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

In the past several months both of us have had to deal with a series of extremely complex international and domestic economic issues. The exchange of views we had at Rambouillet has proved to be very [Page 488]helpful to me, and I believe it has contributed to harmonization of policies among the industrial democracies. Because we agreed at Rambouillet that the problems we face warrant highest level attention and frequent contact among leaders, I am now considering how best to follow up on the Rambouillet meeting, and whether another meeting to review subsequent developments and consider common action on some of the more difficult problems facing us would be useful.

I would like to have the benefit of your views on the current situation, steps which might be taken to follow up on Rambouillet, and on the desirability of convening another summit meeting to concert views and approaches to economic recovery, trade and monetary issues, energy, and relations with the developing countries. Specifically, I am interested in exploring means to ensure continued progress in the areas discussed at Rambouillet, in taking a concerted approach to the problems facing such countries as Italy, and in further strengthening the cohesion among the industrialized democracies.

If you believe it useful to consider further how we can best fashion a common approach to these problems, I would like to ask George Shultz to visit with you to share our thoughts in greater detail. I have not yet approached any of our other colleagues, because I would first like your very private reactions. If you think a visit by George Shultz to discuss these issues with you is desirable, please let me know.2

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 35, West Germany (6) (4/14/76–7/15/76). Secret; Sensitive. Sent via Charlie Channel. Initialed by Scowcroft. This message is Tab A to an April 14 memorandum from Scowcroft to President Ford that reads: "Based on your conversation with Secretary Kissinger on Monday in which you agreed on the usefulness of exploring a possible follow-up meeting to Rambouillet, I am forwarding a message (Tab A) for your approval to FRG Chancellor Helmut Schmidt seeking his views." Scowcroft noted that "The message does not include specific reference to the matter of location, as it is important first to have his reaction to the concept. The fact that you are initiating the dialogue on the second summit reserves the option of proposing the United States as the site. This can be done in a second round of messages and in George Shultz’s meeting with Schmidt." President Ford initialed his approval of this message.
  2. In an April 22 message to President Ford, Chancellor Schmidt said that he was "very much in favour of your idea" for a second economic summit. Schmidt wrote: "Before we definitely decide for another conference to be held, it should, however, be made sure, as was done last time, that there is sufficient substance to warrant a successful outcome of the conference. I would be glad to go into these questions with my old friend George Shultz." (Ibid.)