92. Editorial Note

On July 3, 1975, Department of State Policy Planning Staff Director Winston Lord sent Secretary of State Henry Kissinger a memorandum [Page 302] on “International Disagreement on Economic and Monetary Issues,” in order to prepare him for his July 9–12 trip to Europe. Lord described French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s concerns that the global recession was “undermining confidence in their leadership and threatening serious social discord unless recovery is rapid.” In the case of Chancellor Schmidt, this concern had led to his repeated appeals “for more international coordination of economic policies which is really an appeal to the United States to take the lead with strong economic measures aimed at rapid recovery from recession.” President Giscard, meanwhile, regarded French “recovery as inextricably linked to agreement on some steps toward international monetary reform.” Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Thomas Enders had recently recommended “that we hang tough with the French, attempting to increasingly isolate them and drive a better bargain eventually,” but Lord now suggested another tack: “We feel that the balance may be shifting very rapidly toward negotiating seriously with the French and others to reach agreement by the time of the Bank/Fund meetings the first week of September. The French seem to be increasingly anxious to come to terms as indicated by Giscard’s recent démarche to Ambassador Rush on monetary reform issues. [See Document 91.] Jack Bennett’s resignation from the Treasury should help clear the atmosphere and make agreement more likely.” Lord identified a number of advantages to a monetary agreement: it would improve relations with the French, reassure the West Germans, and facilitate the overall implementation of U.S. foreign economic policy. A compromise with the French was possible, Lord argued, one “that would result in a more stable and acceptable international monetary system.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 140, Geopolitical File, France, Chronological File, July–Aug. 1975)

In telegram 159921 to Paris, July 8, Kissinger informed Rush: “In response to Giscard’s approach to you of June 24, you should convey to him that the President and I share his concern for the economic health of Europe and America and that we appreciate how closely these are linked. You should tell him that we will welcome any proposals he may care to put forward and assure him that they will receive the most serious attention within our government.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 4, France—State Department Telegrams, From Sec-State—Nodis (3)) The next day, Rush reported in telegram 17829 from Paris, that he had passed Kissinger’s message to President Giscard, via the French President’s Assistant, Claude Pierre-Brossolette. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)

Kissinger discussed monetary policy in a July 10 talk with President Giscard, who laid particular emphasis on the deleterious political [Page 303] implications of the international monetary situation. A report on their conversation is in telegram 17951 from Paris, July 10. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 140, Geopolitical File, France, Chronological File, July–Aug. 1975)