60. Action Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs (Peterson) to President Nixon1


  • Submission of Aid Reorganization Legislation

The legislation for the new foreign assistance program is now ready and I list below the major actions we propose to take to advise Congress and the public about the new program. Considerable time has elapsed since your September message on the subject2 and it is therefore most important that you personally participate in advising the leadership of Congress about the importance you attach to this reorganization.

The legislation will be ready for submission after the Easter recess. I recommend we submit the legislation on April 21. This is right after the Easter recess and allows sufficient time for advance briefing of Congressional leadership.

About April 15, we will brief the senior staff members of the appropriate committees.

I recommend that you devote part of your regular Republican leadership meeting on Tuesday, April 20 to a briefing on the new aid legislation.3

In addition you should invite the leadership of the relevant committees to a briefing on the reorganization on April 20. I suggest you hold this briefing at 9:00 a.m.—right after the Republican leadership meeting.4 Attached at Tab A is a suggested list of members of Congress to be invited to the bipartisan briefing with you.5

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On the day the legislation goes forward (April 21) there will be a press briefing covering both security and development assistance. We would invite White House, State, Treasury and DOD correspondents. I recommend we start the briefing at 10:00 a.m. and arrange it so that there will be an opportunity for you to make a short (one to two minutes) statement at the outset which the TV could tape and release later that day.

The briefing would be handled by Kissinger and myself with appropriate staff to field detailed questions.

We are planning a series of separate briefings including briefing for select foreign government representatives and non-governmental organizations. We are also arranging for a series of informal discussions and briefings with select members of Congress and their staffs just before and following the submission of the legislation. These briefings will be done by the various agencies

We have contacted Rudy Peterson. He will participate in the advance briefings and be available for the hearings. His schedule does not permit him to be in Washington on April 21.


I recommend you approve the above scenario.

Scenario Approved6

Scenario Disapproved

Scenario Approved as Amended

Messrs. MacGregor, Shultz, Kissinger, Ziegler, and Klein have been consulted and concur in the proposed arrangements.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 195, AID 1/1/71-12/31/71. No classification marking. Copies were sent to Kissinger, Shultz, MacGregor, Ziegler, and Klein. The memorandum is attached to an April 15 memorandum from Bergsten to Kissinger concerning Kissinger’s subsequent decision not to participate in the April 20 Congressional briefings and the press briefing. Bergsten pointed out that the package would have a “rough time” with Congress and asked Kissinger to reconsider. Kissinger declined and designated Schlesinger instead.
  2. Reference is to the September 15, 1970, Presidential statement. See footnote 2, Document 53.
  3. The President met with the Republican Congressional Leadership in the Cabinet Room in the morning of April 20. The list of attendees includes Schlesinger but not Kissinger. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)
  4. The meeting was not held. (Ibid.) On April 16 Bergsten sent a memorandum to Kissinger suggesting that the President’s participation in the bipartisan Congressional briefing would be a “serious error.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 195, AID 1/1/71-12/31/71)
  5. Not found.
  6. None of the options is checked.