86. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for Domestic Affairs and Policy (Eizenstat) to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Proposed Statement For Release Tomorrow

Attached is a draft of the proposed statement to be issued under your name on the balance of trade and payments issue.2 I have had it reviewed by Henry Owen on Zbig’s staff, by Schlesinger’s staff, and copies have been provided to Charlie Schultze and Dick Cooper. I will attempt to get their comments in the morning; they were unavailable at any time tonight.

As a result of the meeting this evening with Dr. Burns, Secretary Blumenthal, Charlie Schultze, Dick Cooper, Tony Solomon and others,3 both Charlie and Dick Cooper are now apparently convinced that a statement along these lines should be issued. As you are aware from the memorandum which I forwarded to you earlier4 that this was not their previous position.

While the Department of Energy does not appear to be enthusiastic about such a statement, since it effectively announces new energy [Page 273]policy with virtually no Congressional consultation, they will go along with it if there is indeed a crisis situation which requires a statement tomorrow. It seems to me that there is a risk in that the statement may be seen as pressuring the conferees. Moreover, it is unclear to me that the type of statement attached hereto will have any measurable impact on exchange markets. However, in light of the very strong feelings on the part of Blumenthal and Burns, I certainly defer to their expertise regarding the need for this statement.

The only substantive change suggested is that the Department of Energy would prefer no specific dollar figure be mentioned in terms of the expected improvement in our trade position, or at least that a range be given of “$3–5 billion”. They are concerned that a $5 billion figure standing alone will lead reporters to attempt to compute the amount of Prudhoe Bay oil which must be produced, which in turn may lead reporters to surmise that we are considering a Japanese swap.

I have notified Jody to expect release of this statement in the morning—if you so desire. It will be released around 11:30 and the Treasury people will do a briefing at that time at the Treasury Department.

I might add my own view that an additional day be provided for Congressional consultation, particularly on the new energy pronouncements so that we are not perceived to be taking precipitous action without review. Perhaps you might call Blumenthal in the morning to determine whether a 24-hour delay in issuing the statement to provide for this review would be acceptable.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary, Presidential File, Box 65, 12/21/77 [2]. No classification marking. A stamped notation reads: “The President has seen,” and Carter wrote at the top of the page: “Stu—OK only after Schultze & McIntyre have ok’ed it. Clear any significant changes with me. J.C.”
  2. Attached but not printed. For the text of the December 21 statement on the U.S. balance of trade and payments announcing measures to improve the U.S. trade position, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1977, Book II, pp. 2159–2160.
  3. No other record of this meeting was found.
  4. See Document 85.