161. Memorandum From the Special Representative for Economic Summits (Owen) to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • IMFIBRD Meeting

I agree with Mike Blumenthal’s recommendation that you speak for 5–10 minutes to the annual IMFIBRD meeting.2

If you spoke about your efforts to fight inflation, reduce oil imports, and expand exports, I believe you could make the same favorable impression on this audience that you did on your Summit colleagues. Since this audience is made up largely of bankers, who have a lot more to do with the buying and selling of dollars than your Summit colleagues, this should help to strengthen the dollar.

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Conversely, if you do not appear, this might be taken as a sign of benign neglect, which would adversely affect the attitudes of the audience and might affect the strength of the dollar.3

Denis Healey has indicated to our London Embassy that he is troubled by the possibility you will not appear. When Mike Blumenthal met today with his small advisory committee of top bankers and ex-Secretaries of the Treasury, they expressed a strong hope you would appear.4

I have written a three-page speech which (if I do say so myself) should get a good reaction—from the audience and the US media. If you decide to appear, I will submit it to you, after it has been reviewed by Treasury and Jim Fallows.5

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 92, Finance/Dollar: 1978. Confidential. Sent for information.
  2. In a September 15 memorandum to Carter, Blumenthal urged him to reconsider his decision that Blumenthal deliver a statement on his behalf to the opening session of the annual joint IMF and World Bank meeting, which was scheduled to be held in Washington September 25–28. Blumenthal asserted: “Recent developments in the exchange markets have placed the state of the dollar and the conduct of U.S. economic policy squarely at the center of world attention. Under these circumstances, your failure to appear at the meeting may be taken as an indication that you do not place the dollar problem high on your list of concerns. Your mere absence could, therefore, adversely affect the dollar in the market.” (Ibid.)
  3. In his September 15 memorandum to Carter, Blumenthal suggested that he “indicate at a minimum that you will announce in the near future a significant strengthening of our anti-inflation program, and reaffirm your determination to achieve an effective energy program.” He also recommended that Carter “reaffirm your August statement of serious personal concern about the dollar situation,” as well as “demonstrate to this audience that you are determined to deal with our fundamental economic problems.” (Ibid.)
  4. No record of this meeting was found.
  5. Hutcheson reported in a September 21 memorandum to Owen that “the President’s schedule does not permit his speaking at the annual IMFIBRD meeting this year.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 92, Finance/Dollar: 1978) In the end, Carter did address the opening session of the IMF-World Bank meeting; for the text of his September 25 remarks, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1978, Book II, pp. 1627–1629.