40. Editorial Note

National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM) 76 (Document 136) provided for a small office in the White House to manage the transition to the new foreign aid program that the President outlined to the Congress in his September 15 message. Rudolph Peterson, Chairman of the Task Force on International Development, whose report had stimulated the new proposals, was invited to head the office.

On October 27, 1970, C. Fred Bergsten sent a memorandum to Henry Kissinger informing him that Peterson might be unable to head the temporary White House office, and suggesting some alternatives. As Bergsten recommended, on October 30 Kissinger sent a memorandum to the President suggesting he call Peterson, using attached talking points, to try to recruit him for the position. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 195, AID 10/7/70-12/31/70) On Kissinger’s memorandum to the President, Haldeman crossed out the October 30 date and wrote, “Re-raised Nov 18, 1970.” At the end of the memorandum, the President wrote: “H—I don’t want to use my prestige on this one—Have Pete [Flanigan] or someone else who knows him do it on my behalf.”

On November 24 Bergsten sent a memorandum to Kissinger noting that Flanigan did not know Peterson well and a call from Kissinger would carry more weight. He pointed out that, since the new legislation would not be ready to go to Congress until the new Congress convened in January, the position would be of shorter duration and Peterson might [Page 93] reconsider. (Ibid.) Peterson did reconsider, and in early 1971 he was taking soundings in Congress on the impending submission of the Nixon administration’s aid reform proposals. (Memorandum of conversation, March 2, 1971; ibid., AID 1/1/71-12/31/71)