344. Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting1

[Omitted here are the Summary of Decisions and discussion unrelated to oil.]

Secretary Kissinger: Bill [Donaldson], we cannot have the Energy Action Group, or whatever we have, become a device whereby we are milked for technology that then goes into the European institutions for competitive policies. That we will under no circumstances have—that will wreck the coordinating group. If we cannot get political cooperation as a result of the Coordinating Group, we are not getting a damned thing out of it. And we are not in the business of giving away our technology. And therefore I want to find out at the next meeting what exactly these guys have in mind in terms of a producer-consumer meeting. If that producer-consumer meeting has a reasonable agenda, there should not be a need for an EC dialogue on the technical side. I mean don’t say this—but that should be obvious. If there is an EC-European dialogue on the technical side, separate from the producer-consumer meeting, then I would like to know what its distinct quality is that is compatible with ours or that is separate from ours.

But we will be damned if we are going to give oil technology or cooperative ventures that they can use to set up a competing energy group and in which they pay us off with the privilege of getting our technology. So we will not do much more on this technical cooperation unless we know what their political intentions are.

Mr. Donaldson: There are two other straws in the wind.

Secretary Kissinger: Well, the French strategy is clear.

Mr. Donaldson: We received two messages today. One is OPEC is going to meet in New York during the United Nations Assembly.2 And secondly that the Belgians—we got a message from Ockrent3 today on behalf of the Belgian Government that they will approach us and the Germans and the English about approaching the Arabs in New York during this meeting for a consumer-producer conference.

[Page 952]

Secretary Kissinger: Our position remains what it was. We got to any consumer-producer conference as soon as we know what they want. If they impose a consumer-producer conference on us, fine, let’s have it. We can waffle as well as they can.

Mr. Donaldson: I don’t think it is just an accident that OPEC is going to be there during this thing. It smells just like Copenhagen.4

Secretary Kissinger: If there has got to be a producer-consumer conference when we don’t have a unified consumer position, then I would like it now. Now we are in a much better position to have it than later. The worst time for us is when the French have scheduled the EC-Arab dialogue, which will be just when our peace moves are likely to run out of steam. So if they are going to organize a consumer-producer meeting, that is meaningless—if you find out on April 3 that we cannot get a common position, I would just as soon have an early consumer-producer meeting, and then let’s have six months of economic warfare, and see where we are then. That doesn’t bother me. The worst is to have an unorganized consumer-producer meeting in September–October. Don’t you think?

Mr. Sisco: I have been talking to Bill about this early meeting for about two weeks now, and he knows what my feeling is on it.

Mr. Hartman: The more they get—

Secretary Kissinger: If it doesn’t look as if we can have an organized consumer group, let’s have a consumer-producer meeting as quickly as possible—for two reasons. If there is a consumer-producer meeting, then I would like to know why the Europeans have to have a separate one. And secondly, our position vis-à-vis the producers is stronger now than it will be six months from now.

Mr. Donaldson: If you take your six-month context—we will not have an organized consumer-producer agenda within the next two or three months, and certainly not before the UN Assembly.

Secretary Kissinger: So far you haven’t even got the agreement that there will be an organized consumer negotiation.

Mr. Donaldson: Let me say it another way. I think the pressures are such to have that meeting at an early stage that we will not be organized.

Secretary Kissinger: Let’s find that out formally. I want to find out what the people want who say they want a consumer-producer meeting—what is it that is going to happen at a consumer-producer meeting in the absence of an agreement among the consumers. What positions are the various consumers going to take in the face of the united [Page 953]producers? That is not a trivial question to us. If they won’t agree to cooperate, let them tell us what positions they are going to take—to what end a consumer-producer meeting.

Mr. Donaldson: I can tell you what they are saying.

Secretary Kissinger: That dialogue is useful. But they have got to take a position. Dialogue—

Mr. Donaldson: The British say you don’t—just start a dialogue, that you don’t have to have any position; you just start a dialogue, get everybody on a common wave-length—

Secretary Kissinger: You tell them that is a frivolous position.

Mr. Donaldson: That is what we have been telling them.

Secretary Kissinger: Look—either you will know at the end of April 3 and 4 that they will not tell you what they want to discuss, which is the best definition for an unorganized consumer-producer meeting, in which case let’s have it, and we will go all out bilaterally. That gives us the best possible basis for going bilateral without being accused of double-crossing them. The worst thing for us is to waffle around for six months.

Mr. Donaldson: Okay.

Secretary Kissinger: The next worst thing is to be milked for technology while they get ready for their own bilateral deal. I haven’t heard anyone say that the nine European states should meet with the producers without having a common position. So that is the major agenda item for the April 3–4 meeting.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to oil.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Box 718, Secretary’s Staff Meetings, 3/74. Secret. According to an attached list, the following people attended the meeting: Kissinger, Rush, Sisco, Donaldson, Brown, Sonnenfeldt, Easum, Kubisch, Ingersoll, Hartman, Davies, Lord, Maw, McCloskey, Springsteen, and Hyland.
  2. Telegram 2540 from Vienna, March 21, contained the OPEC note verbale that OPEC would hold its next meeting in New York on April 10. (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Not found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 315.