Miller Center

Lloyd Cutler

Speaker: Lloyd Cutler
Date: October 23, 1982

Lloyd Cutler discusses his work as a legal advisor to the Carter administration and his tenure as White House Counsel. Cutler begins with the origins of his relationship with Carter while both served on the Trilateral Commission, then describes his service as special counsel for the maritime boundary dispute with Canada and on the SALT II negotiations. Cutler spends most of the session detailing his role and responsibilities as White House Counsel, his participation in White House operations (ten o'clock meeting, Friday foreign policy breakfast), his involvement with policy and events (hostage crisis, SALT II, Billy Carter), and his working relationship with Carter. He describes Carter's management style and political skills, and comments on the ideal relationship between a president and his advisors. He also evaluates several key members of the White House Staff, and emphasizes the problems that resulted in the White House as a result of disorganization, lack of Washington experience, and poor relations with Congress. Cutler concludes with an assessment of the Carter presidency, which he calls a systemic failure rather than a failure on Carter's part, as well has his thoughts about what a second term would have looked like.