248. Information Memorandum From C. Fred Bergsten of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Need for Position on Trade Legislation for 1971
We must develop a position on trade legislation for 1971 by the time the Congress reconvenes, and earlier if possible because of the textile negotiations.
I have therefore prepared an options paper (Tab A) and circulated it to interested parties in the White House (Shultz, Flanigan and McCracken) with a recommendation that it be the first order of business of the new International Economic Policy Council,2 or be discussed at an ad hoc meeting called by one of them.
Procedurally, foreign economic policy is now a total mess—and this very important issue may suffer as a result. Our original trade legislation decisions were made via the NSC,3 and it remains the only mechanism now in place through which such decisions can be made in an orderly way. For all its shortcomings, our mechanism was reasonably effective in obtaining and implementing decisions during the first 18 months of the Administration.
Now, however, everybody is sitting around waiting for the new Council to start operating—while the months drag by and nothing happens. As a result, everybody is in the act to some extent, but nobody at a senior level is in charge. And I fear that, without an Executive Director or its own staff, the new Council is not going to solve the problem—it may even make things worse, by simply getting in the way.
As noted above, I continue to hope that the new Council will start in time to handle this issue. If not, I hope that Shultz or Flanigan will seize leadership on it. If they do not, I will have to recommend that you call a meeting in early January to get a decision.[Page 634]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 402, Trade, Volume III 12/70-6/71. No classification marking. Haig wrote: “Agree” at the top of the page and Kissinger wrote: “Fred: Talk to me soon” at the bottom.↩
Council on International Economic Policy (CIEP) was established on January 18, 1971; see
Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, vol. III, Documents 49, 53, and 55.↩
- Reference is to the decisions at the NSC meeting on April 9, 1969; see Documents 192 and 195.↩