Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger warned yesterday that the oil producing countries' "weapons" - oil and surplus petrodollars - pose a potential threat to the world order, unless producing and consuming countries expand their levels of cooperation.
This threat, he said, includes pressure the oil nations could exert on U.S. foreign policy.
"For the first time in our history, a small group of nations controlling a scarce resource could over time be tempted to pressure us into foreign policy decisions not dictated by our national interest." Kissinger said in a speech delivered in Detroit at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators.
Kissinger said the industrialized countries must work closely with the members of the 13-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce the possibilities of confrontation.
According to a spokesman, Kissinger was paid $10,000 to address the state legislators.
Since 1973 the oil-producing countries have quadrupled crude oil prices, garnering billions of surplus dollars. These surpluses, amounting to $16 billion alone last year, "are a factor of instability even if not manipulated for political motives," he said.
"In another Middle East crisis the vast accumulated petrodollars could become a weapon against the world monetary and financial system," Kissinger said.
The sprialing cost of oil has been especially severe on the developing countries, whose total foreign debt has nearly doubled from $67 billion in 1973 to $117 billion by the end of 1975, Kissinger said.
Kissinger added that the energy crisis, and the West's growing dependence on imported oil, has "hampered the progress of European unity." He warned that this dependence has strengthened the opponents of Democratic governments, and has raised the specter of Communist parties coming to power in Western Europe.
"The consequences for the cohesion of the western alliance are grave," he said.
President Carter won high marks from Kissinger for the national energy plan's stress on conservation.
Kissinger, however, was critical of Carter's range of incentives for increasing domestic energy production.
"The administration has, frankly, beem much less energetic in pressing for new sources of energy and in fostering cooperation with the industrial Democracies than in stressing conservation," he said.
Kissinger, who is now a foreign affairs adviser to the Chase Manhattan Bank and NBD, said the United States should provide greater incentives to boost domestic energy production. He called for a review of the incentives for, and obstacles to, added energy production in the tax system, as well as environmental regulations that limit production.
Citing the need for massive investments to develop alternatives to conventional energy sources such as oil and natural gas. Kissinger said "government financing should be considered if necessary.