34. Backchannel Message From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

104. 1. The meeting in Bonn with Schmidt 2 went very well indeed, with general agreement reached on the ideas in our draft communiqué for the G–10 which you have3 and about which you have talked with Shultz. There was nothing in what Schmidt said to us that reflected the animus evident in the materials we had last week. Indeed, Schmidt reverted to his idea of forming an informal group of essentially Atlantic Finance Ministers who would periodically meet very privately to consult on the whole range of interrelated commercial, financial, energy, etc. problems to endeavor to achieve as harmonious an approach as possible. Schmidt’s idea remains amorphous and he seems to envisage also participation of other G–10 Finance Ministers, at least on occasion.

2. In connection with Schmidt’s idea, Shultz and I were struck by a comment of Brandt’s, who incidentally was a good deal more ambivalent about European versus Atlantic priorities than Schmidt. (You should have Hillenbrand’s frontchannel report by now.)4 Brandt recalled that he had long advocated an institutional consultative mechanism between the EEC and the US but that as a result of what Heath told him about the President’s views he had now dropped this idea. Brandt did not elaborate. Shultz would be interested in knowing what Heath might have said to Brandt about the President’s attitude before [Page 125]he meets with Heath in London Monday morning.5 I told George that I assume it related to our preference for bilateral consultations and indeed Brandt himself said that perhaps the way to approach the consultation problem was through a series of closely coordinated bilateral contacts. In any event, if you were able to shed any light on this point and on any other matter relating to Shultz’s talk with Heath it would be extremely helpful. If you prefer not to respond in this channel perhaps Brent could call on the secure phone to London Sunday.6

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to international monetary policy.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 424, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages—Europe—1973. Secret; Immediate; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. Shultz arrived in Bonn on March 14. On March 15, he met with Schmidt at 11 a.m., attended a lunch hosted by Schmidt at 1 p.m., and then had a private meeting with Schmidt and West German Economics Minister Hans Friderichs.
  3. On March 15, Sonnenfeldt sent a backchannel message to Kissinger and Simon that contained the "US draft text of proposed final communiqué for G–10 meeting which Secretary Shultz has discussed with Giscard and Poehl of German Finance Ministry, both of whom seemed to find it generally satisfactory as initial approach. Text developed by Shultz, Burns, Volcker, and Sonnenfeldt." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 424, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages—Europe—1973)
  4. Shultz met with Chancellor Brandt on March 15 at 3:30 p.m. See Document 37.
  5. Shultz was in London March 17–19. He met with Prime Minister Heath on March 19 at 11 a.m. Shultz’s report on his discussions with Heath and British officials, contained in a March 20 memorandum from Scowcroft to Nixon that Nixon saw, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 953, VIP Visits, George P. Shultz (Europe & USSR), March 8–22 1973 [& September–October]. Shultz noted that "Heath was apologetic about the Brandt message to you on the monetary crisis, saying that he, himself, would have written you promptly. I told him that his own subsequent message to you had been most helpful."
  6. March 18.