Foreign relations of the united states 1969–1976 volume XXXVII energy crisis, 1974–1980 department of state washington
Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting
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Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting
Washington, April 14, 1975, 8–9:02 a.m.
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to energy.]
[Kissinger:] O.K. Jules, what happened to the energy conference?
Staff Meetings, Lot 78D443, Box 3, Secretary’s Staff Meetings. Secret. Kissinger presided
over the meeting, which was attended by all the principal officers of the Department or
their designated alternates. A table of contents is not printed.
The preparatory producer-consumer conference opened in Paris on April 7, with
Robinson heading the U.S. delegation. In his opening statement, he said: “Our purpose at
this preparatory meeting is to organize the procedures for the conference that will build
August 1974–April 1975 183
Mr. Katz: It’s still going. There’s quite a lot of activity over the
weekend. There’s a new draft
which allegedly represented some
progress, but what was behind it I think was Giscard’s visit to Algeria
in coming back and putting apparently—telephoning colleagues—
Secretary Kissinger: Who are the seven?
Mr. Katz: The four producers and the three LDCs—the OPEC LDC
In response to this, there was an EC–US–Japan draft
very far in their direction. In fact, the linkage with energy was very
slight. They did remove references to indexation.
Secretary Kissinger: Well, yes, but just a minute. Why do we accept
Mr. Katz: Well, to keep the EC on board, and the Japanese. In any
case, we were saved from ourselves because the seven rejected it. They
put back the—
on the dialogue initiated at this meeting. Toward this end, we need to strike a balance be-
tween the immense scale and complexity of the world energy problem on the one hand
and the constraint of realistic expectations for concrete results on the other.” Later, Rob-
inson continued: “I feel strongly that the work program to be developed here should be
concentrated on the specifics of energy and related matters, and not become diluted with
parallel discussions of other issues, however important they may be.” For the full text of
his statement, see Department of State Bulletin, May 12, 1975, pp. 619–621.
On the morning of April 11, the EC presented a draft agenda for the producer-
consumer conference. In response, the group of OPEC/LDC countries—including Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Venezuela, Brazil, India, and Zaire—presented their own draft,
which the U.S. delegation reported “merged and considerably softened the analytical
and areas of cooperation sections of the EC agenda and then repeated earlier OPEC/LDC
agenda points.” (Telegram 9291 from Paris, April 12; National Archives, RG 59, Central
Foreign Policy Files, D750127–0803)
Giscard visited Algeria April 10–12. While he was there he made a statement “to
the effect that France and Algeria have no significant differences on conference agenda.”
(Telegram 9317 from Paris, April 13; ibid., D750129–0233)
The IEA Governing Board convened at 11:30 p.m. on April 11 at which time it re-
viewed a revised EC draft agenda. While the U.S., EC, and Japanese delegates “generally
approved the document,” British, German, and Danish representatives “expressed some
concern” that the new agenda “moved too far toward accommodating OPEC/LDC
group.” Everyone agreed, however, that the industrialized countries “should stand on”
the new EC draft and “not go beyond it,” and all of the delegates “expressed disappoint-
ment at apparent OPEC unwillingness to talk seriously about energy.” (Telegram 9291
from Paris, April 12; ibid.) By the afternoon of April 13, the “OPEC/LDC’s evidenced no
intention to compromise by modifying their insistence that energy could only be treated
either within overall rubric of raw materials or on parity with raw materials and prob-
lems of developing countries,” according to U.S. representatives. The U.S. delegation in-
formed the Department that it “took view (as did Japanese) that draft not repeat not ac-
ceptable without substantial change,” adding that “it was agreed that three main
requirements will be: A) to restore clear linkage to energy; B) to remove much of the de-
tail on such issues as raw materials and development; and C) to avoid commitment to
conclusions and recommendations under each of the headings [of the draft agenda].”
