305. Memorandum of Conversation1



  • State
  • Secretary Kissinger (Meeting Chairman)
  • Under Secretary Donaldson
  • Mr. Sonnenfeldt
  • Mr. Lord
  • Mr. McCloskey
  • Mr. Hartman
  • Treasury
  • Secretary Shultz
  • Under Secretary Volcker
  • Deputy Under Secretary Bennett
  • National Security Council
  • Mr. Cooper
  • Federal Reserve Board
  • Chairman Burns
  • Federal Energy Office
  • Mr. Simon

[Omitted here is discussion of drafting Kissinger’s speech before the conference.]

Mr. Burns: Henry, I don’t have an opinion on this. And the reason I don’t, I think, is that I don’t have a map of where you would like to come out. If we had such a map, we should next assess the probabilities of getting there and then see what give there is in this original concept of yours. Maybe you have done this with the group earlier. I just haven’t heard you on that.

Secretary Kissinger: To come out in research and development?

Mr. Burns: No, this whole damned conference. You are writing it, you see. You are writing your own. You are the czar.

Secretary Kissinger: Don’t say that with Simon sitting here.

Mr. Burns: He can give up the title for a few moments.

Mr. Simon: I would even be willing to give it to him permanently.

[Page 860]

Secretary Kissinger: That is at separate levels. First, what I really want, what I think we will be driven to anyway whether I want it or not, is some kind of a consumer organization. It starts with the issues on which there is a high degree of cooperative interest, and which can gradually be used explicitly on the price issue. But I want to get it started on something which is relatively noncontroversial.

Secondly—and in this respect the French are right—I would like to use this to break this regional autarky concept, and by getting back to some of the more cooperative conceptions which underlay our policy at earlier periods and their policy at earlier periods. And for that I think we ought to be prepared to pay some price, as we did in earlier periods. We shouldn’t do it stupidly so that five years from now they will become so powerful in energy that they too can turn on us like they did in the political and economic field.

Thirdly, I would like to use this conference and to avoid the sense of panicky impotence which is now motivating them, in which everyone feels he must run for the nearest exit or assure his own supplies because he doesn’t know, because there is some stark spector that he has to avoid.

Those would be the principal objectives that I am trying to achieve. And for that we have to have a fairly conciliatory attitude.

Now, there are subsidiary things. I think what we should get out of it eventually is sort of a set of rules for deals in the energy field, then some of the financial and other considerations, and help the LDC’s. I think we can use this, if we do it well, to show again what a human world could be like, and something no government can avoid.

That is the map I would like to get out of this. And in that we are in a peculiar leadership position because no one else is thinking in these terms. No one else has done the technical work to make it go. And no one who is thoughtful can really be opposed to it because we genuinely don’t get a unilateral advantage out of it. And I would think that, except for the French, whose historic linking of themselves with extreme brilliance goes back a century at least, who should really be opposed to this conception?

Mr. Burns: All right, now what are you giving? You are giving them a concept of conservation which you think they should take seriously.

Secretary Kissinger: This is why I feel that in each of the sections we have to indicate what the United States is willing to do, and not just be exhortatory.

[Omitted here is discussion of drafting Kissinger’s speech before the conference.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 406, Subject Files, Conferences, WEC, Washington DC, Feb 1974. No classification marking. The meeting convened at 5:35 p.m.