45. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (Bergsten) to Secretary of the Treasury Blumenthal 1
- Strauss Briefing on MTN Development
In this morning’s meeting of the Trade Policy Committee, Bob Strauss gave an optimistic reading on MTN moves.2 He recounted the recent flurry of activity including his own meetings in Brussels,3 a quick trip by Alan Wolff to the key European capitals,4 a long discussion between Ambassador Mansfield and Prime Minister Fukuda,5 and a sharp increase in press coverage in Europe.
Strauss believes that the other countries now fully understand that the United States is serious, and that we will not accept a mini package. He and the EC Commissioners have agreed to conclude the deal by the Spring of 1978; Strauss feels that our package must go to the Congress by May 1978 if it is to be voted by them next year. An important date is the next Summit meeting, which Owen is now planning for June or July 1978; the EC Commissioners clearly hope to finish the MTN prior to that time, to avoid losing control of the issue.
Alan Wolff reports, from his quick trip to Europe, that:
—The Germans are fully supportive of our position, and will push for maximum liberalization though they foresee an eventual tariff cut halfway between our proposal and that of the EC.
—The British want a “medium-size” package, but seem less protectionist than six months ago.[Page 162]
—The French remain the most hostile; their goal is “organized liberalization”. They are following the old pattern of linking trade negotiations to every conceivable issue (Concorde, the VAT case, “dollar devaluation”). However, the Patronat6 has backed off its opposition to the whole exercise.
One possibly disruptive issue has crept into the picture. You will recall that the Tokyo Declaration promised “special and differential” trade for the LDCs.7 The British and particularly the French have in mind a new kind of “differential treatment”: differentially discriminatory against all “low wage countries”. At today’s meeting, Cooper suggested that we seek partial reciprocity from the LDCs via their cutting tariffs half as much as the DCs.
Strauss mentioned two operational issues:
—He would like you to meet with the TPC for an hour or two, to discuss the Kennedy Round experience,8 as a guide for this round; I gather he has discussed that with you personally.
—He wants designation of an official from each agency as his regular contact on MTN issues; I assume that I should fill that role.
(1) That you agree to meet with the TPC to discuss the Kennedy Round experience, in the next week or two.9
(2) That I be the designated Treasury contact for MTN issues.10[Page 163]
- Source: National Archives, RG 56, Records of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs C. Fred Bergsten, 1977–1979, Box 1, Foreign Trade (FT) 1977. No classification marking. Sent for action. Reviewed by Hessler and the Executive Secretariat.↩
- No other record of this meeting was found.↩
- See Document 43.↩
- Telegram 11886 from London, July 19, transmitted a report of Wolff’s July 18 meetings with British officials. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770268–0832) Telegram 11976 from Bonn, July 21, reported on Wolff’s talks with West German officials. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770259–1118) Telegram 21280 from Paris, July 22, recounted Wolff’s July 20 meetings with French officials. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770262–0732)↩
- In telegram 10654 from Tokyo, July 15, Mansfield reported on his discussion of the multilateral trade negotiations with Fukuda during their first meeting, which took place on July 15. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770252–0563) Telegram 10787 from Tokyo, July 19, contains a fuller description of Mansfield’s first meeting with Fukuda. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770267–1312)↩
- Reference is to the Conseil national du patronat français (National Council of French Employers), known as the Patronat.↩
- For the text of the Tokyo Declaration, issued at the end of the September 1973 GATT Ministerial meeting, see the Department of State Bulletin, October 8, 1973, pp. 450–452.↩
- Blumenthal served as the Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations from 1963 until 1967, as well as the head of the U.S. delegation to the Kennedy Round of GATT negotiations.↩
- Blumenthal initialed his approval of this recommendation on July 22.↩
- Blumenthal initialed his approval of this recommendation on July 22 and wrote, “if OK with Solomon.”↩
- No classification marking.↩