138. Editorial Note

One aspect of the foreign assistance policy discussions in 1970 was a general, multilateral untying of foreign assistance. NSDM 76 (Document 136), which contained many of the proposals put forward in the President’s September 15 foreign assistance message to Congress, provided for untying of U.S. assistance for worldwide procurement in low income countries, but did not address general, multilateral untying of assistance by all donors for worldwide procurement.

In his September 15 message, the President proposed “that all donor countries end the requirement that foreign aid be used to purchase goods and services produced in the nation providing the aid.” He continued: “Complete untying of aid is a step that must be taken in concert with other nations and we have begun talks to that end with the other members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, page 754)

Telegraphic reporting on the untying initiative at DAC meetings and during bilateral consultations in OECD capitals is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID 1. A number of donors, including the Federal Republic of Germany and Japan, adopted sympathetic positions on the issue, but France was a notable holdout. Despite France’s position, there was some hope that the June 1971 OECD Ministerial might reach agreement on the issue. To that end the U.S. Mission to OECD on May 11 sent the Department of State some text regarding multilateral contributions in the Untying Agreement that had been proposed by the Secretariat following a May 6 DAC discussion. The Mission saw some merit to the formulation and sought approval or suggestions for alternative language. (Telegram 7656 from USOECD; ibid.)

In Washington, the Department of the Treasury raised concerns about moving ahead rapidly with the issue at that time; see Document 139.