20. Editorial Note

The Governing Board of the newly-established International Energy Agency held its first meeting in Paris November 18–19, 1974. The IEA was formally established at the OECD Council meeting on November 15, at the same time the IEP Agreement was signed. See footnote 6, Document 9. At the inaugural session, the Governing Board elected Etienne Davignon of Belgium as its Chairman and Ulf Lantzke of West Germany as its Executive Director, adopted an energy program, and decided upon a schedule for “standing groups” to meet on various topics. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Enders, who spoke last on November 18, delivered a strong statement on the immediate need to organize a long-term cooperation program. (Telegram 27638 from USOECD Paris, November 20; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D740335–0870) He also submitted a U.S. proposal for such a program, which recommended “immediate action” in two areas to reduce dependence on imported oil: 1) “Establishment of a concrete framework of cooperation, including agreement on guiding principles and the establishment of procedures for the regular review and coordination of our national energy policies as they relate to our common goal of reduced dependence”; and 2) “prompt implementation of a joint work program, including jointly conceived and financed projects and common programs which tie together national activities [Page 81] under a common set of goals and guidelines.” (Telegram 27839 from USOECD Paris, November 21; ibid., D740355–0456)

On November 19, the Governing Board discussed the question of a producer/consumer dialogue, as well as a French proposal for a “tripartite conference” on oil. The consensus among the group was that there was “no urgency to make contact with producers,” and that it was “most important to prepare groundwork thoroughly” if consumers were to “create a position of maximum negotiating strength.” Enders argued that this strength could “only come through taking tough decisions soon on conservation and accelerated development,” creating a supply/demand shift that would force prices down sharply. The consumers could not “‘jawbone’ the producers out of income they clearly believe they are entitled to,” he said. At the conclusion of the discussions, Davignon said that on the issue of a “negotiating position for the consumers to take in meetings with producers” the IEA should manage the dialogue with France, which did not initially join the organization over concerns about alienating oil-producers. (Telegram 27921 from USOECD Paris, November 21; ibid., D740337–0970) The original IEA membership included Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, West Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.