To the Congress of the United States:

Drug abuse is one of the most vicious and corrosive forces attacking the foundations of American society today. It is a major cause of crime and a merciless destroyer of human lives. We must fight it with all of the resources at our command.

This Administration has declared all-out, global war on the drug menace. As I reported to the Congress earlier this month in my State of the Union message, there is evidence of significant progress on a number of fronts in that war.

Both the rate of new addiction to heroin and the number of narcotic-related deaths showed an encouraging downturn last year. More drug addicts and abusers are in treatment and rehabilitation programs than ever before.

Progress in pinching off the supply of illicit drugs was evident in last year's stepped-up volume of drug seizures worldwide--which more than doubled in 1972 over the 1971 level.

Arrests of traffickers have risen by more than one-third since 1971. Prompt Congressional action on my proposal for mandatory minimum sentences for pushers of hard drugs will help ensure that convictions stemming from such arrests lead to actual imprisonment of the guilty.

Notwithstanding these gains, much more must be done. The resilience of the international drug trade remains grimly impressive--current estimates suggest that we still intercept only a small fraction of all the heroin and cocaine entering this country. Local police still find that more than one of every three suspects arrested for street crimes is a narcotic abuser or addict. And the total number of Americans addicted to narcotics, suffering terribly themselves and inflicting their suffering on countless others, still stands in the hundreds of thousands.

Seeking ways to intensify our counter-offensive against this menace, I am asking the Congress today to join with this Administration in strengthening and streamlining the Federal drug law enforcement effort.

Funding for this effort has increased sevenfold during the past five years, from $36 million in fiscal year 1969 to $257 million in fiscal year 1974--more money is not the most pressing enforcement need at present. Nor is there a primary need for more manpower working on the problem, over 2100 new agents having already been added to the Federal drug enforcement agencies under this Administration, an increase of more than 250 percent over the 1969 level.

The enforcement work could benefit significantly, however, from consolidation of our anti-drug forces under a single unified command. Right now the Federal Government is fighting the war on drug abuse under a distinct handicap, for its efforts are those of a loosely confederated alliance facing a resourceful, elusive, worldwide enemy. Admiral Mahan, the master naval strategist, described this handicap precisely when he wrote that "Granting the same aggregate of force, it is never as great in two hands as in one, because it is not perfectly concentrated."

More specifically, the drug law enforcement activities of the United States now are not merely in two hands but in half a dozen. Within the Department of Justice, with no overall direction below the level of the Attorney General, these fragmented forces include the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence, and certain activities of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. The Treasury Department is also heavily engaged in enforcement work through the Bureau of Customs.

This aggregation of Federal activities has grown up rapidly over the past few years in response to the urgent need for stronger anti-drug measures. It has enabled us to make a very encouraging beginning in the accelerated drug enforcement drive of this Administration.

But it also has serious operational and organizational shortcomings. Certainly the cold-blooded underworld networks that funnel narcotics from suppliers all over the world into the veins of American drug victims are no respecters of the bureaucratic dividing lines that now complicate our anti-drug efforts. On the contrary, these modern-day slave traders can derive only advantage from the limitations of the existing organizational patchwork. Experience has now given us a good basis for correcting those limitations, and it is time to do so.

I therefore propose creation of a single, comprehensive Federal agency within the Department of Justice to lead the war against illicit drug traffic.

Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1973, which I am transmitting to the Congress with this message, would establish such an agency, to be called the Drug Enforcement Administration. It would be headed by an Administrator reporting directly to the Attorney General.

The Drug Enforcement Administration would carry out the following anti-drug functions, and would absorb the associated manpower and budgets:

--All functions of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (which would be abolished as a separate entity by the reorganization plan);

--Those functions of the Bureau of Customs pertaining to drug investigations and intelligence (to be transferred from the Treasury Department to the Attorney General by the reorganization plan);

--All functions of the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement; and

--All functions of the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence.

Merger of the latter two organizations into the new agency would be effected by an executive order dissolving them and transferring their functions, to take effect upon approval of Reorganization Plan No. 2 by the Congress. Drug law enforcement research currently funded by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and other agencies would also be transferred to the new agency by executive action.

The major responsibilities of the Drug Enforcement Administration would thus include:

--development of overall Federal drug law enforcement strategy, programs, planning, and evaluation;

--full investigation and preparation for prosecution of suspects for violations under all Federal drug trafficking laws;

--full investigation and preparation for prosecution of suspects connected with illicit drugs seized at U.S. ports-of-entry and international borders;

--conduct of all relations with drug law enforcement officials of foreign governments, under the policy guidance of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control;

--full coordination and cooperation with State and local law enforcement officials on joint drug enforcement efforts; and

--regulation of the legal manufacture of drugs and other controlled substances under Federal regulations.

The Attorney General, working closely with the Administrator of this new agency, would have authority to make needed program adjustments. He would take steps within the Department of Justice to ensure that high priority emphasis is placed on the prosecution and sentencing of drug traffickers following their apprehension by the enforcement organization. He would also have the authority and responsibility for securing the fullest possible cooperation--particularly with respect to collection of drug intelligence--from all Federal departments and agencies which can contribute to the anti-drug work, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

My proposals would make possible a more effective anti-drug role for the FBI, especially in dealing with the relationship between drug trafficking and organized crime. I intend to see that the resources of the FBI are fully committed to assist in supporting the new Drug Enforcement Administration.

