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Bonn Economic Summit Conference Informal Exchange With Reporters.

July 16, 1978

Q. Good evening, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT Good evening, everybody.

Q. How did you feel about the first session of the conference today?

THE PRESIDENT. I was pleased with it. We've not yet concluded any specific language for the final Communiqué; that will be done tonight and tomorrow. But there was a very frank and open discussion among the seven heads of state, the Foreign Ministers, and the Finance Minister. And this has been the habit within these summit conferences.

One of the best things about it is that we've spent literally months with staff members, Cabinet officers, and others, preparing for the summit, trying to understand the particular problems and attitudes of the other six nations, plus the European Community, which is represented here by its head.

I think that the final result of the deliberations will be good. I believe that the world economic community, when it analyzes what we do, will be pleased. And I think the attitude of all of the heads of state has been very constructive.

Q. Mr. President, just how much pressure is the United States under because of its energy consumption?

THE PRESIDENT. The other nations are no more concerned about excessive consumption and the absence of an energy policy than I am. This is a matter on which we've been working, almost without ceasing, for the last 15 or 16 months.

My own belief and my hope is that the Congress will act without delay to implement our energy policy and that the people of the United States will recognize that excessive consumption or waste of energy is not in the best interest of our own people or the rest of the world. It obviously is of much more critical importance to a country like Japan, which has to import 98 percent of its energy, and even countries like France and Germany, which have a very low supply of their own energy.

They feel not only that we compete with them for world supplies of oil and therefore drive up the price and create the ultimate shortage but that in the process we have an attitude of wastefulness based on very low-price energy in the past that they would like to see corrected. But they share our hope and our concern about the energy supply problems and the over-consumption in our own Nation.

Q. Were you able to give your fellow heads of state anything more specific other than the promise of—a lack of congressional action or anything else on the energy question?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the exact language is still being drafted. But I have told them what my own attitude would be—the goals that our Nation has established for the reduction of energy consumption, the shift toward greater supply of coal, solar energy, other alternative energy sources—and have spelled this out quite clearly; also, our hope that the abnormally low prices of oil in our country, which contributes to excessive waste, might be raised to the world market price and my belief that the Congress will act on this legislation, hopefully beginning with the first package Tuesday of this week.

Q. There was talk of a quota, the possibility that you might call for an oil quota.

THE PRESIDENT. No, I think that would be inappropriate for me to put in the Communiqué, because I've not decided myself about the advisability of this action.

Q. Are you still hoping for Congress to act to prevent you having to impose quotas?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I hope the Congress will act on the entire package. As you know, the conference committees have agreed on four-fifths of it, which encompass an energy saving of about 2.3 million barrels per day. The remaining portion concerning the tax on oil would result in an additional 2 or 300,000 barrels a day.

So, the major portion of it has at least been agreed to by the conference committees, and I hope that Congress will act without delay.

Q. Are you pleased?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I'm pleased.

REPORTER. Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 7:06 p.m. outside the U.S. Ambassador's residence.

Earlier in the day, the President attended the first and second sessions of the summit conference at the Palais Schaumburg and a working luncheon hosted by Chancellor Schmidt for summit participants at the Chancellor's Bungalow.

Later in the evening, the President attended a dinner hosted by Chancellor Schmidt at Schloss Gymnich for the summit participants.

Jimmy Carter, Bonn Economic Summit Conference Informal Exchange With Reporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/247926

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