181. Editorial Note

On May 11, 1966, Secretary of State Rusk sent to Congress the draft of a proposed East-West Trade Relations Act of 1966, which would authorize the President to negotiate commercial agreements with the Soviet Union and Eastern European nations. Accompanying this bill were identical May 11 letters from the Secretary to John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House, and Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate. The Department of State May 11 announcement of the proposed trade legislation, the text of Secretary Rusk’s identical letters to McCormack and Humphrey, and the draft legislation are printed in Department of State Bulletin, May 30, 1966, pages 838–844.

The Secretary’s action followed several conversations among Joseph Califano, Francis Bator, Secretary Rusk, and Under Secretary Ball in which they discussed whether it was wise to send the draft legislation to Congress (the President apparently wanted to reconsider an earlier decision not to send it) and, if so, whether the President should send it. (Memoranda of telephone conversations between Ball and Bator, April 26, 4:15 p.m., and Ball and Secretary Rusk, April 26, 4:30 p.m.; Johnson Library, Ball Papers, East-West Trade [1/23/64–7/12/66], Box 3)

Finally, in his remarks at a ceremony commemorating Poland’s national and Christian millennium on May 3, President Johnson [Page 517] instructed Secretary Rusk to send the draft legislation to the Congress. Further, he recalled that he had promised in his State of the Union message on January 12 to request the proposed authority, and he added: “After years of careful study, the time has now come, I think, for us to act, and act we should and act we must.” Texts of his January 12 and May 3 remarks are in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1966, Book I, pages 3–12 and 475–478.