The consolidation effected under Reorganization Plan No. 2 would reinforce the basic law enforcement and criminal justice mission of the Department of Justice. With worldwide drug law enforcement responsibilities no longer divided among several organizations in two different Cabinet departments, more complete and cumulative drug law enforcement intelligence could be compiled. Patterns of international and domestic illicit drug production, distribution, and sale could be more directly compared and interpreted. Case-by-case drug law enforcement activities could be more comprehensively linked, cross-referenced, and coordinated into a single, organic enforcement operation. In short, drug law enforcement officers would be able to spend more time going after the traffickers and less time coordinating with one another.

Such progress could be especially helpful on the international front. Narcotics control action plans, developed under the leadership of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control, are now being carried out by U.S. officials in cooperation with host governments in 59 countries around the world. This wide-ranging effort to cut off drug supplies before they ever reach U.S. borders or streets is just now beginning to bear fruit. We can enhance its effectiveness, with little disruption of ongoing enforcement activities, by merging both the highly effective narcotics force of overseas Customs agents and the rapidly developing international activities of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs into the Drug Enforcement Administration. The new agency would work closely with the Cabinet Committee under the active leadership of the U.S. Ambassador in each country where anti-drug programs are underway.

Two years ago, when I established the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention within the Executive Office of the President, we gained an organization with the necessary resources, breadth, and leadership capacity to begin dealing decisively with the "demand" side of the drug abuse problem--treatment and rehabilitation for those who have been drug victims, and preventive programs for potential drug abusers. This year, by permitting my reorganization proposals to take effect, the Congress can help provide a similar capability on the "supply" side. The proposed Drug Enforcement Administration, working as a team with the Special Action Office, would arm Americans with a potent one-two punch to help us fight back against the deadly menace of drug abuse. I ask full Congressional cooperation in its establishment.

No heroin or cocaine is produced within the United States; domestic availability of these substances results solely from their illegal importation. The careful and complete inspection of all persons and goods coming into the United States is therefore an integral part of effective Federal drug law enforcement.

At the present time, however, Federal responsibility for conducting port-of-entry inspections is awkwardly divided among several Cabinet departments. The principal agencies involved are the Treasury Department's Bureau of Customs, which inspects goods, and the Justice Department's Immigration and Naturalization Service, which inspects persons and their papers. The two utilize separate inspection procedures, hold differing views of inspection priorities, and employ dissimilar personnel management practices.

To reduce the possibility that illicit drugs will escape detection at ports-of-entry because of divided responsibility, and to enhance the effectiveness of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the reorganization plan which I am proposing today would transfer to the Secretary of the Treasury all functions currently vested in Justice Department officials to inspect persons, or the documents of persons.

When the plan takes effect, it is my intention to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to use the resources so transferred--including some 1,000 employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service--to augment the staff and budget of the Bureau of Customs. The Bureau's primary responsibilities would then include:

--inspection of all persons and goods entering the United States;

--valuation of goods being imported, and assessment of appropriate tariff duties;

--interception of contraband being smuggled into the United States;

--enforcement of U.S. laws governing the international movement of goods, except the investigation of contraband drugs and narcotics; and

--turning over the investigation responsibility for all drug law enforcement cases to the Department of Justice.

The reorganization would thus group most port-of-entry inspection functions in a single Cabinet department. It would reduce the need for much day-to-day interdepartmental coordination, allow more efficient staffing at some field locations, and remove the basis for damaging inter-agency rivalries. It would also give the Secretary of the Treasury the authority and flexibility to meet changing requirements in inspecting the international flow of people and goods. An important by-product of the change would be more convenient service for travellers entering and leaving the country.

For these reasons, I am convinced that inspection activities at U.S. ports-of-entry can more effectively support our drug law enforcement efforts if concentrated in a single agency. The processing of persons at ports-of-entry is too closely interrelated with the inspection of goods to remain organizationally separated from it any longer. Both types of inspections have numerous objectives besides drug law enforcement, so it is logical to vest them in the Treasury Department, which has long had the principal responsibility for port-of-entry inspection of goods, including goods being transported in connection with persons. As long as the inspections are conducted with full awareness of related drug concerns it is neither necessary nor desirable that they be made a responsibility of the primary drug enforcement organization.

After investigation, I have found that each action included in Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1973 is necessary to accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in Section 901(a) of Title 5 of the United States Code. In particular, the plan is responsive to the intention of the Congress as expressed in Section 901(a)(1): "to promote better execution of the laws, more effective management of the executive branch and of its agencies and functions, and expeditious administration of the public business;" Section 901(a)(3): "to increase the efficiency of the operations of the Government to the fullest extent practicable;" Section 901(a)(5): "to reduce the number of agencies by consolidating those having similar functions under a single head, and to abolish such agencies or functions as may not be necessary for the efficient conduct of the Government;" and Section 901(a)(6): "to eliminate overlapping and duplication of effort."

As required by law, the plan has one logically consistent subject matter: consolidation of Federal drug law enforcement activities in a manner designed to increase their effectiveness.

The plan would establish in the Department of Justice a new Administration designated as the Drug Enforcement Administration. The reorganizations provided for in the plan make necessary the appointment and compensation of new officers as specified in Section 5 of the plan. The rates of compensation fixed for these officers would be comparable to those fixed for officers in the executive branch who have similar responsibilities.

While it is not practicable to specify all of the expenditure reductions and other economies which may result from the actions proposed, some savings may be anticipated in administrative costs now associated with the functions being transferred and consolidated.

The proposed reorganization is a necessary step in upgrading the effectiveness of our Nation's drug law enforcement effort. Both of the proposed changes would build on the strengths of established agencies, yielding maximum gains in the battle against drug abuse with minimum loss of time and momentum in the transition.

I am confident that this reorganization plan would significantly increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal Government. I urge the Congress to allow it to become effective.

Richard Nixon.
The White House, March 28, 1973.

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