11. Editorial Note

On May 7, 1969, from 11:16 a.m. to noon, the National Security Council met to discuss Far East trade issues in anticipation of Secretary of Commerce Stans’ trip to East Asia. Textiles was one of the major topics discussed in addition to exports, balance of payments, non-tariff barriers, and common market agricultural policies. Alexander Haig’s handwritten notes, the only account of the meeting found, indicate that the President, in reference to the Japanese textile negotiations, said, “play it a little more forcefully. Let them know we may go legislative route. Okinawa etc. is linked. We may go easy on latter for prog[ress] on trade.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–109, NSC Minutes, Originals 1969 [3 of 5])

Secretary Stans visited Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong during his May 10–18 trip. Following his return, Stans met with Nixon and Kissinger on May 19 from 11:15 to 11:37 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No memorandum of conversation of this meeting has been found. Stans wrote a memorandum for the President, dated the same day, in which he described his trip to the Far East. On the issue of textiles, Stans wrote, “Although I did not receive the support of the four countries I visited for an international solution, I believe the Asians now more clearly understand our determination to find an answer to our textile problem. Every country has agreed to continue the dialogue with us.” (Memorandum from Stans to Nixon, May 19; ibid., White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, President’s Handwriting Files, Box 2, May 1969)

Kissinger commented on Stans’ trip, noting in a May 19 memorandum to Nixon: “The major result of the trip was the unanimous rebuff to our textile request from the Asians. All flatly refused even to attend a GATT meeting to discuss a multilateral arrangement to cover voluntary controls by textile exporters.” Kissinger also noted that the Japanese “made it clear that they related our textile request to our requests that they liberalize their treatment of imports from the U.S. and U.S. investment in Japan. We thus made no progress on these other issues either.” A notation on Kissinger’s memorandum indicates the President saw it. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 213, Agency Files, Department of Commerce—1970—Vol. I)

Joseph Greenwald, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Trade Policy, wrote a memorandum that was sharply critical of Stans’ report and dissented from the conclusion that the textile controversy can be satisfactorily resolved through a multilateral [Page 50] approach. (Memorandum from Greenwald to U. Alexis Johnson and Samuels, May 23; Department of State, S/S–I Files: Lot 80D212, NSSM 16)

Additional information about Stans’ trip to East Asia is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–1972, Documents 202 and 203.