506 d i p l o m a t i c h i s t o r y Downloaded from

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506 : d i p l o m a t i c h i s t o r y Downloaded from by Bora Laskin Law Library user on 06 September 2018
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OPEC implemented the first price increase in October 1973 . 35 His largest European consumers agreed. In a national television address in December 1973 , French President Georges Pompidou nostalgically likened the advent of expensive oil to “waking up from a too beautiful dream.” 36 “We have to face the fact that the OPEC syndrome is catching on,” the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, worried in a summit meeting of western leaders two years later. “There are already phosphate-pecs, bauxite-pecs, banana-pecs and others.” 37 At times, the pessimism was apocalyptic. Gerald Ford went so far as to describe the energy dependence of the West as a sort of wrong-side-up imperialism in 1974 . “Sovereign nations cannot allow their policies to be dictated, or their fate decided” by “artificial price gouging,” he told a Detroit audience. 38 Kissinger engaged in the same sort of rhetorical acrobatics. Expensive oil narrowed “opportunities for gov- ernments to control their countries’ own political and economic destiny,” he wrote the Japanese, British, and French foreign ministers in 1974 . The crisis threatened to cause “the moral and political disintegration of the West,” he told the French foreign minister days later. 39 For some, the straits were just as dire in terms of Third World relations. The energy crisis could degenerate into a “North-South economic war,” Columbia University economist Richard Gardner warned a joint congressional committee in December 1973 . 40 The possibility of a generalized Third World assault on the international economic order seemed more likely after the General Assembly convened in April 1974 and the NIEO called for the poor nations to reclaim sovereignty over their natural resources and use national law to limit production, prop up commodity prices, and nationalize foreign businesses. “The global rich country-poor country dialogue is in bad shape, as evidenced by the outcome of the UN Special Session,” Winston Lord, the State Department’s policy planning director, told Kissinger in May. 41 The energy crisis forced Kissinger to turn his attention to the previously mar- ginalized nationalism expressed internationally by OPEC members and then in the 35 . Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Oil Company Executives,” 26 October 1973 , CFP 1970 - 1973 , PET 6 , RG 59 , NARA. 36 . American Embassy Paris to Secretary of State, “President Pompidou’s Interview,” 21 December 1973 , CFP 1973 - 1976 , ET, RG 59 , NARA. 37 . Memorandum of Conversation, 16 November 1975 , William Seidman Papers (hereafter WS) box 312 , GFPL. 38 . Gerald Ford, “Remarks to the Ninth World Energy Conference,” September 23 , 1974 , in John T. Wooley and Gerhard Peters, eds. The American Presidency Project , .
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