135. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Oil Price Strategy

In response to your question about what we are doing to recruit consumer nations to help us hold down oil prices, here is a brief recap of our current oil strategy efforts:

1. State has prepared cables to OPEC nations not visited by Mike Blumenthal,2 to major industrialized states, and to a long list of selected consumer nations. In each case, the US Ambassador will make a démarche to the Foreign Minister, the Finance Minister or both, making the same case which Blumenthal made so effectively during his visits.

2. In the case of consumers, we will inform them of the efforts we are making with OPEC states, give them the economic arguments, and solicit their assistance, using their own judgment of how they can be most effective. We are not asking them to make démarches to the OPEC states, since to do so would risk giving the appearance of a heavy-handed operation coordinated by Washington. In view of Saudi and Iranian moderation, we need to avoid arousing resentment among our friends in addition to persuading the price “hawks.”

3. We will, however, ask the Italians to approach the Libyans, since they are the only Western nation with sufficient access and credibility to make an effective approach.

4. State is also considering the possibility of calling in each of the ambassadors of key consuming states to give them the same message, though this should probably await initial reactions to our démarche in each of their capitals.

5. In addition, the NSC staff is working with State on a consolidated strategy for your trip, for the public remarks in advance of the trip, and the approach to be taken with consumers and producers along the way.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 48, Oil. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 134. For the cable, see Document 136.
  3. In the course of his trip to Europe, India, and the Middle East December 29–January 6, Carter visited Tehran where he met with the Shah and King Hussein and Saudi Arabia where he met with King Khalid and Crown Prince Fahd.