46. Memorandum of Conversation1 2


  • President Ford
  • Valery Giscard d’Estaing, President of the French Republic
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Jean Sauvagnargues, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs


  • European Communists; African Fund; Rambouillet II; Nuclear Non-proliferation

[During and after the press photo session, there was small talk about the President’s campaign speaking.]

President Ford : We are delighted to have you here and I am delighted that you have brought Mrs. Giscard with you. I am especially looking forward to [the light and sound show at] Mt. Vernon. Mrs. Ford has long been an advocate of it and has wanted the Capitol to do it.

Kissinger : The most impressive one I have seen is a French one at the Temple of Karnak at Luxor.

President Giscard: I think this visit is an important one for emotional reasons. I think the reaffirmation of the spirit of liberty and democracy is especially significant now. We need to instill a sense of confidence in our people. Our press stories about this trip have been very good in this respect. There has in recent decades been a general neglect [Page 2] of thought given to these things. I hope we can help in this respect and help to promote understanding of present realities.

[Page 3]

[Omitted here are portions of the discussion unrelated to Africa.]

President Giscard: We were pleased with Secretary Kissinger’s assessment of Africa. It is of course possible to do nothing, but people are expecting action and the Africans have felt “obliged” to ask for Soviet support. Most of them are not Communists and they would be gratified by large Western support for development. They get support but through such complicated channels that it has no political impact. Like the World Bank. What we should do is to join in a few countries in a Marshall Plan with a clear political commitment. It would not have an explicit political meaning so as not to divide Africa, but it would be apparent through the groupings. The problem will be the British. They have domestic problems and their attitude toward Africa is complex.

Kissinger : President Giscard has asked me to raise it with Crosland.

President Ford : We have been distressed at the scattered approach thus far. Joining, as you suggest, to cooperate together is far superior to doing it each on his own.

Kissinger : Have you had a response?

[Page 4]

President Giscard: Yes, it is enthusiastic. The difficult point is the British. They are being a bit difficult, and upset because we didn’t notify them in advance. The next issue is the matter of timing.

President Ford : Henry, you will see the British this week.

Kissinger : I would think if the President [Giscard] would call for a conference, it could be managed—perhaps July or early August. We need to get moving to show activity and retard the move toward radicalism there.

President Giscard: It is not enough just to coordinate over aid. We must have a special fund which can move quickly. I am thinking it must be about 2 billion a year or 1 1/2 billion. Certainly more than 1/2 billion.

President Ford : Except for the right wing, the reaction to Henry’s trip has been very positive.

Sauvagnargues : In the Marshall Plan, we had a committee including the recipients. That would look less patronizing.

Kissinger : Who would be invited?

President Giscard: The Francophone countries in the west, Kenya, Zambia, Zaire.

Kissinger : How about Nigeria? If we have just moderates and it succeeds, it will attract the others, whereas if we start out with the radicals they may try to scuttle it.

President Giscard: Nigeria doesn’t belong to a group and doesn’t really need the help.

Kissinger : Tanzania is a problem. He was a real help in restricting help to the Rhodesian rebels. But this is a detail we can work out. The concept is brilliant.

President Giscard: Perhaps we would have a preliminary conference in July. Then a joint conference of donors and recipients.

[Page 5]

Kissinger : If it was an exploratory conference, you could select the participants without too much trouble. Given the situation in Africa, a certain speed is essential.

I have no fixed view on Tanzania. But if we could get Zambia as the representative of the confrontationists …

President Giscard: [Story about Nyerere.] We must have a device to keep some countries out.

Kissinger : Mozambique won’t be a problem. Nigeria and Tanzania may be.

President Giscard: It is important to have countries who would be enthusiastic. It can be expanded later as the situation changes.

What are the topics you want to discuss tomorrow?

[Omitted here are portions of the discussion unrelated to Africa.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 19. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Oval Office of the White House.
  2. President Ford, Secretary of State Kissinger, and French President Giscard spoke about Giscard’s Africa Fund proposal and the possibility of organizing a meeting in the near future to discuss it.