Foreign Ministers from thirteen major oil-consuming nations led their respective delegations into the opening session of the Washington Energy Conference that started on Monday (11 February).
Foreign Ministers from thirteen major oil-consuming nations led their respective delegations into the opening session of the Washington Energy Conference that started on Monday (11 February). It began with Henry Kissinger, the American State Secretary, presenting a seven-point plan for ensuring adequate oil supplies at a reasonable price and ended with French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert opposing the U.S. proposal.
In making his proposal, Dr. Kissinger warned that current oil prices will spur inflation and promote destructive policies among industrial nations that will lead to a world depression. He outlined a programme to conserve energy, build up alternative supplies and eventually lead to guaranteed supplies for the whole world. The State Secretary pledged the United States would share its technology and energy resources if other countries did the same. He urged the meeting establish a working group to plan future policy, hold another full session soon and meet with oil producers before May first.
Most of the countries at the opening session agreed in broad terms to the American proposals but urged the meeting with oil producers be held no later than April first.
But France fiercely opposed the American plan. French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert said it "would lead fatally to a confrontation or a clash with producer countries". He totally rejected the establishment of a working group. M. Jobert went on to denounce the whole conference and said France would not participate in any further meetings unless they were called by established institutions like the United Nations.
The French position opened a rift in the European Economic Community as the other members support the American position. Two secret E.E.C. meetings were held apparently without success to heal the split.
The energy conference continued on tuesday (12 February).
SYNOPSIS: The opening session of a special meeting called by President Nixon to discuss ways of solving the energy crisis was held on Monday. Foreign Ministers and their delegations from thirteen major oil-consuming countries are attending the conference. They are Canada, the Unites States. Japan, Norway, and the nine nations in the European Economic Community. The conference opened with American State Secretary Henry Kissinger presenting a seven-point plan designed to gain adequate world oil supplies at a reasonable price for all countries.
Dr. Kissinger pledged the United States to sharing its technology and energy resources if other countries did the same. He called for a second meeting of industrialisad nations with poorer countries also invited. A meeting with oil producing countries was urged before May first. And the State Secretary advocated establishment of a working group drawn from the thirteen countries to plan future policy.
German Foreign Minister Walter Scheel, the official spokesman of the European Economic Community at the meeting, said the E.E.C. supports Dr. Kissinger's proposals. But in the afternoon, French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert condemned the seven-point plan claiming it "would lead fatally to a confrontation or a clash with producer countries". He denounced the conference and said France would not participate in further meetings. This provoked a rift in the E.E.C., and two meetings of E.E.C. members were quickly convened in Washington to attempt to resolve the crisis.