191. Editorial Note

A meeting of the G-10 Ministers, chaired by Secretary Connally, was scheduled for November 22-23, 1971, in Rome. In view of an anticipated, but still unscheduled meeting between Chancellor Brandt and President Pompidou and general uncertainty on whether the Ministers would be able to close on a solution, some thought the Rome Ministerial should be postponed. Secretary Connally concurred and informed Prime Minister Sato during their November 12 meeting he had just taken that decision (see footnote 3, Document 194). Alternative dates were considered and the Rome Ministerial was rescheduled and held November 30-December 1.

On November 12 Peterson sent Kissinger a memorandum informing him the November 22 G-10 Ministerial had been postponed and speculated it would not take place until after the Brandt-Pompidou meeting. He considered the need for sending them some high-level communication” before their meeting, a communication that proved unnecessary when the G-10 meeting took place before the Brandt-Pompidou summit in Paris December 3-4. Peterson concluded his memorandum to Kissinger with the following: “What I would appreciate from you, Henry, is your sense of the politics and your reaction to the idea since this issue has become so highly political. Frankly, I am worried that the channels between Treasury and European Finance Ministry people and between Arthur Burns and Central Bank Governors, good as they are, may not be giving full weight to the political dimension of the situation in Europe.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 289, Treasury Volume II)

President Pompidou also had some views on scheduling the G-10 Ministerial. On November 2 Kissinger had sent a back channel telegraphic message to Ambassador Watson in Paris informing him that President Nixon was considering initiating a series of bilateral discussions with principal European leaders prior to his visits to China and the Soviet Union in February and May 1972 and wanted the first bilateral to be with President Pompidou. Kissinger suggested the meeting take place in French Guyana December 3-4 or during a 2-day period between December 10 and 14. (Ibid., President’s Trip Files, Box 473, Azores—Pompidou Dec 13/14, 1971)

After 10 days of discussions about a venue outside France and the United States, including a quick trip by Watson to Washington to consult on the matter, Watson sent a back channel message to Kissinger on November 12 informing him Pompidou had agreed to meet President Nixon in the Azores (in a hotel, not on the U.S. base) between December [Page 532]11 and 15. Watson added, however, that Pompidou had a problem with the timing of the G-10 Ministerial and wanted the Rome meeting to be held on November 30, not December 7-8, because the monetary meeting had to take place before he met with Chancellor Brandt in early December. (Telegram 1853 from Paris, November 12, 2005Z; ibid.)

Another copy of Ambassador Watson’s November 12 message is attached to a November 13 memorandum from Kennedy to Kissinger regarding “Your Meeting with Secretary Connally.” Kennedy noted that Connally had been delaying the G-10 meeting and that Sonnenfeldt thought Kissinger should take it up with Connally in view of the message from Paris. Kennedy added, parenthetically, that Watson probably had not used the State Department communication channel to avoid disclosing he had been talking with Pompidou. Kennedy told Kissinger the issue was whether U.S. interests were best served by having the monetary meeting before or after the Brandt-Pompidou summit. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 289, Treasury Volume II 1971)

On November 17 Kissinger sent a back channel message for delivery to Watson at the opening of business on November 18 informing him that he, Kissinger, hoped to have a decision on the timing of the G-10 Ministerial early the following week. Kissinger noted that he would be meeting with Connally on November 19, with the intention of obtaining an early decision on the G-10 meeting and a position on related economic problems. (White House telegram 11024, November 18, 0300Z; ibid., President’s Trip Files, Box 473, Azores—Pompidou Dec 13-14 1971)

On November 18 Kissinger sent another back channel message to Watson informing him that he had “succeeded in having the President direct Secretary Connally to proceed with the G-10 meeting in Rome on November 30th.” Kissinger asked Watson to confirm the December 13-14 dates with the French and to work with them (and keep secret until then) on a joint announcement for November 24 that, on the U.S. side, would also include announcements of meetings with Prime Minister Heath in Bermuda December 20-21 and with Chancellor Brandt at Key Biscayne December 28-29. (White House telegram 11026, November 18, 2051Z; ibid.)

The President met with Kissinger from 10:13 to 10:50 a.m. and again from 11:40 to noon on November 18. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) Haldeman was present at both meetings, and his handwritten notes indicate that one of the points Kissinger raised in the first session was Pompidou’s insistence that the G-10 Ministerial be held on November 30. Later in the morning Haldeman’s notes indicate Pompidou should be scheduled for December 13-14. (Ibid., White [Page 533]House Special Files, Box 44, Haldeman Notes, Oct-Dec 1971) The President phoned Secretary Connally and talked with him from 4:17 to 4:24 p.m. that day. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)

Prior to Kissinger’s arrival for his first meeting with the President on November 18, the President discussed with Haldeman having Connally, Shultz, and Kissinger come to Key Biscayne Friday night (where the President went on the afternoon of Thursday, November 18, returning on Sunday, November 21) for a meeting on either Saturday or Sunday. The President then considered having that meeting on Monday, November 22. See Document 203 regarding the President’s meetings with his economic advisers on November 23 and 24.