367. Action Memorandum From the Director of the Planning and Coordination Staff, Department of State (Cargo) to Secretary of State Rogers 1

SUBJECT

  • Proposal for Foreign Economic Policy Council

Pursuant to your request to Mr. Eliot, there is enclosed a proposed memorandum to the President2 recommending the establishment, [Page 796]under your chairmanship, of a Council on Foreign Economic Policy. The memorandum has been reviewed by Mr. Samuels and has his concurrence.

We propose that the Council be presented as a new specialized mechanism within the NSC system. This would:

  • —subordinate the new Council to the NSC, preserving organizationally the President’s option to hold NSC meetings on economic topics in lieu of Council meetings whenever desirable;
  • —underscore organizationally the principal argument for a State-chaired group, i.e., the fact that foreign economic policy is part and parcel of the conduct of foreign policy.

The proposed memorandum also envisages:

  • —that the responsibilities of the Secretary of the Treasury for international monetary problems as provided for in the executive order establishing the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies3 be left intact; the handling of foreign assistance issues would depend on decisions to be taken on the Peterson report;4 and
  • —that the NSC Under Secretaries Committee which has been heavily involved in inter-agency coordination of foreign economic issues be given the role of a working group in relation to the Council.

Recommendation

That you sign the enclosed memorandum.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC Matters Files: Lot 73 D 288 Foreign Economic Policy Council. Secret. Drafted by C. W. Ruser and concurred in by Trezise (E). Sent through U. Alexis Johnson and S/S.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. E.O. 11269, February 14, 1966. For text, see 31 F.R. 2813.
  4. Documentation on the Peterson report and its implementation is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–72, Documents 128 136. See also Department of State Bulletin, April 6, 1970, pp. 447–467.
  5. In a July 24 memorandum Eliot informed Johnson that Tresize had reservations about the proposed memorandum to the President: 1) it would “cause quite a stir within the Cabinet, presumably triggering rebuttals in favor of other arrangements”; 2) “our problems in the foreign economic policy area are political and substantive rather than organizational”; 3) therefore State should first be sure the Ash Committee will recommend a new organization in the White House. Eliot reported that Samuels, however, believed there was nothing to lose by sending the memorandum now; should the Ash Committee recommend a new White House mechanism, it was desirable to go on record early against it. (National Archives, RG 59, S/SNSC Matters Files: Lot 73 D 288, Foreign Economic Policy Council) In a July 30 memorandum Eliot informed Cargo that Johnson recommended to Rogers that he not sign the proposal memorandum, but instead use it as background material for any future conversations with Nixon or Kissinger. (Ibid.)