma lo know each other in apenonal way.";
Whereas home visits would antneaaurably aid ow undeniandsag of the Soviel peepta and improve relation* with thenion, linca family vi illation it one of the moat baiic form] of cultural exchange;
Whereas it is not proper for government*ecide which retatiotuhipt constitute close family ties for the purpose of determining which relative* should be allowed lo visit each
Whrreas the present policies of the Soviet UettonirTailly iroposiibie for the millions of refauves bi the two countrica to exchangeu in theirnd relative*
have used other forms of communications, such as mail, telephone, telegraph, and gift parcels have capcricneed enormous difficulties:
Whereas because of restrictive Soviet policies, lessf the many thousands of Americans who visited Ihe Soviet Union6 wererivateo stay with their relatives in iheirnd orfrfoviet citizens were allowed to visit their relatives in the United State*;
Whereas many Americans who have been frustrated by the delay or denial tn obtaining private visas to visit family members in their homes in the Soviel Union have resorted to joining package tours io the Soviel Union ul means of seeing iheir family members;
Whereas relatives should be able to comforjjald assist each other in the event of medical emergencies such as those which resulted tram the Chomobyl disaster, or when specialized medical treatment i* not availablearticular country;
Whereas in the case of serious illness or death theshould be guaranteed expeditious determinationvisa
Whereas family visitation is in issue which transcends political differences, and governments which permit norma] and regular family "iiiiationommitment to baiic values of decency and fairness which are shared by all mankind; end
Whereas at the Vienna Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe Follow-up Meeting, the United States delegation enumerated the inappropriate re)Diction* placed by Soviet authorities on Soviet citizens who wish to travel abroad and on United Slates citirerui who wish to visit family members in the Soviet Union: Now. therefore,
Resolved by ike House of Representatives and ihe Senate.
That it is ine sense ofthe Congress that
Ibe promotlooof unrestricted family visits between related people in tbe United States and the Soviet Union is an essential part of American policy toward tbe Soviet Union; and
tbe President, tbe Secretary of State, and oiher members of tbe administration should raise the issue of family visitation at all appropriate opportunities in discussion witb the leadership of tbe Communist Party aod ihe Government of the Soviet Union.
Concurrent Resolutionntroduced by Christopher H. SmithJ) onConnimni. RejohnionaBodueed by Dennis DeConcinihuck Grasileyaul Simonrank Uutecbergnd Pete Wiltonalif) on.
., .VISAHuman rishU advcoeciof vinti between anULkeii atrtlKtdpcopUofeihn*odProject of the World Without* War Canal of Northern CaHcenM.which,aks peace, freedom, and humanBtiteky. OBtomt*AOriginal document.