204. Memorandum From the Special Representative for Economic Summits (Owen) to President Carter1


  • Your Telephone Conversation with Schmidt: The MTN and Turkey2 (U)

1. MTN. Ministers of the European Community nations considered the MTN yesterday in a meeting of the European Council in Brussels.3 The Commission indicated that it intended to initial an agreement with the US in early April; formal European Council approval would come in late summer after the US Congress has acted (and after the French have gotten through their June elections).4 Early April would be the latest that initialing could take place, if MTN implementing legislation is to be approved by our Congress this year. Germany, Denmark, and Belgium were strongly supportive; Britain, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg agreed, subject to resolution of some specific questions; but France—with some support from Italy and Ireland—did not give a green light to the Community’s negotiators to initial the MTN. The French indicated that they still have difficulties on the balance of tariff cuts and agriculture; the issue of tariff cut phasing has been resolved. Jenkins said that the Commission would try to get a better deal from the US, but that there would not be major changes, and they would ask the April Council of Ministers meeting to approve their initialing. (C)

Next week the Community’s Heads of State will consider the MTN at the request of the French. Ambassador Hartman suggests that you now write Giscard to stress the importance of concluding the MTN accord now. We will submit a letter to you later this afternoon. During your phone conversation with Schmidt, you might ask Schmidt to weigh in with Giscard at the European Heads of Government meeting [Page 599] (as his staff are recommending to him), and also ask if he believes a letter from you to Giscard would now be useful.5 (C)

We also believe that a message from you to the leaders of Italy, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands would help move those countries toward acceptance of the MTN package.6 If you approve, we will ask our Ambassadors in these countries to make clear your commitment to the MTN and your hope that they will support the results of these negotiations, in terms similar to those that you approved for Henry Owen’s message to French Trade Minister Deniau.7 We will also ask our Ambassador to the European Community to congratulate Roy Jenkins on the results achieved so far, and to encourage him to exert his leadership to gain member states’ approval of the MTN.8 (C)

[Omitted here is discussion of aid to Turkey.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 24, German Federal Republic: 2–4/79. Confidential. Sent for action. Carter wrote at the top of the page: “Henry. J.”
  2. Carter spoke to Schmidt by telephone on March 6 from 3:20 until 3:29 p.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) No memorandum of conversation was found.
  3. Telegram 4257 from USEC Brussels, March 6, which transmitted a report on this meeting, noted that “EC Foreign Ministers took no decisions on MTN package at their March 5 Council in Brussels, but Council President, François-Poncet, concluded from the discussions that the Nine would have to take a ‘definitive position’ at the April 3 Foreign Ministers Council.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790103–0162)
  4. Apparently a reference to the European parliamentary elections held June 7–10, 1979.
  5. Carter wrote “No—I’m not writing him again” in the margin adjacent to this paragraph. On January 6, Carter handwrote a note to Giscard that reads: “I want to reemphasize to you the importance we attach to an early & successful conclusion of the Tokyo round of trade talks. Further delay will make it even more difficult for me to obtain Congressional approval this year. Please do what you can to help.” (Carter Library, Plains File, President’s Personal Foreign Affairs File, Box 1, France, 9/77–5/81)
  6. Carter wrote “ok” in the margin adjacent to this sentence. No such messages were found.
  7. Apparently a reference to the letter in telegram 37790 to Paris, February 13; see footnote 5, Document 197.
  8. Carter did not indicate his approval or disapproval of these recommendations, and no such instructions were found.