119. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Gerald R. 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: We had a reply from the Soviets.2 They will not agree to modify the trade agreement. They will reject any statement that MFN helps emigration. It is a tough note, saying they are dispensed from their obligations under the 1972 agreement.

President: This throws out the lend-lease payment.

Kissinger: Absolutely. Now we must figure out how to notify the Congress. Their rejection is just in your channel. We could do it formally through Art Hartman; then you could inform the leadership. Or we could put it out through State.

President: My inclination is to notify the Congress through a note about the notification to State.

Kissinger: We have to worry about Jackson. Javits says he is the most ruthless politician he knows. He may try to put on even more restrictions, but will have lost his following.

[Page 442]

I will have to think about how to put it out. I am meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.3

President: You shouldn’t announce it there.

Kissinger: Maybe if we could get it in the paper Thursday morning. I told Javits it might fail and he said hold up for a month and he would try to get a billion.

President: I don’t think we should. This is a good way to highlight the problem with the Congress that we are trying to point out.

[Omitted here is discussion of foreign economic assistance and domestic politics.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 8. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. Document 117.
  3. January 15.