417. Information Memorandum From C. Fred Bergsten of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- Meat Import Program for 1970
I met today with Secretary Hardin, John Whitaker of John Ehrlichman’s staff, and Bryce Harlow on the meat import program for 1970. Three issues were discussed:
- Whether to seek continued voluntary restraints by foreign exporters or apply quotas ourselves.
- The level of imports.
- The allocation of imports as between the traditional suppliers (Australia, New Zealand, Ireland) and the Latin Americans.
All agreed that voluntary restraints were far superior to quotas. The main issue was thus the import level. Our objective was to minimize the level for domestic political reasons while offering enough to the foreign suppliers to preserve the voluntary restraint agreements.
Secretary Hardin felt strongly that our initial negotiating position should be an import level of 1,050 million pounds, allocated among the suppliers a la 1969, plus an additional 5 million pounds for Latin America to exemplify the “special relationship.” Imports of 1,050 million pounds in 1970 would represent virtually no increase over actual imports in 1969 and only a 15 million pound increase from the agreed restraint levels of this year. I therefore expressed doubts that Australia and perhaps New Zealand would be willing to negotiate voluntary restraints at that level. They might calculate that they would come out better if we applied quotas, even at the lower statutory level of 1,000 million pounds. This is because they would expect the quotas to be allocated on an historical (5-year) basis, under which they would receive a much larger share of the total than they got in 1969 and would get in 1970 under the voluntary approach, which already encompasses substantially favored treatment for Latin America.
It was clear at the meeting that you might wish to raise the issue with the President if you were dissatisfied with the decision. Despite my being overruled, I do not recommend further effort at this point because:
- The 1,050 plus 5 for Latin America is only a first negotiating position, which State has already begun trying out on the suppliers.
- Secretary Hardin is clearly prepared to fall back to 1,060 plus 5, or even 1,075, if necessary to secure voluntary agreements.
- Australian and New Zealand meat has been entering the U.S. via Canada in excess of agreed amounts and there is thus a case for being tough with them as a result; I know of no particular foreign policy reason to be particularly accommodating to them at present.
- The add-on for Latin America should give us a good point in the ongoing IA-ECOSOC dialogue.
- Secretary Hardin has a point in wanting to maintain some leeway in the program for additional allocations later in 1970, as pressures build up for both economic and foreign policy reasons as they did this year.
We should know within a week or ten days whether the 1,050 plus 5 level is negotiable. If it is not, we may need a Presidential decision at that time.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 401, Trade General, Volume I. Confidential.↩