164. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Attorney General
  • The Secretary of Commerce
  • The Secretary of Labor
  • The Director, Office of Management and Budget
  • Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
  • Special Representative for Trade Negotiations
  • Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Policy


  • Study on Export Disincentives
[Page 510]

The President has approved the recommendations set forth in Secretary Kreps’ memo on “National Export Policy” that the economic consequences of governmental constraints on U.S. exports should be taken fully into account in actions by relevant agencies.2

A thorough study of existing constraints on exports would help in carrying out this decision. The PRC will now conduct such a study. To avoid overlap with ongoing interagency consideration of strategic export controls and other East-West trade matters, the group will focus on measures that affect our ability to compete for markets in the non-Communist world.

Henry Owen will chair an interagency policy group consisting of Assistant Secretary level representatives from your agencies. The task of the group will be to study potential constraints on exports, evaluate their overall effect on U.S. policies and export sales, and recommend any needed changes in existing policies and legislation. The group will prepare a report for consideration by the Policy Review Committee that will include:

—a detailed description of the export constraint and its policy rationale;

—an assessment of whether the measure in question achieves its primary objective;

—an evaluation of the trade and employment impact;

—a review of the foreign policy consequences;

—an assessment of the likely effect on exports and other policy objectives of retaining, terminating, or moderating the constraint.

The report should be ready for PRC review by December 1, 1978.

Please let the NSC Staff Secretary know the name of your representative on the interagency group as soon as possible.

Zbigniew Brzezinski3
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 91, Export Controls: (National Export Policy): 8–12/78. Confidential. Sent to Brzezinski for his signature under cover of a September 18 memorandum from Owen, who noted that Schultze, Blumenthal, Solomon, Cooper, and Weil all supported studying U.S. export constraints. Owen also noted that Blumenthal, Solomon, and Cooper believed “that review of these constraints was probably the single most important action that could be taken to promote US exports.” (Ibid.)
  2. Kreps’ memorandum was not found, but see Documents 151 and 152. On September 26, Carter announced his administration’s export promotion program, which included measures both to assist exporters and to reduce domestic and foreign export impediments. For Carter’s remarks announcing the program, as well as a more detailed statement about it, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1978, Book II, pp. 1630–1635.
  3. Aaron signed the memorandum for Brzezinski above this typed signature.