237. Memorandum From the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (Dent) to the President’s Assistant for Economic Affairs (Seidman)1


  • Memorandum for President Ford

On October 17th I reached an agreement with Sir Christopher Soames, Vice President of the EC, regarding the impasse which the agricultural negotiations in Geneva had reached.2 On October 20th, implementation of this agreement was held up by the French and the impasse has continued from that time on. Currently, all other members of the EC are willing to proceed but the French adamantly resist. I anticipated the results of the Rambouillet conference3 might change the attitude, but apparently the message of Rambouillet has not been carried from the President to the appropriate French Ministers.

To resolve this matter, I am forwarding herewith a suggestion for the President’s consideration.


Memorandum From the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations (Dent) to President Ford


  • Suggested Letter to President d’Estaing of France

I was very gratified with reports of your leadership at the Rambouillet Summit in the field of international trade. The comments made on this subject in the statement issued at the conclusion of the conference also gave much hope to those interested in resisting protectionism at the present and improving the world trading system for the longer term.

[Page 826]

As you know, the French negotiators have been particularly resistant to progress in the Geneva negotiations and have undercut two agreements which we reached with the EC negotiators for moving the agricultural negotiations forward. We had anticipated a change in their attitude following the Rambouillet meeting, but unfortunately this has not yet materialized. I believe that this lack of progress could be due to the fact that President d’Estaing has not taken the initiative in communicating his international trade views to the appropriate Minister for subsequent communication and execution by his department.

I therefore recommend you consider sending the enclosed letter to President d’Estaing which is designed to carry the consensus reached at Rambouillet into the implementation stage.


Draft Letter From President Ford to French President Giscard

Dear Mr. President:

Our discussions at Rambouillet were not only enjoyable but I believe hold the promise of improving economic conditions both within our own countries and the rest of the world as we carry forward into execution some of the ideas which we developed during these discussions. Upon my return to Washington, I had my appropriate Cabinet Members briefed on the results of the talks within their particular area of responsibility and urged them to see that the substance and spirit of our talks were carried into execution in the days ahead.

I have been particularly disappointed to note that there have been continuing reports of possible protectionist attitudes, and want to assure you that in the international trade field in particular, I have urged my Cabinet Members to place new emphasis on the success of the Geneva talks to provide leadership at the forthcoming Trade Negotiations Committee meeting4 and to cooperate with our trading partners in furthering the improvement and expansion of the international trading system. A spirit of compromise is essential to assure avoidance of protectionism and future progress.

Your interest in providing leadership for discussions such as those at Rambouillet is clear evidence of your interest and concern in these matters. Any additional suggestions which you would care to pass on [Page 827] as a result of your own efforts to achieve implementation of our discussion would be most welcome.

Sincerely yours,

Gerald R. Ford
  1. Source: Ford Library, L. William Seidman Papers, Box 69, Economic Policy Board Subject File, Giscard d’Estaing, Valery. No classification marking.
  2. As reported in telegram 7926 from USDel MTN Geneva, October 18. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. See Documents 122125.
  4. The TNC met December 9–11 in Geneva.
  5. There is no indication as to whether the President signed and sent this letter. On November 29, Seidman sent Dent’s November 26 memorandum to the President and the draft Presidential letter to Scowcroft and Robinson for their comments. No responses have been found. (Ford Library, L. William Seidman Papers, Box 69, Economic Policy Board Subject File, Giscard d’Estaing, Valery)