118. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Economic Summit

Last night’s discussion in London was a bit inconclusive on the final communiqué. Hunt, who had earlier spoken to me and others about the inevitability of some kind of final statement, doubted the wisdom of it and instead advocated a summation by a single spokesman. Barre, the Frenchman, tabled nothing last night but also advocated a final summation for the public, presumably by Giscard. Poehl was noncommittal. The Japanese argued in favor of an agreed statement and tabled two possible versions. Poehl also told Shultz he had a text which he would table this morning.2 Hunt tabled some broad “talking points,” not as controversial as our proposed statement. (For all of this, see the attached messages from London.)3

My guess is that after today’s discussion we will end up with numerous texts on the table, no conclusion as to whether one will be issued as such or whether there will be a summation by a single spokesman. We will have to see from the various texts whether a composite can readily be pieced together; it is questionable whether we can get our language on trade, energy and money.

There is as yet no reaction to your Pittsburgh speech or to the Presidential letters you approved yesterday.4

I do feel, however, that we have been placed into an unnecessarily combative posture by our initiatives of the last 24 hours. I did not want to start an intramural argument at yesterday morning’s meeting5 in front of all the other agencies but I do think you went too far too fast on the basis of Tom’s (uncleared) briefing paper.

I don’t need to tell you that the knives are out on this whole operation. When all the kidding and genial wisecracks at your strategy [Page 373] meetings are put aside, there is no doubt that all the other senior people remain opposed to the summit operation altogether. (Indeed, at the EPB, and before you came in yesterday, there was all kind of lighthearted talk about the group’s “vote” against the summit, with only one vote in favor.) Since the press is going to pronounce the summit as either a failure or a waste of time, it is easy to see where the “blame” will be put. I don’t think we should lead with our chin in putting the President into an unnecessarily controversial position. Especially since we have a solid basis of strength in terms of our progress toward economic recovery and the psychological leadership this can confer upon us. (That, rather than special pleading, should be the basis on which we stand.)

I note that Tom’s memo to you this morning6 on the President’s meeting this afternoon,7 which was to have been with principals only, has him, Enders, filling in for Zarb. The last thing I want to do right now is to embroil you in bureaucratic infighting. But I must ask that if Enders is to participate that I do also.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 419, Subject File, Economic Summit Meetings, 1975, Nov. (Rambouillet, France), Chronological File, 12–13 Nov. 1975. Confidential; Eyes Only.
  2. The FRG draft communiqué was transmitted in telegram 17460 from London, November 12. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Attached but not printed are telegrams 17370 and 17371 from London, both November 12. Copies are also ibid.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 116, and Document 117.
  5. See Document 116.
  6. Not found.
  7. On November 12, Ford met with Kissinger, Simon, Seidman, Burns, Dunn, Porter, Scowcroft, Dent, Hartman, Enders, and Sonnenfeldt in the Cabinet Room from 4:42 to 5:30 p.m. to discuss the economic summit. (Ford Library, President’s Daily Diary) No memorandum of conversation from this meeting was found.