[Page 558]

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


  • Your Meeting with Jenkins 2 (U)

Since I sent you a briefing memo on this subject before leaving Friday3 to attend a Bonn meeting of the Summit follow-up group, three things have happened:

1. EMS: The Italians have now decided to join. You might indicate to Jenkins your pleasure with this development. (C)

2. MTN:

a. The European Council of Ministers met yesterday to review MTN; all countries except France argued strongly for completing the negotiations this week.4 Strauss feels that we can get such an agreement if the Commission and the other eight members don’t lose their nerve in the face of French opposition. You may want to mention our satisfaction with this meeting and with the helpful role that the EC negotiators5 (Haferkamp and Denham) played in it, stress that we rely on the continued support of the Commission and other members of the European Community, and ask if Jenkins has any suggestions as to what we could do to help him get EC support for completing MTN in December. You might add that he can count on your strong personal commitment in obtaining Congressional extension of the countervailing duty [Page 559]waiver6 and approval of the final package—stressing that any significant MTN delay beyond December would involve serious risk of the Congress not being able to pass on MTN in 1979. (C)

b. Giscard’s economic assistant called me today to say that Giscard would like either to send a special envoy (Trade Minister Deniau) to Washington to see you and Strauss Monday or to receive a US envoy (he mentioned me) in Paris Friday or Monday7—so that Giscard could convey his view to the US, as well as get some clarification of the US view. (You will recall that Giscard raised the possibility of a special envoy with you on the phone a few weeks ago.)8 After checking with Strauss, Blumenthal, Brzezinski, and Cooper, I am calling back to say that you would not be available, but that Deniau could come here Monday to see Strauss and others (including perhaps the Vice President); failing that, McDonald (our Geneva trade negotiator) and I could come to Paris Monday.9 (C)

You may want to mention this to Jenkins, and assure him that we are not trying to make an end run around the Commission; we have made clear to the French that there can be no question of our negotiating with them, since our negotiations are with the Commission. You might mention that we’ve heard from the British and others that Giscard is not well informed on MTN, and we think it might be useful to make sure he gets a full and accurate picture of what’s going on. If Jenkins has any advice on what to say to the French, we’d welcome it. My guess is the French will say they don’t like the substance of the intended MTN agreement. (C)

Given the sensitivity of the issue of France’s role on MTN, I believe that Jenkins might talk about it more freely if he saw you alone. I will bring him to the Oval Office for this purpose when he arrives. He said a while back that he would be glad to meet with you alone for a few minutes before the larger meeting, if you thought this would be useful.10 (C)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, VIP Visit File, Box 4, European Community: President Roy Jenkins, 12/14–15/78: Cables and Memos. Confidential. Sent for information. Both Carter and Brzezinski initialed at the top of the page.
  2. Carter met with Jenkins, as well as U.S. and EC officials, on December 14 from 11:14 until 11:55 a.m. in the Cabinet Room. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) A memorandum of conversation is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 37, Memcons: President: 12/78–1/79.
  3. On Friday, December 8, Owen forwarded to Hunter a memorandum for Carter on the Jenkins visit; Owen’s memorandum to Carter is dated December 12. (Note from Owen to Hunter, December 8; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, VIP Visit File, Box 4, European Community: President Roy Jenkins, 12/14–15/78: Briefing Book)
  4. The EC Council of Ministers held a special meeting on the multilateral trade negotiations in Brussels on December 12. Telegram 23519 from USEC Brussels, December 13, reported on the meeting, and telegram 23480 from Brussels, December 12, transmitted a translation of the oral declaration made at the end of the meeting. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780514–1033 and D780513–0091, respectively)
  5. Carter underlined the phrases “helpful role” and “EC negotiators.”
  6. Carter underlined the phrase “countervailing duty waiver.”
  7. Friday, December 15, or Monday, December 18.
  8. See Document 180.
  9. Carter wrote “ok” in the margin adjacent to this paragraph.
  10. Carter and Jenkins met privately in the Oval Office, accompanied by Owen and EC Commission Chef de Cabinet Crispin Tickell, from 11 until 11:14 a.m. prior to the larger meeting. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) No memorandum of conversation was found. In a December 14 memorandum to Brzezinski, Erb reported: “In his private talks with the President and Strauss, Jenkins seemed relatively optimistic about the intentions of the French, apparently feeling that the request for the Owen/McDonald mission to Paris is a tactical move rather than a signal that the French have decided to block an MTN agreement.” Erb cautioned, however, that “the emphasis that Jenkins placed on the need for balance in the MTN package foreshadows some very difficult negotiations in the days ahead.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 12, Europe: 1978)