297. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Among President Nixon, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

K: Mr. President.

P: Yes.

K: I have Haig on the line because he has listened in on most of the other conversations—in case you have any questions and in case I am not exactly accurate, he can correct me.

P: Okay.

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K: I have been talking to the Secretary of State and to Mr. Laird.2 Laird is basically with the decision. He just wanted to check some of the Defense Department Intelligence to make sure that the situation is as bad as we believe it is. Bill has two views: (1) he feels we ought to have a meeting of your principal advisers and (2) he raises a number of objections such as if the Israelis are not going to move before tomorrow morning anyway, why do they have to know now? Why don’t we wait until during the day to make our final decision? Well, the answer to that is that they are committed once they start mobilizing. They have to mobilize in order to do this. And if we put it to them on this basis—of course if things happen during the day, we can always go back to them but—(interrupted by P)

P: That doesn’t mean anything. It is alright for him to raise it. We can always go back to him. But I understand—that is just a delaying tactic.

K: Exactly. And (interrupted by P)

P: Just putting off until tomorrow what you have to decide today.

K: Then he says there is no evidence that the Syrians are moving south. This is true but the estimate now is 300 tanks. We just checked recent intelligence. There is also another indication and I don’t know how reliable that intelligence is. Al, do you know how reliable this information is?

H: This is an Israeli report.

K: That the Iraqis are getting ready to move and we have had a new appeal from the King which says that we have his advice and authority to land if the situation in Amman deteriorates and in order to protect our people. One of the problems we will face, Mr. President, is that we may come up within 24 hours to the decision to implement our evacuation plan.

P: Yes.

K: And we should not get the Israeli moves and ours confused, if we implement our evacuation plan. In my judgment, we will be forced to ask the Israelis to help then anyway. But at any rate, the first (interrupted by P)

P: Yes, I get the point. Now what is the question?

K: The question is do you want to have a meeting.

P: I have no objection to a meeting.

K: I think given all the leaks that will occur if you refuse a meeting, it is (interrupted by P)

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P: He hasn’t changed about the necessity for it? What is the trouble? He hasn’t changed his view about approving it—he approved it last night.

K: He approved it last night but then—well, what seems to be new in his mind is that the Syrians are moving south. Al, can you make out?

H: And the fact that they have come back and want to use ground operations.

P: Yes, well, a ground operation does pose a problem.

H: Now Sisco said that in his view the die is cast and that we should support the Israelis’ proposal unless it is changed but that is what he said before.3

P: Okay, yes, yes. Why don’t you have a meeting at 9 o’clock. How is that?

K: Well, Mr. President, we have got to get back to the Israelis. It is already getting close to the time we said we would. Could we do it a little earlier?

P: Well, yes, I suppose.

K: Because everyone is up anyway.

P: Well, yes, alright. Have you got them all together? 8 o’clock is alright with me. Who the hell does he want to have on that meeting?

K: I think it should be just you, Laird. I guess we might as well have the Chairman.

P: Moorer, sure.

K: And I guess we could have Cushman.

P: We don’t need him.

K: That’s all we need.

P: We should also have Sisco and Haig there.

K: Yes, and Packard was in on some of the other meetings.

P: He should be there.

K: I will get them all lined up.

P: The ones that have been working on it all the time.

K: Right, Mr. President. I will get it lined up. If there is any delay— maybe we should make it 8:30 so that you don’t have to wait unnecessarily.

P: Just so we make sure they are all there, why don’t you make it 8:30?4

K: Right, Mr. President.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 30, Chronological Files. No classification marking. The time is handwritten.
  2. See Documents 295 and 296.
  3. See Document 293.
  4. See Document 299.