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331. Memorandum From Benjamin Huberman and Guy Erb of the National Security Council Staff and Nathaniel Fields of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski), the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Press), and the Special Representative for Economic Summits (Owen)1

SUBJECT

  • PRC Meeting on Science and Technology and Development

A PRC meeting, chaired by Warren Christopher, on Science and Technology and Development will be held on Monday, July 23 at 10:00. The lack of a PRC review of PRM–332 has left unresolved overall U.S. policy on S&T cooperation with developing countries. This has also severely hampered U.S. preparation for the UN Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD).

This meeting is being held at our insistence to wrap up PRM 33 and to get control over U.S. preparations for the UN Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD), which begins on August 20 in Vienna. The PRM was intended to develop a coherent policy on S&T for development but was overtaken in this regard by the creation of the ISTC.3 Beyond this, State was hampered in its leadership of the PRM by personnel turnover. On UNCSTD, State has so far avoided not only interagency but also internal clearances on positions and initiatives for the conference. This memo tracks the four agenda items and gives you our recommendations.

Issues for PRC Action: The PRC has four items for consideration (Tab B).4

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Agenda Item #1 (Tab B) PRM 33. The PRC is asked to note the conclusions of the study,5 and to direct the follow-on actions resulting from the study.
Agenda Item #2 (Tab B) UNCSTD. The PRC is asked to review and comment on the programs and initiatives that have been proposed for presentation and discussion at UNCSTD.
Agenda Item #3 (Tab B) Presidential Directive. The PRC is requested to approve a directive which would direct USG technical agencies to devote increased attention to enhancing the international benefits from their technical programs.
Agenda Item #4 (Tab B) Funding of USG International S&T Activities. The PRC is asked to direct the completion of a study on funding procedures for PRC review by February 1, 1980.

Agenda Item #1 PRM 33—S&T for Developing Countries

(Agenda Item #1, Tabs B & C)6

State’s inability to bring the PRM 33 study to a close has been a source of quiet embarrassment, as many within the Executive Branch, Congress, and the public have awaited PRC consideration of the PRM findings for a clearer understanding of Administration policy. Although its usefulness has diminished somewhat, there are several residual action items to be dispensed.

The PRC is asked to: (1) simply note, the conclusions (pages 2 & 3 of Tab C), and (2) to direct three recommended follow-on actions resulting from the study. Although the actions appear to be minor, they could provoke considerable disagreement between OMB and State over the actual conclusions of the study. OMB has contended that the PRM 33 was not conclusive, because many of the recommendations were not substantiated with adequate analysis; with strongest disagreement on specific “policy, (Tab J for Summary of PRM 33)7 directions” (pages 3–6, Tab C).

Recommended Action. The PRC is asked to note the conclusions of the PRM. The PRC should avoid getting bogged-down in a dispute on [Page 1051]policy. You should try to minimize any such discussion. If the PRC appears unlikely to agree on this matter you should oppose any moves to recommit the policy issues for another interagency study by noting that the policy directions contained in the ISTC legislative mandate (pages 26–27, Tab L),8 and in the President’s S&T message provides adequate guidance.

Agenda Item #1.2

The second PRC action is to endorse and direct the plan for follow-on actions from the PRM (page 3–6, Tab C, and Tab J) which could produce proposals for the FY 82 budget cycle.

The possible follow-on actions are:

Item #1.2.a.*t1 Instruct AID missions to assist host governments in building indigenous S&T capacity.

This would be a new program authority for AID, which would overlap with the ISTC mandate. Consideration should be given to whether new AID involvement in capacity building will require new legislative authority. Discussions are being held regarding the delineation of the AID role versus the ISTC role in capacity building and in other program mandate areas. AID will probably oppose this recommendation because of the uncertainty regarding the availability of budget resources.

We should be careful not to load ISTC with all responsibility for capacity building also. ISTC will, particularly in the early years, have a limited budgetary capability for undertaking bilateral capacity building programs.

Recommended Action. Disapprove the PRM recommendation and leave this decision for the IDCA Administrator.

Item #1.2.b.*t1 Direct interagency preparation of specific proposals consistent with U.S. interests, for facilitating LDC access to private technology. The PRM did not undertake a definitive analysis of the issue, a study would be useful.

Recommended Action. Approve and ensure that the terms of reference for the study should be linked to UNCSTD and UNCTAD issues.

Item #1.2.c. Review of U.S. R&D activities to ascertain where developing country needs can be given greater weight in the areas of energy, which was not included in the PRM recommendation—but deserves attention, world population, international health, and world food and nutrition.

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Recommended Action. This assignment should go to the IDCA Administrator.

Agenda Item #2 UNCSTD—Proposals for U.S. Presentation

(Agenda Item #2, Tab B; Tabs D & I)9

The PRC is asked to review and comment on the proposed U.S. initiatives for UNCSTD; and to direct State to (1) promptly send to NSC and OMB, under standard procedures regarding future international program commitments a request for Presidential approval of any program requiring such commitment; and (2) to note that the scope paper and position paper will be submitted to interested agencies for clearance.

The PRC will not be asked to review the U.S. position on all issues to be discussed at UNCSTD; however presentation of those issues is contained under Tab G.10

The major issues at UNCSTD and the general U.S. positions for the UNCSTD have both been worked out slowly and grudgingly. There has been much concern both within the Executive Branch and specifically within the Congress about the state of preparedness of the U.S. for the UNCSTD Conference. The most contentious issues facing the conference are (Tab G): (1) new financial mechanisms; (2) restructuring of the United Nations system for science and technology; (3) restructuring of the international system for transfer of technology; and (4) a global information system for science and technology. These issues have emerged from five preparatory committee meetings which have preceded the UNCSTD; many of the issues still do not have resolution and will require further discussion at Vienna before the conference can consider them.

