164. Editorial Note

On February 15, 1973, the Oil Officer at the Canadian Embassy informed James Akins, Director of the Office of Fuels and Energy, currently working with the Council on International Economic Policy on the President’s upcoming energy message, that the Canadian Government planned to impose restrictions on oil exports to the United States. The Canadian Government stated that the U.S. demand for oil threatened the domestic Canadian supply and demand situation. Akins told the Embassy Oil Officer and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that day that the United States would accept this decision provided the exports remained at current levels. (Memorandum from Mark Linton of the National Security Council Staff to Scowcroft, February 16; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 671, Country Files, Europe, Canada, Vol. IV, Jan 73) The new [Page 411] levels, which were to go into effect March 1, were limited to crude oil, not refined oil products. The Canadian Government anticipated that such interim measures would become permanent. (Telegram 413 from Ottawa, February 17; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, PET 17–1 CAN)

In an undated memorandum forwarded to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger by Executive Secretary of the Department of State Theodore L. Eliot on March 1, Willis Armstrong, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, informed Deputy Secretary of the Treasury William Simon that some decline in the amount of oil immediately available for winter needs was possible, and anticipated some problems “meshing” Canadian export levels with the U.S. quota system. Armstrong concluded that Canadian production “is close to topping out. Thus, unless substantial new discoveries are made in Canada, we can anticipate little additional imports from Canada in the next few years and a sharply declining level in imports toward the end of the decade.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 671, Country Files, Europe, Canada, Vol. IV)