184. Editorial Note

During the 1968 Presidential campaign, Richard Nixon, the Republican Party nominee, on August 21, 1968, sent a telegram to some House and Senate Republicans. Nixon said in part: “As President, my policy will be … to assure prompt action to effectively administer the [Page 476] existing Long-Term International Cotton Textile Arrangement. Also, I will promptly take the steps necessary to extend the concept of international trade agreements to all other textile articles involving wool, man-made fibers and blends.” (Attached to a February 21 memorandum from C. Fred Bergsten to Henry Kissinger; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Country Files-Far East, Japan Volume I)

At a press conference on February 6, 1969, President Nixon was asked about his campaign promise to limit the import of certain textiles. The President took a dim view of quotas and said the United States would best be served by moving toward freer trade, but that textiles were a special problem and that exploratory talks were underway with major countries to see if textiles could be handled on a voluntary basis rather than having to enact quota legislation that would turn back the objective of trying to achieve freer trade. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pages 74-75)

On February 19 President Nixon met with a number of his advisers in the Cabinet Room from 3:07 to 5:30 p.m. for a briefing on several aspects of his upcoming February 23-March 2 trip to Europe. The Vatican, France, and international trade were on the agenda. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) In his February 21 memorandum to Kissinger, Bergsten reported that during the briefing on trade, the President said he did not want to discuss textiles during his European trip. Regarding a proposed letter to Japanese Prime Minster Sato on textiles, he said he did not want his first communication with Sato to be a letter attempting to subsume the textile issue under the general trade policy review underway pursuant to NSSM 16 (Document 182).