161. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Kissinger: I still think the moves in Southeast Asia are right, but Defense is so opposed to them that they would leak them and cause us an enormous problem with the Hill. Then you would have to say a thousand ways what you would not do. This is the worst way to deal with the North Vietnamese.

President: Who in Defense is opposed?

Kissinger: There was no opposition by Defense at the WSAG. It is at the top and designed to put some space between Schlesinger and Vietnam and put the heat on you and me.

The best way to make these moves is quietly.

President: Could we just leave out the F–4s?

[Page 602]

Kissinger: I think any of these moves would give us the same problem. The softest would be the F–4s to the Philippines as a training exercise.

Scowcroft: Or the B–52s to Guam.

President: Why don’t we move the B–52s to Guam?

Kissinger: And the F–4 to the Philippines. Make sure Defense says it is a training exercise.

On the Vietnam supplemental. There are several options: One is the $300 million; Martin wants to go back to the original request.

The Cambodia economic aid we can do by just renewing the PL–480 from the ceiling. There are two ways to go on Cambodia military.

President: If you can avoid going to the Foreign Relations Committees right away, it would help.

Kissinger: You are the best judge of that. I would like $700, but would rather have $300 now than $700 in June.

[Omitted here is discussion not related to Southeast Asia.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 8, 1/13/1975. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.