97. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Message from Prime Minister Trudeau on Wheat

Prime Minister Trudeau has sent you a message expressing concern about the possible collapse of the agreed pricing system in the international wheat market. He asks for continued cooperation between the U.S. and Canada on this issue, and states that Canada intends to hold its present price line, providing others do the same, pending an as[Page 397]sessment of the situation by the wheat exporters at the meeting of officials proposed for August 1. (Tab A)2

The Canadians are extremely jumpy due to the massive attacks on Trudeau from Canadian farm elements last week. It is conceivable that Trudeau’s message is at least partly for possible future public use by the Canadian Government to demonstrate that it made every effort to avoid a price war.

The present U.S. position is fully responsive to the Canadian request. We plan no further price cuts prior to the meeting of officials in London to which Trudeau referred. We are ready to attend the meeting on August 1, as proposed by Canada and have already told them so. Finally, we are urging all other wheat exporters to attend the meeting on that date.

The major problem is that the EEC may boycott the London meeting and cut its export prices for wheat unilaterally. We have not yet developed a position to meet that possibility but we have set the machinery in motion to work out contingency plans immediately. The agricultural ministers of the community are meeting in Brussels July 28–30 and we should know by Tuesday or Wednesday3 what the community plans to do.

Recommendation: 4

I recommend no response to Trudeau at this time. We have already assured the Canadians of our full support for their proposal. The situation will be moving extremely fast over the next few days so any response could quickly be overtaken by events.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 670, Country Files—Europe, Canada, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. Dated July 26; not printed.
  3. July 29 or 30.
  4. No indication of a Presidential decision is marked. In a September 26 memorandum to Kissinger, Bergsten noted that a reply to the Trudeau letter had been prepared but not sent and suggested that its value was largely overtaken by events. A note in Kissinger’s hand reads: “OK—No reply HAK, 10–2–69.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 670, Country Files—Europe, Canada, Vol. I)