156. Letter From French President Pompidou to President Nixon1 2


Mr. President,

I thank you for the message that you sent to me through your ambassador to Paris and I wish to tell you that, like you, I very much look forward to the conversations that we will have during my visit to the United States next February.

You especially wanted to let me know, as of this moment, how preoccupied you are by the grave consequences arising from the use of narcotics, especially among young people, and that you have decided to give priority to a rapid reduction of imports of narcotics, as well as to the treatment of addicts.

I completely share your concern and your wish to protect the young people. The French Government has already undertaken a series of measures intended to reinforce the battle against narcotics.

You indicate that 80 percent of the heroin imported into the United States comes from France. On this point my information does not exactly agree with yours. To my knowledge, thanks to the efforts of our narcotics agents, the traffic has been seriously hampered in France. Moreover, the variety of means and routes of international communication have resulted in a dispersion of the places for shipment or transit in a great number of countries.

I thank you for expressing your satisfaction about the high level of cooperation that exists, which you hope to develop further, between our two competent services. You can be assured that Mr. Ingersoll, Director of the Bureau of Narcotics, who has just arrived in Paris, will receive the warmest welcome from his French colleagues. The concrete proposals that he submits will be examined with all the interest that they merit.

I agree with your wish that the governments of countries producing the plants which are the source of the drugs take, on their side, the necessary measures to stop such production.

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Finally, as you have suggested, I would be very glad to include the narcotics question among the matters we will discuss during our future talks.

Please accept, Mr. President, my very cordial best wishes.

Georges Pompidou

Handwritten postscript:

I wish to add, Mr. President, my warm congratulations for the remarkable exploit that has just been achieved again by your astronauts and which through its unbelievable, apparent effortlessness, is an unforgettable success for American science.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, INCO-DRUGS 17 US. No classification marking. Nixon and Pompidou apparently did not discuss narcotics when the French President visited Washington March 23-26, but Rogers and French Foreign Minister Shuman did on February 25, 1970, see Document 164.
  2. Pompidou responded to Nixon’s message on curbing international opium trafficking.