(Telegram 9307 from Paris, April 13; ibid., D750128–1167)
184 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVII
Secretary Kissinger: In other words, at the energy conference they
no longer want to talk about energy.
Mr. Katz: They no longer want to talk about energy, really. They
will talk about energy, but they call it a raw materials conference.
Secretary Kissinger: Look, there is to be no further American con-
cession without my particular approval.
Mr. Katz: All right.
Secretary Kissinger: If we walk out alone from the conference, then
we walk out alone from the conference. There can be no conference
without us. And at every international conference from now on we’re
not going to be so pushable.
Mr. Katz: Well, actually, the tactics have worked very well
Secretary Kissinger: Only because the other side is irrational.
Mr. Katz: I think that’s right, at the last minute; but until Saturday
night we had the EC out in front behaving very well. The Japanese were
going along with everything. I think it was only after this push by Gis-
card on returning from Algiers that the Community became rather
flabby. But last night—or this morning, I guess—at 1 a.m., they were
awakened by the French Chairman to be given a response.
Incidentally, these are non-papers at this point; nobody accepts
Secretary Kissinger: Look, the French are already doing what I said
we wouldn’t stand for—which is to act as a mediator between the con-
sumers and the producers.
Mr. Katz: That’s right.
Secretary Kissinger: We absolutely will not stand for this. And the
only way we cannot stand for it is to get strict instructions to Enders
and Robinson that we’re going to be difficult.
Mr. Katz: O.K. I think that would be helpful at this point. I think
they are looking for some answer.
Secretary Kissinger: What do you think, Hal?
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: I don’t think you sent any instructions by
Mr. Katz: No, we haven’t.
The U.S., EC, and Japanese delegations “jointly informed the chair that [the
OPEC/LDC draft] did not constitute a serious reply to the working paper submitted to
the chair by the three delegations on April 13.” (Telegram 9317 from Paris, April 13; Na-
tional Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D750129–0233) The OPEC/LDC
draft was transmitted in telegram 9329 from Paris, April 14, and the U.S./EC/Japanese
draft in telegram 9315 from Paris, April 14. (Both ibid., D750129–0426 and D750129–0426)
August 1974–April 1975 185
Secretary Kissinger: I want Hal to see these things.
Mr. Katz: We’ve sent no instructions by telegram or otherwise.
They’ve been operating on the basic scenario that you approved
Secretary Kissinger: The basic scenario, however, does not include
agreement at all costs—
Mr. Katz: That’s right.
Secretary Kissinger: —and once the French understand it, we’re
going to be just as difficult as the LDCs, and we can do some of the
things that the French do. They can add to the Community to use the
producers; it is just the beginning of the nightmare.
Mr. Katz: The other issue on which they have taken a very strong
position is on IEA participation at the full conference. The Algerians
have said under no terms would they accept this, because IEA is a con-
Secretary Kissinger: In contrast to OPEC.
Mr. Katz: That’s right. Of course, OPEC isn’t there as OPEC. Al-
though they were invited, they declined the invitation. The Governing
Board decided unanimously yesterday, with the small countries saying
that they absolutely had to have the IEA there because it was their own
link to the conference. And this was presented back to the French
Chairman, who has declined to do anything about it. But he’s been told
that that was a bottom-line issue for us.
Secretary Kissinger: Just a minute. Who is the French Chairman?
Mr. Katz: Guiringaud.
Secretary Kissinger: Just a minute. We are going to protest about
the behavior of the French Chairman today.
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: You’re supposed to see the French Ambassador
for the past week.
Secretary Kissinger: I don’t give a goddam. I won’t see him today.
Mr. Katz: They’ve distorted the way they’ve put it.
Secretary Kissinger: Hal and Art—I don’t want to hear all the de-
tails. Will you get the French Ambassador in and protest, in the sharp-
est terms, about the behavior of the French Chairman and say it raises
serious questions in our mind about our participation in any
Can you do that today, please? It doesn’t require me.
