Clearing The Record On The Commerce Dept.

The reporting on my Mar. 20 speech at the National Press Club on economic statistics was inaccurate. Your article, "The Commerce Dept. may be a goner" (Washington Outlook, Apr. 3), has me proposing that we "jettison" both the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau from the Commerce Dept. to form an independent statistical agency, "probably" outside Commerce.

What I said, and I quote here from the wire-service reports of the event, was: A "strong, defensible case could be made" for consolidating the various statistical agencies, but "the issue is whether or not we can improve [the statistical system] through consolidation, and in order to find that out, a lot of very detailed spadework has to be done." I also said that by listing the nine major agencies involved in economic and demographic statistics collection, I was "not necessarily saying [I] favored their merger."

I should also note that the issue of where to place such a consolidated agency, were one ever to exist, was unaddressed.

Everett M. Ehrlich

Under Secretary for

Economic Affairs

Commerce Dept.


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