314. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for Congressional Relations (Timmons) to President Nixon1


  • Meeting with Chairman Thomas E. “Doc” Morgan, Congressman E. Ross Adair and Congressman Wayne L. Hays (House Foreign Affairs Committee), February 17, 1970, 4 p.m.

I. Purpose

To obtain support for the Administration’s proposal to establish an Under Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; in Congressman Hays’ case, the most that probably can be achieved is his agreement not to block the bill in his Subcommittee on State Department Organization and Foreign Operations.

II. Background

You are publicly committed to the Under Secretary proposal in your October 31 speech.2 On December 20 the Department of State transmitted legislation to Congress which has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Frank Church (S. 3347). On December 22 your statement in support of the legislation was released to the press.3 Your commitment to this proposal will be cited again in the foreign policy statement going to the Congress on Wednesday.4
This meeting was requested by Congressman Hays, who during Congressional consultations prior to transmittal, indicated his adamant opposition to the proposed legislation. Chairman Morgan and Congressman Adair appear to have no strenuous objections to the Under Secretary bill.
Congressman Hays has long been a supporter of our European alliances and is a Member of the NATO Parliamentary Group (American section). He generally shares your views concerning the need for reorganizing and shaping-up the Department of State, a position that may strike a responsive cord with him. Concerning the Under Secretary bill, Hays has indicated his intention to “go slow” with hearings and is not at all impressed with the Rockefeller Report findings of the need for a special Under Secretary for Latin America.5

It is reported that Senator Church, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs approves of the Under Secretary bill and will schedule hearings on it.

III. Summary

The following is a summary of Hays’ position and counter-arguments prepared by Dr. Kissinger’s office (Viron P. Vaky).

A. Congressman Hays will probably argue:

  • —Latins do not deserve this special treatment.
  • —If we do it for the Latins we ought to do it for Europeans who are staunch allies; we should not downgrade other parts of the world.
  • —It will probably result in proliferation of super-grades, cost more money and ruin administrative symmetry.

B. Points for you to emphasize:

  • —Proposal is an integral part of your Latin America policy.
  • —It is meant to make that policy more effective.
  • —It is meant to demonstrate sincerity of our interest in region and the special nature of our relationship.
  • —It will have great and favorable psychological impact on Latins; and it will enhance our ability to establish more cooperative relations.
  • —It will improve bureaucratic efficiency and implementation of policy.
  • —Rockefeller Report made strong case for “one window” and need for upgrading key official dealing with area.
  • —Latins received announcement of proposal extremely well; they will watch for follow-up.
  • —It was also well received in U.S.
  • —Proposal has not aroused criticism from other areas; no evidence that they feel downgraded.

IV. Talking Points

The following is a list of talking points recommended by Dr. Kissinger’s office (Viron P. Vaky):

Your proposal to reorganize and upgrade the bureaucratic structure for dealing with Inter-American affairs is an integral part of your overall policy. It is intended to make that policy more effective, and to:
Improve the bureaucratic implementation of policy:
Our Latin American policy has suffered from bureaucratic problems, particularly the diffusion of authority and proliferation of agencies dealing in foreign affairs. The result is often procrastination and confusion that sometimes delays decisions for months.
One of the persistent complaints found by Governor Rockefeller on his trip was that the Latins did not have one place in Washington where they could get their concerns considered. They were frustrated and sometimes humiliated by being referred from one office to another without finding anyone to make a decision.
The Rockefeller Report makes a strong case that reorganization was essential to make policy implementation more effective.
You concluded accordingly that it was necessary (1) to upgrade the authority and stature of the key position dealing with inter-American affairs, and (2) to provide one focal point for coordinating government activities in the region, speeding decision and lessening our reaction time.
You thus believe it important to have “one window.”
Demonstrate our interest in Latin America and make it easier to achieve construction relationships:
You considered it important to give evidence of the “special relationship” we have historically had with the region.
This measure will have great psychological impact on the Latin Americans and we will benefit thereby. The Latins operate very much in personal terms; therefore giving greater stature and rank to the key position in the decision-making structure that deals with Latin America is an important element in dealing with them.
We will thus be able to establish a greater sense of vitality, openness and effectiveness in our relations with the leaders and people of the nations of the hemisphere.
Your announcement in your October 31 speech that intended to propose this measure was extremely well received in Latin America, and highly praised. The proposal has considerable significance to the [Page 703] Latins. They will now watch for follow-up as a test of the credibility of our policy.
The proposal was also well received in the United States. It was endorsed by the Council for Latin America, composed of representatives of major U.S. companies doing business in Latin America.
There have been no adverse reactions from other parts of the world. Generally other countries—and especially Europe—understand the special treatment and gesture we have given the Latins and why. There is no evidence that they feel downgraded. To establish similar rank positions for the other areas, of course, would be self-defeating in terms of the objective of demonstrating the “special relationship” concept for Latin America.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Subject Files, Ex FG 11. No classification marking.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 309.
  3. For text, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pp. 1039–1040.
  4. For text of the President’s statement on Latin America in his first annual report to the Congress on U.S. foreign policy for the 1970’s, February 18, 1970, see ibid., pp. 133–140.
  5. In a February 17 memorandum to Timmons, Harlow commented that the legislation had “gone to Wayne Hays’ sub-committee, where he was run a stiletto through its heart. Governor Rockefeller considers this one of the major recommendations to the President following his Latin American trip, and the White House has recommended this new post. State decries it, and Rogers has refused openly to support it.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Subject Files, EX FG 11) For the Rockefeller report, see footnote 3, Document 309.