168. Letter From President Carter to French President Giscard d’Estaing1

Dear Valery:

Thank you for your letter informing me of the policies that France has adopted in fulfillment of its Summit pledges.2 I am glad to learn of your contribution to the common effort—in stimulating growth, fighting inflation, and freeing up the French economy.

Meanwhile, I am moving actively on the other fronts that we discussed at Bonn: The Congress will soon pass our energy bill; I will shortly announce a new anti-inflation program; and we have tried re [Page 519] cently to make clear the constructive U.S. attitude toward European monetary arrangements.

Among the Summit pledges, however, it is trade that is most on my mind at the present time. Failing an MTN agreement, there will be a great upsurge of protectionist sentiment in this country, which would be as politically divisive in the free world as it would be economically damaging. This protectionist sentiment is now being held back, in good part, by the promise of MTN progress. To fulfill this promise, I need your help.

It is crucial that the MTN negotiations be concluded by December 15, as agreed at the Summit, if there is to be any prospect of Congressional approval of an MTN package in 1979. Securing that approval will require a massive Administration effort, which I will gladly make. The chances of success will depend critically on whether the agreement that emerges from negotiations achieves the main goals that we and our aides discussed at Bonn—including substantial tariff cuts, movement on agriculture, progress on subsidies and other non-tariff measures, and an effective procedure for resolving disputes.

I hope that you and I can continue to stay in close touch about steps to fulfill our Bonn pledges. In cooperation, I’m sure that we can move the Summit package toward fruition.

I also want to thank you for seeing Zbigniew Brzezinski on Monday.3 I found his report of his conversation with you extremely useful, and I welcome opportunities like his trip to keep in direct touch with you on critical issues facing our two countries.

With best regards,


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 6, France: President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, 2/77–11/78. No classification marking. Owen sent the letter to Carter for his signature under cover of an October 4 memorandum, in which he noted that the letter “tactfully” encouraged Giscard to meet his Bonn G–7 Summit commitments on trade. Owen commented: “While the Germans and Japanese have adopted measures to stimulate growth, and the U.S. will soon be acting on inflation and energy, the British and French are not fulfilling their part of the Bonn agreement. Bob Strauss (who cleared this letter, along with State, Treasury, and Jim Fallows) tells me that their trade negotiating positions haven’t changed since the Summit.” (Ibid.)
  2. Owen forwarded Giscard’s undated letter to Carter under cover of his October 4 memorandum (see footnote 1 above).
  3. October 2. A memorandum of conversation of Brzezinski’s meeting with Giscard is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe.