74. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • Valery Giscard d’Estaing, President of the French Republic
  • Jean Sauvagnargues, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Claude Pierre-Brossolette, Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
[Page 253]


  • Economic Policy/Cyprus; French Nuclear Programs; Energy

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to energy.]

Giscard: A third point, about energy. Everyone is agreeing there should be a meeting of ten to agree on following process. Then a convocation of a full conference—of 27—at the Foreign Minister level. We are drilling off our west coast for oil. Britain thinks they have a big find but I don’t believe it. We have had thus far three commissions—on oil, raw materials, and development. The financial end was to be handled as sub-groups of these. The Conference would reconvene to get the reports of the commissions. But Fahd and Saud came here ten days ago. They were very motivated. They wanted a consumer-producer meeting announced before the OPEC meeting to help hold the prices at least until early 1976. Maybe that is a little unrealistic but they seem to want to help. But they insisted on a fourth commission to deal with financial matters. We remonstrated, but they insisted—in cooperation with the Algerians. They said they would pledge if there is a fourth commission to fight against price rise. We said we would be in touch to get the American reaction.

Kissinger: They have insisted to us on a fourth commission. Our people violently oppose it. First, for jurisdictional reasons; second because they feel it as a device by you to get monetary issues into a new forum, and third these issues are under discussion in IMF, etc. where we have weighted voting. In the fourth commission we would be killed. This is a valid point. Perhaps it could be restricted to issues related to the other three committees.

The President agrees that invitations should go out at the end of August. I think we need a meeting next week.

The President: I would like to know more about it.

Kissinger: These financial issues will be discussed. It is a question of whether we discuss them all together or within each committee.

Sauvagnargues: Perhaps we could restrict it to issues that are not being discussed in IMF, etc.

Kissinger: That would help.

Giscard: We have no intention of using it to shift the issues to a new forum.

Schmidt thinks we could be in an offensive stance in this fourth committee as we have some leverage here.

The President: If you had it spread among the three committees, you would get more diversity. It might be better to centralize it.

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Kissinger: I think we can manage in a week or so.2 Can we get back to you?

Giscard: Yes.

Sauvagnargues: I see little likelihood of getting invitations out by the end of August.

Kissinger: If you could send me, Jean, by next Tuesday, a paper, we will get to you by Friday.3

Giscard: For the Japanese, I will deny that there was any decision yesterday. The Japanese want any information before they meet with you.4 Can I mention that we asked private experts to study the problem?

Kissinger: That would be fine. We may mention the three or four committees.

Giscard: I don’t think they care.

The President: I am looking forward to seeing you next May.

Giscard: That will be fun.

[The meeting ended.]5

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 14. Secret; Nodis. The luncheon meeting was held at the U.S. Embassy Residence. Presidents Giscard and Ford were in Helsinki for the conclusion of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
  2. Robinson sent a message to Yamani on August 7, stating that the United States would suggest that a fourth commission be established “to study financial problems related to the work of the three other commissions except those which infringe on the competence of the IMF and IBRD,” thus satisfying Yamani’s “desire for a single mechanism to consider financial issues.” (Telegram 186960 to Jidda; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850038–1748) Yamani received the note on August 11, just before leaving for Damascus for 2 days. He said that he “had no comment at the time” and “wanted to consider the matter” before responding, which he would do upon his return. (Telegram 5617 from Jidda; ibid., P850106–2383)
  3. Tuesday, August 5, and Friday, August 8.
  4. During an August 6 meeting at the White House, Japanese Prime Minister Miki raised the issue of Japan’s energy vulnerability and linked it to the unresolved Arab-Israeli dispute, noting that if a “fifth war in the Middle East” occurred, “Japan’s industry would likely be faced with a situation in which it would no longer be viable.” After discussing U.S efforts to achieve a settlement in the Middle East, President Ford said that “the United States, Japan, and the other consuming nations should work closely together to try to develop a firm position among the consumers,” and that it was “essential” that they “achieve a high degree of unanimity to work out the problems of supply and price.” He added: “We must prepare to meet any contingency that may arise from ill-advised actions by the producers,” and stressed that Japan’s cooperation was “highly essential, including the minimum floor price.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 14)
  5. Brackets in the original.