236. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State 1

20041. Ref: (A) Paris 19995, (B) Paris 20012.2 Subj: Emergency Session OECD Oil Committee.

Jordan, in charge of petroleum matters in economic section of Foreign Office, informed us that late this morning on his telephoned instructions French Embassy in London asked British Foreign Office to propose to OECD Oil Committee Chairman Beckett postponement of special session now scheduled for June 12. Jordan said that French proposal was prompted by publicity given to meeting in this morning’s Financial Times (story out of Paris), and fear that this would cause Arab oil exporting countries to generalize their embargo now limited to US and UK. He said that French believed it was in interest of all countries concerned, including US and UK, to avoid such generalization, since it was obvious that if some countries could go on obtaining Middle East oil, this would make it possible to rearrange supply patterns in way that would maximize scarcities. Moreover, request for postponement did not mean France was attempting to go back on commitments which she had taken re petroleum supply in OECD framework. Hordan said France was not alone in her viewpoint, which was shared at least by Dutch.
We asked Jordan if he had as yet any indication of British reaction to his proposal. He replied Foreign Office had commented merely that it seemed very late hour for calling off meeting scheduled to convene on Monday. Jordan did not know reactions of Beckett, but expected that he would be getting [garble]in next few hours. We asked Jordan whether if meeting took place despite French proposal for postponement, French representative would attend. He was clearly not prepared for this question, and said merely that no decision in this regard had yet been made.
Jordan reiterated at several points that he wanted us to know that French suggestion in no way signified unwillingness on their part to cooperate with other Western countries in meeting any emergency petroleum situation that might arise out of Middle East crisis. He said that Giraud, Directeur des Carburants, already had appointments for [Page 428]bilateral consultations in Paris on Monday with petroleum officials of several other countries, and French very much favored such consultations.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, PET 3 OECD. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated to London and The Hague and passed to the White House and USIA.
  2. Telegram 19995, June 8, is ibid., PET 12–2 FR; telegram 20012, June 9 is ibid., PET 3 OECD.