105. Message From President Ford to French President Giscard 1

WH51941. Deliver at opening of business. Via Blue.

Dear Mr. President:

I am very pleased by the recent progress in preparations for the economic summit. I understand that the meetings in New York were most constructive and that Professor Barre made a valuable contribution.

Therefore it is particularly unfortunate that a difference has arisen over the number of participants. You know that it was my preference as well to limit the number to five, in order to ensure the fullest and frankest exchanges, in the spirit of your original conception. It has turned out, however, that political realities in Italy clearly require that Prime Minister Moro be included.

This, I believe, gives Canada a valid claim. Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner. I am seriously concerned that exclusion of Canada would produce a harmful controversy and thereby jeopardize the very promising political impact of the summit itself. I would therefore ask you on a personal basis to give France’s agreement to Canada’s participation.

I understand that the preparatory group has already agreed on procedures which will permit the greatest flexibility and informality. I understand also that the excellent arrangements that you have made as the host will enhance this. Therefore I expect that there will be opportunity for discussions in smaller groups.

Please let me compliment you once more, Mr. President, for having taken this initiative. I have shared with you fully, despite some misgivings by some in my administration and in the Congress, the conviction that this summit is an important enterprise for the Western world. The political cohesion of the industrial democracies must be shown, to enable us all to confront our common problems with confidence and vision. Therefore I hope that the issue of participation can [Page 338]be quickly solved. It would be beneficial if, when the formal announcement is made on Friday,2 there is no complication detracting from its importance.

Sincerely,

Gerald R. Ford
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 12, France—General (3) (10/5/75–11/3/75). Secret; Immediate. On October 9, Kissinger reported to President Ford: "On the economic summit, the French are still trying to exclude Canada. All the others agree." The President asked whether he could send President Giscard a message, to which Kissinger responded: "That’s a good thing to do. I think he’ll concede, but even if he doesn’t, we will be in good shape with the Canadians. We could tell Schmidt you are doing so and ask his support." President Ford replied: "Fine. Let’s do it. We definitely should have Canada." (Ibid., Memoranda of Conversation, Box 15)
  2. The White House Press Secretary made the announcement on Friday, October 10. (Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, volume 11, pp. 1150–1151)