6. American Embassy Algiers to Secretary of State,31January1974, National Security File(hereafter NSF), box321, Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, California (hereafterRNPL).7. “Focus on Oil at the UN Special Session on Raw Materials,”Arab Oil & Gas(Beirut) III, no.62(1974):5-6.8. Airgram A-4568from the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts,5June1974,ForeignRelations of the United States(hereafterFRUS),1969-1976, vol. E-14, Part1,Documents on theUnited Nations,1973-1976, eds. William B. McAllister and Edward C. Keefer (Washington:Government Printing Office,2008), doc.16.Oil Power and Economic Theologies :501Downloaded from by Bora Laskin Law Library user on 06 September 2018
that aimed “to correct the inequalities and redress the existing injustices” of theinternational economy, which the delegates qualified as “the remaining vestige ofalien and colonial domination.”9Henry Kissinger, who had just assumed duties as U.S. Secretary of State,warned in the Sixth Special Session against the “temptation” for Third Worldnations “to think of cartels of raw material producers to negotiate for higherprices.”10His speech was an early moment in the history of a different understand-ing of oil power, a market-based vision that took hold of U.S. diplomacy towardsthe Third World. To play nationalist politics with the international economy,according to that vision, was irrational and dangerous. His delegation objectedto the “heavily biased” NIEO, most strongly to the “heart” of the resolution:articles that allowed for nationalization, urged “just and equitable relationships”in international trade, and insisted upon the creation of more cartels.11This wasjust the beginning for Kissinger, who deprecated OPEC and the NIEO again andagain in1974as irrational actors, using language that traded on the antagonismbetween politics and economics that resided within Samuelson’s universalist motif.High prices were “not the result of economic factors,” he said in one typical in-stance. Based on “a political decision” with no economic viability, they were quitesimply “artificial.”12This article holds that Kissinger conducted a free market diplomacy in1974and after; that is, he demonized OPEC as an illiberal bogeyman and made the par-allel argument that the free market was the only rational system capable of meetingglobal economic challenges. To be sure, in Kissinger’s mind market diplomacy wasan instrument with which to achieve a number of related diplomatic purposes, andhe consciously shifted to a more conciliatory position in1975. That accommoda-tion, which downplayed the ideological division between the market and statistvisions, was nonetheless designed to subvert the egalitarian and redistributionistarguments of the NIEO. The story is thus one of setting narrow policy parameters.