473. Letter from Rusk to U.S. Ambassadors, August 21
You will recall that in my letter of October 19, 1962, I emphasized the role which our Chiefs of Mission and their senior staff members would need to play in order for us to succeed in our joint efforts to expand adequately the volume of American exports.
I am sure you are aware that our balance-of-payments situation remains a very real and stubborn problem, even though our current export volume constitutes some improvement over the recent past. The facts are that imports in 1962 increased by $1.7 billion while exports increased by $800 million (from $20.1 to $20.9 billion). Hence our net surplus on merchandise trade declined. International payments of all types, which include military expenditures and foreign aid, of course, continued to exceed receipts and our balance of payments remained in the red by some $2.2 billion.
As a companion piece to the export drive, the Administration is taking all actions which it believes are currently possible—consistent with our foreign policy objectives and position of leadership in the free world—to moderate the balance-of-payments impact of our governmental activities and programs abroad. Clearly these actions need to be kept within those bounds which will neither impair our national security and other foreign policy objectives nor circumscribe the latitude which our citizens enjoy in their trade and financial relationships abroad. If the United States can push its exports to a substantially higher plateau, many elements of our balance-of-payments problem will disappear without resort to actions which would be unpalatable both domestically and internationally. The rough road of restrictive retrogression is the last thing that we would wish to contemplate.
Since I wrote to Chiefs of Mission last fall on the importance of their personal participation in and support of export promotion, I have had many gratifying reports as to what they and their senior staff members have been doing to further this vital activity.[Facsimile Page 2]
Because of the special emphasis which we in Washington attach to the Export Expansion Program for balance-of-payments reasons, I [Typeset Page 1873] should appreciate it if your Embassy would prepare for my guidance and that of the Secretary of Commerce a summary of your Mission’s recent activities in line with the concepts expressed in my earlier letter. I should like such a report to cover the specific ways in which the Embassy has found it possible to give support to this program. I would also like to know of the particular difficulties encountered in promoting United States exports, what the Embassy thinks needs to be done to solve these problems, as well as any suggestions for improving our export expansion work as a whole. Material already submitted need not be repeated but only brought up to date.
I look forward to receiving such a report and I am confident that it will reflect that degree of participation and support necessary to ensure the success of our export drive.
- Report summarizing Mission’s export promotion activities requested. No classification marking. 3 pp. Department of State, Central Files, FT 4 US/TEA.↩