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: No, but—well, there’s a separate thing.
Secretary Kissinger: What does he want from me?
See Document 49.
186 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVII
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: He has instructions to explain to you there the
agreement to come to an American-sponsored conference.
Secretary Kissinger: That’s nonsense. Well, I’ll see him as soon as I
know what my speech drafts look like—Tuesday or Wednesday.
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: Seriously, if you don’t do it this week, we’ll never
get the other thing going.
Secretary Kissinger: All right, I’ll do it Tuesday.
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: We’ll prepare the ground today for this one.
Secretary Kissinger: Do you disagree on doing that?
Mr. Sonnenfeldt: I’d like to see a little more what happened in
Paris the past two or three days. I think we should get the man in.
Secretary Kissinger: We should get him in and point out to him if
the French Chairman continues to play the role of the intermediary,
then it is obvious we have to reconsider our whole approach to the con-
sumer conference because we had approached that on the basis of con-
sumer solidarity, including the French.
Mr. Katz: I don’t think his question on the agenda is really objec-
tionable. On the IEA I think it is.
Secretary Kissinger: Well, I want that pointed out.
Mr. Katz: O.K.
Secretary Kissinger: But I want our people to understand.
Mr. Katz: Yes, I understand.
Secretary Kissinger: But can you do that immediately?
Mr. Katz: Yes.
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to energy.]
April 15 or 16.
Sonnenfeldt met with Minister de la Gorce on April 15 to protest de Guiringaud’s
role at the Prepcon. (Telegram 85231 to Paris, April 15; National Archives, RG 59, Central
Foreign Policy Files, D750130–0674)
August 1974–April 1975 187
Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
Washington, April 14, 1975, 2013Z.
84578. Subject: Consumer/Producer Prepcon. For Robinson from
1. Reading drafts of agenda exchanged over weekend
that industrialized countries have shown very great and perhaps exces-
sive flexibility on question of agenda. Central focus of conference on
energy question is essential from our viewpoint. It is unclear how
US–EC–Japan redraft of text in Paris 9306
meets main requirement
stated para 9 of Paris 9307
with which we agree. Regardless of how
final agenda comes out, it must be clear for public presentation purpose
here that conference will be centered on world energy problems and ac-
tions which producers and consumers can take separately and to-
gether, to help alleviate these problems for all countries and MSA’s in
particular. You should therefore reiterate our requirement of clear link-
age between other agenda issues and energy. You should also note that
other issues such as participation, date, site and chairmanship have not
yet been resolved. On question of participation you should maintain
position that invitation to IEA is absolute prerequisite our attendance
conference. You should not agree on final text of agenda and other con-
ference issues without my prior approval.
2. In view likely outcome of Prepcon,
I question whether you
should not immediately reschedule visit to Tehran. I place a higher
Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for
Europe and Canada, Box 4, France—State Department Telegrams from SECSTATE–
NODIS (3). Confidential; Nodis; Flash. Drafted by Katz; cleared by Hartman, Atherton,
and Sonnenfeldt; and approved by Kissinger. Repeated Immediate to Tehran.
See footnotes 3, 5, and 7, Document 53.
Dated April 13. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D750128–
After meeting from 1 to 7 a.m. on April 15 in a “last ditch effort to resolve the
agenda question,” the two sides agreed that they could make no further progress on the
issues that separated them, including the “scope of the full conference, indexation, main-
tenance of real value,” and others. Because of the “lack of any prospect of reconciling re-
spective negotiating mandates,” the delegations decided that “it would not be productive
to continue the exercise of the past nine days.” At 1 p.m. that day, Chairman de Guir-
ingaud tried to give the group of industrialized nations another agenda proposal on be-
half of the seven OPEC/LDC countries. Robinson and the other delegation heads, how-
ever, “noted that the paper was not a formal proposal and refused to accept it on an
informal basis.” Furthermore, the U.S. representatives no longer wanted to permit the
French Chairman to “exercise the role of an intermediary” and remarked that it seemed
that only he among everyone present “refused to recognize” that the meeting was
“dead.” (Telegram 9533 from Paris, April 15; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign
Policy Files, D750131–0570)
188 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVII
value on our bilateral relations with Iran than on rhetorical sparring
with OPEC/LDC group. From Ansary’s reaction Iranians apparently
regard your visit there as urgent. You could set deadline your depar-
ture Paris Tuesday,
either leaving Enders in charge of delegation or
have all of U.S. delegation depart. You should decide this on basis
which course best contributes to result we seek.
3. I wish it clearly understood by our entire delegation that out-
come of preparatory meeting is of greater concern to me than whether
we have unanimity with other countries. In final analysis they need US
participation at conference. We remain ready to attend properly pre-
pared energy conference between consumers and producers as origi-
nally called by French. We are not prepared to attend raw materials
conference where energy issue has seen all but submerged. We will
maintain this posture even at risk taking responsibility for failure of
April 15. The conference ended on April 16.
In his closing remarks at the end of the conference, Enders said: “We were, of
course, invited here by the President of the French Republic to prepare for a conference
on energy and energy-related issues. We came here ready to discuss these issues, which
are of central concern to all countries. Others have insisted on a much broader confer-
ence, extending to all aspects of the relationship between the industrialized countries and
the developing world. We have been and will continue to be willing to discuss seriously
raw materials and other development issues in forums more directly concerned with
them and to attempt therein to seek mutually beneficial solutions. However, we believe
that the proposed conference could achieve constructive results only if it were focused on
a relatively limited number of points related to the central subject of energy.” For the full
text of his remarks, see Department of State Bulletin, May 12, 1975, p. 621.
Preparatory Conference II,
April 1975–October 1975
Washington, April 19, 1975.
Meeting with Yamani—Middle East and the Paris Preparatory Conference
H.E. Ahmad Zaki Yamani, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources
Ibrahim Obaid, Personal Secretary to the Minister
Charles Robinson, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
Francois M. Dickman, Director, NEA/ARP
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Paris preparatory
The Secretary: What do you think of the Paris Preparatory Confer-
ence? Did Robinson screw it up?
Yamani: Well, the Americans screwed it up. The Europeans and
even your own people said that it was the US attitude which caused the
conference to fail.
The Secretary: You can expect that from the Europeans.
Yamani: It was a great disappointment for me.
The Secretary: It was supposed to be an energy conference. Why
did you try to transform it into a raw materials conference? I thought
you wanted to discuss energy primarily, why did you change this to
Yamani: As I told Mr. Robinson just before our meeting, it was not
my understanding that this was the US attitude. I thought the US had
accepted the Saudi position of a Conference which would deal with en-
ergy as well as with raw materials. Our proposal was very clear. You
sent a message accepting the Saudi proposal.
You sent a message last
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, Lot 91D414, Box
11, Classified External Memoranda of Conversations, April 1975. Secret; Nodis. Drafted
See footnote 9, Document 10.
190 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVII
September stating you accepted the Saudi proposal.
Then the French
came with their invitation. At first we were reluctant but we went along
after we agreed on a small number of countries. Then we had our
meeting in Riyadh in February.
Perhaps I have misunderstood and
maybe the gap is not so wide as we think.
The Secretary: That is what I think.
Yamani: The problem is that we have to have an agenda which
deals with raw materials and not just energy alone.
The Secretary: We will be glad to discuss lower oil prices too!
Yamani: The Algerians wanted to solve everything at the same
time. I can tell you that the Saudis, Venezuelans, and Iranians wanted
and still want to discuss energy as an issue but do not expect to solve
everything at the same time. What they do not want is to solve the en-
ergy issue and forget about the rest. They don’t want to discuss energy
and reach agreement on just that, but they expect to have some link that
will guarantee your (US) presence to discuss other raw material issues.
