Much water has flowed under the bridge since Henry Kissinger made his much-publicized "Year of Europe" speech in April 1973. It was, one will remember, rapidly construed by some member countries of the European Economic Community as a device to restore American leadership in an Alliance weakened by years of tussle between the EEC and the United States. The two sides had been at variance over money, trade and defense, to mention only the major issues. And the then-Special Assistant to the President already perceived the emerging issue of energy as one of the most ominous problems that faced the industrialized countries. Unfortunately, although he referred to this issue in the April 1973 speech, the United States itself was hardly moving toward a national energy policy, while in Europe the EEC preferred to ignore the problem almost completely, as was evidenced by the abortive meeting of the Energy Ministers of the Community in May of 1973.

So Mr. Kissinger's call elicited from the Community countries only an evasive reaction. First, they decided essentially to ignore the American demand that trade, money and defense should be seen in a common perspective. Then they insisted that before they could negotiate even on trade or money they must work out a common position, and applied the same rule to the broad redefinition of Euro-American relations. The result was a long process that lasted through the summer of 1973, finally producing a "declaration of the European identity" and a draft of a U.S.-EEC declaration mainly focused on their economic relations.

Even from the Community standpoint, however, the new primacy given to political cooperation seemed to some Europeans a latent threat to the "interlocking" process that lies at the foundations of the Community. The temptation to opt for the path of least resistance is always very strong among the Community countries; thus they will more readily accept a common stance on a political issue where it does not carry with it any possibility of giving more substance to a Community decision-making body. Political decisions can seem painless; they can also be a distraction from the main business of the Community, the arduous ongoing process of forging economic links to meet felt needs.

Obviously the two, political and economic, cannot be separated. Indeed, from the start, the ultimate aim of the "founding fathers" of the Communities was the political unification of Europe, and this aim was reaffirmed unequivocally when the Community decided in 1972 to move toward Economic and Monetary Union. But as the earlier experiences of the ill-fated European Defense Community and European Political Community demonstrated, it is all too easy to overreach for a political objective. Hence the careful treading of the path of economic integration had come to seem more hopeful, leading inevitably to a high degree of interdependence and thus paving the way for eventual political solidarity and political union.

Whether one accepted this thesis or not, there could be no question that in the fall of 1973 the shaky political state of the Community was revealed all too clearly in the glare of the October War. Neither as a Community nor as an intergovernmental organization was Europe able to display the solidarity and the cohesiveness Europeans were supposed, after 15 years of relentless efforts, to be able to summon up in an emergency. As a matter of fact, the joint statement the Foreign Ministers of the Community issued on November 6, 1973, did represent a common position on a major issue of foreign policy. But most Europeans could not hide a feeling of deep uneasiness, not so much about the tenor of this statement as about its timing. It conveyed the implication that when faced with the economic, social and political consequences of a sustained oil embargo the Nine had chosen the path of appeasement at any price.

Besides, it was a sad irony that among the countries which had pleaded most forcefully for a Community which would be something other than a "Community of Tradesmen" ("l'Europe des Marchands"), none of them was able to take up the challenge which the oil embargo presented to the Community. Instead, they turned to the tradesmen, i.e., the major oil corporations. These often-reviled "multinationals" were asked to share the available supplies in such a way as not to antagonize the Arab countries. The fear was expressed that any specific move by the member countries to lend substance to the principle of Community solidarity could lead to a further curtailment of supplies by the Arab producing countries. Proposals by the Commission of the European Communities, tabled in order to maintain some cohesion among the member countries, were not even taken up formally by the Council of Ministers.

No wonder then that the summit of the heads of state and government convened in Copenhagen in December in a mood of despondency. These individuals reaffirmed the aims of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and asserted their claim to an active participation of the Community in world affairs. That this pronouncement was little more than a ritualistic statement was conspicuously evidenced by the failure of the Foreign Ministers, three days after the Summit Meeting, to agree on any of the topics which had been singled out for a quick decision in Copenhagen, namely regional policy and energy policy. And one further event occurred which was bound to entail new difficulties with the United States. During the Copenhagen meeting, four Arab Foreign Ministers popped up and started a round of talks with their European colleagues. This was the origin of the Euro-Arab dialogue which a few months later was to spark off a brief but rather hot row between the Community Ministers and Secretary of State Kissinger.

