398. Letter From President Nixon to Prime Minister Gorton 1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I appreciate your having drawn to my attention developments in the world wheat trade and specifically those relating to the operation of the International Grains Arrangement.2 I fully recognize the importance of wheat to Australia’s trade and consequently of the effective operation of the Arrangement.

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I should like to stress that my Administration desires, as you do, to maintain the Arrangement and to operate within its framework. The United States played an important role in the negotiations for the two conventions, the Wheat Trade Convention and the Food Aid Convention, which comprise the Arrangement. There should, therefore, be no disagreement between us that we should strive to work through the Arrangement to promote orderly trade in wheat at equitable prices.

Accordingly, I am pleased that we were able to support your initiative and to act as host for the recent meeting of wheat exporting countries at Ministerial level in Washington. Similarly, I am pleased that agreement was reached on arrangements which will strengthen our cooperation on wheat pricing while enabling us to sell our wheat competitively.

It is my hope that our two Governments will continue their close consultations and cooperation on matters relating to wheat.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 72 D 320, Australia: Nixon to Gorton. No classification marking. Telegram 123219 to Canberra, July 25, transmitted the text of the President’s letter to the Embassy. The final paragraph of the telegram informed the Embassy that the White House did not plan to release the text but had no objection should the Prime Minister wish to do so. (Ibid.) No public release of the letter was found. A copy of the President’s letter is attached to a July 19 memorandum from Kissinger to the President, which indicates the letter was drafted by Bergsten. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 333, International Grains Agreement)
  2. In his aide-mémoire of June 24, transmitted to the President under cover of a note from the Australian Chargé, Prime Minister Gorton stressed the importance to Australia of effective international arrangements regulating the sale of wheat in world markets. He requested President Nixon’s “personal interest” in ensuring that no precipitate action would be taken to threaten the International Grains Agreement without consultation and cooperation among wheat-exporting nations. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Houthakker, Box 18, Wheat-IGA)