President Pompidou of France seized most of the headlines during his first session of summit talks with United States President Nixon in Iceland today (Thursday, 31 May).
President Pompidou of France seized most of the headlines during his first session of summit talks with United States President Nixon in Iceland today (Thursday, 31 May). Though Mr. Nixon, making his first overseas trip since the Watergate scandal burst, was hoping to reassert himself as a world statesman, it was the French head of state who made the initial impact. President Pompidou warned of the "great danger" for western Europe of any unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces.
It was reported that during the first session of talks, Mr. Nixon quickly reassured the French leader that he had no intention of making a unilateral withdrawal of troops. The French have been fearful that the Americans might use the threat of troops withdrawal to force trade concessions from European Common market countries.
In the past, the Americans have been seeking to link defence agreements with monetary and trade negotiations.
When the talks turned to world monetary system, the two leaders were able to reach immediate agreements that the current system doesn't work and that an alternative was needed. This agreement was again gratifying for President Pompidou, who had vowed to press for urgent monetary reform during the summit.