So it was difficult by any stretch of the imagination to think of 1973 as the "Year of Europe," either as Mr. Kissinger had conceived it or in a specifically European sense. The dialogue between Europe and the United States had not taken off. On the other hand, the Community itself had widely exposed its inability to face a major challenge in a way commensurate with its claim to be a major economic power evolving progressively into a political one.


Thus one of the shrewdest French commentators wrote at the height of the oil crisis that it had provided the "revelation" (as of a camera film suddenly developed) of the political impotency of the Europeans and of the deep strain in the relations between Europe and the United States.1 For plainly the differences that arose in 1973 and carried over to some extent into 1974 had deep roots. Over the preceding two or three years the deterioration of the U.S. balance of payments and the ensuing dollar depreciation, coupled with the rapid expansion of the European economy and the soaring value of some European currencies, had somehow distorted the general assessment as to the relative strength of the two economies. Similarly, the European will to assert itself as a political entity, with its own "identity," had evoked the prospect of a Community pursuing a course more independent of the United States. This idea gained momentum each time either Congressmen or members of the executive branch alluded to a possible reduction of the U.S. military commitment in Europe. In fact, neither partner was immune to inner contradictions. It was unreasonable, for instance, to blame the United States for lack of leadership and then to resent any American proposal as an attempt to reassert its grip on the Atlantic Alliance. Neither was it very logical for the American administration to prod the Europeans "to speak with one voice" and then to react to a common European stance as if it was the outcome of a deliberate attempt to put before the United States a fait accompli, leaving no other choice but to take it or leave it.

The oil crisis has created a lot of scope for these mutual grievances. Since his Pilgrims' Dinner speech of December 1973, some dark ulterior motives have been ascribed to the Secretary of State. On the other hand, the latter had developed an ambivalent attitude when the Community attempted to reach common positions. Sometimes the European countries were viewed as a rather loose aggregate of weakened states, utterly unable to work out a common political answer to the challenge they were faced with, or even to the solutions put forward by the American administration. But any attempt by the EEC countries to implement a common decision was regarded as useless procrastination or even as counterproductive.

Yet with all these difficulties the year 1974 produced some accomplishments in the crucial field of energy. The Washington Conference of February highlighted the split that had developed between France and the other members of the Community over the twin issues of close cooperation with the United States and the pursuit of a largely multilateral approach by the major oil-consuming countries. In the end, eight of the Nine decided in favor of coordinating their policies with the other industrial countries, while France, which had objected to this course ever since the Pilgrims' speech, opted out.

Above all, the Washington Conference led to the establishment of the Energy Coordinating Group (ECG), embracing the United States, Japan, Canada, Norway, and eight of the nine members of the Community. At first, in the aftermath of the Washington Conference, the United States seemed to display an ambivalent attitude. While pressing the members of the Energy Coordinating Group to devise an oil-sharing scheme and at the same time castigating the attempts to strike bilateral bargains with oil-producing countries, Washington was also trying to convince Saudi Arabia to lower its prices. But the American officials failed to persuade King Faisal and his advisers. This tentative move helped to foster the belief that the U.S. interest in an oil-consumers' organization had somewhat cooled off. This could be one of the clues to the wavering of the French government about whether or not to join the ECG. Indeed, a tug of war on this issue was going on inside the French inner power circles, and the fact that, for a time, the U.S. administration conveyed the impression that the then-Foreign Minister Michel Jobert had been right after all when he had forecast that "the Washington Conference could only come out as a total failure,"2 strengthened the hand of those who, notwithstanding the shift in leadership and the change of style under Giscard, were stubbornly opposing any change in foreign policy. But before the summer recess, it became obvious that the United States meant business when it talked of mustering the oil-consuming industrialized countries in one international organization able to cope with OPEC.

The two main elements of the American long-term energy strategy were, on the one hand, the implementation of an oil-sharing mechanism in order to protect the oil-consuming countries against a new embargo, and on the other hand the shift from a seller's market to a buyer's market by the enforcement of oil-saving measures and the switch to other energy sources. The latter was intended to create a surplus which would have put before the producing countries the dilemma of lowering prices or curtailing production. The basic assumption was, of course, that a cartel cannot withstand a lasting surplus, and that the allotment of production quotas among the producing countries would in the end topple the cartel, or at least weaken its negotiating position, if it ever came to political discussions between producing and consuming countries.3

Thus, in November 1974, the countries participating in the ECG were able to agree not only on the establishment of an International Energy Agency-to which several other nations promptly adhered-but on a far-reaching program for emergency sharing of oil in the event of another cutoff. To this program, which may be activated by a majority decision, the United States has pledged its own oil resources, thus providing a strong earnest that it is ready to take whatever economic measures are required to preserve the economic and political stability of the Western countries.

