321. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

S: Yes sir.

K: I thought maybe you were out too.

S: No, I’m here.

K: Everyone else seems to be. Have you noticed, I think we are going to crack that embargo.

S: Yes. It looks awfully good. I just saw the latest one in, and I think we are too. I think that’s great.

K: And on the conference, I can’t reach the President. Can you leave a note for him.

S: Do you want to talk with him.

K: He’s at Trader Vic’s.

S: Oh, I guess that wouldn’t be good to talk to him there. Sure I can leave a note for him.2

K: The Europeans have decided to go alone, not as the Community. As a result they are now working on our communiqué.3 We will [Page 900]get a unanimous vote on all but one, on which there will be three negative votes. It looks very good. I think the French are going to cave overnight and come in with some zinger.

S: That’s great.

K: We have broken the Community, just as I always thought I wanted to.

S: The thing is after having gotten them to agree at the Council, then to come in and go individual. I think it’s great.

K: I think it’s going to be a good lesson to the French not to monkey around with us.

S: That’s terrific, just terrific.

K: The French tried out a compromise on me this afternoon which I rejected.4 My worry is that if we cave this time, the next time nobody will be with us.

S: That’s the problem. Then the next time…

K: Actually, what they proposed would be quite tolerable if I trusted the sons of bitches.

S: Well and if the others go along, you’ve got to keep the faith with them.

K: Well, we’ve got to have the conference again tomorrow. We’re meeting again at 10:00.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Washington Energy Conference.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 24, Chronological Files. Unclassified.
  2. The note, from Scowcroft to Nixon, February 12, stated that a final meeting of the conference would be held February 13, and that “we are on the verge of making the Conference a substantial success. The Europeans have now agreed to act as individual countries and not as a Community. What this means is that there will be unanimity on all but three items in the communiqué and, assuming the French continue their obduracy, only their single voice of dissent on those three points. Faced with a collapse of Community support of this magnitude, it is even possible that the French may decide to relent, at least to some degree, tomorrow.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 321, Subject Files, Energy Crisis, Part 3)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 322.
  4. According to an attachment to a February 13 memorandum from Scowcroft to Eagleburger, Jobert proposed on February 12 that a special meeting of the full OECD membership convene at the Ministerial level on March 1 to study the problems the Energy Conference could not solve, on condition that there not be any institutional form of coordination among the current participants in the conference. The OECD meeting would then decide whether to promote a permanent group which would prepare for a forthcoming meeting of consumer and producer countries, or prepare for two successive meetings (consumers then producers). Ultimately, no one power would be committed to anything more than taking note of any report drawn up by the President of the EC. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, TS 26, Geopolitical Files, France, Chron Files, Jan 74–Jul 75) Kissinger recalled that the implication was that France would not exercise its veto at the OECD but work to support follow up machinery; he saw this as a potential way to undermine any permanent working bodies. (Years of Upheaval, p. 918)