115. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Canada 1

265536. Subject: Presidential Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau.

Please deliver following letter from President Ford to Prime Minister urgently or if latter unavailable to Ivan Head.2

Begin text: Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I have delayed communicating with you directly on the forthcoming economic summit meeting in hopes that the issue of your participation might yet be resolved positively. I regret to say, however, that although President Giscard d’Estaing has not yet responded to my most recent message to him on this matter,3 I now seriously doubt that he will change his opposition before the summit convenes.

As I believe you know from your Ambassador, I have had several direct exchanges with Giscard over the past three weeks. I had originally hoped that our approaches at lower levels would settle this issue promptly. But these proved to be unavailing. In my own contacts with the French President I told him firmly that I deemed it essential that Canada participate, both because of our own direct interest and because of Canada’s great weight internationally. Giscard’s explicit responses referred to his concern that a further expansion of the original group would reduce the informality and flexibility of the occasion and to the difficulties we would encounter in declining the claims to participation from still additional countries, especially in Europe, and from international organizations like the OECD.4 I have told him categorically that I found these reasons unconvincing and completely outweighed by the political and economic logic of your participation.

I have also communicated either directly or through my representatives with the other summit participants and I know that all of them have strongly supported your participation.5 It is in fact clear that only France objects.

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I have nevertheless concluded that the original purposes set for this summit meeting remain important and that the project should therefore go forward. I believe that the peoples of the industrialized world, and indeed of the world at large, require a demonstration of political will from their leaders to show that we are determined to cope with the domestic and international economic problems which all of us confront. And it is precisely for that reason that I was so anxious to have the benefit of your own contribution. I have told the French that I will have great difficulty contemplating another gathering of this kind without your participation and that I will insist that Canada must be given full opportunity to be involved in whatever follow-up efforts may flow from the summit. I will strongly reiterate these views next weekend.6

I have admired the restraint with which you and your government have dealt with this problem. I can assure you as your friend and neighbor that we will continue to keep you fully informed about developments connected with the summit and expect to collaborate with you on the vital issues that are to be discussed there.

Yours sincerely, Gerald R. Ford. End text.7

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Sonnenfeldt; cleared by Hartman and Scowcroft and in S/S–O; and approved by Kissinger.
  2. Ivan Head was a senior policy adviser to Prime Minister Trudeau specializing in foreign policy.
  3. See Document 113.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 106, and footnote 2, Document 113.
  5. See Document 111.
  6. The summit was scheduled to begin Saturday, November 15, and end Monday, November 17.
  7. In a November 19 letter to President Ford, Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his “warm appreciation for the generous support you gave to Canada’s desire to participate.” Trudeau also wrote that he “was encouraged by your statement to me that the usefulness of future meetings of this sort will be impaired should Canada be absent, and by your insistence that we be involved in any follow-up to the Rambouillet session. I dare to believe that those points have now been accepted by all the governments involved.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC International Economic Affairs Staff Files, Box 1, Presidential Subject File, Country File—Canada) Scowcroft sent Trudeau’s letter to the President under cover of a January 12, 1976, memorandum that notes: “We have provided the Canadians a detailed readout of the Rambouillet discussions. We have also taken the initiative to include Canada in restricted meetings in other forums dealing with issues discussed at Rambouillet.” A stamped notation on Scowcroft’s memorandum indicates Ford saw it and Ford initialed Scowcroft’s memorandum. (Ibid.)