155. Memorandum for the Files by the President’s Assistant for International Economic Affairs (Flanigan)1


  • 1/4/73 Meeting with Wilbur Mills
Mills apparently had no specific agenda other than his concerns regarding the President’s order allowing 25 million pounds of non-fat dried milk imported into the country. However, we did have a long and general conversation which did elicit some information regarding trade.
Mills said that he believed that trade legislation will be the hardest piece of legislation to pass that will come before his committee in 1973. However, he did believe that the committee would be able to report out a bill after six weeks of hearings and that such a bill could be passed.
Regarding implementing authority for the Executive, he felt strongly that it was important that the Bill request from Congress authority to implement tariff reductions and certain specific changes in non-tariff barriers. He feels it would be a mistake (and perhaps even unconstitutional) to “give the Congress a string” on negotiated agreements in this area. By that he meant that the Bill should not propose bringing a whole trade agreement back to Congress for approval.
Regarding adjustment assistance, Mills feels that any adjustment assistance package that doesn’t carry a price tag of at least $.5 billion would be useless in gaining labor union support. He believes this would be much too large a number to justify economically. In a discussion of the “Shultz alternative” to traditional adjustment assistance, he seemed to warm up to that idea.
Mills strongly suggested that the Bill should not undertake to “whack the multinationals.” He feels that the multinationals are a positive factor in our economy, and that nobody, including labor unions, has either a reason or a method for dealing with them.
Mills feels that if any tax proposals which would be helpful to the Trade Bill are to be made, they should be made either prior to or simultaneous with the Bill itself. In other words, we should not hold [Page 598] tax proposals that would be helpful for a Trade Bill but that might be submitted after the Trade Bill.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 56, Records of Secretary of the Treasury George P. Shultz, 1971–1974, Entry 166, Box 6, GPS Flanigan, Peter M., 1974. No classification marking. A copy was sent to Shultz and a stamped notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “Noted: GPS.”