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

SUBJECT

  • Stans’ Proposals for (a) Another Eastern European Trade Mission, and (b) His Own Trip to Europe and the Near East

Eastern Europe Trade Mission

Secretary Stans has proposed that his Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Business, Harold B. Scott, lead a U.S. trade and investment mission to Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania in June 1971. (Tab B).2 The mission would consist mainly of senior represent-atives [Page 837]of U.S. firms. Stans believes that the mission is justified in order to demonstrate continued U.S. government interest in expanding trade to Eastern Europe. He says that the State Department has offered planning and staffing support.

Scott led a similar mission to Eastern Europe last June,3 and he has strongly supported increased trade with the Communist European countries in a number of public statements. In fact, with the full backing of Stans, he has tread on the edge of pushing a policy line contrary to the President’s own decisions. For example, on February 4 he told a Boston business group that Commerce and State had suggested that the President seek Most-Favored-Nation treatment for Communist products; this could have been the source of Senator Brooke’s call to you on the subject.4 Scott also told the group that the President’s decision might be revealed in the State of the World report, for which there was of course absolutely no basis in fact. And he actively agitated for opposition to the President’s policy by saying that “political awareness of the tariff problem can be heightened by agitation by the business community for even broader trade …”

Stans himself has often given the same impression. In recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, the Journal of Commerce reported that he said that the only area in the world with potential for expanded U.S. exports was Eastern Europe—the obvious implication of which was that the business community should lobby for USG help to do so.

The President told Secretary Stans orally sometime back that he would not stand in the way of increased trade with Eastern Europe—apart from the USSR. However, I do not see how our present policy could condone a second trade mission within a year, with its strong implication that we favor expanded East-West trade, particularly in view of the President’s recent decision to defer any Administration initiatives in this area. (I held Stans’ memo until the President made this decision.)5

Secretary Stans has not specifically asked your permission for Scott to go, but Commerce will undoubtedly follow up to find out if the trade mission can proceed. You could of course let it pass or you could object in the name of the President’s policy. An objection would make it clearer to Stans that Commerce should be more restrained in its East-West trade statement.

Stans’ Trip to Europe and the Near East

Secretary Stans has also (Tab C)6 asked for comments on his own planned trip in April and May to Ireland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Iran and Turkey. [Page 838]The only problem is the reaction he can expect in Spain if the President decides to agree with Stans on the need to increase shoe duties in response to the Tariff Commission report.7 Nevertheless, I see no reason to discourage his trip at this time.

Recommendation:

That you sign the memorandum for Secretary Stans at Tab A,8 approving his trip in April and May but suggesting a delay before another trade mission to Eastern Europe (except of course to Romania and Yugoslavia).

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 213, Commerce, Volume II 1971. No classification marking. Concurred in by Sonnenfeldt and Saunders.
  2. Not found.
  3. See Document 320.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. Presumably a reference to the decisions in NSDM 99, Document 325.
  6. Not found.
  7. See Documents 251 and 252.
  8. Document 328.