298. Action Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1
- East-West Trade (excluding the Asian Communist countries and Cuba)
The NSC meeting on East-West Trade has been rescheduled for May 21.2 An immediate decision is needed on one issue: our Export Control Act, which establishes the basis for regulating exports to Communist countries, expires on June 30. Commerce, State and Defense will testify early next week on a Muskie-Mondale bill to liberalize the present act. [Page 779] They need a decision on whether you wish to support a simple extension of the present Act, support the liberalizing Muskie bill, or submit an Administration liberalizing bill.
Your decision on this issue, however, can best be made in the context of your decisions on our overall approach to East-West trade. The summary paper discusses the issues which underlie all U.S. policy in this area and offers five packages:3
- Continuation of the present fairly restrictive policy.
- Adoption of new liberalizing attitudes but without major legislative changes.
- Adoption of more liberalized attitudes plus support for Congressional initiatives toward liberalizing legislation and Administration initiatives as soon as Congressional acceptance becomes likely.
- An immediate liberalizing initiative, including legislative proposals.
- Linking of any of the liberalization approaches to specific concessions in return from Communist countries.
The specific issues, besides the Export Control Act, which could be part of any package and on which you could make decisions now, are listed on the first page of the summary paper and in the issues for decision paper.
When the NSC meeting on East-West trade scheduled for May 14 was cancelled, all agencies were asked to submit their recommendations on each issue for decision in writing.4 These are summarized in the issues for decision paper, which also includes my recommendations, and the replies themselves are at the tab “Agency Views”.5 The basic options paper is at the last tab.6
- Source: National Security Council, Secretariat, Box 84, 5/21/69 NSC Meeting-U.S. Trade Policy Toward Communist Countries. Confidential. This memorandum is the covering memorandum on a package of briefing materials for the President’s use at the May 21 NSC meeting.↩
- The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room from 10:26 to 11:30 a.m. Nixon, Agnew, Laird, Lincoln, Richardson, Wheeler, Helms, Kissinger, Kennedy, Hardin, Shultz, Siciliano, Davis, Greenwald, Loomis, McCracken, Gates, Burns, Goodpaster, Haig, and Bergsten attended. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No formal record of this meeting has been found, but see Document 299.↩
- Document 292.↩
- See Document 293.↩
- Not printed, but see Documents 294, 295, and 296.↩
- The 35-page NSSM 35 Response is not printed.↩