298. Memorandum From the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Lake) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher)1

Thoughts on Policy Areas Which May Be of Special Interest To You This Year

Following up on our earlier conversation, I wanted to suggest a few areas where I think your personal involvement and leadership would be particularly important to the Department and the government. I selected the issues described below based on a sense that the Secretary will be out front on such areas as SALT, the Middle East, China, and southern Africa, and that you could usefully take charge of other issues which (a) cut across several bureaus in the Department and/or involve other government departments, (b) are of potential Presidential concern, and (c) could make a significant difference in terms of this Administration’s tangible accomplishments.

Issues for your consideration:

1. Foreign Assistance: The importance and complexity of our foreign assistance program is obvious, as is the extensive involvement of the Department, other agencies, Congress and the President. The development of a foreign assistance program each year brings together security, economic, political and humanitarian considerations. However, the process has traditionally been poorly organized, as you have be[Page 985]come aware in recent days. You are already heavily involved in this year’s budget submission. My suggestion is that you permanently direct this process. I frankly don’t see how else it can be rationally done. During the coming year other foreign assistance issues will arise as well, including devising a strategy to gain public and congressional support; a major review of the effectiveness of our programs (see attached draft); and the submission to Congress of a totally new foreign assistance act.

2. Energy: Again, this is a subject which is of critical importance to our security, our economy, and our foreign relations. Energy policy is spread throughout the Department and throughout the government. Your leadership in the building would insure that the State Department’s voice gets adequate hearing, especially vis-à-vis the Department of Energy. And within the energy area you could drive many specific projects, including two of particular interest to us: a comprehensive policy towards Saudia Arabia, the pivotal actor in the world energy picture in the next several years; and a focus on energy development in the non-OPEC Third World, which is something the USG has talked about but has yet to move effectively on. S/P is working on papers on these subjects.

3. Agriculture: Few areas involve more voices in the government, or better illustrate the overlap between foreign and domestic policy. There is a major need to keep an overview focus on the many efforts that are now underway in the agricultural area. These include our efforts to establish an international system for grains reserves; a revamping of our food aid program; and Peter Bourne’s effort to develop a comprehensive policy to attack world hunger.2 S/P has in progress a paper which looks at all of these issues in the context of a strategy for the next year. Depending upon what the paper produces, you may wish to use it as a vehicle for coordinating at least the State Department’s voice on agricultural policy as well as influencing the development of agricultural policy generally in the US Government.

4. Technology Transfer: In this area we are long on participants and short on coherent policy. Technology transfer with regard to the developing countries is a particularly weak area in the Department and the government. Currently no set of objectives exists, nor does a strategy for meeting the diverse needs in the developing countries. I believe we should use the upcoming (1979) UN Science and Technology Conference to develop a coherent technology policy. At Ambassador Wilkowski’s request S/P is about to embark on a major review of science and technology policy towards LDCs with the idea of distilling objec[Page 986]tives for the Conference itself. We expect the paper to be reviewed by Father Hesburgh, who will be chairman of the US delegation.

5. North-South Relations: There is a major need in the government to assess continually where we stand overall with the developing countries with respect to such policies as trade, foreign assistance, commodities, technology, investment, arms sales, non-proliferation, etc. (We’ve attached the annex to the PRM 8, which discusses many of these issues in detail.) In the months ahead there will be a need to reassess how we are doing and where we are going, how our various policies fit together, and what the broad implications are for specific policy choices which we will be making. This is an area where the State Department is expected to lead and where you would be particularly influential in the interagency context.

6. Other Global Issues

There are a number of other global issues or problems that cut across bureau and agency lines, and which will require high-level direction. These relate to some of the areas described above but they have a certain substantive or bureaucratic independence. They include the following:

Implementation of our population policy and objectives. There is a need to ensure that our assistance funds are directed towards the most important population growth countries and not spread out into lower priority areas. In addition there is a need to integrate our population, health and nutritional programs so that they reach into rural areas and the poorest sectors. Close coordination between AID and State and a strong diplomatic effort will also be required to enlist the support and resources of the LDC governments. (In addition, the internal State/AID bureaucratic problems, which we once discussed, still remain.)

The coordination, successfully, of a number of international health initiatives. Soon there will be an action memo to the President, prepared by Peter Bourne’s office, outlining a comprehensive U.S. international health strategy, probably with a number of initiatives.3 In addition, the White House has approved a U.S. initiative with the Soviets to jointly work together to develop health projects in LDCs.4 Obviously, State will be centrally involved in these areas, and we will require extensive coordination among several bureaus and AID as well as strong State leadership in the interagency process.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Policy and Planning Staff—Office of the Director, Records of Anthony Lake, 1977–1981, Lot 82D298, Box 2, TL 9/16–9/30/77. Limited Official Use. Attached but not printed are a September 22 draft briefing memorandum from Lake and Hormats to Vance concerning the effectiveness of foreign assistance programs, an undated draft letter from Vance to Brzezinski on the same subject, and a copy of the annex to PRM–8.
  2. See Document 213.
  3. See Document 302.
  4. See Document 286.