219. Editorial Note

President Nixon and French President Pompidou met in the Azores December 13-14, 1971. Memoranda of the Presidents’ conversations, plus memoranda of Kissinger’s breakfast meetings with Pompidou on both days regarding international monetary and related issues, are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files Beginning 12/12/71. The joint statement issued at the end of the Summit dealt only with international economic issues. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard M. Nixon, 1971, pages 1190-1191.

Among the briefing materials for the economic dimension of the Azores Summit is a December 10 paper entitled “Framework for Monetary and Trade Settlement.” A number of the elements in the draft agreement Kissinger marked up during his December 14 breakfast meeting with President Pompidou are in this paper; see footnote 1, Document 220. Also included in the briefing papers is a 17-page, December 10 memorandum from Connally to the President entitled “Monetary and Trade Issues Aiming at the Azores Meeting.” In it Connally reviewed the role of France in the European Community, touched on its NATO role, and highlighted its economic differences with the United States. He included a number of specific recommendations for items Nixon should concentrate on with Pompidou, including, in the hope of a final agreement that would include trade and burdensharing, U.S. consideration of a change in the dollar-gold price, despite [Page 595] the fact that it was not clear if “a negotiable package serves our economic interests as well as a long period of floating exchange rates.” All the briefing materials are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 356, Monetary Matters.

Ambassador Watson reported in telegram 20627 from Paris, December 3, that President Pompidou’s agenda at the Azores Summit would include, in addition to the international economic, financial, and monetary situation, other items such as the changing global power alignments as China emerged more fully on the world stage and bilateral narcotics issues. (Ibid., RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 73 D 153, Box 124, Morning Summaries)

A set of materials that includes papers on non-economic issues at the Summit, problems involved in its scheduling, and how the meetings would be conducted is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, President’s Trip Files, Box 473, Azores-Pompidou. These records indicate the broad scope of the Summit and President Pompidou’s desire to meet privately with President Nixon, avoiding as much as possible expanded meetings.

Based on the President’s Trip Files, the memoranda of conversation, and the President’s Daily Diary, the course of the Summit went as follows: On December 13 Kissinger breakfasted with Pompidou (accompanied only by interpreters) to discuss a framework for monetary negotiations. Pompidou agreed that Kissinger might join the two Presidents for discussion of monetary issues. Presidents Nixon and Pompidou then met privately from 10:05 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. to review non-economic issues, accompanied only by their interpreters (Walters on the U.S. side). Simultaneously, Secretary Rogers and Foreign Minister Schumann met on “political issues” (accompanied by Kissinger, Ambassadors Watson and Kennedy, Assistant Secretary Hillenbrand, and Sonnenfeldt on the U.S. side) and Connally and Volcker met with Finance Minister Giscard d’Estaing on economic issues. Following the morning session, President Nixon lunched alone with Kissinger (according to the President’s Daily Diary), but Kissinger reports that Connally was also present (according to White House Years, page 961), and Connally agreed to provide Kissinger with a proposal for Kissinger’s breakfast meeting with Pompidou the next day.

On the afternoon of December 13 Presidents Nixon and Pompidou met from 3:35 to 6:13 p.m. (accompanied by interpreters and Kissinger on the U.S. side). The majority of the discussion entailed an exchange of views on international monetary and related matters. President Pompidou emphasized the importance of fixed parities, a devaluation of the dollar in relation to the price of gold, and the eventual restoration of convertibility. The Presidents touched on acceptable exchange rate margins and target parities for a number of currencies, subjects they [Page 596] took up in greater detail on December 14. Simultaneously, the Rogers-Schumann political meeting and the Connally-Volcker-Giscard economic meeting continued. That evening both Presidential parties attended a dinner given by Portuguese Prime Minister Caetano.

On December 14 Kissinger again breakfasted with Pompidou to discuss monetary reform and related matters. Kissinger worked from a draft set of undertakings drawn up in consultation with Connally, which he marked up during the breakfast meeting. See footnote 1, Document 220. Presidents Nixon and Pompidou then met from 9:35 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. (accompanied by interpreters and Kissinger on the U.S. side) for detailed discussion of monetary and related matters. At 11:05 a.m. Connally, Volcker, and Giscard (according to the President’s Daily Diary) plus Rogers and Schumann (according to the memorandum of conversation) joined the Summit and remained with their principals until the conclusion of the meeting. Following exchanges on a number of specific issues, President Nixon asked Pompidou if he could agree with the general terms of the U.S. draft. Pompidou equivocated, suggesting there was room for give and take. The memorandum of conversation does not further elaborate on an agreement, but the Presidents did sign a confidential agreement on a framework for a monetary and trade settlement. See Document 220.

In their brief statements at the end of the Summit both Presidents referred, without any specifics, to wide-ranging discussions, but the joint statement released at that time referred only to the economic issues. The December 13 remarks of Secretary Rogers and Foreign Minister Schumann on trade and foreign policy matters and Connally’s December 13 press briefing on economic and monetary affairs are printed in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents: Week Ending Saturday, December 18, 1971, pages 1656-1660.