311. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and David Rockefeller1

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to oil.]

K: Another thing I want to talk to you about—you know that all say you are the chairman of the establishment, it may not be exactly true, but that you are the chairman of the trilateral commission.2

R: [laughs]

K: I really think we must take a look at our relation with Europe. We are now seeing on the energy issue exactly as we did on the Atlantic declaration and nobody can say we are not consulting with them that we are not cooperating—we are offering them things for nothing. We want nothing from them except cooperative efforts.

R: I really think this may be one area where I could be helpful.

[Page 872]

K: I tell you if this conference next week goes the way the French are trying to steer it, and the other 8 have again caved to the French, then we have to reassess our policy. We cannot go on this way.3

R: I am very disturbed by it.

K: Because in the energy field, we want nothing from them, except not to pursue [harm?] thy neighbor policies. They can do next to nothing for us. If the French bought all the oil that they need at present prices that wouldn’t cut into our needs and they would be bankrupt in 15 months so there isn’t anything that bothers us, but we would then be in 1947 after 25 years of effort.

R: I just cannot imagine why they are doing it. One reason I wanted to call you was that I saw Walter Levy at the Council4 and he is apparently working with Bill Donaldson—will be down there—he is not happy that the papers are being prepared and I thought you should know he is concerned about our position.

K: Our position is too soft in his view.

R: You might want to talk with him—he is really good.

K: He is outstanding—

R: He told me he was really rather unhappy with what was coming but—

K: Okay, let me talk to him today—

R: I think if you have a chance—at least to find out the nature of his concern.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 24, Chronological Files. Unclassified. Kissinger was in Washington; Rockefeller was in New York. All brackets, except those that indicate omitted material, are in the original.
  2. The Trilateral Commission was established in July 1973 to foster closer cooperation among the United States, Europe, and Japan.
  3. Kissinger telephoned John McCloy at 11:10 a.m. that morning and made similar arguments, noting, “We cannot have the Community organized against us as anti-American.” He added that the French “are pursuing a more active anti-US policy in the Middle East than the Russians.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 24, Chronological Files)
  4. Rockefeller was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.