44. Editorial Note

The first in a series of bilateral consultations between the United States and the European Community was held October 15-16, 1970, in Washington. For a summary, see Document 47. In preparation for this consultation, the Under Secretaries Committee met on October 12 to discuss the issues. Prior to the meeting, on October 9 Staff Director Arthur Hartman distributed to the Committee an Objectives paper and copies of two papers cabled to USEC October 9 for delivery to the Commission setting forth U.S. positions. (National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 81 D 309, NSC-U/SM 73B) On October 10 Hartman distributed to the Committee four additional position papers on EC enlargement, agriculture, preferential arrangements, and the GATT work program. (Ibid., NSC-U/SM 73C)

On October 9 Hartman also sent Under Secretary Irwin a briefing memorandum for an October 10 luncheon with Deputy Under Secretary Samuels and the October 12 Under Secretaries Committee meeting. Hartman wrote in his memorandum: “we can anticipate that the domestic agencies—Commerce, Treasury, Labor, and Interior—and to some extent the Office of the Special Trade Representative [Page 111] (Ambassador Carl Gilbert) will want to take a hard line with the Europeans. In the previous Under Secretaries Committee meeting on this subject in August [see Document 43], State was subjected to a crossfire of criticism from these agencies and received no offsetting support. This time we have alerted the NSC representative (Fred Bergsten) of the need to emphasize the President’s support for EC enlargement and our basic policy of not interfering directly in negotiations between the British and the European Communities.”

Hartman went on to say that Agriculture would likely be the most difficult issue in the consultation, and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Palmby would suggest a reduction in the unified grain price. Hartman cautioned that “the important thing from our point of view is that such a request be made in the context of U.S.-EC relations, and not be linked in any way as a condition to our acceptance of U.K. membership in the Community.” (National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 83 D 305, NSDM 68)

While he was in Washington, EC Commissioner Ralf Dahrendorf met with Henry Kissinger at 6 p.m. on October 15. In his October 14 and 15 briefing memoranda for the meeting, Bergsten told Kissinger that “we are treading on the brink of a trade war” and that Dahrendorf was particularly concerned about the Mills bill, U.S. “unpredictability,” and a perception that the United States was turning inward. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 322, European Common Market, Volume I 1969-1970) According to the October 19 memorandum of the October 15 conversation, Kissinger assured Dahrendorf “that the Administration was in favor of free trade. Textiles were the lone exception, based on the President’s campaign commitment to that industry. If the textile issue could be resolved through negotiations, Dr. Kissinger was confident that the threat of trade legislation could definitely be avoided.” (Ibid.)

In an October 16 information memorandum to Kissinger summarizing the Dahrendorf visit, Bergsten noted that he agreed with Kissinger’s assessment of the trade legislation “for this year,” but cautioned that the problem was longer term and U.S. trading partners also needed to take free trade initiatives to help hold protectionism “at bay.” Bergsten concluded that the Dahrendorf talks “went well from a procedural standpoint, and the consultative mechanism has been well launched.” He cautioned, however, that “our major trade problems with the Community are not politically susceptible to resolution satisfactory to the United States, and I envisage increasing difficulty in overall U.S.-European relations as a result.” (Ibid.)