206. Editorial Note

On March 8, 1974, during separate briefings of the Cabinet and the Republican Congressional leadership on the Middle East, President Richard Nixon restated his intention to veto any trade bill that came to him with restrictions on credits to the Soviet Union. (Memorandum of conversation, March 8; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1028, Presidential/HAK MemCons, March 1–May 8, 1974 (3 of 4))

During a March 28 Cabinet meeting, the President asked his Cabinet members to discuss their long-term goals as well as the status of their legislative initiatives. “The Legislative program is completely stalled on the Hill,” Nixon said. “It is time to call the leaders down here and put the word to them. But it’s not our guys who are responsible—it’s the Democrats. Let’s draw up a scorecard of where Congress is. Let’s put down ten or less issues which are understandable to the public.” Secretary of Commerce Frederick Dent began by discussing economic issues, including the trade bill and the Export Control Act. The President responded, “Trade legislation is a loser in the public mind. There’s no interest. Fred, you fight all-out so that American interests are not treated in a discriminatory way. State will argue because they have to give it away, but your job is to protect American business. Our candidates might be able to run against the Congress this fall—like the Democrats did in ’48.” (Ibid.)