22. Memorandum From Secretary of Commerce Stans to President Nixon 1


  • Textiles

There is no doubt that in the six months since we started we have made a great deal of progress in our efforts to resolve the textile problem.

When we first broached the subject in Europe and the Far East, practically no one was willing to talk.

Now most of the countries, including even Great Britain, want to make it clear that they are not refusing to discuss the subject. Some of the European countries have indicated their willingness to help us reach an agreement. Japan and Hong Kong have come to the point of offering us negotiations on a selective basis (certain items only), which of course would be an unsatisfactory and only temporary result.

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The key is still Japan. I believe they have come a long way in their recent offers of a partial solution. However, it is clear that we need some extra “muscle” to bring them to the table for a satisfactory agreement. If they yield, we should not have too much difficulty with the other principal shipping countries.

The present threat of restrictive legislation by Congress is important but it is not enough.2 We could ask the Congress to push such legislation along, to increase the threat, but there is always the danger that it might get out of hand and actually be passed.

Beyond this, the only thing that I can see that will surely help to get the job done is to use the textile issue in negotiations on other matters with the Japanese.

In the meantime, we will all continue our efforts.

Maurice H. Stans
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 213, Agency Files, Dept of Commerce—1970, Vol. I. No classification marking.
  2. On January 27, Congressman Wilbur Mills (D–Arkansas), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, advocated negotiated export restraints on wool and synthetic fibers. He warned that protectionist legislation would be unavoidable if a negotiated agreement proved impossible. For information on Mills’ stance, see I. M. Destler, Haruhiro Fukui, and Hideo Sato, The Textile Wrangle: Conflict in Japanese-American Relations, 1969–1971 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979), pp. 72–73.