139. Editorial Note
In London for the Central Treaty Organization Ministerial meeting, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote to President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft on May 27, 1976, concerning participation in a second economic summit, to be held in Puerto Rico. Kissinger said that "despite agreement among four Foreign Ministers" achieved during a May 21 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ministerial meeting in Oslo, French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing "is adamantly opposed to including Italy and Canada. He wants only Five. Although argument has been made to him that announcement excluding Italy could have very negative effect on DC [Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democrats)] election situation in Italy, Giscard takes position that Italy has no effective government and that if there should be need to have it attend we can extend invitation after election and at that point also address Canadian problem. Sauvagnargues evidently never told Giscard of Oslo understanding and Giscard maintains that in Washington talks [see Document 138] it was clearly understood there would be no initial invitation to Italy and Canada. As Pierre Brossolette puts it, Giscard feels he has made all the concessions in agreeing to meeting at all, and to Puerto Rico on top of it, so he feels that he should not make additional concession on participation. I remain persuaded that exclusion of Italy would have very bad effect on Italian election. I therefore recommend that the President telephone Giscard early today to put to him again the case for including Italy (and hence Canada). President should point out that we are arranging meeting in a way that will permit the three Europeans and the President to have preliminary private meeting at noon June 27." (Telegram Hakto 35, May 27; Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables for President Ford, Box 21, June 27–28, 1976—Puerto [Page 495]Rico Summit, General (2)) A record of the May 21 NATO quadripartite Foreign Ministers’ discussion is in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 141, Geopolitical File, France, Chronological File, Apr.–June 1976.
Talking points for the proposed call to French President Giscard were prepared for President Gerald Ford and sent to his Assistant, Richard Cheney. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables for President Ford, Box 21, June 27–28, 1976—Puerto Rico Summit, General (2)) According to his Daily Diary, President Ford spoke with President Giscard over the telephone on May 27 from 6:45 to 6:58 p.m., but no record of this conversation has been found. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) However, the talking points for a proposed May 31 telephone call by President Ford to President Giscard note: "At the close of last week’s telephone conversation, in which you discussed inclusion of Italy at the Rambouillet II Summit, Giscard promised to get back to you this weekend after talking with Italian Prime Minister Moro." (Ibid., National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 4, France (8))
On May 29, in a message to President Giscard, President Ford acknowledged receipt of a message from President Giscard, the text of which was not found. President Ford replied: "We have given this matter further thought here also and remain strongly convinced that there could be very negative political consequences if we fail to invite the Italians. But I will of course await the result of your soundings with great interest." President Ford continued: "I think the idea of a preliminary very private meeting on Sunday morning, June 27, involving only the French, British, German and Americans and focusing on Italy has great merit. In that connection, I wondered if you might be able to arrive in Puerto Rico on Saturday evening so that there would be opportunity for a night’s rest and for several hours of discussion before the official meetings begin with luncheon on June 27. If this were feasible for you, I would make similar suggestions to Chancellor Schmidt and Prime Minister Callaghan." (Ibid., Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 11, Economic Summit Conference, 6/76 Index and Items A–G)
On May 31, President Ford spoke with President Giscard by telephone from 9:30 to 9:40 a.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary) No complete record of their conversation was found, but at 9:45 a.m., President Ford wrote this note: "Pres. G. 1) Chancellor S.—agrees with G. Talked with Italians. Sentence indicating support for present Govt. Sending via message today for sentence to be included. 2) Public opinion. International press. ’expectation’ from domestic point of view in U.S.A. Economy + monetary problem. Inflation. Wed—announcement. Canada—OK, as long as no commitment for future meetings. Not enthusiastic. Sending him material on agenda. He will arrive in Puerto Rico at about [Page 496]11:30 AM on Sunday in time for noon luncheon of the 4." (Ibid., National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 4, France (8)) The French proposal for the summit announcement wording on Italy was conveyed in a May 31 message from Pierre-Brossolette to Scowcroft. (Ibid., Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 11, Economic Summit Conference, 6/76 Index and Items A–G)
On May 31, President Ford sent summit invitations to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Moro, and Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Miki. (Ibid.)
The participation issue complicated the effort to reach agreement on the wording of the summit announcement. In the case of Italy, the British, French, West Germans, Italians, and Americans sought phrasing that allowed for the difficulties that might arise from the proximity of the summit (June 27–28) to the Italian elections (June 20–21). In the case of Canada, the French and Americans sought phrasing to reconcile the American desire to invite the Canadians and the French desire not to establish a precedent for Canadian inclusion in subsequent summits. (Documentation can be found ibid., 6/76 Table of Contents and Items H–R; ibid., 6/76 Items S–Z; and ibid., Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 6, Germany (11)) The President’s June 3 announcement of the summit is printed in Public Papers: Ford, 1976–1977, Book II, page 1776.