22. Memorandum for the Files1


  • Secretary’s Meeting with Chairman Zablocki and Ranking Member Broomfield, January 23, 1981, 2:30 p.m., Secretary’s Office

Secretary Haig met today with the leaders of the House Foreign Relations Committee—Chairman Zablocki and Congressman [Page 84] Broomfield. Also present at the meeting were Richard Fairbanks (H), Bill Clark (D), Mike Rashish (E).

The meeting began with the Secretary expressing his appreciation for past support that he had received from Chairman Zablocki on matters such as the Greece/Turkey situation. Both Congressmen stated that they had worked together for many years in a bipartisan manner on their Committee and that they were both prepared, indeed eager, to work with the new Administration.

The Secretary observed that he wished his confirmation hearing could have been split between the Senate and the House Committees.2 Zablocki responded that, despite the good relations among the three principals, there would be many tough times in his Committee because both he and Broomfield were out of step with the philosophy of the majority of the members. As an example, he cited the criticism he had taken from many members for his support of arms for El Salvador.

The Secretary told the leaders of his deep concern about the situation in Poland.3 He said he thought it was important to show the Soviets that the U.S. Government, despite the distractions of a change in Administration and the return of the prisoners, is not unaware of opposition moves nor incapable of response. He said that he considered Poland “the number one potential trouble spot in the world.”

Broomfield observed that meetings with the House leadership had been an effective tool for Secretaries Vance and Muskie and hoped that Secretary Haig would continue them on a regular basis. The Secretary promised that he would and underlined his view that continuing their open communications is key to a good relationship between the two branches of government.

Chairman Zablocki invited the Secretary to meet with the members of the House Committee on February 10 for coffee on Capitol Hill. H is to arrange this with the Committee Staff Director, Jack Brady.

Both leaders stressed that the House calendar puts them under some pressure to schedule budget hearings in that they must inform the Budget Committee of their targets by March 15. The Chairman has made it his practice to have his Committee be the first to complete its authorization bill so as to insulate foreign aid from log-rolling political considerations.4 The Secretary and the leaders [Page 85] jointly agreed that we are facing a tough federal budget situation and that we must work together to preserve effective aid spending, particularly because it is an easy target due to lack of a domestic political constituency.

Chairman Zablocki pleaded for a continuation of his “baby”—IDCA—because the “poor child is only a year old and hasn’t yet begun to shave.”5 The Secretary stated that the transition team’s reorganizations were being studied but no decision had been made and recommended that the leaders talk to Jim Buckley.

The Secretary said that the IDA replenishment6 will be very tough to get through OMB. It has not yet been addressed at the Cabinet level and he has asked the Director of OMB to slow down budget decisions on programs that have foreign policy implications. Director Stockman has agreed to do so.

Zablocki said that the State/NSC relationship is critical, that it undercut the effectiveness of the Carter foreign policy and that he was glad to see the Secretary of State established as the primary spokesman.

Broomfield said that a new balance on human rights as a component of our foreign policy was needed and he and the Secretary agreed that the concern of international terrorism would rise in importance and human rights would recede soon. With regard to the organization of human rights within the State Department, the Secretary asked for the Congressmen’s assistance in getting rid of a separate office for that problem and returning it to the various bureaus.7 Zablocki said [Page 86] that he was sympathetic but that he had already lost an earlier attempt to do away with a subcommittee targeted to that concern in his own committee.8

Broomfield stated that congressional liaison was a cardinally important function and that the members of the House were delighted with the selection of Max Friedersdorf in the White House. He looked askance at Richard Fairbanks and said that he hoped that he would be able to say the same thing about State. Fairbanks spoke of his desire to increase the seniority and visibility of liaison officers who were “forward deployed” in both the House and the Senate. The Secretary stressed his personal commitment to good congressional relations and said it was his view that everything in the policy area unravels without it. He also said that if you have foreign policy successes, in a crisis you will get the quick and bipartisan backing that you need.

Subsequent to the meeting, the two leaders requested that copies of the photographs that were taken at the start of the meeting be autographed by the Secretary before they are sent to them.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Alexander Haig Papers, Department of State, Day File, Box CL 25, Jan 23, 1981. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Fairbanks.
  2. See Document 18.
  3. Presumable reference to Poland’s continued economic crisis and labor unrest, in addition to the buildup of Soviet forces along the Polish border.
  4. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearings on the administration’s foreign assistance request for fiscal year 1982 began on March 13. For additional information, see Foreign Assistance Legislation for Fiscal Year 1982 (Part 1): Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Ninety-Seventh Congress, First Session, March 13, 18, 19, and 23, 1981 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1981).
  5. Senator Humphrey had originally proposed the establishment of a single foreign aid agency charged with administering bilateral and multilateral aid programs. Following Humphrey’s death in January 1978, Case and Sparkman introduced Humphrey’s International Development Cooperation bill in Congress. Carter issued Executive Order 12163—Administration of Foreign Assistance and Related Functions—on September 29, 1979, formally establishing the International Development Cooperation Agency, which began operations that October. (Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, pp. 1792–1800)
  6. Reference is to the sixth round of International Development Association (IDA) replenishment negotiations, permitting the IDA to meet with its membership in order to secure additional funds to be used for loan assistance to developing nations, which were completed in December 1979. Donors, including the United States, approved a replenishment of $12 billion, with the United States contributing $3.24 billion in three installments. The outlay period for IDA–VI was 1981–1983. (Congress and the Nation, vol. VI, 1981–1984, p. 132) Documentation on the completion of the negotiations is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. III, Foreign Economic Policy. Ultimately, the U.S. appropriations for IDA–VI were contained within the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (H.R. 3982; P.L. 97–35; 95 Stat.357), which the President signed into law on August 13.
  7. The Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs was established in the fall of 1977. Prior to this, the position of Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs was located within an office in the Deputy Secretary of State’s office. With the elevation of the office to bureau status, the Department upgraded the coordinator position to Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Patricia “Patt” Murphy Derian served as the first Assistant Secretary from 1977 until 1981.
  8. Presumable reference to the House Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations.