344. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Cooper) to Secretary of State Vance1

Preparations for Global Negotiations

Over the past two months we have been preparing actively for the COW preparatory talks March 31 to April 11 on Global Negotiations. There is more work to be done, however, to develop further our positions and to map out tactics.

Strategy and Positions

Our strategy for the Global Negotiations is to use them as a means of making progress on a few specific issues which we believe are of global concern while working to prevent their undercutting ongoing negotiations in specialized fora. To that end, we have selected three specific issues—trade policy (protectionism), energy, and food and agriculture—on which we believe progress can be made in a framework that, despite our efforts, will inherently be highly politicized.

Through a discussion of trade policy, we want to see steady pressure brought to bear on all nations to resist protectionist forces, recognizing that industrial countries in particular have a responsibility for keeping their markets open. We would like to encourage stronger positive adjustment policies, and urge LDCs to participate more actively in the GATT.

In the area of energy, we would like to see discussion of the impact of oil price increases on world economic growth, promotion of measures to conserve energy, and agreement on measures to increase energy production, particularly in oil importing LDCs.

With respect to food policy, we would like to emphasize the need for LDCs to develop food sector strategies, discuss the establishment of food aid reserves by all donors, and push for increased assistance, especially by OPEC, for food aid and agricultural development.

We will urge that the sessions in New York negotiate general resolutions on these issues, but then pass responsibility for negotiating specific technical agreements to the appropriate forum. In the case of energy, we may urge a new forum be created.

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We are aware that the G–77 have not yet themselves formulated a precise strategy or developed specific positions, and that tension between oil-importing LDCs and OPEC on the energy issue will exacerbate G–77 difficulties in developing a unified position. All we know is that they would generally like to discuss a certain number of issues under each of the five categories listed in the resolution: energy, trade, raw materials, money and finance, and development. It is our intent to take advantage of the disarray within the G–77 by stating early on our views toward Global Negotiations, in the hope this will influence them to steer a more moderate and pragmatic course.

At the first COW preparatory session in January, we gave a brief speech outlining our views and listing the three issues in which we hope to make progress.2 Since then, we have made demarches in major LDC capitals that elaborated our position. We wanted these made prior to the LDC meeting of experts on February 18 and the March 14–18 LDC Ministerial meeting, now scheduled to be held in New York. We will shortly be sending out an additional message specifically to the moderates—both in capitals and in New York—discussing our concern over the collapse of the UNIDO Conference3 and stating that a less rhetorical approach will be necessary if the Global Negotiations are to be successful.4

On Monday, February 25, the Ad Hoc Group B meeting on North-South issues will be held in Paris, just prior to the XCSS. At that time we will present position papers on our three issues, and one on tactics over the short term, and plan to receive the views of our colleagues. (The EC intends to speak with one voice during this exercise, much as they did during CIEC.) There will be another Ad Hoc meeting prior to the COW preparatory session, and we will be pushing to have a unified Group B position at that time.

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USG Coordination

I have twice chaired meetings of an interagency group that includes Henry Owen, Tom Ehrlich, Fred Bergsten and Bob Hormats, as well as Don McHenry, Bill van den Heuvel,5 Tony Lake, Bill Maynes and Deane Hinton. I am using this group to establish interagency agreement on our general policy. We have scheduled a third meeting for March 6. Meanwhile, a working group has been formed under Chuck Meissner, EB Deputy Assistant Secretary, that includes counterparts from IDCA, Treasury, STR, and from within State, IO and S/P. This group is responsible for the specific position papers, although on energy, DOE will also be involved. In addition, Tony Lake and Tom Ehrlich will be putting together a list of possible additional initiatives, and may also suggest health and population measures as a fourth area that we might raise in the negotiations.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Richard N. Cooper, 1977–1980, Lot 81D134, Box 7, E—Memoranda of Conversations, Jan. 1980–June 1980. Confidential. Drafted by Cooper’s Special Assistant, Barney Rush. A typed notation at the top of the page reads: “(Not reviewed by Mr. Cooper).” Rush initialed the memorandum on Cooper’s behalf.
  2. Telegram 195 from USUN, January 17, transmitted the text of the U.S. statement to the Committee of the Whole organizational session. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800034–0356)
  3. At the UNIDO III Conference, which took place in New Delhi January 21–February 9, OECD and G–77 countries divided over the establishment of a global industrial development fund. Telegram 2834 from New Delhi, February 11, which transmitted the U.S. delegation’s summary report on the conference, asserted that “speculation that radicals in the G–77 (Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Mexico) were pushing for a UNIDO III blow-up was confirmed a few hours before the close of the conference when the Mexican delegate told the US rep he was pleased with the confrontational conclusion they had achieved because they wanted to use this failure as a means of pressuring the West to be more forthcoming during the Global Negotiations.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800073–0188)
  4. Telegram 56459 to Belgrade, Brasilia, Jakarta, Nairobi, New Delhi, Abidjan, Bangkok, Manila, and Colombo, March 1, is entitled “Global Negotiations—Lessons of UNIDO III.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800106–0976)
  5. William vanden Heuvel was the Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations.