259. Memorandum From Robert Hormats of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Presidential Message on Foreign Assistance

Attached at Tab B is a memo from Christopher and Blumenthal requesting a Presidential statement on foreign assistance and a Presidential meeting with Congressmen who play critical roles in this legislation.2

I agree. If anything, the memo understates the need for forceful Presidential involvement. This is critical if we are to obtain the full requests for multilateral and bilateral assistance, which are vital to our position in the North-South dialogue. The President will have to make a particularly strong pitch in the case of the International Development Association (IDA), for which we are requesting $2.4 billion for a 3-year authorization and an $800 million appropriation for 1978. (Inouye was skeptical of multilateral assistance during Vance’s testimony last week,3 and the House Appropriations Subcommittee cut the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.)

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At Tab A is a Presidential message based on a draft by State and Treasury; OMB has approved those portions relating to the budget.4 The message focuses on the need for international cooperation in dealing not only with the issues of economic development but also with matters of critical concern to the developed nations, such as the evolution of a stable world economy.

We have discussed the message at length with the speech writers; they wish to limit such messages to straightforward descriptions of the legislation. Fallows would like to drop the first three paragraphs of foreign policy context—already cut down from two pages—but is willing to put the decision to the President. I believe strongly that we need this language to emphasize to Congress the importance of these programs and the President’s commitment to them.

Regarding a scenario for the Congressional meeting with the President, I suggest the following, which I have discussed with the Congressional relations people:

—Obtain Presidential approval of the aid message (Tab A) and of a meeting with the Congressmen. The message could be released on Monday, or after the Wednesday meeting.5

—President would discuss the message at the Tuesday leadership meeting,6 summarize his approach to aid, and indicate his desire for a Congressional meeting on Wednesday.

—Because Inouye’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee may mark up the FY–77 supplemental on Tuesday, a Presidential call on Monday (or a call from Frank Moore) would be important both to inform Inouye of the Wednesday meeting with the President and to encourage him to be forthcoming in his workup.7


That you sign the memo to the President at Tab I recommending that he approve the message at Tab A and agree to meet with key Congressmen.8

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 93, Foreign Assistance: 1–6/77. Confidential. Sent for action. Hansen and Thornton concurred.
  2. Tab B, attached but not printed, is a February 19 memorandum from Blumenthal and Christopher to Carter entitled “Congressional Hearings on Foreign Assistance.” Lake discussed Congress and the foreign aid program in a March 4 memorandum to Christopher. (National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Official Working Papers of S/P Director Anthony Lake, 1977–January 1981, Lot 82D298, Box 2, S/P-Lake Papers—3/1–3/15/77)
  3. Vance testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations on February 24. (Bernard Gwertzman, “Security Links Cited,” The New York Times, February 25, 1977, p. 1)
  4. Tab A, attached but not printed, is an undated paper entitled “Presidential Message on Foreign Assistance.”
  5. Monday, March 7, and Wednesday, March 9.
  6. On Tuesday, March 8, Carter met with Democratic Congressional leaders for a breakfast meeting in the White House first floor private dining room from 8:02 until 9:17 a.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) No memorandum of conversation of the meeting was found.
  7. Carter did not speak to Inouye by telephone on March 7. (Ibid.)
  8. Tab I, attached but not printed, is a March 7 memorandum from Brzezinski to Carter entitled “Your Tuesday Leadership Meeting (Foreign Assistance).” On March 17, Carter sent Congress a message on foreign assistance; for the text of the message, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1977, Book I, pp. 455–458.