131. 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
- Secretary Kissinger’s Report on His Trip to the Middle East and Europe
[The press was in briefly, and then dismissed.]
Kissinger: Gromyko was very reluctant to talk about his trip.2 Something is funny. I think Congress has ripped it, and it was the reaction here to Vladivostok which did it. They had thought they were doing you a favor.
Wilson said they said they wonder whether there is anyone in the U.S. who can make a binding commitment.
[The group moved to seats at the President’s desk.]
The President: I appreciate being kept up to date.
Kissinger: It is almost too much—Israeli obstructionism, and Syrian, Saudi, and Soviet as well.
Everybody abroad appreciates what you said in your speech.3 You are coming on as a strong courageous leader.
[Omitted here is further discussion of Kissinger’s trip to the Middle East.]
[Kissinger:] The Likud is sort of Fascist. Like Perle. That reminds me—Jackson is making an issue about Romania. He is insisting no MFN without a specific number on emigration. I think we shouldn’t buy it—let him kill it.
If I told the Soviet Union we favored a step with both Egypt and Syria, but would only do Egypt separately and do Syria at Geneva, that would get Faisal off our back. To do it ourselves would be a horrible negotiation and a confrontation with Israel.[Page 517]
The President: I don’t think we can divert you that long.
[Omitted here is discussion of international economic policy and domestic politics.]
Kissinger: On the Soviets. They have noticeably cooled. They didn’t give us a date for the Brezhnev visit. We gave a little on CSCE and they merchandized it in their tawdry way. We have hooks to keep them on the reservation with CSCE and the summit, but the Europeans are going to move to pal up with them. Wilson was floating on air—he is a pal. They are giving the Soviets $2.5 billion in credits; the French are too. And none of it is tied to projects.
The President: Can you mention it tomorrow?4
Kissinger: They are also worried about the Chinese. Gromyko asked me if we would sign a security treaty with the Chinese. The change in our relations is just a nuance—they are still good.
We could have gotten 38,000 Jews out, but now Gromyko won’t promise any figure at all.
On Vladivostok, we are still okay. I also gave him Option III. He liked that very much. I pointed out that the effect would be a ceiling even if only one plane is removed.
I thought maybe we should avoid two meetings close together and have CSCE in July and the summit in September.
The President: That may give us more time on MBFR.
Kissinger: We can work that out as things develop.
[Omitted here is further discussion of international economic policy and domestic politics.]
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 9. Secret; Nodis. All brackets, except those inserted by the editor to indicate omitted passages, are in the original. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.↩
- See footnote 9, Document 127.↩
- Reference is presumably to the State of the Union address, which the President delivered on January 15. For the text, see Public Papers: Ford, 1975, No. 28.↩
- During a breakfast meeting with the President on February 20, Kissinger briefed Congressional leaders on his trip to the Middle East. A memorandum of conversation is in Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 9.↩