188. 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

President: I would moderate your comments on Scoop. We want to beat him on decontrol—that would be another kick in the teeth.

Kissinger: Okay. I was thinking of verging on refusal to appear, but I will just stall.

President: I would. Don’t bait him. Say it is better for you to appear before the full committee.

Kissinger: We have a reply from the Soviets.2 Their first was belligerent. This one is more plaintive.

President: This is certainly more moderate.

Kissinger: I think we should set a date for Geneva if we can get Israel to agree. We shouldn’t put Israel under pressure on Syria so soon after this. We could tell Syria the Soviets put so much pressure on we agreed to Geneva.

President: When would it be?

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Kissinger: The important thing is to agree. Then we could slip the date until January.

If Israel had sense it would agree to a significant move on the Golan. That would get Syria off our back for years. They need some symbolic gesture.

President: Okay.

Kissinger: I didn’t know the Polish and Romanian Ministers of Agriculture were coming here. Butz could have helped us there by stopping them.

President: Don3 said Butz didn’t get my messages so I told him to go back to him and make it clear to him. He did it.

Kissinger: If we could let Brezhnev go to the Politburo and say he got five million more tons because of Helsinki.

President: If we can get a deal on grain and freight rates, we would be in good shape.

[Discussion of freight rates and what we can get.]4

[Omitted here is discussion of oil, foreign assistance to Turkey and Egypt, and the U.S. defense budget.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 15. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 185.
  3. Donald Rumsfeld.
  4. Brackets in the original.