The major U.S. initiatives at UNCSTD will be the ISTC, the on-going programs primarily contained within AID (contained in Annex B, Tab H),11 and the proposed new initiatives (contained in Annex C, Tab I). The proposed new initiatives are important from the standpoint of assuring an adequate damage limiting response by the U.S. to the Conference. There is general USG concensus that the Conference contains several very contentious issues which are not and would not be sufficiently responded to by the U.S. if we only presented the ISTC and the ongoing programs. If the Conference is to avoid a total collapse the [Page 1053]US must be prepared to respond to the contentious issues in a moderate fashion. There are seven proposals which the PRC will be asked to consider. These must be judged against their ability to defuse the political rhetoric of the Conference and to assure that the Conference attains at least the minimum acceptable level of success.

Most of the proposals would be targeted for the FY 82 budget cycle. State has agreed to support the proposal for UNDP funding (Item 1, Tab I). OMB would probably question the need for any new funding at this point.

Recommended Action. All proposals deserve serious consideration and you should support a prompt request from State for a Presidential decision. We can make our final determination on each initiative (taking the PRC discussion into account) when State’s memo is received. You should ask Christopher to state that adequate backstopping will be provided in Washington during the time of the conference proceedings.

Agenda Item #3 Presidential Directive

Strengthening U.S. International Science and Technology Programs (Agenda Item #3, Tabs B & E).12 The PRC is asked to approve the draft directive and recommend that the President sign it. The statement indicates that as a result of the PRM 33 and in furtherance of the Title V objectives the President has determined that it is the policy of the U.S. Government to engage in a broad range of S&T activities with other countries. This would include both developed and developing countries.

The Presidential Directive would state that both domestic and foreign policy agencies should devote increased attention to how their R&D programs can contribute to the broadest range of international objectives, including strengthening U.S. economic competitiveness, promoting closer ties with other countries, improving the capabilities of developing countries, and utilizing finite global resources more effectively. There are many unresolved questions regarding the implementation of such a directive and the specific criteria for various international S&T programs.

The major concerns regarding the Presidential directive relate to the technical implementation and the timing of such a directive. The guidelines for this are yet undefined. They are being worked out within the Executive Order for Title V (Tab K) and within the CISET funding [Page 1054]study (Tab F).13 The draft PD is not ready for transmittal to the President. The PD might be useful after a PRC review of recommendations of the funding study (see Tab D).

State may argue the need for the PD to serve two functions:

(1) It would allow for presentation at UNCSTD; where the U.S. would point to the broad openness of U.S. Government agencies toward international cooperation and (2) it would be an explicit policy statement regarding international S&T activity which is still somewhat undefined.

Recommended Action: Defer preparation of a PD until PRC review of the Funding Study. The PRC could approve a broad statement of support for technical agency consideration of LDC R&D priorities and recommend that the Presidential Message to UNCSTD include a reference to such support. The statement to be noted could be drawn from the draft PD, as follows:

To this end, domestic and foreign policy agencies of the Government should devote increased attention to how their research and development programs can contribute more effectively to our major international objectives such as strengthening U.S. economic compet-itiveness, promoting closer ties with other countries, improving the capabilities of developing countries and utilizing finite global resources more effectively.

Agenda Item #4 Funding of USG International S&T Activities

(Tab F)

The PRC is asked to: (1) take note of the Committee on International Science, Engineering and Technology (CISET) initiated funding study and direct agencies to cooperate in its preparation; and (2) to direct the chairman of CISET through the chairman of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) to provide the results of the study with recommendations for their implementation to the PRC by February 1, 1980.

Recommended Action. Support the recommendation that the PRC direct the completion of this study and submit it for PRC consideration by February 1, 1980.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 48, PRC Meeting on PRM–33 Room 305, Monday, July 23, 79. Confidential.
  2. See Document 297.
  3. The International Development Cooperation Act of 1979, which Carter signed into law on August 14, authorized establishment of the Institute for Scientific and Technological Cooperation. Executive Order 12163, issued on September 29, set out the organization and functions of the ISTC. For the text of Executive Order 12163, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 1792–1800.
  4. Tab B, attached but not printed, is an undated paper entitled “Summary Agenda Paper for PRC Meeting July 23, 1979.”
  5. The August 8, 1978, study prepared in response to PRM 33 is in the Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 47, PRM/NSC–33 (1).
  6. Tab C, attached but not printed, is an undated paper entitled “Agenda Item #1, PRM–33—Science and Technology for Developing Countries: Conclusions and Action Plan.”
  7. Tab J, attached but not printed, is an “Action Summary” of the study prepared in response to PRM 33.
  8. Tab L, attached but not printed, is the text of the legislation establishing the Institute for Scientific and Technological Cooperation.
  9. Tab D, attached but not printed, is an undated paper entitled “Agenda Item #2, UNCSTD: Scope and Proposed U.S. Program Presentations.” Tab I, attached but not printed, is a paper entitled “Annex C: Proposed Programs and Proposals for Discussion.”
  10. Tab G, attached but not printed, is a paper entitled “Annex A: UNCSTD Scope Paper.”
  11. Tab H, attached but not printed, is a paper entitled “Annex B: Funded programs (AID Activities in S&T).”
  12. Tab E, attached but not printed, is an undated paper entitled “Agenda Item #3, Draft Presidential Directive: Strengthening U.S. International Science & Technology Programs.”
  13. Tab K, attached but not printed, is a paper providing “Instructions on Executive Order to Implement Title V.” Tab F, attached but not printed, is an undated paper entitled “Agenda Item #4, Funding of U.S. International S&T Activities.”