213. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts1

To the Ambassador.

Please deliver the following message:

“You should be aware of the following which transpired during an executive session of the recent Rome meeting with myself, Chairman Burns, and Under Secretary Volcker in attendance. After prolonged and difficult discussion, the G-10 Ministers of the Six on Wednesday2 unmistakably understood and accepted trade issues to be part of the current negotiation. Italian Minster Ferrari-Aggradi, speaking formally on behalf of the Six during an executive session of the G-10 Ministers, solemnly assured the USG that the EC Ministers were directing the Commission to begin immediate repeat immediate trade negotiations looking toward constructive resolution of problems. This commitment followed prolonged EC caucus suspected to include consultation with capitals by some Ministers. ‘Immediate’ was defined as beginning that afternoon. EC Commissioner Barre, who was present, was asked directly if he understood the instructions. After he indicated concern that EC members were not acting in formal Council meeting, it was accepted on all sides that such formal action should be taken to ratify action but that negotiation would indeed begin immediately.

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You should be advised of this considered commitment which was critical part of the Rome meeting. It was an ingredient essential to the progress that was made there. It is an ingredient essential to future progress.

It is of the utmost importance that no USG official reflect any doubt whatsoever on this commitment. Since commitment made in executive session without written record we want to be alert to any possibility of EC bureaucracy dragging its heels on trade through procedural delays and otherwise, particularly in view of public view recently expressed by the Commission representatives that trade negotiations would have to await interim monetary settlement. We have been assured by the FinMins of the Six that any such statements by the Commission have been totally unauthorized.

For your background, extensive discussions in executive session identified the following trade areas of prime interest to the U.S. in the short run: most-favored-nation treatment of citrus; tax harmonization scheme on tobacco; 10% grain stock piling for 2 crop years; and the common support prices for grain, including both the unit of account and the inflation factor. We also look for framework for negotiation on other areas, such as preferences and farm price policy, during 1972. Mr. Barre was not present during most of this discussion which identified these areas of prime interest but EC Finance Ministers took exception to none of these as legitimate areas of negotiation.

Ambassador Eberle will be returning to Europe next week to pursue with the Commission the negotiation of these matters.

Ambassador Eberle, as Special Trade Representative, has been authorized by the President to conduct these negotiations on behalf of the USG, with the assistance of State, Agriculture, and Treasury officials as necessary.3 John B. Connally.”4

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of the Treasury, Secretary’s Memos: FRC 56 74 17, Classified Miscellaneous 1971. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted in Treasury by Assistant Secretary Petty on December 3 and sent to the State Department for transmission to Bonn, Brussels, The Hague, London, Luxembourg, Paris, Rome, USEC, and USOECD. According to telegrams from the addressees (see Document 215), it was transmitted as telegram 219288.
  2. December 1.
  3. In a December 6 memorandum to President Nixon, Connally noted that he had sent a message to the U.S. Ambassadors in the Common Market countries and the United Kingdom. He also suggested that when the President asked Secretary Rogers to convey Presidential greetings at a Chiefs of Mission meeting in Paris December 6-8, he ask Rogers to remind the Ambassadors to give every possible support to Ambassador Eberle. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 289, Treasury Volume II, 1971)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears no signature.