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


  • Foreign Economic Policy Coordination

I have just learned that in September the President asked Mike Blumenthal to work with Jim Schlesinger, Charlie Schultze, Dick Cooper and others on a review of the US balance of payments situation.2 Subsequently, Mike, Charlie and Cy Vance sent the President separate memos outlining possible policy responses for dealing with our trade and current account deficit.3 I did not receive these memos and so did not have an opportunity to comment on important policy recommendations. The President then met with a group on November 23 to review the situation.4 I only became aware of this exercise because Cy Vance’s memo of December 1 was routed to the NSC for action.

Foreign economic policy, including trade and monetary matters, is an important aspect of overall US foreign policy. I would like, in the future, to receive copies of all memos going to the President on these subjects, so that I can have an opportunity to comment on them. I would also like to have Henry Owen, who is working on this range of issues with me, to be invited to attend meetings, such as the one that took place on November 23.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 16, Economic Assistance Strategy: 10/77–5/78. No classification marking. Sent to Brzezinski for his signature under cover of a December 9 memorandum from Owen, who wrote: “As we discussed on the phone, we have prepared memos for your signature to Jack Watson, Rick Hutcheson and Tim Kraft asking that they take appropriate steps to assure that you (1) receive copies of all memos sent to the President concerning foreign economic policy and (2) are invited to meetings where such policy issues are discussed.” (Ibid.) The December 12 memoranda to Hutcheson and Kraft, initialed by Brzezinski, are attached but not printed. (Ibid.)
  2. Not further identified, but see Document 66.
  3. Blumenthal’s memorandum to Carter is Document 66. Schultze presented his views in a November 15 memorandum to Carter entitled “Secretary Blumenthal’s Memo on the U.S. Balance of Payments and Proposed Measures to Reduce It.” Vance offered his views to Carter in a December 1 memorandum entitled “The U.S. Balance of Payments.” Eizenstat and Schirmer also submitted a memorandum to Carter on the issue, dated November 19 and entitled “Analysis of Blumenthal Memo: Balance of Payments.” All three memoranda are in the Carter Library, Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary, Presidential File, Box 60, 11/23/77 [1].
  4. No minutes of this meeting, which took place from 11:35 a.m. until 12:05 p.m. in the Cabinet Room, were found. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)