Historical Documents

Volumes

Browse by Administration

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976

Editor:
Kathleen B. Rasmussen
General Editor:
Edward C. Keefer

United States Government Printing Office
Washington
2009

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs



Overview

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This volume documents U.S. foreign economic policy from 1973 to 1976, focusing on international monetary policy, economic summitry, trade policy, commodity policy, and North-South relations.

This volume has a tightly defined understanding of foreign economic policy, one that focuses on three significant areas: international monetary relations, international trade, and efforts to redress global economic inequalities. The section on international monetary policy and economic summitry focuses on the aftermath of the collapse of the fixed exchange rate regime envisioned at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. It includes documents on the monetary crisis of February and March 1973; efforts to reform the international monetary system, with particular emphasis on the issues of exchange rate flexibility and the future of gold; and the creation of the G–7 summit. The section on trade policy, more than any other section in this volume, demonstrates the influence of domestic politics on foreign economic policy; this is particularly clear in the documents on the 1973 decision to impose export controls and the White House’s efforts to secure passage of a major piece of trade reform legislation, the Trade Act of 1974. This section also includes documents on the beginnings of a new round of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, with particular emphasis on the role of agriculture in those negotiations, as well as foreign fears of U.S. protectionism. The final section, on commodity policy and North-South issues, documents the approach of the Nixon and Ford administrations to the persistent economic disparities between the industrialized nations of the North and the less developed countries of the South; it also explores U.S. attempts to grapple with the global trade in primary commodities in a post-1973 oil embargo world.