369. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State 1
Geneva, July 1, 1968, 1444Z.
3930. Subject: Cocoa Consultative Group. Ref: Geneva 3897 (Notal).2
- Summary. Cocoa Consultative Group (CG) unable reach agreement on five-point package because of reservations by France and Ivory Coast over minor technical issue. As result planned resumption of cocoa conference this fall now somewhat in doubt. End summary.
- At final meeting C.G. June 29 Chairman asked if all delegations would accept five-point package he circulated previous day (see reftel) if point of restoration of quota cuts made when price below minimum (paragraph 33(74)) included two figures, 20 cents and 21 cents (proposed by France), both bracketed. France (Janton) immediately agreed but demanded footnote explaining nature of problem, i.e., there danger if 20-cent figure accepted quota cuts could be restored even though on last day of fiteeen-day average, price was below 20 cents. Added he had been unable obtain instructions this point since high French officials preoccupied with more pressing matters.
- U.S. announced it could accept package with 20 cents if all major producers supported it. U.S. del criticized French logic and pointed out same theoretical problem raised by Janton existed at all intervention points on way up and way down. He maintained Janton was introducing [Page 865] new problem which brought into question whole indicator price concept at time when package already agreed by several major producers. Ghana, Brazil, Nigeria, and Cameroons followed U.S. saying they prepared accept Chairman’s original package with 20-cent figure.
- Ivory Coast delegate said he had asked Abidjan to approve package on assumption 21 cents already agreed but had been unable obtain instructions. (We doubt he even called Abidjan, as his later remarks contradict this.) He therefore requested a footnote to indicate there was no final approval by his government. When Chairman noted two governments had now reserved their positions, Janton withdrew his 21-cent proposal and asked that 20 cents be footnoted to say Ivory Coast and France noted a problem existed with this figure and that a solution should be found at negotiating conference. This clearly was a ruse to let package go forward as if it were agreed but allowing them to re-open the issue. In any case, Ivory Coast refused this solution.
- With Ivory Coast now isolated among the producers, Chairman stopped discussion of package and turned attention to new draft of a processed cocoa amendment. After comments by Nigeria, Ghana and Netherlands, it agreed draft could serve as basis for future discussion at negotiating conference. Meeting then adjourned for private discussions on five-point package.
- Chairman talked to U.S. and Ghanaian delegations during recess and proposed his report say agreement had been reached on package deal with 20-cent figure subject to confirmation by Ivory Coast and France and that all delegations accepted the deal on understanding later confirmation by these two delegations would make it unanimous. In addition, he proposed a footnote which said that France and the Ivory Coast hoped that a solution could be found to problem they felt existed if 20 cents were the figure. When U.S. and Ghana agreed to a precise formulation, the Chairman then resumed the plenary. Note: We had previously informed Chairman privately we would not accept any brackets in package.
- When Chairman read out language of his proposed report, France immediately objected and said he accepted package on understanding that all agreed a problem existed with 20-cent figure which must be solved before a negotiating conference. Chairman then noted that if French and Ivory Coast reservations stood there was no package deal. Brazil then made a slam-bang attack on France and the Ivory Coast, praised the United States for its cooperation, agreed with the Chairman there was no package deal and asked him to adjourn the meeting.
- Switzerland agreed with Brazil and questioned Janton’s motives. Janton then proceeded to attack Brazil and Swiss citing his long record in support of a cocoa agreement. Ghana tried hard to restore order and save the package by appealing to France not to wreck possibility of going to [Page 866] conference over a theoretical question. He reminded group of abuse that had been heaped on U.S. when last December it halted conference by only saying it already had far exceeded its instruction. Chairman also pressed France hard but Janton insisted there was a problem and he needed instructions from his government.
- On suggestion of UK, Chairman tried to resolve matter by saying his report as previously read out would stand but that the two governments would have ten days to indicate to Prebisch whether or not they accepted the package. This led to another long debate with Ivory Coast and France. Ivory Coast del maintained he on a long business trip ahead and refused to guarantee a reply by any fixed date. U.S. del unable comprehend motives of Ivory Coast. Everything he said was in presence of Anet-Bile with whom he frequently conferred. Obviously, their motives were based on something more important than the narrow academic point described in para one above.
- France asked if his government’s reply will be considered constructive if it pointed out that a problem existed at 20 cents that had to be resolved. Chair replied if answer was not an unqualified yes, there no package deal.
- The Chairman summed up by regretting that after long discussion last December followed by this intensive two-week meeting, it still was impossible to reach agreement. Said this meant that any chance of a cocoa agreement in foreseeable future now in jeopardy. His report will go forward showing two countries reserved on package, and he accepted that Ivory Coast and France could inform Prebisch of their yes or no as soon as possible.