134. Memorandum From Robert Hormats of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1
- Relief for Thai Textile Exports to the U.S.
State (Tab A)2 has asked that HAK instruct the Interagency Textile Advisory Committee (ITAC) to permit the entry of 52,000 dozen cotton pajamas from Thailand into the United States and to permit Thailand to export an additional 17,000 dozen pajamas during the next nine months. State believes this would be consistent with the President’s wish to improve U.S.-Thai relations.[Page 291]
Under the Long-Term Arrangement on Cotton Textiles (LTA), textile exports to the U.S. are limited. Thailand, which has just begun to produce cotton pajamas, was told by us on April 30, 1971 to limit exports to the U.S. to 17,000 dozen pajamas over the succeeding twelve months and asked to consult with us. (This number was derived according to a formula contained in the LTA.) Subsequent to that time, however, the Thai speeded up production and exported 31,000 dozen pajamas in the month of May alone. Because of the apparent neglect by the Thai of our representations and the large number of pajamas exported, Commerce, Labor and other agencies (except State) argue that the Thai should not be permitted to import into the U.S. an amount in addition to the 17,000 dozen prescribed by the LTA, although these agencies would probably be willing to allow a one-time exception were the Thai to reach a voluntary restraint agreement for subsequent exports—which the Thai do not wish to do.
State’s memorandum is, therefore, an attempt to bypass the ITAC. Doing so not only raises bureaucratic hackles but approval would mean our approving for Thailand imports of cotton textiles greater than the LTA prescribed level. Other exporters could be counted on to swiftly protest against this action on the grounds that it is discriminating against them and request increases in their own allotments. Also being a domestically sensitive product, cotton textile imports in excess of previously prescribed levels would incur serious domestic criticism. I have therefore asked that this matter be considered formally by the ITAC and that a memorandum containing the views of all concerned agencies be submitted.