284. Editorial Note

During the final months of 1972, representatives of the footwear industry continued to try to persuade the Nixon administration to support relief for the industry from foreign competition. In a September 13, 1972, memorandum to Special Trade Representative William Eberle, Assistant Special Representative Theodore R. Gates provided background for Eberle’s meeting the following day with a footwear delegation. Gates wrote: “No one seems to know just what they want. My experience has been that this industry seldom agrees,” and he summarized the “confusion” and disagreement among the industry delegation which had come to STR in the spring. Regarding that meeting, see Document 274. Gates also suggested searching questions on the prices of shoes and hides and the effects of currency revaluations that Eberle might put to the delegation. (National Archives, RG 364, Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations: Lot 78 B 1, Correspondence 1972) No record of the meeting has been found.

Subsequently, in a December 5, memorandum to Peter Flanigan, Secretary of the Treasury Shultz, commenting on a CIEP options paper on shoe imports and hide exports (which has not been found), argued that there was “no convincing economic case for restricting imports” of shoes. He noted, for example, that the yearly rate of import growth was falling and that increased import protection would probably not save the small, inefficient firms but would be a “windfall” for the large ones and be inflationary. He also strongly opposed resubmission of the case to the Tariff Commission, and he agreed with the CIEP study on the hide export issue that “not much can be done aside from quietly urging Japan to reduce its purchases” and suggested that Eberle might take up the issue once again with Japan. (Ibid., Nonrubber Footwear—Options Papers)

On December 29 Mark E. Richardson, President of the American Footwear Industries Association, wrote separate letters to Shultz, Eberle, Flanigan, John D. Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, and Congressmen James A. Burke and Wilbur D. Mills of the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to take immediate steps to alleviate the import problem of the shoe industry which affected nearly 300,000 workers. In the absence of supportive action by the administration, he indicated his Association’s support for the pending Burke-Hartke bill providing for import protection. Copies of Richardson’s letters to Shultz, Eberle, Flanigan, and Ehrlichman were forwarded under cover of January 8, 1973, letter, which also presented the case for relief, from Eli G. White, chairman of the Association, to President Nixon. (Ibid.)