50. Memorandum of Conversation1

THOSE PRESENT

  • The President, Rudolph Peterson, Dr. Kissinger 2
  • Peter G. Peterson, Clark MacGregor

Rudolph Peterson outlined the soundings he had already been taking on the Hill to prepare the way for submission of the President’s aid [Page 120]reform proposals. He indicated that support was growing for the idea of delaying it for another year. The idea is to move the FY ′72 appropriations quickly on the present AID basis, and then devote the rest of this Congress to deliberate consideration of the organizational reforms for the future.

The President replied that this program had already been delayed for two years. It was time to move and we should avoid any further delays. The reform legislation should be submitted immediately.

Rudolph Peterson then indicated that there was increased Congressional concern over the need for a single person to speak for the Administration on development assistance issues under the proposed new structure. They wanted someone who was operationally involved, and would not be satisfied to hear from the regional Assistant Secretaries of State.

There was agreement that the Congress was entitled to have such a person to look to, and that one must be found. Peter Peterson seemed to be the most logical candidate, since he would be coordinating the new aid structure. There was of course a major problem with his appearing before the Congress, however, so further thought needed to be given to the problem.

Finally, Rudolph Peterson asked whether the President would be willing himself to sit down with the Congressional leadership to help kick off the new program. The President responded affirmatively and would look to Mr. MacGregor and Rudolph Peterson to tell him when the time was right.

There was also some discussion regarding the organization of the new security assistance program. Rudolph Peterson strongly urged that State maintain its present responsibilities in this area. Dr. Kissinger noted that a decision was needed shortly and that it would be up to the President to make his judgment.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 195, AID 1/1/71-12/31/71. Confidential. According to attached routing memoranda, Bergsten drafted the memorandum of conversation on March 3, based on Rudolph Peterson’s report of the meeting. A copy for the President’s record was sent by Houdek to Jon Huntsman on April 26.
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Haig attended the meeting instead of Kissinger. (Ibid., White House Central Files)