279. Editorial Note

By 1969 the United States, the unipolar economic and military power in the early postwar world, now shared economic power, and to a degree military power, with Western Europe and Japan. The Nixon [Page 704] administration believed, however, that the members of the European Community, Japan, and the other industrial democracies in the G-10 and the OECD were not bearing their share of the responsibility for managing adjustments to economic imbalances and for providing international assistance and international security.

In the U.S. view, correcting balance-of-payments imbalances was as much the responsibility of the surplus as the deficit countries. See, for example, Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume III, Documents 1, 2, 161, and 236. Trading practices (e.g., preferences, quotas, the CAP, border tax adjustments), exchange rate adjustments, military expenditures, and foreign assistance programs were all linked and were to be the subject of intense negotiations among the United States, the EEC, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan, and more widely throughout the G-10 and the OECD democracies. This was the foreign economic policy dimension of the Nixon Doctrine whereby the United States should and would remain engaged, but with others taking greater responsibility in economic and military affairs.

In view of the close linkage of the balance-of-payments, exchange rate, trade, and military burdensharing issues, the documents in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume III and the documents on trade and commerce policies presented in this volume should be consulted in tandem for a comprehensive overview of the foreign economic policy of the Nixon Doctrine in relations with the industrial democracies. This is the case throughout the 4-year timeframe of the volumes, but is probably most explicit in the documentation dating from the fall of 1971 as negotiations progressed on all fronts on balance-of-payments issues, exchange rate adjustments, trade issues, and military burdensharing. It is not by coincidence, for example, that as new foreign exchange parities were worked out and the surcharge was lifted (see Documents 259263) that a new offset agreement was negotiated with the Federal Republic of Germany, a burdensharing agreement was agreed to in NATO, and burdensharing discussions were underway with Japan (see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume III, Documents 82, 84, and 86).

Secretary of State Rogers, in a December 2, 1971, memorandum to President Nixon put resolution of the economic issues in the context of other foreign policy issues, particularly the President’s wish for a series of Summit meetings with European and Japanese leaders prior to his visits to the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union in February and May 1972. (See ibid., Document 83.) Rogers’ memorandum came at the conclusion of the G-10 Ministerial in Rome, where a framework for resolving the economic crisis that fall seemed to be falling into place. (See ibid., Documents 210213.) C. Fred Bergsten, during a May 13, 2002, seminar at the Woodrow Wilson International [Page 705] Center in Washington, opined that the foreign leaders would only agree to the Summits if the economic crisis was resolved, a development that gave Henry Kissinger the opening to seize the international economic agenda from Secretary of the Treasury John Connally, and led to Kissinger, not Connally, conducting the monetary and trade agreement negotiations with President Pompidou at the Azores Summit December 13-14, 1971. (See ibid., Document 219.)