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165. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the White House Chief of Staff (Haig)1

SUBJECT

  • Memorandum from Peter Flanigan on Agricultural Coordination

There is, as Peter Flanigan states, some duplication of effort in gathering data. We, therefore, concur in his suggestion to designate OMB to provide overall coordination in the statistical area.2 This will take care of the most time-consuming area of overlap. We do not concur that CIEP should coordinate “all work on international actions, consultation or negotiations involving agriculture.”

Agriculture is a vital factor in many aspects of our basic foreign policy and national security interests. Of all the economic issues we will be dealing with in the coming year, this is one of the most important in foreign policy and security terms:

  • —Agriculture policy has been a primary area of friction with Japan and Europe.
  • —Agriculture exports have been the major component in expansion of our trade with the USSR and China.
  • PL–480 food aid is essential for such high-priority areas as Indochina and Indonesia.

In short, our food exports and the way we handle agriculture policy are linked to basic foreign policy interests. They cannot be dealt with separately from our overall foreign policy. How we manage our agricultural trade will influence, and be influenced by, our interests in other areas including energy, defense, détente and our relations with LDC’s.

It is because of this link with foreign policy that the NSC has been working with the State Department and the USDA to stimulate initia[Page 569]tives and constructive proposals with respect to the World Food Conference3 and NSSM 187.4 At this point, we believe further articulation of conceptual approaches in this area is needed before there is an urgent need for better “coordination.” The fact that there are at present a number of studies under way on different aspects of agriculture does not in itself denote lack of coordination. There will, of course, be requirements generated for analysis of specific options and proposals, and in many cases we believe these should be explored under CIEP direction. However, at the present stage, we believe that if improved arrangements for coordination beyond those suggested above are considered essential, the NSC should assume responsibility for coordination of major issues of agricultural policy impacting on our basic foreign policy objectives.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 196, Agency Files, Agriculture, 1971 Through 1974, Vol. II [Part I]. No classification marking. Copies were sent to Ash, Flanigan, and Cole. A copy was also routed to the NSC Staff’s economic section.
  2. In his October 16 memorandum to Haig, Flanigan expressed concern about the “breakdown in Executive Office coordination and management of the government’s work on agricultural problems and the ‘food crisis.’” He identified five different agencies working on independent projects related to international agricultural issues, producing significant overlap. To address this, he proposed that OMB coordinate all interagency work on food supply, that the CEP and CIEP coordinate “international actions, consultation, or negotiations involving agriculture,” and that George Shultz coordinate policy at the Cabinet level. (Ibid.)
  3. During his first speech as Secretary of State, delivered at the United Nations on September 24, Kissinger proposed the organization of a World Food Conference under international auspices to be held in 1974. For the text of Kissinger’s speech, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXVIII, Part 1, Foundations of Foreign Policy, Document 17. At U.S. request, the proposal for the conference was inscribed on the U.N. General Assembly agenda on October 9, according to telegram 206146 to Rome and USUN, October 17. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973) The conference was held in Rome in November 1974; see Document 176.
  4. NSSM 187, September 5, requested a study in response to recent protein and grain shortages, high agricultural commodity prices, and reductions in P.L.–480 availability, which caused friction with both Europe and developing countries. The NSSM called for the review of the “foreign policy implications of U.S. international agriculture policies which might be put forward during international discussions of the world agricultural situation and cooperation.” See Document 129, Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–14, Part 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976.
  5. On November 28, Haig sent a memorandum to Flanigan and Scowcroft instructing them to further define the NSC’s responsibility pertaining to international agricultural consultations and negotiations. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 219, Agency Files, Council on International Economic Policy (CIEP), 1973 Vol. II) Flanigan and Scowcroft responded to Haig on December 8, indicating that CIEP would assume responsibility for coordinating the response to NSSM 187 and for developing policy alternatives regarding “stockbuilding, world food security, and food aid” in consultation with the NSC. On strategy for the World Food Conference and trade negotiations, the two agencies recognized the need for “continued close cooperation” with CIEP providing a “coordinating and review mechanism” and NSC contributing “foreign and security policy guidance.” Haig wrote “Good!” on Flanigan and Scowcroft’s memorandum. (Ibid.)