From the Community standpoint the new agreements are also striking. In them the eight participants have accepted a whole set of commitments that go far beyond what they had been prepared to consider in the framework of the Community. In addition, countries which had been loath to accept any idea of formally sharing oil with the other Community members when they were in dire straits during the oil embargo are now ready to do so.

Indeed, if one looks back at the work the ECG has accomplished, one is struck not only by its substantive importance but by the speed with which the drafting of a technically intricate and politically far-reaching agreement was completed. The fact that it was a highly technocratic exercise, though conducted with a great deal of political acumen, is unmistakably one of the reasons for the rapidity of the proceedings up to the signature of the agreement establishing the IEA. The political motive behind the decision of the member-states of the Community to accede to the IEA lies in the realization of their predicament. Faced with the success of the organization of the oil-producing countries in establishing a cartel for a commodity, the vital character of which was forcibly demonstrated by the embargo and ensuing price boosts, they concluded that the only safe course was to rally behind the United States in the latter's bid to build up a countervailing power to OPEC. In doing this, they expressed their preference for the American strategy over the French strategy of shunning any formal agreement among the industrialized countries.


One by one, then, the elements of a coherent strategy and policy among the major oil-consuming countries have been brought into place. In December 1974, Presidents Ford and Giscard d'Estaing were able to agree at Martinique on a compromise that accepted the necessity for a full-scale dialogue and conference between producers and consumers, but at the same time stressed the need to coordinate the positions of the major consuming countries in advance. Now both processes are unfolding alongside each other, and agreement was reached in Washington in January on one of the three critical elements of a common position for the consuming countries, namely financial solidarity, secured through adequate financial arrangements to cope with the plight of individual industrialized countries faced with particular difficulties because of their oil deficits.

The history of this agreement on financial measures is important. As in the work of the Energy Coordinating Group, there was a clear interplay between efforts to provide new multilateral financial facilities and the separate policy being pursued by the United States in a largely solitary effort to bring down the price of oil. Thus, all through the summer and fall of 1974 the American authorities privately resisted-and publicly almost ignored-the issue of new financial measures, on the ground that these could interfere with their private efforts on price. Only in November, after these efforts had apparently been judged fruitless at least for the time being, did Messrs. Kissinger and Simon propose the so-called "financial safety net" of $25 billion.

By then the European Community nations were far along in their own thinking, and had taken the concrete action of setting up in early November a Community Loan System. This system allows the Community to take up medium-term loans with the oil-producing countries-initially up to three billion dollars-and to re-lend the money to the central banks of member-states experiencing balance-of-payments deficits. The re-lending is made under certain conditions of economic policy, and this could be the first effective step toward common European decision-making in the field of economic policy. It would also mean a unique form of monetary solidarity, the most effective indeed that seems attainable, in the short run, for the Community as a whole. Thus, while not enormous in size, the arrangement had an important "European" element that added to its appeal.

Specifically, the European Community members felt that new facilities should have the strongest possible participation and interest from the oil-producing countries themselves, whereas the American "safety net" tended to exclude the producers (while of course depending on their financial resources as the basis for the redistribution effort needed to help afflicted nations). The European viewpoint was reflected in the plan associated with Chancellor Healey of Britain, i.e., to expand the International Monetary Fund (IMF) facilities involving direct contributions, and a share in voting, by the producers.

In the end-and this is the striking fact-a compromise agreement was reached. Many of the Community had been-as is well known in Europe-opposed to the Kissinger-Simon plan and disposed to reject it out of hand and to use the voting power of Europe and others to ram through the expanded IMF scheme. On reflection, however, such counsels yielded to others, and the EEC was able to come together on a common position and thus to negotiate as a unit for an effective compromise. While I do not mean to suggest that the outcome was wholly decided between the Community and the United States, the fact that a major difference of views existed in this case between these two-and above all the fact that the Community spoke as one (through Mr. Healey principally)-made the agreement between Americans and Europeans decisive.


I come, then, to the crux of my argument. Two methods have been used in the past year to concert, as between America and the European Community, the necessary common positions on the central issues of energy policy. One, represented by the negotiations of the Energy Coordinating Group and the prospective operation of the International Energy Agency, has seen the Europeans acting as individual nations, closely linked but not seeking to form a single solid position in advance. The other, the negotiation of financial solidarity, has seen the Community operating effectively as a unit. Now the question is which of these two methods is most appropriate for the remaining critical negotiations among oil-consuming countries.

Put differently, the issue for the European Community countries is how they will reconcile the need, pressed on them by the American administration, for a broad solidarity among consumer countries-and for fairly rapid decisions on key issues-with the need and present possibility of working out a common energy policy among the Nine. Such a common energy policy for the Community involves much more than the mere implementation of economic and financial measures to sustain coal production or to step up nuclear energy production. It extends to the whole area of energy conservation and the development of non-oil energy sources-and at its outer limits must encompass, at least for the time being, the broader issues of relations with Arab countries, the maintenance of the Alliance, and for some European countries even sheer economic survival.

The development of a common energy policy is basically a matter for the Community nations themselves. Yet American energy strategy, and the way the American government seeks to work with the countries of the Community, can make all the difference to the chances for a successful European energy policy. Inevitably, it is the United States that has had to take the lead in bringing together the major oil-consuming countries and in defining the agenda of cooperation. And, equally inevitably, the external components of U.S. energy policy cannot be disentangled from the policy the United States pursues on the domestic level. President Ford's initiatives of January, even if they should now be modified by the U.S. Congress, have given a much clearer picture of where America intends to move domestically, at least in the short run. And more recently Secretary Kissinger has defined in detail the American approach to the key issues that remain unsettled among the consuming countries-namely energy restraint (or conservation) and the development of alternative sources of energy.

It is precisely in connection with these issues that the need for a Community energy policy is greatest and most apparent. For the Community, with only incidental differences among its members, occupies a position vastly different from that of the United States both in respect to possible energy savings and in respect to the development of new sources of energy. On these matters there is a true "Community viewpoint," there is an evident need for common guidelines for action, and there is a clear case for rationalizing the affirmative actions taken within the Community so that they make the greatest possible contribution to the Community as a whole. It is these factors, I believe, which now bring within grasp a true Community policy on energy, and give promise of overriding the differences of economic philosophy and analysis that have hitherto prevented the development of such a policy.

In a sense, as the American government continues to take the lead, its initiatives could be the impetus the Community needs to design its own energy policy. Indeed, this is already starting to be the case.

For example, the American "Project Independence" has already forced the Community to define its basic objectives in relation to the use of imported oil. Project Independence suggests that at a continuing price of $11 per barrel (in 1974 dollars) for imported oil, demand in the United States would fall and alternative sources be developed, so that by 1985 the need for imported oil would be substantially eliminated.

Even if the price per barrel were reduced (for instance, to a basic $9 a barrel, with an escalation clause) it would spell difficulties, economic and political, for the Community. In economic terms, the consumption problem of the Community countries is not the same as that of the United States. The level of dependence on energy imports is as high as 63 percent for the Community countries versus a corresponding level of 17 percent in the United States. For oil consumption the situation is the same: 98 percent of the oil consumed in Europe is imported, while the United States imports only 35 percent of its total needs. The conclusion is very clear: it is impossible for Europe to be independent; we cannot achieve the same goal that the United States has set for itself with the formulation of the so-called "Project Independence."

We are thus trying in the European Community only to reach a point of "less dependence." The Council of Ministers of the Community approved, in December 1974, a resolution in which the target for the Community's indigenous production was defined as half its total energy needs. The means to reach this goal have yet to be specified, but we know that it will be very expensive and difficult to carry through such a program.

While the task of moderating demand and increasing other supply sources is hard enough even for the United States, it is certainly very much harder for Europeans. The slowdown in Europe in energy consumption in 1974, when this demand component fell by 1.6 percent in comparison with the 1973 figure, was due far more to the combined effects of higher prices for imported oil and the slowdown in general economic activity, which curbed demand, than to official action. It is true that certain countries-including France-are running ambitious energy economy schemes; but if progress is to be made in terms of quantities, what is needed is a concerted and significant effort at the Community level to implement specifically tailored policy measures having a precise consumption-reduction objective. This is the context in which the Commission is proposing that the Community countries, on a voluntary basis, agree to a seven percent cut in oil imports for 1975-76, through implementing a range of specific measures. However, the European countries can commit themselves to an effort of this kind only if they have the feeling that similar measures are being implemented seriously in the other oil-consuming countries, notably the United States. Thus, here again, concerted action is essential, whatever the framework in which it is pursued.

