129. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the Embassy in Iran1

Secto 2021. For Ambassador from Secretary. Subj: Message from Secretary to Shah.

[Page 392]

1. Please deliver following message from Secretary to the Shah, during the morning of May 28.

2. Begin text: Your Imperial Majesty: As we discussed during your visit to Washington ten days ago, our thinking on how to advance the dialogue between oil producers, other developing countries, and the oil consuming countries has evolved. Today I put forward a proposed approach to the dialogue in the IEA which I will follow up tomorrow at the OECD.2 I hope it will break the impasse. This approach owes much to discussions we have had and which our associates have had together. I hope it will recommend itself to you.

3. The first step, as I see it, would be to reconvene the preparatory meeting in the same format as before. The time could be relatively soon, certainly a matter of months as I see no reason for delay. I suggest that the format remain the same to avoid a tedious, non-productive negotiation over who would attend and what the rules of procedure might be. Clearly we have more important business to do than that.

4. The second step would be for the preparatory meeting to agree on the creation of a number of commissions to deal with the critical issues in relationships between developing and developed countries. Thus commissions might be set up for energy, for the problems of the most seriously affected nations, and for raw materials. Conceivably there would be others. Each commission would review all aspects of the problem assigned to it: Including finance, investment, trade, and production.

5. The way in which each commission proceeds about its work would depend in considerable measure on the nature of work already being done in the field. For the must seriously affected, there is already much activity, and the commission’s role would be essentially to monitor, to supplement, and to orient that work giving it the thrust and purpose it must have. The commission on raw materials would have a similar role. In the case of energy, since there is no existing international organization in which the basic questions are dealt with, the commission should also function as a means of addressing and resolving the underlying substantive issues.

6. In each case, I would envisage that the basic issues that have been raised be addressed. Under raw materials, for example, you would no doubt wish to raise the question of terms of trade. And we [Page 393] wish on our side to consider how adequate resources can be obtained for the development of raw materials and how in general raw material markets can be made to function more efficiently. Actual negotiations on commodities would remain the purview of already existing commodity groups such as for coffee, cocoa, tin.

7. Clearly we would want to limit membership in the commissions to assure their effectiveness. I think we both are anxious to avoid a new UNCTAD. In my speech today I suggested that we seek to limit the membership by applying objective criteria. For raw materials, for example, we could include those countries for which exports or imports for food and other non-oil raw materials constitute a certain minimum percentage of their total national product, and set that threshhold high enough to keep the numbers within reason. We could do the same in energy. For the most seriously affected, we would have to seek another formula, one in which representative countries with the lowest capita income were chosen along with the traditional and new donors.

8. This proposed approach, Your Imperial Majesty, has two origins. First, our own thinking within the American administration on raw materials and other issues of the relationship between developed and developing countries has been evolving over the last several months. I expressed some of the first implications of our new thinking in a speech at Kansas City two weeks ago.3 I will have something more to say about them tomorrow at the OECD meeting.

9. The second source is the realization that it would be difficult if not impossible to find a basis on which oil producers and consumers could discuss the new problems of energy without addressing the entire range of relationships between developed and developing countries.

10. My proposal is thus brought forward in a spirit of conciliation and innovation. In doing so, I do not think we should attempt to dictate too closely the timeframe of the work of the commissions—they could work simultaneously or consecutively and might, depending on the difficulty of the task at hand, require a shorter or longer span of time—nor should we attempt to structure too precisely their relationship to each other. My intent, rather, is to find an approach which recognizes both the essential unity of the developing countries in seeking an improved relationship with the developed countries, and the great diversity of interests, forums, and subjects to be addressed.

11. I hope this approach will, as it is intended, meet many of the concerns that the Iranian representative at the Paris preparatory meeting expressed, and that we have since discussed. Under Secretary [Page 394] Robinson is at the disposition of your associates to discuss this concept, if they wish. I hope, Your Imperial Majesty, that the Iranian Government will find it possible to support this concept, so that we may soon relaunch the dialogue between developed and developing countries, including on the essential issue of energy. I know that is your wish, I assure you that it is also most sincerely our wish. Warm regards. Henry A. Kissinger. End text.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL–152, Iran, Chronological File, 1 April–30 May 1975. Confidential; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated Immediate to the Department of State.
  2. Similar messages were sent to Saudi Prince Fahd, Algerian President Boumediene, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Escovar, and Brazilian Foreign Minister Azerada da Silveira. Documentation on the U.S. activities in the IEA and the OECD and the convening of the second preparatory conference (Prepcon) is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXVII, Energy Crisis, 1974–1980. For the text of Kissinger’s statement at the May 27 IEA meeting, see the Department of State Bulletin, June 23, 1975, pp. 838–844. He addressed the OECD Ministerial Council on May 29; see ibid., pp. 849–855.
  3. See footnote 7, Document 125.