33. Editorial Note

On March 14, 1973, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger spoke with Deputy Secretary of the Treasury William Simon twice by telephone. During the first conversation, which began at 9:19 a.m., Kissinger, noting that Secretary of the Treasury George Shultz had asked for his views on the exchange crisis, told Simon that “I basically have only one view right now which is to do as much as we can to prevent a united European position without showing our hand.” Simon replied, “I interpret that as less intervention, which is a good idea, and I think George will be very happy with that comment.” Kissinger added, and Simon agreed, that he did not “think a unified European monetary system is in our interest. I don’t know what you think for technical reasons, but these guys are now helping to put it to us.” Kissinger continued, “I don’t know whether that’s true in the short term, but I’m convinced that that’s true in the long …” [ellipsis is in the original] “So I’d rather play with them individually. You know, if it were a question of supporting an individual currency, I’d be much more inclined to do that.” Kissinger also said: “You understand, my reason’s entirely political.” He went on to say that when he had received an intelligence report that made it clear to him “that all our enemies were for the European solution that pretty well decided me.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 19)

Later that day, at 3:30 p.m., Kissinger and Simon spoke again. Simon told Kissinger that he had passed along Kissinger’s remarks to Shultz in Bonn, who appeared to agree with them. After discussing other matters, Kissinger returned to the subject of the exchange crisis, saying, “You know, my basic view is that at this stage we should not bring about any further European integration until we—I’d even pay a certain price if necessary intervening, if it’s done for National currency.” Simon agreed and Kissinger continued, “My view of a common float, if it works, is going to lead to a common monetary system.” Simon replied that he did not “have terribly much concern there because I don’t see this float working for terribly long.” Simon continued, “But that’s not disruptive. I think that several float, if you will, just as England and Italy by themselves right now is the answer for the immediate future.” (Ibid.)