122. Memorandum by President Ford 1


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Commerce
  • The Secretary of Agriculture
  • Chairman, Export-Import Bank

It is extremely important in the days ahead that U.S. officials, if called upon to make public comment on the recent developments in US-Soviet trade relations, adhere strictly to the Administration position as enunciated by the Secretary of State on January 14, 1975.

In particular, there should be no speculation concerning the impact of these developments on overall US-Soviet relations, except to indicate that we have no evidence that the consequences will extend beyond trade matters. Specifically:

—There should be no speculation concerning the effect of recent events on other agreements or obligations involving the Soviet Union;

—There should be no speculation concerning the motivations of Soviet decisions beyond the reasons given by the Soviets themselves;

—There should be no recrimination or effort to assign blame for what has occurred.

All agencies should follow carefully such additional guidance as may be contained in public statements authorized and released at the White House or at the Department of State. Any question as to meaning or interpretation should be referred to the White House (Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs).

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No initiatives are to be taken with respect to negotiation of trade issues with the USSR without my approval.

Gerald R. Ford
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, 1974–1977, Box 17, USSR (8). Confidential. Copies were sent to Schlesinger, Lynn, and Eberle. According to another copy, Ford, Kissinger, and Scowcroft drafted the memorandum on January 16. (Ibid., “Outside the System” Chronological Files, 1974–1977, Box 1) In a memorandum to Ford on January 18, Kissinger forwarded the final version and explained that following his “low key” announcement on January 14 (Document 120), “our approach has been successful in muting press speculation as to the impact of this action on our broader relations with the Soviets. I believe it is important, however, that we carefully control both public comment by the Administration and any follow-on steps with the Soviet Union. To insure that the Administration speaks with one voice and that agencies do not begin piecemeal to pick up the threads of trade negotiations with the Soviets, I believe it would be helpful for you to issue a directive to that effect.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, 1974–1977, Box 17, USSR (8)) According to an attached correspondence profile, the memorandum was dispatched on January 20.