106. Message From President Ford to West German Chancellor Schmidt 1

WH51944. Deliver at opening of business.

Dear Mr. Chancellor:

I should first like to tell you what a pleasure it was to have you here with us again and how much I valued our excellent and intensive conversations.2 I hope we shall have frequent opportunities to keep up this contact.

Since your visit, our representatives and their colleagues from the other countries involved made very good progress in preparing for a summit meeting in November and I am pleased that the announcement of that meeting has now been made.

I would, however, like to address you personally with respect to the argument that has arisen with President Giscard in regard to Canadian participation. I find this a puzzling and dismaying development. I had thought that it had always been clear that if Italy was going to be included Canada would be a natural and inevitable further, and final, addition. Indeed, in economic terms and, certainly, as our largest trading partner, Canada has greater claim to be present than Italy but I fully recognize the political realities that required the Italian presence.

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As you have been informed, following a number of approaches to the French at the official level, I personally wrote to Giscard last night to urge him to reconsider the French objection.3 I pointed out to him that the political repercussions of Canadian exclusion could well place a cloud over what has become such a promising endeavor. To my regret, Giscard responded, moments before the public issuance of our agreed announcement of the summit, that his position was unchanged.4 My government has since then stated publicly that we favor Canadian participation and that we expect the summit to take place with Canada present.5 This will also be the position which Secretary Kissinger will take when he makes his official visit to Ottawa early next week.6

I would like very much to know your own judgment of why this unfortunate difficulty has arisen and how we could best resolve it. Certainly, there should be no question about the informality of the summit and about the agreed character of the meeting if Canada is there and I find Giscard’s concerns in this respect unconvincing even though I too would have preferred the original smaller group.

Could you give me your frank views on how we should proceed so that Canada will be included, as I am determined it should be, and how we can remove this quite unnecessary obstacle to a fruitful meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Gerald 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.
  2. President Ford and Chancellor Schmidt met in Washington on October 3. A memorandum of their conversation is ibid., Memoranda of Conversation, Box 15.
  3. See Document 105.
  4. President Giscard’s October 10 message to President Ford, in which he rejected Canadian participation on the grounds that any further enlargement of the summit might jeopardize its success, is in the Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 12, France—General (3) (10/5/75–11/3/75).
  5. On October 11, The New York Times reported: "Joining President Ford will be the leaders of France, West Germany, Japan, Britain and Italy. American officials said that Canada was also expected to attend. However, that country was not mentioned in today’s announcement."
  6. Kissinger visited Ottawa from October 14 to 15.