The Secretary: That is fair enough. On that basis, we can discuss
energy first, and we would be agreeable to give you assurances that we
will discuss raw materials at another conference.
Yamani: We mean the same conference.
The Secretary: Or at a continuation of the same conference.
The Secretary: What we want to avoid is a special session of the
General Assembly where everybody makes demands on us which we
will reject. Why create an artificial forum to discuss raw materials? You
know, there are some in the US Government who are opposed to this
and believe free market forces should prevail. Secretary Simon says he
is opposed to a raw materials conference. I recognize however that you
cannot talk stability for items which interest us and not talk about sta-
bility for items which are of interest to other countries. But if you
discuss all at the same time, it will turn into platitudes much like the
Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States
which my friend Pres-
Akins sent a message to Yamani in Geneva that reads: “Sorry to have missed you
in Jidda. The Department has just instructed me to inform you that your ‘concept of a
compact and tightly focused mini-conference’ is attractive. ‘We would want it to be in as
low-key as possible to avoid raising expectations or, conversely, a sense of failure or de-
spair if meeting did not result in agreement.’ The instruction goes on to say that the
‘low-key approach would also serve to diminish sense of drama of confrontation which
we wish to avoid.’ I think this corresponds exactly with your suggestion.” (Telegram
5235 from Jidda, September 10, 1974; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy
See Document 41.
UN General Assembly Resolution 3281 (XXIX), December 12, 1974, proclaimed
the Charter, which affirmed “the need for strengthening international co-operation for
development” and declared that “it is a fundamental purpose of the present Charter to
promote the establishment of the new international economic order, based on equity,
April 1975–October 1975 191
ident Echeverria (of Mexico) has promoted. We want to find some prac-
tical way to discuss energy issues.
Yamani: We want to link energy to raw materials.
The Secretary: Well, what do you mean by a link? What is your
idea of a link?
Yamani: We do not have an exact idea but we want your presence
(at a raw materials conference).
The Secretary: Physical presence is not difficult.
Yamani: We want the industrial countries to agree on items of an
agenda since now there is no objection to talk about raw materials.
The Secretary: Well, I personally believe we will have to come to
some understanding on raw materials.
Robinson: We have a proposal we are considering.
The Secretary: All right, we have a proposal but we have to work it
out within our own government. I am prepared to tell you that I do not
specialize in losing interdepartmental arguments and I usually prevail,
in fact I can’t think of when I did not prevail, but I cannot give you a
formal US position now. However, I would be prepared to move
toward some understanding on raw materials but we would want to
talk about energy on its own merits and not have it submerged with
other raw materials.
Yamani: Why not have the following agenda: (1) raw materials . . .
The Secretary: Including energy?
Yamani: Yes, we will say raw materials including energy; (2) inter-
national cooperation; (3) financial flows. We will concentrate on
The Secretary: The trouble with you is that every time you come
and see me, you always manage to convince me (laughter).
Yamani: I can tell you that this will be the position of the Iranians,
Venezuelans, and Saudis, though not the Algerians, to focus on energy
but at the same time to see that the shade of our discussions also falls on
other raw materials.
The Secretary: Well, what do you want to discuss with the other
Yamani: We do not expect to reach agreement on the price of tea,
coffee, rubber, etc.; we are prepared to separate things. But unless we
are assured that you will discuss other raw materials and there is a link,
we cannot just discuss energy alone.
sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and co-operation among all
States, irrespective of their economic and social systems.” For the full text, see Yearbook of
the United Nations
, 1974, pp. 403–407.
192 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVII
Since you say that you will discuss other raw materials with good
will, we take this seriously. I will talk to my other colleagues. We will
form a strong front.
In the meantime, we hope you will do your homework (on raw
materials) soon so that we can have another meeting.
The Secretary: Another Preparatory Conference?
Yamani: Yes, it has to be, and soon.
The Secretary: Why?
