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

SUBJECT

  • NSC Weekly Report #78

1. Opinion

The Dollar and the Administration

Your decisive actions this week have demonstrated the leadership required abroad to indicate the seriousness of purpose of the U.S. Government on economic matters. One lesson to be drawn, however, concerns the organization of the Government to handle questions like this one. It took many months for the economic decision-making process to apprehend and adequately respond to the political impact of the dollar’s decline. It is also not clear that we have a comprehensive strategy to solve the fundamental problem—the failure of the US to export enough goods and services and the non-competitiveness of major industrial sectors (auto, steel, textile).

Both illustrate the need for more centralization of the process—within the White House—and clearer lines of authority. Increasing the White House role would also facilitate the relating of economic to political issues, so that we will be in a better position to decide these two halves of policy in tandem. We succeeded this time—finally; but we cannot be sure that the system will respond effectively the next time.

[Page 534]

At my request, Henry Owen has set up an informal mechanism of regular consultations with Tony Solomon, Dick Cooper and other officials as appropriate.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the U.S. dollar.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 42, Weekly Reports (to the President, 71–81) (9/78–12/78). Secret. Carter initialed “C” at the top of the page.