Frederick G. Dutton performs lots of odd jobs for his $200,000-a-year legal retainer from the government of Saudi Arabia - including finding doctors to treat members of the royal family and buying chairs for King Khalid. He even gives legal advice.
While Dutton's fee is on the high side, the variety of work ranging from pure legal representation to more personal services is typical of the almost 70 American lawyers and law firms who have registered with the Justice Department as agents of foreign governments or businesses.
These lawyers collected $3.5 million during the latest six-month reporting period, according to documents submitted to the Justice Department and compiled by the New York Law journal.
Dutton is not the only lawyer to move out of his orbit on behalf of foreign clients. Clark Clifford's high-powered and high-priced law firm, which generally stays out of police maters, investigated for Algeria a Nevada traffic accident in which one Algerian student was killed and another injured.
Other Washington firms that generally deal with U.S. government agencies handled real estate transactions for their clients - including th construction of the new residence for the Japanese ambassador.
Beyond that, many lawyerss hired by foreign governments said they tried to explain U.S. policy to their clients. "I try to bridge the cultural gap and tell the Saudis what is on America's mind," said Dutton.
In the 1960s, the high filers were lawyers representing sugar-producing nations angling for a larger share of the nation's sugar imports, especially when trade with Cuba ended and its quota was thrown up for grabs. Indeed, the wide-open lobbying of the sugar lobby brought about stiffer reporting requirements in 1966.
Now, however, the fight to win American landing right for the Concorde: Saudi Arabian and Algerian gas and oil interests and Japan are producing most of the foreign business for American law firms.
Three firms, for example, have made more than $1 million in less than two years from the Concorde fight - and that figure excludes the legal costs of the court suits, which do not have to be listed.
The New York firm of Rogers & Wells, with former Secretary of State William P. Rogers as senior partner, has been paid $646,654 in the past two years for representing Air France. In Washington, Hydemn, Mason & Goodell - the firm of former Sen. Charles P. Goodell - has been paid $336.949 in the last two years for representing the French government. Recently, the Winston & Straun, with Democratic political power John R. Riley as a partner, has been hired by France. It has made $21,552 so far.
Algeria has paid more than $4 million since 1971 to three American law firms, including $1.7 million to Clark Clifford's firm, and the Saudis have paid more than $300,000 to two firms, including the one that former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman J. William Fulbirght is associated with.
While not paying the highest fees, the Japanese have hired the most law firms ' 15 - including one - Vorys, Slater Seymour & Pease - that was paid $3,000 for a study on the effects of withdrawing U.S. ground forces from Korea.
Moreover, the Justice Department filings revealed that former Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall, known for his pro-environment positions, received a $30,000 retainer to get American support for a pipeline to carry natural gas across Canada from Alaska to the lower 48 states. He apparently succeeded: President Carter and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau announced it would be built.
His $200-an-hour fee was the highest reported. The top Wall Street law firm of Millbank. Tweed, Hadley and McCloy, for example, reported its fees as $100 to $150 an hour for work done by partners and $45 to $85 an hour if it is done by associates.
The Washington firm of Danzaksky Dickey, Tydings, Quint & Gordon listed its fees as $70 to $150 per hour depending on the qualifications of the attorney, whereas Winston & Strawn and Hydeman, Mason & Goodell charge $80 an hour.
The Justice Department files provide one of the few authentic pecks at how the nation's largest law firms earn their money.
Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, lawyers along with other representatives here of foreign governments must list their income and expenses on behalf of foreign governments; report what they do to earn at money, and tell what government officials they dealt with on behalf of their foreign clients.
This kind of information is as closely guarded as state secrets by law offices in most situations.
Take Clark Clifford, for example The hottest item of gossip among Washington lawyers recently is how much he got paid by Bert Lance, but that's a secret few people know for sure - maybe only Clifford his accountant and Lance.
Its no secret, though, how much Clifford's firm - Clifford Glass, Mcllwain & Finney - were paid by their two foreign clients, the government of Algeria and the Australian Meat Board. It's all listed clearly in the Justice Department files.
Since 1971, Clifford's firm has been paid $1,725,00 by the Algerian government The contract calls for a $150,000-a-year retainer.
