223. Memorandum From the Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (McDonald) to the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (Strauss)1
- MTN Outreach
This memorandum gives you a brief status report on our MTN outreach activities as we approach the vote by the House next week. As I mentioned earlier, we have encountered more apathy than aggressive activity over the last three weeks as many of our supporters became convinced that the agreements will now pass with little difficulty. To partially counter this attitude, we have made a last push over the past 10 days and have pledges from a solid core of organizations to communicate their support to Members of Congress next Monday and Tuesday.2
Below are the three main aspects of our outreach activities which have been handled in close collaboration with Anne Wexler’s office and supported fully by the White House Task Force all along. These summarize the group of organizations supporting the MTN, MTN speech activities and MTN editorial support from the media.[Page 653]
We have obtained written, published endorsements from at least 38 different trade and business associations, 25 major U.S. corporations and 16 agricultural organizations (lists attached).3
A large number of others have also indicated support to us in more general terms. With the listed group we have seen specific announcements or communications directly to their membership or to Members of Congress concerning the agreements. Special follow-up activities on the Hill have also been scheduled prior to the vote by a number of these groups including the U.S. Council of the ICC, the Farm Bureau, the aircraft manufacturers and the Business Roundtable.
Our staff is in regular discussion with the supporting groups who also stand ready to be of any assistance to us as needed if unexpected trouble looms in the days ahead. It is a superb group of organizations, exactly the ones we hope will not only be useful in this particular effort but provide a good support base for the effective implementation of the Tokyo Round results and the pursuit of an aggressive trade policy by the Administration.
We have 12 other organizations that have indicated that they plan to issue endorsements during the coming days, but we have not received them yet. That list is also attached for your information.4
Although we followed a very selective outreach program as part of our MTN approval strategy, the task force has maintained a roster of some 80 Administration speakers on the MTN and provided them with relevant materials either for complete speeches or for appropriate inserts. Special efforts were particularly made to focus on geographic areas of initial concern, such as New England and the Middle West.
Our Speakers Bureau estimates that we have now had more than 400 speaking engagements on the MTN since February 1, with more than 200 of these being handled directly by the Office of the Special Trade Representative, the majority of these by you, Alan and myself.
We have also carried out an extensive series of personal briefings for editorial boards around the country in connection with speaking trips. As an illustration, I have met personally with some 20 editorial boards of major newspapers covering every region except your Southwest. These visits were usually followed by favorable editorials.[Page 654]
We enjoy at the moment major press support from about 70 of the top 100 newspapers in the country that have taken positive editorial positions recently. Only three newspapers have been identified with negative editorials and those were somewhat marginal pieces with a mixture of both positive and negative comments (the Boston Globe, the Little Rock Gazette and the Pensacola Journal).
As we move toward the MTN vote, we have already in print the overwhelming support of the nation’s press. Summaries of these favorable editorials have been distributed by our Congressional Liaison Group to Members of Congress on this last round of calls.
We are ready for the vote.5
- Source: National Archives, RG 364, 364–80–4, Special Trade Representative Subject Files, 1977–1979, Box 5, MTN (Part II). No classification marking. Copies were sent to Wexler and Moore.↩
- July 9 and 10.↩
- Attached but not printed is an undated list entitled “MTN Supporters.”↩
- Attached but not printed is an undated list entitled “Anticipated Endorsements.”↩
- The House of Representatives passed the trade bill on July 11, while the Senate approved it on July 23. (Clyde H. Farnsworth, “Bill to Liberalize Trade Clears House, 395 to 7,” The New York Times, July 12, 1979, p. D1; Clyde H. Farnsworth, “Trade Liberalization Clears Senate, 90 to 4; Bill Goes to President,” The New York Times, July 24, 1979, p. A1) Carter signed the legislation, entitled the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (P.L. 96–39), into law on July 26. For his remarks on signing the bill, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 1311–1314.↩