Yamani: The Algerians are already pressing very hard to have an-
other OPEC meeting at the end of this month. They are concerned over
their declining earnings. They sent a cable to OPEC countries asking
that we link oil prices to SDRs or a basket of currencies. This in fact is a
fair thing, but I know this is only a first step in raising prices. The sec-
ond step might not be something we look for. So, the sooner the better.
Your friends in Iran are also very keen to have another price in-
crease. They want a quick one, since they think inflation is going
higher. They want another increase this year.
The Secretary: You realize that another oil price increase would
have unfortunate repercussions, particularly on the Arab-Israel
problem. It is not because of your position but the Israelis are trying to
link the two—higher oil prices with Arab pressures.
Yamani: I know that, and we want to avoid that.
The Secretary: We are having the Shah in May and we will have a
chance to talk.
Yamani: The Iranians have already issued their statement.
The Secretary: Who issued it?
Robinson: It was Mr. Yeganeh, he is the Governor of the Iranian
Central Bank and represented Iran at the Preparatory Conference.
Yamani: The Iranians have said in their statement they wanted
Therefore, we would like to have another meeting early in May.
We can have another Paris meeting to work out an agenda. Even if the
Algerians don’t want to come, we are prepared to move with our
friends—the Venezuelans and Iranians.
The Secretary: Our friends tell us that we broke up the Conference.
In fact I even saw reports that accused Robinson and members of his
staff of not attending the meetings.
Robinson: That was the night that I let the staff leave at 11:00 pm.
The report the next day was that the US was not attending the
The Secretary: We did everything we could to keep the Paris
meeting going. At the last moment, we sent an instruction to our dele-
April 1975–October 1975 193
gation telling it to take an even more active role.
I am not saying that
you would have liked everything we said but I will take responsibility
for those actions where we took the lead with the consumers.
Yamani: Did you organize the consumers?
Robinson: The consumers were unified.
The Secretary: It really does not make any difference. They (con-
sumers) will say that the Americans made them do it.
Yamani: What about the number of countries attending a confer-
ence. As I told you in Riyadh, we want a limited group. The prevailing
idea in Paris was that 24 countries should attend a producer/consumer
conference. Did you agree?
Robinson: We agreed, we did not object, but the issue was aca-
demic since the conference broke down.
Yamani: I understood that you would not have any objection if we
talked about 20 countries. Once we went to the Paris Conference, there
were pressures for representation from the major industrialized coun-
tries and the developing countries to widen the representation. We
think the smaller the conference, the better is the atmosphere for bilat-
The Secretary: We do not have strong views on increasing the
number to 24. It is not a breaking point for us.
Yamani: I had strong views to hold the number to 20 but France
and the LDCs wanted more. The Algerians wanted 30! But I do not
want another UN.
The Secretary: How do we have concrete discussions so that we
understand each other better on this issue? Through Akins?
Yamani: Yes. Besides, if we have another meeting in Paris, I can
come and meet behind the doors with you.
The Secretary: I will keep this in mind.
Yamani: What we do not want is for OPEC to meet and take action
The Secretary: Let us agree that when there is another meeting, we
will coordinate our positions more closely.
Yamani: But we need more definitive information from you on
how you stand on raw materials.
The Secretary: But we need more information from you on what
you mean by a link between energy and other raw materials.
Yamani: It is the timetable, the sequence.
194 Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXVII
The Secretary: The differences do not seem that great. You don’t
want to fix a price for energy without a guarantee that we will discuss
raw materials and we don’t want to discuss raw materials without a
guarantee from you that energy issues will be decided first.
Robinson: We have to be careful when we talk about links. All
basic resources are related to energy. We are prepared to talk about
other resources as they relate to energy.
The Secretary: Let us do some thinking about this and we will get
word to you. I have never thought that this was an insoluble problem.
We will see what we can do.
(At this point, the Secretary asked if he could speak to Minister
Yamani alone for a few minutes.)
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