179. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs (Armstrong) to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Casey)1
Your Participation in the Next Meeting of the OECD High Level Group of the Oil Committee—Paris, June 12, 1973
You are already aware of our interest in you heading the United States delegation to the next meeting of the OECD High Level Group of the Oil Committee. As you also know we are seeking to reschedule this meeting so that it takes place on June 12 following the OECD Ministerial session which you will attend June 6 to 8. The President’s energy policy message2 will have been out one and a half months by that time. Also there will have been sufficient time to formulate USG positions and proposals for cooperation, including seeking support for them in a few key bilateral conversations. Your presence at both the Ministerial (where energy is a likely topic) and the High Level Oil Group (HLG) meetings will clearly demonstrate that our government [Page 456]is serious in its efforts to keep competition for petroleum from becoming a dangerous, divisive international issue.
The OECD Oil Committee and especially its restricted-membership High Level Group have long been the main forums for consultations and action on oil matters by the major consumer nations—i.e., US, EEC countries, Japan and Canada. The June OECD HLG meeting will be the most suitable time following the President’s Message for specific multilateral consultations on the energy situation. The OECD members expect and hope that specific proposals and ideas for cooperation on oil and other energy matters will be floated by the U.S. at this meeting. If we fail on this occasion to give concrete evidence that we are willing to take the lead in proposing and advancing cooperative efforts, this could well lead other major consumers to interpret the President’s message and the new oil import arrangements as a purely national response by the US to its worsening energy supply problem. This interpretation can be expected to lead them to intensify their own individual (or EEC group) efforts to meet their needs through unilateral and bilateral efforts. There is no need to describe the adverse price, investment and political repercussions likely from such unrestrained competition.
Either I and/or George Bennsky would remain on in Paris following the High Level meeting to chair the U.S. delegation at the subsequent two days of sessions of the Oil Committee proper.
Attached is a summary of the positions of other governments on cooperation as they have so far expressed them and suggested proposals that might be put before the OECD membership for discussion and consideration. This material will be the basis from which we seek inputs and clearance from the large number of USG agencies and offices with interest in the international aspects of the energy problem. Leadership (including memoranda from you and/or the Secretary) will be required to further this process. State must continue to represent the US at these meetings and we must respect the restricted nature of the HLG by limiting the size of the delegation.
That you review the attached suggestions as possible U.S. proposals for presentation at the OECD HLG and Oil Committee (Tab A).3 If they meet your approval we will begin preparing the position papers and statement for your use as head of the U.S. delegation to the High Level Group of the Oil Committee.4[Page 457]
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, OECD 3. Confidential. Drafted by Bennsky and Mau; and concurred in by EB/ORF, EUR/RPE, L/EB, and SCI.↩
- See Document 177.↩
- Undated; attached but not printed.↩
- Casey initialed his approval on April 26. Casey addressed the HLG on June 12; see footnote 9, Document 187.↩
- No classification marking.↩
- See Document 140.↩
- Not further identified.↩
- The views of the United Kingdom are in telegram 2929 from London, March 13; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files.↩