I AM withholding my approval from H.R. 8193, the Energy Transportation Security Act of 1974.
The bill would initially require that 20 percent of the oil imported into the United States be carried on U.S. flag tankers. The percentage would increase to 30 percent after June 30, 1977.
This bill would have the most serious consequences. It would have an adverse impact on the United States economy and on our foreign relations. It would create serious inflationary pressures by increasing the cost of oil and raising the prices of all products and services which depend on oil. It would further stimulate inflation in the ship construction industry and cut into the industry's ability to meet ship construction for the U.S. Navy.
In addition, the bill would serve as a precedent for other countries to increase protection of their industries, resulting in a serious deterioration in beneficial international competition and trade. This is directly contrary to the objectives of the trade bill which the Congress has just passed. In addition, it would violate a large number of our treaties of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation.
Although this bill would undoubtedly benefit a limited group of our working population, such benefit would entail disproportionate costs and produce undesirable effects which could extend into other areas and industries. The waiver provisions which the Congress included in an effort to meet a few of my concerns fail to overcome the serious objections I have to the legislation.
Accordingly, I am not approving this bill because of the substantial adverse effect on the Nation's economy and international interest.
I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to maintaining a strong U.S. Merchant Marine. I believe we can and will do this under our existing statutes and programs such as those administered by the Maritime Administration in the Department of Commerce.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
December 30, 1974.