207. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Lynn) to President Ford1

SUBJECT

  • Enrolled Bill S. 2350—National Security Council membership for the Secretary of the Treasury2
  • Sponsors—Sen. Symington (D) Missouri and Sen. Mansfield (D) Montana

Last Day for Action

December 31, 1975—Wednesday

Purpose

Provides statutory membership on the National Security Council for the Secretary of the Treasury.

Agency Recommendations

Office of Management and Budget Disapproval (veto message attached)
National Security Council Disapproval
Department of the Treasury Approval
Department of Defense Defers to Executive Office of the President
Department of State3

Discussion

Under the law, the National Security Council advises the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign and military policies relating to national security. Current statutory membership of the Council consists of the President, the Vice President, and the Secretaries of State and Defense. The President may also appoint, with the [Page 691]advice and consent of the Senate, the Secretaries and Under Secretaries of other executive departments and the military departments, to serve at his pleasure. While this latter provision has never been used, all Presidents since the statutory establishment of the Council in 1947 have invited other department and agency heads to participate in the Council’s affairs when matters pertaining to their responsibilities have been considered.

The enrolled bill would add the Secretary of the Treasury to the present statutory membership of the NSC. The Secretary of the Treasury has never been a statutory member of the Council. Treasury Secretaries have been invited by all Presidents since the Council’s inception, however, to participate in the Council’s deliberations when matters of substantial interest to the Treasury have been considered.

On November 12, 1975, in response to your request, I sent you a memorandum (copy attached, Tab A)4 on S. 2350, which, at that time, had been adopted by the Senate without receiving Administration views, and was pending before the House Armed Services Committee. Briefly stated, that memorandum reviewed the current statutory provisions relating to NSC membership and set forth my view that the present statutory arrangement affords the President the most desirable degree of flexibility and should be continued. I recommended that you authorize me, on behalf of the Administration, to send a letter to Chairman Price of the House Armed Services Committee expressing a strong preference for no change in the existing law. The NSC concurred in this approach. On December 1, 1975, following your approval, I sent such a letter (copy attached, Tab B)5 strongly opposing enactment of S. 2350 for many of the same reasons discussed in my memorandum.

In its report on S. 2350, the Senate Armed Services Committee stated:

“The addition of the Secretary of the Treasury to the National Security Council reflects the growing significance of international economics and domestic fiscal affairs in the development of national security policies.

“The presence of the Secretary of the Treasury on this Council would help ensure that fiscal and monetary issues are considered in the discussion of problems relating to our national security.

“This legislation is not intended to reduce our national defense effort or minimize traditional national security considerations; rather it is premised upon a broadened concept of national security which increasingly encompasses economic, as well as military and foreign policy, considerations.

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“The bill seeks to strengthen the national security decisionmaking process by ensuring the participation of the cabinet officer most directly responsible for economic and fiscal affairs.”

S. 2350 was passed in both the Senate and House by voice votes.

I continue to believe that S. 2350 should not become law for the reasons stated in my November 12 memorandum. Since the Treasury Secretary can be, and normally is, invited to participate in NSC matters of substantial interest to him, and since the existing law provides authority for his appointment to the Council if the President deems it appropriate, enactment of this legislation is unnecessary. Furthermore, the Secretary serves as Chairman of both the Economic Policy Board and the Council for International Economic Policy. The Secretary of State also serves on these bodies. Thus, through these additional means, the President is assured of receiving advice which takes into account the proper integration of domestic and international economic policy with foreign policy and national security objectives.

As my memorandum pointed out, the enrolled bill is undesirable as well as unnecessary. First, it would restrict the President’s flexibility to determine the manner in which he shall receive advice on national security matters. Second, statutory membership on the NSC for the Treasury Secretary would not be consonant with the broad range of issues considered by the Council, many of which do not fall within the proper concerns of the Secretary. Third, because a number of executive branch departments and agencies are concerned with international economic policy (e.g., Commerce and Agriculture), the Treasury Secretary would not be able to represent their interests in matters before the Council involving economic policy considerations. Fourth, S. 2350 would set a precedent for statutory addition of other agency heads to the NSC; a bill is now pending in the Congress to add the Attorney General.

In light of the above, I recommend that you disapprove S. 2350. A proposed veto message is attached for your consideration (Tab C).6

James T. Lynn7
  1. Source: Ford Library, White House Central Files, Box 22, Subject File, FG 6–6, 12/1/75–12/31/75, Executive. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 202.
  3. The Department of State’s recommendation is not noted on the memorandum. On December 18, OMB sought the Department’s views on S. 2350, which the House of Representatives had passed the day before. In response, Deputy Director of Management Operations Donald R. Norland suggested that Deputy Under Secretary Eagleburger clear a memorandum to Lynn recommending Department approval of the bill. On December 22, Eagleburger noted to Bremer that he had “no trouble with this” and advised him to ask Kissinger for his opinion. (National Archives, RG 59, Administrative Correspondence Files, General Correspondence Files of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management 1968–75: Lot 78 D 295, M Chron, November 1975 (1)) No record of Kissinger’s response or of further State Department action was found.
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. Attached but not printed.
  6. Attached but not printed. Ford issued the veto on December 31 and S. 2350 was returned to Congress where the Senate overrode Ford’s veto on January 22, 1976. On January 26, the House of Representatives reconsidered the bill, referred it to committee, but ultimately made no attempt to override the veto. (Congress and the Nation, 1973–1976, Vol. IV, p. 1122) The Secretary of the Treasury would not be added as a member of the National Security Council until January 20, 1993.
  7. Printed from a copy bearing this stamped signature with an indication that Lynn signed the original.