289. Editorial Note

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s proposed May 13, 1975, speech to the Kansas City International Relations Council provoked opposition from administration officials on both procedural and substantive grounds. On May 12, Council of Economic Advisers staff member Edward Schuh wrote CEA Chairman Alan Greenspan: “The IFRG Working Group has been working on the grains reserves problem for 5 months. With this speech Kissinger and State are finessing that whole exercise. They are playing a dangerous game on a subject that is very important to U.S. agriculture.” After offering specific criticisms of the speech, Schuh concluded, “State has chosen to ignore all the protests and comments against their commodity-agreement type grain reserve. I recommend as strongly as I possibly can that we object to the basic elements of this proposal. It essentially amounts to abandoning the free market system of agriculture that we are attempting to establish. In effect, it would make us a part of the CAP of the EEC.” (Ford Library, L. William Seidman Papers, Box 113, Seidman Subject File, Agriculture 1/75–7/75) In a May 12 memorandum to President’s Assistant for Economic Affairs William Seidman, Council on International Economic Policy Executive Director John Dunn criticized Kissinger’s speech on grounds of timing, bureaucratic consultative procedure, and substance. (Ibid., Box 74, Economic Policy Board Subject File, Kissinger, Henry: Speech on World Economic Structure, May 13, 1975) Also on May 12, Office of Management and Budget Director James Lynn sent a May 7 OMB memorandum to Seidman that urged action to counter “this effort by State to gain Cabinet support for an international commodity agreement on grains outside established channels, without adequate analysis and by attempting to persuade Cabinet officers individually.” (Ibid., Box 113, Seidman Subject File, Agriculture 1/75–7/75)

Kissinger discussed the speech with Secretary of the Treasury William Simon and Seidman by telephone in two telephone conversations on May 12. (http://foia.state.gov/documents/kissinger/0000BFA3.pdf and http://foia.state.gov/documents/kissinger/0000BFA5.pdf) That same day, Kissinger informed Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Thomas Enders by telephone that Seidman had [Page 998] identified “really massive objections.” Kissinger said that he saw no “sense in giving a speech which soon will be disavowed by all the agencies.” Enders assured Kissinger that he and his staff could incorporate “the tone points of Alan Greenspan, but the difficult one is going to be the grain reserves one.” Kissinger, who had been unable to reach Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, asked Enders to contact him. When Enders asked whether he should incorporate the objections into the speech, Kissinger replied, “Well, only if there is still a speech left then.” After Enders affirmed that he would not whittle away the speech and, wishing to avoid “endless sniping afterwards,” Kissinger instructed Enders “to sit down with Seidman to make sure that the points are represented.” (http://foia.state.gov/documents/kissinger/0000BFD8.pdf) The final text of Kissinger’s speech, entitled “Strengthening the World Economic Structure,” in which he did offer principles for a grain reserves system, is in Department of State Bulletin, June 2, 1975, pages 713–719.