As for the development of alternative energy sources, the immediate question arising in this connection is how the new sources are to be paid for: would the correct policy be to work on the basis of commercial profitability against the background of current world prices, or should the firms developing alternative energy schemes be given cost-plus contracts by the authorities and should there be financial support machinery? Here again, it is important to establish exactly what approach is to be adopted, particularly at the European Community level, for the pursuit of differing policies could well jeopardize the entire effort committed by one or another member-state which had adopted in advance an action plan of its own devising. If the challenge is to be properly met, a great deal of money will have to be spent: this is another good reason for eliminating any risk of making a mistake.

It is against this background that the European Community has started to come to grips with what concertation procedures its members should adopt vis-à-vis the other industrialized countries which are anxious to achieve the same energy independence objectives within the framework of the International Energy Agency. The first alternative would be to seek the establishment of a consensus on this question within the International Energy Agency, and then to ensure that this consensus is accepted by the countries which are not members of the Agency, including France, through the development of diplomatic contacts. The other alternative would be to arrange, prior to any important decision committing the IEA member-states, for concertation of the nine Community member-states, which should, if there is to be any consistent action, have worked out among themselves a common policy and a common attitude.

The Commission believes that, in institutional and political terms, the second is the only possible approach. In institutional terms, it is certainly right, since concertation among the Community countries is expressly provided for by Article 116 of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community, which requires that in its economic relations with international organizations the Community must express itself and behave as a single entity.

On the other hand, the first alternative-despite its degree of success to date in the Energy Coordinating Group-is bound in the long run to produce contradictions and difficulties. In political terms, the Community, which has a policy and internal unity, will always be dependent on a consensus of views of a hypothetical nature liable to vary according to circumstances and the specific formulation of any given issue. And, more basically, under the approach of dealing only through the IEA, members of the Community are bound to commit themselves to whole sets of policies which, if not coordinated with a Community policy, could water down any such policy or even make it wholly superfluous. If there is ever to be a Community energy policy, it must be worked out soon. And if there is not, then the whole fabric of the Community could unravel.

It is with these arguments in mind that the Commission has proposed to the Council, which accepted this suggestion on January 20, 1975, that any important issue involving the eight Community member-states within the International Energy Agency should be harmonized in advance through concertation procedures among the Nine, i.e., with France. In taking this position the members of the Community have assumed a heavy burden-obviously the process of bringing together all the major oil-consuming countries cannot wait on a laggard Europe. But I believe the time is ripe for the Community to act on the key energy issues. Some member countries have readily granted to the IEA authority to make decisions according to majority rule, on matters for which they have declined so far to concede any competence to the Community, even under the unanimity rule. So it seems at first sight difficult for them to deny to the Community what they conceded for the sake of the International Emergency Program. Otherwise, the conclusion would certainly be drawn that they put Atlantic above European solidarity. At least the issues of energy restraint and alternative sources should now be susceptible to a high degree of common attitude and policy approach within the Community.

There remains one point, which impinges especially on the problems connected with the establishment of an external policy for the European Community. This is the question of the development of direct contacts between the European Community and the Arab countries in the Arab League-the Euro-Arab dialogue dating from the Copenhagen Summit Conference in December 1973.

The problem is a delicate one in many respects. In the first place, it is bound up with the question as to whether Europe has a political identity of its own. The establishment of relations and contacts, and the opening of a dialogue, must have a deeper objective than that of eliciting recognition of the Community as a fully qualified partner with diplomatic status, enjoying treaty-making powers. The European Community does not in fact yet possess a political personality of its own; it constitutes only the beginnings of the expression of the joint political will of several states. This is probably what upsets some people in the United States, who may take the view, not wholly without reason, that the protagonists in the Euro-Arab dialogue are only the actors, not the authors of the play.

The second question is the involvement of the Community in the changing pattern of international relations in areas where the United States has its own policies and strategies and, of course, speaks with one voice. And this is a situation which is extremely hazardous, since the existence of a state-Israel-is at stake, which is the same as saying that world equilibrium is at stake. Is there not a danger that Euro-Arab cooperation may render even more complicated efforts to find a solution to the problem arising from the situation in the Middle East? Is there not a risk that the Community's political coherence may be put to the kind of test to which it is at present unable to respond-as indeed the Arab countries seem to have realized, in that they are now blocking any progress in the discussion by insisting on the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the dialogue?

