338. Letter from President Carter to Venezuelan President Perez1

Dear Mr. President:

Your letter regarding North-South cooperation, and follow-up to the Conference on International Economic Cooperation, contains a number of thoughtful suggestions.2 CIEC, in our view, while achieving only limited results, did help improve understanding between North and South regarding raw materials, a common fund, debt, monetary issues and development of energy resources in oil-importing developing countries. And in some important areas significant agreement was reached.3 We are, as you suggest, eager to continue a constructive dialogue in the future.

We will participate actively in the UNCTAD negotiating conference in November to establish a common fund which effectively serves the interests of producers and consumers.4 As you know we have, since I came to office, taken a constructive attitude toward this subject, and advanced positive proposals in discussions and negotiations on individual commodities. With respect to debt, we and the European Community have made a positive proposal in CIEC. Major differences in principle prevented agreement from being reached on this subject. We believe, however, that the proposal we have made can substantially improve the process for dealing with the problem.

With respect to the IMF, significant progress has already been made over the last two years in improving the international monetary system. In the months ahead discussions will continue in numerous areas. You can be certain that the US will examine closely the various ideas which have been proposed for further improvement in the international monetary system.

We are, as you know, especially interested in finding means of helping oil-importing developing countries to develop indigenous energy resources. Our own aid program is devoting substantial attention to this area and we are encouraging the World Bank to do likewise. [Page 968] We would, in addition, be prepared to discuss additional measures for international cooperation toward this end.

We are anxious to make further progress, as we know you are. To do so I hope that our countries can work together to make maximum progress in those forums in which tangible results are most likely to be achieved, to create an atmosphere in which the peoples of the North and South better understand the importance of resolving problems in a spirit of compromise and understanding, and to ensure that the interests and concerns of the developing countries are adequately represented in international institutions.

You can be certain that the United States will approach the problems of the developing nations in a compassionate and positive way. In some areas we believe that significant progress can be made. In others, it is likely that results will be more modest. In still others, we must recognize that proposals of the developing nations would directly undermine institutions and arrangements which are fundamental to the workings of the industrialized economies. In order to make the progress which we hope for, we must clearly appreciate the limitations as well as the opportunities.

A constructive atmosphere which takes this into account will significantly improve the possibility of obtaining strong domestic support to substantially increase our development assistance, which will continue to focus on the development priorities of the developing nations and address more directly the needs of the poor majorities in these nations. It will help us further to obtain domestic support for progress in the multilateral trade negotiations and in other negotiations of vital interest to the developing nations. I remain committed to tangible progress, and I believe the American people are as well. If we can work together to shape a constructive international atmosphere, the more just, prosperous and equitable world we both want will have an excellent chance of being realized.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 21, Venezuela: President Carlos Andres Perez, 2/77-5/78. No classification marking.
  2. Dated June 28. (Ibid.)
  3. For the U.S. post-mortem of CIEC, see Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. III, Foreign Economic Policy, Document 266.
  4. For the U.S. approach to the UNCTAD common fund meeting, held in Geneva from November 7–December 2, 1977, see Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. III, Foreign Economic Policy, Documents 280, 281, 284, 285, and 286.