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167. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Executive Assistant (Eagleburger) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1



  • The New Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs (OES) and Two Related Matters

Although Mr. Rush is overseeing the execution of the legislative establishment of OES,2 there are several issues of which you should be aware and one issue—the nomination of a new Assistant Secretary—in which you will of course want to involve yourself. Procedurally, Rush is about to receive an action memo from Tarr that would determine the structure and direction of OES (draft at Tab A).3 The issues I outline below are largely drawn from the Tarr memo. I recommend that you leave the creation of OES in Rush’s hands and indicate to him your views only on those specific issues that you think require your intervention.

The Functional Scope of OES

Explicit legislative mention (and therefore basically unavoidable): Oceans, Environment, Science, Technology, Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation

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Other functional areas proposed for inclusion by Tarr: Population, Health and Weather Matters

Your Special Assistant for Population Matters, Phil Claxton, opposes incorporation of his domain into OES, arguing that the population problem is unique and that an unfortunate downgrading would result.

The Role of OES in Policy Formulation

Tarr identifies three approaches:

1. Program approach—giving OES primary policy responsibility in the functional areas in which it will be active.

2. Shared responsibility approach—OES sharing with the appropriate regional bureaus or IO responsibility for policy formulation.

3. Institutional approach—making OES a supportive, advisory body and leaving intact the regional and IO bureaus policy responsibilities.

Rather than being discrete options, Tarr’s three approaches (of which he recommends #1) seem to me to represent poles toward which the new bureau can gravitate, depending of course on the general direction that Rush—or you—decides to go.

There will be considerable overlap with IO—namely, U.S. involvement in numerous UN-family organizations. Current planning would have IO retain responsibility for the political aspects of our memberships and OES assume primary responsibility for functional/technical involvement.

Organizational Impact of OES

To conform with the legislation, the core of the new bureau will be the present Bureau of Science and Technology (SCI), the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Environmental Affairs (SCI/EN), and the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Wildlife and Fisheries (S/FW–COA). As well, Tarr is recommending that the Special Assistant for Population Matters (S/PM) and the Law of the Sea Office (D/LOS) be absorbed, the latter upon conclusion of current negotiations.

Additionally, if Rush buys Tarr’s proposal, the American Sections of the US–Canada Joint Commission, the US–Canada Boundary Commission, the US–Mexico Boundary Commission and the US–Mexico Water Commission would no longer report directly to you, but instead to the new Assistant Secretary or the Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Donaldson.

Rush is being asked to decide the number of Deputy Assistant Secretaries—two, three or four. Tarr recommends two: a deputy for Science and Technology, and a deputy for Environment, Population and [Page 581]Ocean Affairs. Herm Pollack (presently SCI) suggests four deputies: oceans, environment, technology and science.

[Omitted here is discussion of personnel matters.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Files of Lawrence S. Eagleburger: Lot 84 D 204, Chron—November 21–30, 1973. No classification marking. A typed notation on the memorandum states that David C. Gompert (S) “said Mr. Eagleburger gave the original of this paper to Mr. Donaldson.”
  2. The creation of the new bureau, to be headed by an Assistant Secretary of State, was formally authorized by the Department of State Appropriations Authorization Act, signed by Nixon on October 18. (P.L. 93–126; 87 Stat. 453) The bureau, which began operation on October 8, 1974, incorporated the functions of several existing offices that were to be abolished: the Office of International Scientific and Technological Affairs, the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Fisheries and Wildlife and Coordinator for Ocean Affairs, the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Population Matters, and the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Environmental Affairs. The first Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Dixy Lee Ray, was appointed on January 19, 1975.
  3. Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance Curtis W. Tarr’s draft memorandum, summarized below, was not found attached, and no final action memorandum from Tarr to Rush was found. However, a November 28 memorandum from Lord to Tarr commenting on the issues involved in the establishment and structure of OES, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Files of the Policy Planning Staff, Director’s Files (Winston Lord), Entry 5027, Box 346, November 1973.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears Eagleburger’s typed initials.