167. Telegram 233134 From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts1 2


  • Presidential Directive on Narcotics Control Activities

From the Secretary to the Ambassador

On October 18, 1974, President Ford proclaimed October 20–26 as National Drug Abuse Prevention Week and reviewed United States drug abuse programs with Ambassador Sheldon Vance, Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control, Dr. Robert Dupont, Director of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention, and Mr. John Bartels, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
President Ford stated that he had personally seen examples of the human devastation caused by drug abuse and said he wanted every appropriate step to be taken which would further the United States Government’s drug abuse program both at home and abroad. The President specifically directed that all American Chiefs of Mission be made aware of the prime importance he attaches to our efforts abroad to reduce the flow of illicit drugs to the United States. The President further directed that each Ambassador review the activities of his mission in support of the drug program and report through the Secretary of State on the progress being made.
Our experience has shown that the key role played by Ambassadors and other senior mission officers is in convincing political and high administrative levels of other governments that it is in their nation’s interest to give high priority to narcotics control. Where successful, this has usually meant marshalling information and argumentation which convinces them that drug abuse is not, as still too often believed, primarily an American problem but one presently or potentially seriously infecting every nation. In the past few years we have seen, as this truth is recognized, bilateral cooperation progressively grow between American drug enforcement services and those of an increasing number of other nations. The battle against the illicit drug smuggler is now being more effectively fought. With some governments we have in-depth cooperative arrangements which, but a year or so ago, seemed most unlikely.
Statistics of seizures and arrests show that cooperative international enforcement efforts are increasingly effective. However, drug abuse in the United States is no longer abating. It is again on the increase quantitatively and is now spreading from major cities to smaller towns. There is, therefore, renewed urgency.
In reporting on the status of your own narcotics control activities, in keeping with the President’s directive, I would, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee, appreciate your including any suggestions you might have for actions by any United States agency, in Washington or abroad, that you believe would result in a more imaginative and effective conduct of the program.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential. Drafted by Ernst; cleared by Eagleburger, Sisco, Vance, Shepard, Horan, and Johnson. Repeated to all consular posts.
  2. President Ford directed ambassadors to review and report on mission drug control activities.