318. Telegram 38057 From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

Subject: Sonnenfeldt conversation with French Ambassador.

1. Pursuant to the Secretary’s instruction just before his departure for the Middle East, Hal Sonnenfeldt February 25 told the French Ambassador who is returning to Paris and will see Pompidou February 26, that there should be no doubt in Paris about the steady deterioration in US-French relations due to the tone and content of French policies on such matters as energy, the Middle East and US-European relations. We had also noted that the French continued to spread erroneous interpretations of the June 22 US-Soviet agreement. The Counselor pointed out that this state of affairs was bound to have adverse effects on other aspects of our relations. The Ambassador said that our relations undoubtedly had worsened and he personally regretted it. He cited domestic French problems, “libelous” attacks on France in the US press [Page 983] and general “frustration” in Paris. The Ambassador wondered what could be done to reverse the trend. Sonnenfeldt said a beginning might be made by getting someone in Paris to make more objective assessments of US policies and purposes so that the constant questioning of US motives would stop. He said we simply could not see why acknowledged differences in view and even interests should be turned into clashes and outright opposition. In any event, if matters continued as at present, the effects would spread.

  1. Summary: The Department reported a February 25 conversation between Sonnenfeldt and Kosciuko-Morizet.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 731, Country Files, Europe, United Kingdom, October 73–, Vol. 9c. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Sonnenfeldt; cleared by Luers in S/S; and approved by Sonnenfeldt. A more detailed account of this conversation is in message WH40528/Tohak 16 from Scowcroft to Kissinger, February 26. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 139, France, Chronological File, 8 January–29 May 1974)