357. Memorandum From the Acting Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Walsh) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Chairman Mills’ Views Regarding the Special Trade Representative

When the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Nathaniel Samuels, accompanied by Assistant Secretary Macomber, made his introductory call on Chairman Mills Thursday morning, the [Page 781]Chairman took advantage of the opportunity to convey his strong conviction that it would be a grave mistake for the Administration to transfer the Office of the Special Trade Representative out of the White House.

In reviewing the background history, Mr. Mills emphasized his view that the unprecedented vote in support of the Trade Expansion Act in 1962 was directly related to the fact that the Administration had accepted the Congressional view that responsibility for trade policy be placed in the White House where the Special Trade Representative would have direct access to the President. That provision reflected the carefully considered view of Congress at that time and, in the Chairman’s view, today. He added that the ranking minority member, John Byrnes of Wisconsin, feels as strongly as he does on the matter.

Aside from the critical issue of Congressional concern that trade matters not be relegated to a level where the influence of the Special Trade Representative would be submerged in the bureaucracy of one of the established Departments, the Chairman believes that it would be exceedingly difficult to get a first-rate man for this job unless it continues to be situated in the White House. In this connection he said he knows that the President would have no problem in getting George Champion to fill this position if the latter were assured that the Office would remain in the White House and that he would have direct access to the President as the situation required.

Mr. Mills said that he had discussed the matter with Secretary Stans and had informed him that he (Mills) “would not oppose” the transfer to Commerce, because he recognized the necessity of organizing the White House in accordance with the President’s concepts. Stans told the Chairman that John Byrnes said he too would not oppose the transfer if Mr. Mills did not, but that Byrnes had been even more outspoken than the Chairman in his criticism of such a move. The Chairman explained at some length and with emphasis his view that although he could not oppose the transfer (for the reason cited above) the proposed move would be unfortunate and would have a decided impact on Congressional consideration of trade matters.

John P. Walsh
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 403, Office of the Special Trade Representative. No classification marking. Bergsten forwarded the memorandum to Kissinger under an April 7 covering memorandum, in which he commented that “you might this ammunition useful in presenting the President’s decision to Secretary Stans.” (Ibid.)