317. Letter From President Carter to British Prime Minister Callaghan1

Dear Jim:

When I thanked you for your letter of August 3 about North-South issues, I had in mind also providing you with further comments about the views you expressed in that letter and in the memorandum attached to it.2

I agree on the need to provide greater opportunities for developing countries to export to the industrial world, and I very much share your view that there should be “safeguards against safeguards”. I know that your representatives and ours will work closely together in the Multilateral Trade Negotiations to help bring this about.

I made some progress this year in persuading the Congress to appropriate increased funds for both bilateral and multilateral aid. I also expect that next year the United States will create a Foundation for International Technological Collaboration to help developing countries. I commend your recent actions to soften the terms of past aid, and I be [Page 1004] lieve we will soon have Congressional authority to do the same for the poorest countries.

My views are similar to yours on most aspects of commodity stabilization policy. With movement by developed and developing countries alike, I hope we can resolve differences on the Common Fund; but the obstacles are formidable as far as we are concerned, not least because of Congressional attitudes.

Turning to the U.N. General Assembly’s Committee of the Whole, let me say that Secretary Vance and other U.S. officials are making considerable efforts to bridge the gap that emerged as the Committee suspended its work.3 We hope that all members will contribute to a solution that is consistent with the Committee’s mandate.

To continue our cooperation on North-South issues I suggest that we now act on the suggestion Chancellor Schmidt made at Bonn: to have officials from Summit countries meet quietly to develop a strategy on aid and other North-South issues that we could consider at the next Summit. I have asked Henry Owen to get in touch with John Hunt on this.

Meanwhile, our people will be transmitting to your staff more detailed comments on the attachment to your letter of August 3.4

I hope that you and I can continue to stay in close touch about North-South issues.

With my best regards,


  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 20, United Kingdom: Prime Minister James Callaghan, 6–9/78. No classification marking. Sent to Carter for his signature under cover of a September 23 memorandum from Owen, who noted that State, Treasury, and Fallows had all cleared the letter. (Ibid.)
  2. Regarding Callaghan’s August 3 letter to Carter and its attachment and Carter’s August 15 letter to Callaghan, see Document 312. In his September 23 memorandum to Carter (see footnote 1 above), Owen noted that “the State Department, in coordination with other agencies, has prepared a detailed comment on a paper that Callaghan sent you with his letter. I believe it would be useful to let Callaghan know that this U.S. comment is being sent to his government, to make your own views known on the key issues that it raises, and to suggest that we act on the suggestion Schmidt made at Bonn: that a small group of officials from Summit countries get together to lay out a long-term strategy on North-South issues.”
  3. See Document 316.
  4. No detailed comments were found.