47. Information Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1
- Initiation of Formal U.S. Consultations with the European Community
State has forwarded a summary of the recent consultations between the U.S. and the European Community (Tab A), the first in a series which will probably represent a new stage in our relations with the Community. We hope that the consultations will defuse, and perhaps [Page 116]even help solve, the numerous contentious issues that will increasingly be arising between us.
This first meeting was carried out with unusual procedural smoothness. Substantively, there was less harmony. The discussions concentrated on four main topics:
- U.S. Trade Legislation. Community representatives avoided threats, but made clear that they would probably have to react on the trade and investment fronts in response to shoe quotas and the excessive relaxation of the escape clause contained in the House trade bill. If the U.S. avoids enactment of protectionist legislation, however, the Community has offered to assist in a voluntary U.S.-Japanese textile agreement by not raising its own barriers to protect against diversion of Japanese sales to Europe.
- Community enlargement. We made it clear that we continued to support enlargement, but that the Community would have to consider the effects on the economic interests of third countries such as the U.S.
- Agriculture. We explained our concern over the stiff agricultural protectionism of the Community. The Community said that a reduction of farm support prices (and hence increased imports) was out of the question, but that perhaps it could avoid exacerbating the problem through new price increases.2
- Community preferential arrangements. The U.S. objected to the Community preferential arrangements with a whole range of Mediterranean countries as a violation of the Community’s most-favored-nation commitment with injurious effects on our exports. The Community said that they are pursuing the agreements as the only instruments available to the Community as a unit to carry out a “European political responsibility” to the poor countries south of Europe.
This memo represents a reminder of an area of difficulties between our own domestic commercial interests and our European policy, which is now largely confined to the economic area but is likely to intensify and could easily spill over into the political arena.3[Page 117]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 322, European Common Market, Volume I 1969-1970. Limited Official Use. Forwarded to Kissinger under cover of a November 6 memorandum from Bergsten who recommended it be sent forward to alert the President to the issues between the United States and the Community. Presumably after the memorandum came back from the President with his marginal notes, Kissinger wrote at the top: “Bergsten—keep this note in mind.”↩
- The President partially encircled this paragraph and underscored “explained,” next to which he wrote “We should complain.”↩
- The President wrote at the end of the memorandum: “K—it seems to me that we ‘protest’ and continue to get the short end of the stick in our dealings with the community. Agriculture is a prime example—The Congress is simply not going to tolerate this too passive attitude on the part of our representatives in such negotiations.”↩