Leaders of seven of the world's major industrial nations pledged tonight to put their personal and political strength behind an effort to create more jobs, to decrease inflation and to encourage international trade free of protectionist tendencies.
At the conclusion of a two-day summit hailed by all of them as a reiteration of "our own independence," the heads of government made it clear that the greater prosperity they envisage must be shared with the developing world.
Poor nations were promised an increased flow of trade, aid, and finance, and the Soviet trade bloc (Comecon) was pointedly urged "to do the same."
President Carter, speaking at a crowded press conference at Banqueting House, a 17th Century palace in Whitehall, warned that "heads of state tend to overemphasize and overestimate our own influence."
He recalled that a king of England who 328 years ago had a struggle with Parliament "left this building and was beheaded in the street." It was a reference to Charles I who was executed in 1946.
Carter said with a broad smile, "It may not happen to us." but he added that "in many ways, our own reputations are at stake in carrying out (base) decisions."
Each nation was to designate one official to assure an orderly followup to the decisions. For the United States, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance announced, it would be Henry Owen, on leave from the Brookings Institution. Owen was a special White House aide involved in summit planning.
Carter singled out for mention, with some satisfaction, a summit decision on a topic that the United States and said earlier would not even be brought up: bribes by international corporations, including banks and industrial companies.
"We believe the time has come for international control of the problems of bribery and extortion in the fields of trade, commerce and banking," Carter said. "Sometimes these practices are condoned, but the time has come to stamp them out."
An appendix to the declaration called for their elimination and Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal said the force of the summit declaration would help move the administration's legislation on illicit practises through the U.S. Congress.
As expected there was no mention of human rights, West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt had pointed out that specific language would be counterproductive in some cases, for example, in getting ethnic Germans out of Eastern Europe.
British Prime Minister James Callaghan, answering questions of behalf of all the leaders, said, "we all agree on the significance, morality and justice" of Carter's statement on human rights, adding that "we will all work in our way" to assure their preservation.
The declaration made these seven general statements, that Callaghan called "pledges," desired to help promote" the wellbeing both of our own countries and others."
The most urgent" task is to create more jobs, especially for young people. There was equal attention to inflation which "does not reduce unemployment."
To accomplish the twin goals of greater employment and reduced inflation, the seven governments committed themselves to achieve their stated economic growth targets or announced stabilization policies. This was a substitute for Carter's earlier plan to push for faster economic growth, particularly by West Germany and Japan.
Enlarged resources for the International Monetary Fund, as outlined in its recent interim committee meeting in Washington, were approved. No amounts were specified.
"Strong political leadership" would be provided by each of the summit participants to expand trade and "reject protectionism." There was a promise of "new impetus" for the current round of multilateral trade negotiations, which has been stalled in Geneva.
To help adjust the conflict between the need to rely more on nuclear energy, and the critical necessity of avoiding the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a two-month study of how to accomplish these objectives was launched.
Further conservation of energy was promised to "reduce our dependence on oil."
Ways of assuring that developing countries "share in . . . growth," including a common fund" to help stabilize their export earnings, were approved. In addition, a "special action fund" for the very poorest of the poor nations was endorsed.
Secretaries Blumenthal and Vance described the agreement in glowing terms, Vance said it was "a great success" in which there had been a free flows of views among the participants. President Carter said he had "learned a great deal."
Other American aides said that one encouraging development, not mentioned in the declaration or appendix, was the willingness expressed by West Germany and Japan to let their currencies appreciate, according to normal market behavior.
In bilateral talks here among finance ministers, both West Germany and Japan said they were willing to let their current account balances (trade and services) move into deficit. The United States, which is already running such a deficit, believes that if the "Big Three" ran a combined deficit, it will make things easier for the rest of the oil-consuming countries, who as a result will have smaller deficits.
In brief statements following the issuance of the declaration, Carter and the other heads of government referred to "new, structural problems" now facing the world that distinguish present times from earlier periods of recession or depression.
Chief among these is the existence of the organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, members of which are running an annual surplus of about $45 billion, on the basis of oil prices five times higher than in 1973. Wealthy nations can accept he resulting deficit "for the time being." Carter said, but poor nations cannot.
Other "structural" changes, as listed by Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, are the effective division of the world into a "North and South" (rich and poor): issues between the East and West (Communist and non-Communist): and the "finiteness" of resources, especially energy.
"There is a great temptation," Carter said, to solve some of these problems by "erecting protectionist barriers."
The anti-protectionist language of the declaration was specific, including a firm declaration for the need ot succeed in the multilateral trade negotiations, reducing tariff and other barriers. But both Callaghan and Blumenthal, explained that all countries were entitled to avoid "market disruption."
They hastened to add that any departures from normal free trade practices would be in accordance with the established procedures of the General Agreement on tarriffs and Trade.
Among the steps taken to help poor nations, the phrase "common fund" is of great symbolic importance to the less-developed nations.
The reference is to "a common fund" in distinction to "the common fund," a $6 billion pool proposed a year ago at Nairobi by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development.
What was endowed by te summit today was a less ambitious undertaking - but still important - to finance individual buffer stocks to stabilize export earnings of the less developed countries."
The summit leaders bought the idea, long advanced by the poor nations, that buffer stocks are equally beneficial to the consuming nations - to prevent gyrations in price - as they are to the producing nations.