211. Action Memorandum From C. Fred Bergsten of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Mounting Bureaucratic Problems on Foreign Economic Policy

I have learned from Al Haig and Ken Cole that there is great unhappiness in some quarters about your and my key roles in foreign economic policy:


From Arthur Burns, most recently because we are handling the trade bill and message—at Ken Cole’s request, which I confirmed last night, and which implements decisions taken at NSC meeting in April.2

(The trade package came in from STR late Friday night and I have not yet moved it because (a) the message is terrible, (b) we do not yet have President’s response to your memo of August 13 on the subject,3 and (c) I have not gotten Burns’ comments. I am working on the message but I am not likely to get substantive views from Burns without your intervention.)

From Secretary Kennedy, with regard to international monetary policy. (I reported to you yesterday on his latest and most blatant effort to end-run you.)4
From Secretary Stans, with regard to textiles.

These three have apparently discussed the issue together and the situation is obviously unhealthy—especially for me since I am more vulnerable than you. I would guess that their problems are largely (solely in Kennedy’s case) bureaucratic but also partly substantive.

I assure you, however, that I have absolutely no second thoughts about the way I have handled any issue, with a limited caveat on the AID bill where I let Burns turn the minor substantive issue of administrative “barnacles” on the program into a major bureaucratic fracas. And I have no qualms about carrying on as heretofore. I did want you to know, however, that the issue could involve you at some point.

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That you sign the attached memorandum to Arthur Burns (and Peter Flanigan) requesting their views on the proposed trade bill and message.5 (This should take care of the only “substantive” problem which exists at the moment.)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 401, Trade General Volume I. Confidential.
  2. See Tab A to Document 195.
  3. Kissinger’s memorandum requested Presidential decisions on issues raised by Gilbert and Stans, and Don Kendall in the private sector. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 401, Trade General, Volume I)
  4. Not further identified.
  5. Attached are identical September 26 memoranda from Kissinger to Flanigan and Burns; neither printed.