69. Editorial Note

In October 1971 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered the foreign assistance authorization bill for FY 1972. In an October 14 memorandum, John Lehman, a member of the National Security Council Staff, informed Henry Kissinger that the Committee had cut development assistance 20 percent, reduced MAP from $705 to $565 million and supporting assistance from $768 to $614.4 million, and limited MAP for Latin America to $10 million. He also noted that $250 million was approved for Pakistan and $85 million in supporting assistance had been added for Israel. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 323, Foreign Aid, Volume I 7/70-1971)

In an October 27 memorandum to Kissinger, Lehman wrote that a vote on the bill was imminent and that the Senate version was a “horror,” and he recommended vetoing the bill if the administration proposals were not included. Lehman noted that 16 amendments would be required to make the bill acceptable, and he provided brief summaries [Page 163] of the three most objectionable provisions with talking points for use at a breakfast with Congressional leaders on October 28. He provided a paper from Richard Kennedy on maintaining foreign assistance under a continuing resolution if the bill were vetoed. He suggested that Kissinger avoid detailed discussion of the objectionable provisions, emphasize the success of the President’s Asia policy, and raise the possibility of a Presidential veto if Congress were to undermine the President. (Ibid.)

The paper by Kennedy, dated October 27, entitled “Effects of Operating on Continuing Resolution Authority,” reads as follows:

OMB has examined all of our foreign assistance programs and concludes that if we were to remain on Continuing Resolution Authority (CRA), we can do so without any major detriment to our ongoing programs up to March 30, 1972. All of our ongoing programs could continue. We might have to postpone our contributions to international financial institutions (due December 30) but we have done so before. Exim would have to delay some commitments. But the longer it extends, the tighter the situation becomes. There would be considerable uncertainty, of course, and it would be difficult for the Agencies to plan not knowing what the ultimate total authorization for the year would be.

“If we were to go beyond March 30, however, we would have serious problems. There would be a major shortfall in supporting assistance seriously affecting our Southeast Asia programs and we would have no funds for India-Pakistan relief. We have been borrowing from other accounts to support the India/Pakistan effort up to now and if we are to mount a major effort as is planned, we need a new appropriation—since there was no such program last year there is no Continuing Resolution on which we can base the program this year. Also, we would have to default on subscriptions to the international financial institutions and Exim would have to close its loan and guarantee windows for the last quarter of the year.

“The Continuing Resolution Authority could be relied on only so long as there are other appropriations not yet passed (the present CRA expires November 15, 1971, and presumably will be extended for some period, probably 30 days, and then if necessary could be extended again).”

The Senate rejected the foreign assistance authorization legislation on October 29 by a vote of 41 to 27. Secretary of State Rogers, AID Administrator Hannah, Ron Ziegler on the President’s behalf, and Secretary of Defense Laird promptly expressed the administration’s dismay and the need for a continuing resolution and/or the introduction of new legislation. (Department of State Bulletin, November 22, 1971, pages 577-586)