The Australian Meat Board has paid the firm $930,000 since 1969. It is on the books for a $8,000 annual retainer.
Algeria also uses the giant Wall Street firm of Sheaman & Sterling for legal business in this country - mostly regarding oil and gas exploration contracts for its New York corporation, Sonatrach Inc. That firm has received $2,514,568 from Sonatrach since April, 1975, including a half-million dollar fee for the six months that ended last January.
In addition, Algeria paid former Attorney General Richard C. Kleindienst $260,000 - about $10,000 a month - from November, 1973, to July, 1976, soon after he left the Nixon administration.
Not all the big money comes from well known foreign clients. Myron Solter, for instance is a Washington lawyer who was paid $142,000 from November to March for representing a range of Asian business and trade goups before American agencies setting tariffs on such imports as muchrooms, bikes, handbags, televison sets and footwear.
Millbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy received $185,000 from 18 foreign clients, including the government of Zaire ($64,498) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corp. ($59,538) in the six months ending last July. In the previous six months the firm took in $191.623 from foreign clients.
What do law firms do for their money?
Dutton, a former assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in the Kennedy and Johnson administration, said his work for Saudi Arabia mixes legal advice with personal services and political counseling.
But he said stays away form lobbying on Capitol Hill or in the State Department. He was involved in the attempt of Prince Saud Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, to buy a New York co-op apartment.
His biggest legal assignment, he said is negotiations with major American corporations to build petrochemical plants in Saudi Arabia. For these jobs he has hired other lawyers to help him including his wife Nancy ($35.000) and his partner, Nick Zumas ($21.190).
He also helps the 5,000 to 6,000 Saudi students in this country with any legal scrapes they may get into - auto accidents and broken leases for example.
He also finds himself involved in some very unlawyerlike situations - such as the time Ambassador Ali Alireza asked him to find top medical specialists to fly to Europe to take care of a member of the Saudi royal family or to buy $2,400 worth of chairs for the king. One expense account item is $1,570 to buy a clock.
The Saudis don't depend on Dutton for all their legal advice. Last year the government hired Hogan & Hartson paying a $50,000 yearly retainer "for counsel and guidance in connection with the laws and policies of the United States, possible congressional or other action affecting those as well as commercial and other ventures . . . "
According to a letter from Ambassador Alireza to Fulbright, "It is understood you will personally be in charge and handle the work done for us."
Fulbright, cnsidered a supporter of the Arab cause who was defeated when supporters of Israel sent money to his opponent, Dale Bumpers, in the 1974 Democratic primary in Arkansas, also pulled the United Arab Emirates into the Hogan & Hartson firm for a $25,000 a year annual retainer.
Some of the most detailed reporting on what they do for their foreign clients comes from the lawyers in the Clifford firm.
On May 24, 1976, for example Paul Warnke, a Clifford partner now the Carter administration's chief arms control negotiator, took Col. Malcolm MacArthur of the Australian Meat Board to see Federal Marintime Commission Chairman Karl E. Blake "to anable Col. MacArthur to become acquainted with MR. Bakke."
Warnke met in 1971 with State Department officials to help get permission for El Paso Natural Gas to import natural gas from Algeria. And when Richard Parker, present U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, was sent to Algeria in 1974 he asked to meet with Clifford.
Other well known firms with foreign clients include:
Sidley & Austin of Chicago which has been paid $289,984 since last August by the Canadian Pacific Railroad and Canadian National Railroad.
William C. Cramer, the former Florida congerssman and general counsel to the Republican National Committee, and his law firm have been hired by Nicaragua at $100,000 a year, half for expenses to fight a threatened cutoff of U.S. aid. The firm has been paid $55,000 yearly retainer for advice on trade, food and population problems. The firm - Danzansky, Dickey, Tydings. Quint & Gordon - also gets a $10,000 a year retainer from Antigua.
Patton, Boggs & Blow was paid $33,855 to help Korea determine its fishing rights near the Alaska coast. The firm also represents the Central American Sugar Council, which paid it $38,677. Thomas Boggs is the son of the late House majority leader Hale Boggs. His mother Lindy Boggs, is a congresswoman from Louisiana.