Despite elaborate logistics and working arrangements for this week's Economic Summit in London, progress in resolving the major economic problems of the Western industrial countries may be slight.
The talk will inevitably centre on bad trade figures, persistent inflation and increasingly chronic problems of unemployment. The pickings for the have-not world, which has a large stake in any new trade or tariff thrusts, could be slim.
Seated around the conference table: Britain's Prime Minister James Callaghan, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Japan's Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing of France, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of Italy and Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Certainly at mid-week if the governments of any of these heads-of-state had been cooking up dramatic new solutions, they were well-kept secrets. The atmosphere around Ottawa as the Canadian group readied for departure was not hopeful on that front.
Energy policy, however, may be the one key area where the conference can produce some real results. Don't be surprised if Prime Minister Trudeau makes a major effort to get the other leaders to agree on some new formula, whereby the main industrial nations work out a scheme for sharing energy supplies at crisis points in the years ahead.
It is a safe bet that Trudeau will also push particularly hard for a new agreement to bring nuclear power under tighter controls. With the U.S. and Japan both supporters of Ottawa on this, it will be Trudeau's best chance to try to convince the European Community to go along with controls.
The summit will be followed next week by meetings of the Nato governments in London. The heads of the Nato governments plus their Defense and Foreign ministers will spend May 10 dealing with long-standing problems of how to achieve greater standardization in weapons systems, more co-operation and, above all, how to get everybody to spend more.
On May 11, Trudeau and his team head for Paris. Although they will have been hob-nobbing in London with President Giscard d'Estaing, the Paris journey is obviously calculated as a federal offset to the recent visit of Quebec's minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Claude Morin. After his short stay in Paris, Morin is reported to have said that Giscard d'Estaing asked many questions about Quebec's independentiste plans. Morin was also preparing the way for a visit to Paris later this year by Quebec's Premier René Lévesque.
After a courtesy stop this week in Reykjavik in the form of an official dinner with members of the Iceland government, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadian team of officials attending the summit were scheduled to arrive in London May 4.
At all sessions, the leaders will be able to have two of their ministers present. Trudeau was scheduled to take Finance Minister Donald Macdonald and External Affairs' Donald Jamieson - and one note taker, Ivan Head.
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Revised: June 3, 1995
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