100. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford 1

In conjunction with the decision on the gold issue and my memorandum to you yesterday,2 attached for your consideration are letters to your "Big Five" colleagues designed to give you credit with them for your forthcoming attitude.

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You should know that Bill Simon objects to these letters. Bill’s preference is to wait a couple of days and then to send the letters after we have accommodated on the gold issue, asking for like consideration from them on other points of contention.3

The basic difference is one of timing. To us, it appears very worthwhile, on an issue as important (especially to the French and Germans) as gold, for you to get credit ahead of the negotiations, not to try to claim that you were forthcoming only after your negotiators have already completed the deal.

Bill has asked for the opportunity to speak with you before your decision in the event you are disposed to approve the attached letters.

[Should you decide to go ahead with these letters, we will cable the texts to the recipients immediately following your approval.]

Recommendation

That you sign the letters at Tab A.

Tab A

Letter From President Ford to French President Giscard 4

Dear Mr. President:

Our representatives are meeting this weekend in Washington, along with those of other countries, to discuss some crucial issues in the international monetary area. Resolution of these questions will help assure the continued viability of the liberal trade and payments system which is so essential to world prosperity in the coming years. Sound agreements on gold and exchange rates are clearly important to every country. In addition, less developed nations will particularly benefit from the planned IMF quota increase and measures to mobilize IMF gold.

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For these reasons, I place great importance on progress at the upcoming meetings of the Bank and the Fund. I am, therefore, authorizing Secretary Simon to exercise further flexibility on the gold issue.5

I hope this flexibility from the United States on gold will pave the way for agreement on a full package of amendments to the IMF Articles as well as the quota increase. Obviously,6 your approach to the exchange regime issue will be critical to working out a package. I hope you can help in finding some common ground on which we can agree.7

Sincerely,

Gerald R. Ford
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Subject File, Box 8, Gold. No classification marking. Brackets are in the original.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 98.
  3. In telegram Tosec 100351/207433, August 30, to Kissinger, who was engaged in shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, Enders commented: "Simon and Yeo are nervous about giving away all the leverage as negotiators by playing up our flexibility. They are thus hesitating on a telegram at this time to chiefs of state. It may be also that they want to be able to dominate this one themselves." (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  4. President Ford signed similar letters, all dated August 31, to Wilson, Moro, Miki, and Schmidt, which are also attached.
  5. In the version of the letter sent to Moro, a paragraph was added here that reads: "In taking this step I have kept in mind the particular interest of Italy in mobilizing its official reserves of gold."
  6. The last two sentences of this paragraph in the letter to Moro read: "Obviously, the approach of the European Community to the exchange regime issue will be critical to working out a package. I would appreciate your help here, as President of the Council of Ministers, in finding some common ground on which we can all agree." The last two sentences in this paragraph in the letter to Miki read: "Obviously, the French approach to the exchange regime issue will be critical to working out a package. I have therefore written to President Giscard d’Estaing to ask his help here in finding some common ground on which we can agree." The last two sentences of this paragraph in the letters to Wilson and Schmidt read: "Obviously, the French approach to the exchange regime issue will be critical to working out a package. I have, therefore, written to President Giscard d’Estaing to urge reconsideration of the French position."
  7. The letter to Miki contains this final paragraph: "I know I can count on your support in arriving at a comprehensive agreement acceptable to all of us." The letter to Wilson contains this final paragraph: "In the past, you have played a decisive role in the formulation of European views on monetary questions. I know we can count now on your continued efforts to reach a common ground on which we can all agree." The letter to Schmidt contains this final paragraph: "Your influence will be critical in finding a common ground on which we can all agree, I would appreciate any efforts you feel you can appropriately make to this end."