30. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • 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: Jackson claims the ball is in your court [on the Trade Bill and emigration].2 That’s nonsense. He was going to call. I think you should call and tell him you can’t go any further. Then either I meet or we all meet to finish it.

President: Which do you think? Would Javits and Ribicoff be there?

Kissinger: That would make it harder for him to say no to you. He is difficult. He took shots at you on television yesterday.

President: I think it would be better at a breakfast.

Kissinger: I can be nastier than you . . . and then you could make a concession after my meeting.

President: If we are going to give a little, that is better.

Kissinger: We can’t give too much. How about calling them saying you can’t give much more and suggest we get together?

President: Did you see that article in the New York Times?3

Kissinger: It had to come from Jackson. I still don’t think we should agree to release . . .

[Page 79]

President: I’ll call.4 Tell him we have been seeing stories that we are reaching agreement and I hope the language I approved is what he agrees to because I can’t go any further.

[Omitted here is discussion of the President’s upcoming trip to Japan and Korea, as well as of Chile, the Middle East, Cyprus, and military assistance to Turkey.]

President: He says he is meeting with Meany Thursday.5 Can you get word to Meany?

Kissinger: Meany is against the Trade Bill but he’ll do what we say. He wants his man on ILO and we have been supporting a UAW guy. I would go with Meany.

President: Give me the choices. If we can help George, we should.

Kissinger: He also wants to send someone to Africa.

President: Find him a place. We need George on our side. Get to Meany. Jackson said he would call after he sees Meany.

[Omitted here is further discussion of military assistance to Turkey, the President’s upcoming speech to the United Nations, and food assistance.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 5. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. The memorandum indicates the meeting began at 9:30 a.m., which is an error. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Ford met with Kissinger and Scowcroft in the Oval Office from 3:17 to 4:20 p.m. (Ibid., White House Office Files) See also footnote 4 below.
  2. Brackets in the original. In a memorandum to Kissinger on September 6, Sonnenfeldt reported: “Eberle, like apparently everyone else in town, has been in touch with Javits and his people. They told him that Jackson’s people are taking the position that the ball is in the President’s court. I told Eberle I was not certain about that since my understanding was that Jackson wanted to talk to Meany and then get back to the President.” (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Trade Bill, Sept–Dec 1974) See Document 26.
  3. Reference is to an article published in The New York Times on September 8 that reported: “At least 60,000 Jews and others could emigrate yearly from the Soviet Union under a compromise plan now under the final stages of negotiation between the Administration and Congress.” (Bernard Gwertzman, “U.S. Devises Plan for Rise in Flow of Soviet Jews,” The New York Times, September 8, 1974, pp. 1, 9)
  4. Jackson called Ford at 3:46 p.m. (Ford Library, White House Office Files, President’s Daily Diary) Although no substantive record of the conversation has been found, a parenthetical note in the omitted passage below reads: “Senator Jackson calls on Trade Bill. The President asks for a positive veto. He is told Congress has to override.”
  5. September 12.