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Letter to Heads of Government of Major Oil-Consuming Nations Inviting Their Participation in a Meeting on International Energy Problems

January 10, 1974

DEVELOPMENTS in the international energy situation have brought consumer and producer nations to an historic crossroad. The world's nations face a fundamental choice that can profoundly affect the structure of international political and economic relations for the remainder of this century.

Today the energy situation threatens to unleash political and economic forces that could cause severe and irreparable damage to the prosperity and stability of the world. Two roads lie before us. We can go our own separate ways, with the prospect of progressive division, the erosion of vital interdependence, and increasing political and economic conflict; or we can work in concert. developing enlightened unity and cooperation, for the benefit of all mankind--producer and consumer countries alike.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I asked Secretary of State Kissinger in his December speech to the Society of Pilgrims in London to propose establishment of an Energy Action Group and to urge a concerted action program among consumers and producers to meet the world's energy needs in a manner which would satisfy the legitimate interests of both the consuming and producing countries.

As a first step to carry out this concept, I invite (name of country) to a meeting of major industrial consumer nations to be held at the Foreign Minister level on February 11, 1974, or any other convenient date that week. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to send your representative to such a meeting here in Washington. After I know your views, I plan to send a Special Representative to discuss with your Government the specifics of this meeting, including suggestions on agenda and substance.

Our concept is that the Foreign Ministers meeting would agree on an analysis of the situation and the work to be done. It would establish a task force drawn from the consuming countries which would formulate a consumer action program. Part of this program would be concerned with new cooperative measures designed to deal with the explosive growth of global energy demand and to accelerate the coordinated development of new energy sources. Another task would be to develop a concerted consumer position for a new era of petroleum consumer-producer relations which would meet the legitimate interests of oil producing countries while assuring the consumer countries adequate supplies at fair and reasonable prices.

In calling for a meeting of the major industrial consumer countries, we are fully conscious that the energy problem is one of vital importance to all consuming countries, particularly those of the developing world whose hope for a better life critically depends on access to energy on reasonable terms. Whereas our immediate concern is to get preparations underway as promptly and effectively as possible, clearly the interests of all consumers, including the developing countries, will have to be represented in an appropriate manner.

A concerted effort of this kind is but a first and essential step toward the establishment of new arrangements for international energy and related-economic matters. To this end, a meeting of consumer and producer representatives would be held within 90 days. I am sending personal messages to the heads of government of the OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] states to assure that they understand the purpose of the proposed meeting of consumer states.

We face a profound challenge to turn this period of crisis into one of opportunity for constructive and creative cooperation which will be of benefit to all the peoples of the world. I look forward to hearing your reply and comments.


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the heads of government of Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. An additional paragraph in the letter to German Chancellor Willy Brandt informed him, in his capacity as head of the government then in the presidency of the European Economic Community, that a representative from that organization would be welcome at the meeting. That portion of the letter is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. LXX, p. 123).

The Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was also invited to attend the meeting.
The text of the letters, dated January 9, 1974, was released on January 10 at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Letter to Heads of Government of Major Oil-Consuming Nations Inviting Their Participation in a Meeting on International Energy Problems Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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