113. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
  • Allan MacEachen, Secretary of State for External Affairs
  • President Ford
  • 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
  • Arthur Hartman, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs

President: Did you talk to Goncalves?

Trudeau: Yes. I spent a very interesting 40 minutes with him.

[The press entered. There was more whispered discussion about Portugal.]

President: I asked him categorically whether there were any Communists in the Armed Forces Movement.

Trudeau: Really.

MacEachen: Was the Admiral there?

President: Yes. He just smiled.

Trudeau: Maybe they are a bunch of military people who are not only not interested in political parties but in the Communists also. Like in Peru. It sounded very naive to me.

MacEachen: I asked the Admiral what he saw in the future elections. He said the parties were full of wind and they had to take the wind out. They were just struggling for power, he said.

Trudeau: I want to thank you for giving us the time.

[Secretary Kissinger arrived.]

[Page 415]

Kissinger: For a country to have to deal with Greece and Turkey and Israel and the Arabs simultaneously is too much for any country.

President: We are grateful for the renewal of NORAD.

Trudeau: We wanted an indefinite renewal, but Parliament said it should be five years, and we thought that was okay.

We are grateful but surprised at your support for our NATO meeting proposal. I expect the French will think you put us up to it.

That you so readily accepted the idea indicates you accept the idea of giving our relations political direction, not just blindly accepting things. We will see how it works out.

Kissinger: Sauvagnargues had no instructions and would have been in trouble at home if he had accepted it.

Trudeau: But the language was not very definitive.

At the DPC last week, Schlesinger took us on. We want to assure you that any decision from our defense review won’t lessen our commitment. We will retain at least our present commitment in real terms. But I am not sure our military are preparing for the right conflict—like convoy protection.

Kissinger: There are a number of questions which have been swept under the rug.

Trudeau: Flexible response was never defined. Massive retaliation and trip wire are more obvious.

President: I was on the Defense Preparedness Subcommittee. I found it very useful to get testimony rather than just reading the Defense annual report.

We appreciate Canada’s willingness to take 3,000 or more of the Vietnamese refugees.

Trudeau: It is nice of you to say so. We may be able to take more.

President: I think the security checks are completed and their skills being put into a computer.

Trudeau: The only other bilaterial issue I have is on natural gas. I know we are creating a problem for you. I hope I am living up to my December commitment to consult with you. I did make it a two-tier price rise, which cost the Province many millions of dollars.

President: We appreciate that. I went on television the night before I left Washington to raise the price of imported crude by $1 a barrel. Congress has done literally nothing to get a conservation program, a price mechanism, or any other means. Or to stimulate our own production. I will soon decontrol the old wells. Congress can veto it within five days. They may do so, but the law expires August 31, so they would have to pass a new law and we could sustain the veto. So one way or another we will raise the prices.

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Trudeau: We have an administered price. We will let it rise toward the world price. The gas price will reflect the commodity value between them.

MacEachen: The reason we phased gas was because of our commitment to you.

Ambassador Porter has a preview of the oil report. We won’t make a decision on supply before consultations with you.

President: That is helpful. I note our imports are about 550,000 barrels a day.

Trudeau: You aren’t taking as much as we promised.

President: Our imports of petroleum are down some.

Kissinger: It’s partly recession-induced.

Trudeau: How are prices staying up? Economic theory indicates they should drop.

Kissinger: The Shah is upset about the situation. They are down to five million barrels a day. They have papers showing they could go down to 2.5 and still meet their commitments. The others are at their margin, so if we can convince the Shah to hold the price, we are okay.

Trudeau: That is all I have. Are you going skiing?

President: I would certainly like to. I’ll have more flexibility in 1976 and 77!

  1. Summary: Ford, Kissinger, Trudeau, and MacEachen discussed Portugal and U.S.-Canadian relations.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 12. Secret; Nodis. All brackets are in the original. The meeting took place in NATO Headquarters. Ford and Kissinger were in Brussels from May 28 to 31, where they attended a NATO meeting and met with NATO leaders. Later that year, from October 14 to 15, Kissinger was in Ottawa to meet with Trudeau, MacEachen, and other Canadian officials. A memorandum of conversation recording his October 15 tour d’horizon discussion with Trudeau is in National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P820125–0049. A memorandum of conversation recording Kissinger’s October 15 meeting with MacEachen, during which they discussed the Law of the Sea, the Middle East, and controls on Cuban assets, is ibid., P820123–2161. A memorandum of conversation recording Kissinger’s October 15 roundtable discussion with Canadian ministers, is ibid., P820123–2466.