256. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of State Vance and Secretary of the Treasury Blumenthal1


  • Trade Agreement/MFN with the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China

I have discussed the issue raised in your memorandum of July 13 with the President.2

It is appropriate now to initiate consultations on MFN for both the Soviet Union and China. Recent exchanges with the Chinese have been encouraging in this respect.

In your consultations, special care should be taken to make sure that the chances for SALT ratification are not prejudiced. Should it appear, as a result of your consultations, that SALT ratification might in fact be jeopardized, we should reconsider. In any event, we should consider the next steps after these consultations.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Agency File, Box 18, State: 6–7/79. Secret.
  2. Vance and Blumenthal, in a July 13 memorandum to Carter, argued that a Soviet trade agreement should be considered now that a trade pact with China had been signed. (Ibid.) In March, Vance and Blumenthal had recommended using the waiver authority under the 1974 Trade Act to normalize commercial relations with China and the Soviet Union. At that time, Carter deferred the issue. See footnote 2, Document 232. The agreement on trade relations with China was signed in Beijing by Woodcock and Li Xiang on July 7.