38. Editorial Note

On May 5, 1977, President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, and Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal departed Washington for London to attend the G–7 Economic Summit meeting, the four-nation meeting on Berlin, and the North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting. At 9:35 a.m., Carter addressed the press assembled on the South Grounds at the White House. He outlined the scope and objectives for the meetings:

“We will have long discussions about close political interrelationships, consultations, with our closest allies and friends. We’ll be dealing with problems that concern NATO, the defense of Europe, the relationships between the East and the West, among close friends and potential adversaries whom we hope to be our close friends in the future.

“I’ll be having bilateral private consultations with more than a dozen leaders of foreign countries. I feel well briefed and well prepared. And my own hope is that I can well and truly represent what the American people would like to see their President do in discussing world problems with other world leaders.

“We will be pursuing our long-range goals for world peace, for nuclear disarmament, for holding down the sale of conventional weapons, for preventing the spread of the capability for nuclear explosives among nations that don’t share it, for a discussion about the proper uses of energy and the sharing of world trade with others, for loans and direct aid to the less-developed countries, and the establishment of basic mechanisms by which these discussions can continue, not just at the summit level on special occasions but on a continual day-to-day interrelationship.” (Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pages 809–810)

On May 6, Carter traveled to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where he spoke to an audience at the Newcastle Civic Centre at 10:30 a.m. For his remarks, see ibid., pages 811–813. That evening, Carter attended a dinner hosted by British Prime Minister James Callaghan at 10 Downing Street and took part in a question-and-answer session at Winfield House. In response to a question as to the special interest the United States would bring to the summit discussions, Carter answered: “Well, we’re quite concerned about human rights, nonproliferation questions, and the control of the sale or reduction of the sale of conventional—nuclear weapons, and we want to join with our friends from Japan and the European Community in working out a reasonable approach to stabilizing the world economy.” (Ibid., p. 814)

The Economic Summit meeting took place in London May 7–8 at 10 Downing Street. Participants in addition to Carter included Calla[Page 162]ghan, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau of Canada, President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing of France, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of Italy, and Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda of Japan. Documentation on the summit meeting, including the minutes of the sessions, is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. III, Foreign Economic Policy. Related documentation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVI, Arms Control, and Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe. The text of the Downing Street Summit Conference declaration and its annex, issued on May 8, is printed in Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, pages 819–824. In the declaration, the leaders pledged to create additional jobs while reducing inflation, undertake stated economic growth targets or stabilization policies, seek additional resources for the International Monetary Fund, expand opportunities for trade to strengthen the international trading system, conserve energy while reducing nuclear proliferation, and achieve a successful end to the Conference on International Economic Cooperation. For Carter’s remarks following the reading of the joint declaration on May 8, see ibid., pages 825–826.

On May 9, Carter met with Giscard, Schmidt, and Callaghan at 10 Downing Street to review questions relating to the status of Berlin. Although no record of the meeting has been found, the four leaders, at the conclusion of the meeting, released the text of a “Joint Declaration on Berlin.” The text is printed ibid., pages 840–841. Following the conclusion of the four-party meeting, Carter departed for Geneva to meet with Syrian President Asad before returning to London that evening. For Carter’s remarks upon arrival at Geneva, see ibid., pages 841–842. For the text of Carter and Asad’s exchange of remarks preceding their meeting, see ibid., pages 842–844. For the memorandum of conversation of the Carter–Asad meeting, which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel, see Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, January 1977–August 1978, Document 32.

Carter and Vance attended the sessions of the North Atlantic Council meeting on May 10. During the morning session, which began at 11 a.m. in the Long Gallery at Lancaster House, Carter addressed the participants. After brief introductory remarks, Carter underscored the importance of relations among the industrial democracies in light of potential military and political challenges of the upcoming decade:

“At the center of this effort must be strong ties between Europe and North America. In maintaining and strengthening these ties, my administration will be guided by certain principles. Simply stated:

“—We will continue to make the Alliance the heart of our foreign policy.

“—We will remain a reliable and faithful ally.

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“—We will join with you to strengthen the Alliance—politically, economically, and militarily.

“—We will ask for and listen to the advice of our allies. And we will give our views in return, candidly and as friends.

“This effort rests on a strong foundation. The state of the Alliance is good. Its strategy and doctrine are solid. We derive added strength and new pride from the fact that all 15 of our member countries are now democracies. Our alliance is a pact for peace and a pact for freedom.

“The Alliance is even stronger because of solid progress toward Western European unification and the expanding role of the European Community in world affairs. The United States welcomes this development and will work closely with the Community.” (Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, page 849)

Carter devoted the remainder of his remarks to outlining the areas of cooperation in political and defense matters. He underscored the complexity of East-West relations, adding that the approach to this relationship “must be guided both by a humane vision and by a sense of history. Our humane vision leads us to seek broad cooperation with Communist states for the good of mankind. Our sense of history teaches us that we and the Soviet Union will continue to compete. Yet if we manage this dual relationship properly, we can hope that cooperation will eventually overshadow competition, leading to an increasingly stable relationship between our countries and the Soviet Union.” (Ibid.) The President listed arms control, arms limitation, and human rights as areas for cooperation with the Soviet Union, recognizing that any success in these areas depended upon close consultation with the NATO members. He also proposed that the Council undertake a review of East-West relations that might assess future trends and implications. Turning to defense matters, Carter stressed: “Achieving our political goals depends on a credible defense and deterrent. The United States supports the existing strategy of flexible response and forward defense. We will continue to provide our share of the powerful forces adequate to fulfill this strategy. We will maintain an effective strategic deterrent, we will keep diverse and modern theatre nuclear forces in Europe, and we will maintain and improve conventional forces based here.” (Ibid., page 850) He underscored cooperation in this area, as well, notably in the “development, production, and procurement of Alliance defense equipment.” (Ibid., page 851) He reiterated these themes in his closing statement:

“To conclude:

“It is not enough for us to share common purposes; we must also strengthen the institutions that fulfill those purposes. We are met today to renew our dedication to one of the most important of those institu[Page 164]tions and to plan for actions that will help it to meet new challenges. Some of these actions can be taken in the near future. Others can be developed for review at our meeting next year at this time. I would be glad to offer Washington as the site of that meeting.

“The French writer and aviator, Saint-Exupéry, wrote that ‘the noblest task of mankind is to unite mankind.’ In that spirit, I am confident that we will succeed.” (Ibid., page 852)

The President provided a summation of his entire visit during remarks to news correspondents on May 10. In reference to that morning’s address, Carter commented:

“I think as far as the NATO meeting was concerned, most of the nations were relieved to know that the reluctance on the part of the United States 3 or 4 years ago to participate fully in NATO is now past, that we are a full partner, that our financial commitment to conventional forces in NATO are stronger than they were before. And I think that if they carry out the suggestions that I made this morning—and they were adopted unanimously—to do an analysis of NATO for the 1980s, to do a complete analysis of the relationship between the Western democratic societies and the Eastern Communist societies, and also to share the benefits of NATO as far as the purchase of equipment and so forth is concerned—these, of course, will be made back in Washington next year for the next NATO summit meeting.” (Ibid.)

The text of the NATO communiqué, released at the conclusion of the meeting on May 11, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, June 6, 1977, pages 601–602. Carter’s statement upon his return to Washington, made at a May 12 news conference, is printed in Public Papers: Carter, 1977, Book I, page 860.