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144. Editorial Note

As the July 15, 1978, multilateral trade negotiations deadline approached, representatives of countries participating in the Geneva talks intensified their negotiations. Robert Strauss, Special Representative for Trade Negotiations, frequently briefed the press on the progress of the negotiations. (Telegram 10442, July 10; telegram 10456, July 10; telegram 10640, July 12; and telegram 10796, July 13, all from Geneva; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780282–0527, D780282–0683, D780285–1118, D780288–0052, respectively) Henry Owen, Special Representative for Economic Summits, reported to President Jimmy Carter in a July 12 memorandum that there had been “good progress” at the Geneva talks and that Strauss would “bring a respectable US–EC trade package to Bonn. This agreement will not include the Japanese. US-Japanese negotiations at Geneva have come to a virtual halt, due to Japanese recalcitrance.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 11, Japan: Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, 1–12/78)

On July 13 in Geneva, representatives of the United States, the European Communities, Japan, Canada, the Nordic countries, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Austria agreed on a “Framework of Understanding on the Tokyo Round.” According to the statement announcing the agreement, the framework included “the necessary elements, as may be elaborated in further negotiation between these and other participants, to ensure a successful conclusion of the negotiations in accordance with the objectives of the Tokyo Declaration of September 1973.” (Telegram 10789 from Geneva, July 13; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780288–0362)

In a July 15 memorandum to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Richard Cooper commented: “The trade talks in Geneva, as you undoubtedly know, went quite well. We are still far from having agreement, but enough progress was made there for the Summit to note with satisfaction, and then give another rhetorical push.” Cooper noted “two difficulties in the current negotiations: The European Community has withdrawn some of its tariff offers to the Canadians, and the Japanese tariff offer remains much too small. [Japanese Prime Minister Takeo] Fukuda would like to offer more, but has not yet been able to persuade his Cabinet. Japan should be criticized at the Summit for its trade offer, to strengthen Fukuda’s hand back home.” Cooper also reported France’s assertion “that the EC trade representatives exceeded their mandate at Geneva, but all other countries supported the negotiator on this” and the United Kingdom’s continued reluctance on selective safeguards. Cooper noted [Page 441]that on safeguards, the United States, West Germany, and Japan stood “strongly with the developing countries, and we and the Germans hope to get recognition in the communique on the importance of not going too far in the use of selective safeguards, but the British (supported by the French) will probably resist.” (National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Richard N. Cooper, 1977–1980, Lot 81D134, Box 3, Memorandums from RNC to Secretary, Deputy Secretary, 78)

On July 15, Strauss and Owen each met separately with Fukuda in Bonn to discuss the U.S.-Japanese impasse. As a result of these meetings, Fukuda instructed his trade negotiator, Nobohiko Ushiba, to meet Strauss on the following day to try to reach agreements on industrial tariffs and export restraints on particular Japanese goods, such as cars. Fukuda also promised to send a representative to Washington to discuss “access for agricultural commodities of special concern to the US (including those of interest to California, the Midwest, Texas, and Florida).” (Memorandum from Owen to Carter, July 15; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Trip File, Box 13, President, Germany, 7/13–17/78: Economic Summit [II]) No memorandum of conversation of Strauss’ meeting with Ushiba was found.