20. Notes on a Meeting of the Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control With President Nixon1

Basic conclusions on the merits were stated and accepted.

There was ready acceptance of the tariff approach and the need for a management system centered in the Executive Office and surrounded by some Cabinet Committee mechanism. All agreed that the program should be “cleaned up.”

The industry should be on notice that further relaxation will come. A public recommendation for the $2.50 price would therefore be appropriate. The report should be straight forward. It might be preferable to speak in terms of various levels of restriction rather than price levels.

There was some willingness to take a modest first step, perhaps to $3.10 [although “rolling back” prices to the February level approximates “price control”].

The need for continued “working with congress” was stressed together with the implications of a substantial price change for 1970 elections in several producing states.

Other factors mentioned included those noted on the attachment.2

We were to submit our report in December; it can then be polished and printed before the President’s decision expected in late January or early February.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 220, Records of the Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control, Box 23, Task Force Meetings, Meeting with President, November 20, 1969. Brackets are in the original. These notes are an unattributed itemization of the basic conclusions reached at the November 20 meeting; see Document 19.
  2. Presumably a reference to Document 19.