key oil-producing and oil-consuming allies. He explained to the Shah that the“destabilizing impact” of high prices was especially consternating because of the“catastrophic problems it could pose for the international monetary system.”49Hechanged a speech to NATO leaders later in that month to underscore the politicalthreat of expensive oil. He emphasized the anti-liberal nature of cartel power andrailed against America’s European allies, many of whom had bidden for oil on thespot market or begun to consider bilateral sales agreements, for surrendering to it.“A return to economic nationalism will destroy our political unity and bring onglobal depression,” he warned. NATO members needed “to join together to47. Address by Hon. Henry A. Kissinger, “The Energy Crisis: Strategy for CooperativeAction,” November14,1974, and Address of Hon. William E. Simon, before the62st NationalForeign Trade Convention, November18,1974, both in Appendix, “Kissinger-Simon Proposalsfor Financing Oil Imports,”Hearings before the Joint Economic Committee of the United States,93rdCongress,2nd Sess., November25,27, and29,1974(Washington,1974).48. Thomas Zeiler,American Trade and Power in the1960s(New York,1992),21-50; FrancisGavin,Gold, Dollars and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations,1958-1971(ChapelHill, NC,2004),173-185.49. Secretary of State to American Embassy Tehran, “Oil Decisions at Tehran and KuwaitConferences,”29December1973, KSWWOF, box15, GFPL.Oil Power and Economic Theologies :509Downloaded from by Bora Laskin Law Library user on 06 September 2018
ensure that the world’s great democracies are never held to ransom again,” he said,just like “the men of vision” who wrote the Marshall Plan.50Oil power reflected a number of dangers, political and economic. Americandecision-makers thus responded to its rise in myriad and interconnectedways. Nonetheless, Kissinger and others consistently argued that statist con-trol and high oil prices, not the unsteady world into which they had been intro-duced, were the vital problem. The State Department set “pressures towardunilateralism”—definedas“nationalization,cartel-likeaction,beggar-thy-neighbor trade and payments action”—squarely against U.S. policy in supportof “an open and interdependent world economy.”51In doing so, they used thecrisis to move the complex economic concerns of the mid-1970s onto a Manicheanplane of right and wrong, of past stability and present danger.That strategy, aimed both at the United States’ capitalist allies and at the ThirdWorld bloc, resolved a longer search within the Nixon administration for a con-sistent way to frame foreign economic policy. Since assuming office, administrationpolicymakers had struggled to understand how changes in the distribution of inter-national economic power would shape American grand strategy. One glitch in thatpursuit was the extent to which economic concerns would impinge upon diplomacy.