19. Message From President Nixon to British Prime Minister Heath1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I received today a letter from Chancellor Brandt about his discussions with you.2 With respect to the European currency crisis he made the following point: “We agree that we must make every conceivable effort to find a way out which strengthens European integration. After his return to London, the Prime Minister will thoroughly examine what contribution his government can make to a common solution. I am convinced that a joint action represents at the same time an element of stabilization in the world political situation.” There is no question about the desirability of ending the new currency crisis as rapidly as possible, all the more so as we believe that the exchange rates established some weeks ago are essentially sound. At the same time, we cannot accept the proposition that the sole criterion that should be considered in putting forward a solution is whether it contributes to the strengthening of European integration. As you know, and I think agree with me, in supporting European integration we have always seen it as a step contributing toward Atlantic partnership and not as a means to enable either side to proceed unilaterally on a matter of fundamental concern to the other. It is a bad precedent for allies if they confront each other with a fait accompli. Any proposal to deal with the present current crisis can only be put forward on the basis of full consultation with countries whose interests are involved—including especially the United States and Japan. I would therefore hope that before any proposals are made final we will have an opportunity to express our views. I look forward to hearing your reaction to this and I want to assure you about our commitment to European integration and Atlantic partnership.

I am writing in the same sense to Chancellor Brandt.

With best wishes,

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 53, Country Files, Europe, Monetary Crisis, March 1973. Top Secret; Critic. Sent as White House telegram WH002.
  2. Document 15.