197. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1
- Trade Bill Scenario
It is now anticipated that the House Ways and Means Committee will meet either Tuesday or Wednesday2 to take action, one way or the other, on deletion of Title IV. In pursuance of understandings reached with the Speaker and others, a scenario has been developed by Secretary Shultz, STR and myself which hopefully would result in action to eliminate the Title. Failing that, the Administration would have to seek postponement of the entire Trade Bill until next year.
The scenario involves certain actions by you.
- —A letter from you to Acting Chairman Ullman requesting elimination of Title IV and giving reasons therefor.
- —An approach by you to Dobrynin explaining the necessity for the Administration to suspend approval of new EXIM credits for some six months until Soviet trade legislation has either been successfully secured or, at any rate, amendments to tie credits to Soviet emigration practices have been defeated or finessed. (Under the scenario, Shultz would in writing as well as orally provide assurances to Congress that if the Vanik amendment restricting credits is not enacted, the Administration would not then continue extending new credits.)
- —You should approve the scenario (Tab B),3 including the proposed letter from Shultz on the credit suspension (Tab I of Tab B).4
- Approve and sign the letter from you to Ullman (Tab A).5 (This would be submitted at the Ways and Means Committee meeting, assuming it has become clear that we can get the Title dropped.) Return signed letter to Scowcroft.
- Call Dobrynin to explain our action on credits in order to get Title IV dropped and prevent crippling Vanik amendment on credits.6
- Approve scenario, including Shultz letter on credit suspension.7
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 403, Subject Files, Trade, Vol. VI, April 8–December 1973. Sensitive. Sent for immediate action. A handwritten notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “OBE.”↩
- Tuesday, November 6, or Wednesday, November 7.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab B is an undated paper entitled “Scenario” that proposes a detailed schedule directed toward securing the deletion of Title IV.↩
- Tab B is attached but not printed. Tab I of Tab B is an undated draft letter from Shultz to Ullman that notes the administration’s desire for early passage of the trade bill and the deletion of Title IV “so as to avoid upsetting delicate negotiations now underway,” and offers “that if the Trade Bill is passed by the House as scheduled next week, and if Title IV is dropped from that Bill and no restrictions on credits are otherwise placed in that bill, the Administration undertakes that for a period of six months no new Export Import Bank credits shall be approved for the USSR other than those for which final or preliminary commitments have already been made.”↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab A is an undated letter from Kissinger to Ullman that argues the importance of early passage of the trade bill. Noting that “the issues involved in Title IV have proved to be highly controversial” and “that debate of these issues would range over many sensitive aspects of our relations with the Soviet Union,” the letter contends “that such a debate at this moment could jeopardize the very delicate efforts currently in progress to assure the termination of the Middle East conflict and achieve its ultimate settlement.” In the proposed letter, Kissinger, “certain that the Congress would wish to join the Administration in its desire to see peace and tranquility brought to the Middle East and” would thus “agree that nothing should be done at present that might complicate this task,” requests the deletion of Title IV. Kissinger signed the letter. Both pages of the letter have a large “X” drawn through the text in an unknown hand.↩
- Note: I understand that Flanigan has been on the phone with Dobrynin to explain, at the latter’s request, the press reports that the Trade Bill has been scheduled for floor debate on November 12. Flanigan outlined your understanding on this matter with Speaker Albert. I am not aware whether he also referred to possible action on credits. [Footnote is in the original. See Document 196.]↩
- Kissinger did not indicate his approval or disapproval of any of the recommendations.↩