39. 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 Affair

[Omitted here is discussion of Latin America, in particular the President’s meeting that morning with Argentine Foreign Minister Vignes.]

[Kissinger:] With Gromyko, I would make it only half an hour. I would push SALT a little bit. As you talked about yesterday,2 if the arms keep multiplying, that will affect our relations over the coming period. So the next three months are critical. We can’t justify to the American people this racing. And in a race it is difficult to say you are even, and the attempt will be to keep an edge.

On emigration, they won’t accept the numbers and they won’t specify a delay time in national security cases. You might think about getting Javits, Jackson and Ribicoff in before you finalize. Termination in April ’76 would be politically hard. Jackson is putting out that we are close to an agreement.

President: This morning he said it had broken down.

Kissinger: You must be on record with them on what you can do and what you can’t do.

Gromyko said the Jews are great at raising a public relations crisis for publicity.

President: I couldn’t see the relationship of the bulldozer story.3

Kissinger: The Russians are crude boors—but abstract art is banned and it was therefore moved off.

You must get it into their heads you are a tough guy. They are measuring you for a crisis.

But you should tell them if there is a race we must be first.

[Page 123]

[Omitted here is discussion of the President’s schedule, including Ford’s meeting that afternoon with Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 6. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Ford met with Kissinger there from 10:35 to 11:50 a.m.; Scowcroft joined the meeting at 10:40. (Ibid., White House Office Files)
  2. See Document 37.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 35.