President Carter's nominee for secretary of Commerce, Philip M. Klutznick, said yesterday he expects to have a greater voice in economic policymaking than his predecessor, but offered few clues about the advice he will give the White House.
At his first Washington press conference since he was nominated last Friday, Klutznick called Charles Schultze, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, "an old friend" and cited his previous working relationship with Treasury Secretary G. William Miller.
Schultze and Miller are influential members of the steering committee which directs the administrations' Economic Policy Group, but former Commerce secretary Juanita Kreps wasn't included in that inner circle.
"I was assured I was part of the committee," Klutznick said. "I shall not permit myself to be excluded."
The new Commerce chief said he also expects to campaign for President Carter's re-election and said he will help with fund raising, but not in a major way.
On fund raising -- one of Klutznick's specialties as a leader of various Jewish groups -- the nominee said, "My reputation on that is grossly exaggerated." But on the political campaign, he said he "will do everything that I can for the president."
Noting that he was "only the secretary designate and I shall try to observe the protocals of that position," Klutznick said he would wait to express specific policy views at his confirmation hearings.
He said his main interests are in economic development, both in building business domestically and increasing the nation's overseas economic strength.
"I have been concerned for some time that we have not done everything we can do to strengthen the economic position of the United States, particularly in the area of trade," Klutznick said.
"I believe in the maximum of free trade," he added, when asked about protective tariffs and import quotas. "How it is enforced is another question."
He said he believes Americans should "increase our muscle in the trade area, rather than our clout," suggesting "the most important thing is to become concerned with the need" for increasing exports.
Domestically Klutznick complained that the nation has "neglected research and development" and "opened our markets" to foreign competition without opening up foreign markets for American business.
He declined to comment on whether he favors a tax cut, saying "tax reduction is not the function of the secretary of Commerce."
Asked whether he believes the government should bail out Chrysler Corp., Klutznick responded, "The issue is a simple one if we can find the answer. Are we doing more economic damage if we let Chrysler go down the drain, or would we do more good for the country if we keep it around. My judgment is that what the president proposed to do is in the national interest. I support the principal."
Klutznick, 72, is a Chicago attorney and real estate developer who has served as the United States representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He is chairman of the World Jewish Congress.
Klutznick said he would resign the latter post to accept the Commerce job and will handle his financial affairs "as dictated by the law." He declined to reveal details of his investments, but said "some people will be surprised at how much they have overestimated my wealth."