228. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • OECD–Summit Relations


  • OECD Secretary General Emile van Lennep
  • Stephen Marris, Economic Adviser to Secretary General van Lennep
  • Tom Alexander, Special Assistant to Secretary General van Lennep
  • Ambassador Herbert Salzman, U.S. Representative to the OECD
  • Ambassador Henry Owen, Special Representative to the President for Economic Summits
  • Robert M. Beaudry, Director, EUR/RPE

Ambassador Owen said he was particularly sensitive to the concerns expressed by the smaller industrialized countries that they were excluded from the Summit process and that he wished to talk to Secretary General van Lennep to see if they cannot minimize the problem. Owen said he would arrange in the preparation for the Summit and at the Summit itself to take account of the interests and sensitivities of the smaller countries. He suggested that van Lennep could help by organizing an OECD meeting immediately after the June 21–22 Summit2 at which he would be prepared to brief the other members and discuss the outcome of the Summit with them.

Van Lennep expressed his appreciation for Owen’s attitude noting that the U.S. has always had an open approach to summitry unlike some of the other Summit countries. He suggested that Owen might wish to broaden the scope of his proposed scope and concentrate on the OECD as an institution rather than aiming to satisfy specific small countries. Van Lennep believes it would be helpful if the Summit communique could refer to the OECD since he was anxious that the solidarity and cohesion of the OECD not be damaged by the impression that the organization had two classes of members. Owen indicated that he would let Ambassador Salzman know in advance of the substance of issues being prepared for the Summit. In this connection he noted that the IEA would make a major contribution to the Summit. The OECD is, thereby, directly involved in Summit preparations. Owen noted that the IETG would submit its report at the end of March. Van Lennep said [Page 663] that the OECD Ministerial has not yet been set but consideration was being given to the first days of June.3

Turning to the other traditional Summit topics, Owen suggested that trade matters would probably not take up too much time. Monetary reform would probably be limited to some discussion of the substitution account and North/South issues (food and energy) would receive minimum attention. The traditional section on macro-economic policy presents a problem. Owen said that once we attempt to go beyond generalities it becomes extremely difficult to know which way to go. He asked van Lennep and Marris if they had any ideas. Marris said he is not certain that any of the various OECD activities would be sufficiently ripe to be worthy of inclusion at this level. It was suggested that van Lennep might issue a progress report on Marris’ efforts which could inform governments and thus contribute to the preparations of the Summit. Van Lennep said it was essential that such effort be kept within the OECD.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Special Projects, Henry Owen, Box 23, Memcons: 12/79–5/80. Confidential. Drafted by Beaudry and cleared by Owen. The meeting took place in Owen’s office.
  2. The Venice G–7 Summit took place June 22–23, 1980.
  3. The OECD met at the Ministerial level June 3–4, 1980.