Mere mention of these questions is enough to indicate the complexity of the present situation, but it is also an admission that the Community is not-yet-a political power in a position to adopt decisions and exert influence. Europe can act as a single entity, here as elsewhere, only if a twofold requirement is already met-there must be consensus among the member-states and there must be the basis for a common policy. This is not yet the case, far from it, with regard to the foreign policies of the Community member countries, and this accounts for the U.S. attitude of "active reluctance" toward us in this field.


During the transition year of 1974, the unfolding impact of the staggering increase in oil prices has markedly changed the whole context of U.S.-European relations.

Because of their thriving economies, some member countries had indulged in the thought that they could steer a new course in their relationship with the United States. Now, they begin to realize that the time has come again to harmonize views and to work out common designs. The tone also has progressively lost the abrasive character it had for many months. Though some suspicions as to the role the United States has played in the oil crisis still linger,4 nobody now thinks, as some once did, that it was all engineered by the United States or at least that the Americans had endorsed it. The very fact that such utterances circulated in some European quarters shows to what a point of bitterness and distrust relations had sagged.

On the other hand, there have been fits of anger at the highest levels of the American administration, which tended to confirm the Europeans in their suspicion that the United States was trying to reassert its leadership, and sometimes in the most ruthless way.

A satisfactory deal has been struck on the issue of mutual consultations. On trade, the EEC and the United States have successfully completed the negotiation of Article XXIV-6 of the GATT agreement. On money, the currency problems stemming from the oil surpluses have been coped with, at least in the short run, by the various accommodations which I have referred to above; however, the bulk of the problem remains unsolved and will remain unsolved as long as neither the issue of a balanced structure of energy prices is settled nor the design of a workable international monetary system is achieved.

But there is at least the first outline of a new partnership in the limited though essential field of energy. True enough, new difficulties could arise, especially concerning the way the dialogue with the producing countries is to be conducted; for example, some European countries might go along with a preparatory conference without any prior agreement on the three issues which the Americans consider as paramount. Yet slowly, even painfully, the dialogue on the momentous issues which face and will face the industrialized countries of the Alliance is taking shape.

Does this mean that at last the Year of Europe has come?

It will depend mainly on the ability of the United States to come forward, most probably under the pressure of an emergency, with the kind of inventive leadership it has so far displayed on energy. But this could mean only the early initiation of multilateral talks and negotiations with various European countries, discounting the Community as such. This would be a tempting course to follow, because it could make for expediency in a period of emergency. But, as we all know, shortcuts are not always the surest way, nor even the shortest one, to get to a point. Fundamentally, it is more in the U.S. interest to rely on a European partner, difficult though it can be at some times, than to lean on a loosely-knit group of so-called sovereign states. This was the main thrust of the American attitude toward Europe for about 20 years, since the immediate postwar period. Why should this course be reversed when the challenges that face the West, and especially the Alliance, are different but portend as gruesome a situation if they are not met as the threats posed by the cold war itself.

We come in the end to the main issue which has always weighed on the whole Euro-American relationship. Do the Europeans want to live up to the stern conditions of a real Community that involves not only a common market and common economic and financial policies but also a common political vision and a common decision center, on all the issues which are of a fundamental European concern and interest? It is only when they are able to answer that question that the Year of Europe will have arrived and that they will have discarded the prophecy made some 50 years ago by Paul Valéry: "L'Europe aspire à être dirigée par une Commission américaine. Toute sa politique l'y dirige."


1 André Fontaine, "Une Dernière Chance pour les Neuf? Le Révélateur Pétrolier," Le Monde, November 7, 1973.

2 ". . . la Conference de Washington ne pourrait déboucher sur autre chose que le néant," Michel Jobert, Memoires d'avenir, Paris: Grasset, 1974, p. 287.

3 In that respect, it is worth mentioning that in 1973 the Commission of the European Communities made a proposal to the Council of Ministers of the Communities which enshrined consumer solidarity coupled with a dialogue with the producing countries. At that time, France dismissed the idea of solidarity among the consumers because of fears that this would reaffirm U.S. leadership and allow the Americans to achieve their alleged aim of regaining their grip on the Atlantic Alliance. The idea of initiating a Community dialogue with the producing countries was also discarded on the ground that there was no common foreign policy.

4 I refer here mainly to the alleged role of the five American oil majors, which in some quarters was viewed as being as instrumental in the price increases as that of the oil-producing countries and whose connections with the American administration were put forward as the evidence of some obscure maneuvers of that administration.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now