343. Memorandum From Charles A. Cooper of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1

  • SUBJECT
    • Energy Cooperation with Europe, Canada and Japan

It now appears to me that our chances are pretty good for working out a substantive, constructive program of cooperation in energy [Page 950]with the Europeans, Canadians, and Japanese which will serve our interests as well as theirs.

However, realistically the substantive initiatives are going to have to come from us; we are clearly leading the pack, and will have to continue to do so. There will be pitfalls—technical as well as tactical—but on the evidence to date, I’m much more encouraged than I was initially.

Substantively, we are developing a two-track approach. The first track is cooperation among ourselves on, in effect, a common energy policy with cooperation on conservation, licensing production, inventories, and oil sharing. Our preliminary thoughts are outlined in Tab A.2 There is still a lot of additional intellectual effort needed to turn this general approach into something concrete, but we now have at least the broad outlines of what we want.

The second track is the development of a concerted approach to the producers. We’ve made some intellectual progress here too (see Tab B),3 but the tactical issues are still relatively obscure. At this point, it seems to me that if some basic approaches are made beforehand to the Saudis and the Iranians, and possibly the Venezuelans, that a conference in late June might be useful. It would presumably be structured more as a review of the implications for everybody of different producer strategies with any attempt at a negotiated agreement coming much later—if ever.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 251, Agency Files, National Energy Office, Vol. III, Aug 73. Confidential. Sent for information. On the first page, Kissinger wrote: “I think we should make major effort to organize consumers. Producer meeting is too uncertain.”
  2. Attached but not printed at Tab A is a paper entitled “A Comprehensive Approach to Consumer Burdensharing and Emergency Sharing.” It argued that the real cooperative issue was the establishment of a comprehensive package of domestic and international measures that would act as strong deterrents against producer curtailment of supply and would provide “equitable burdensharing” in an emergency. The paper also stated that ECG should take steps to assure energy self-sufficiency over the next several years.
  3. Attached but not printed at Tab B is a paper entitled “Elements for Consumer/Producer Consultations.” It stated that the primary decisions were how much consumers were willing to spend on investment and what price they would base their energy decisions on. These decisions would then need to be protected by consumer governments even if it meant expensive energy. The paper established October as the date for Project Independence decisions.