302. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco)1

K: Have you had Rabin in?

S: He is on his way in.

K: The President just asked me.

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S: We called him 15 mins. ago. He must be at the Secy’s office. I think the Secy. will have me do it.

K: That’s better.

S: I think that’s how it will work out.

K: Freeman is on his way in to see the Secy.2 Did you get that flash out?

S: Yes. We agree in principle air and ground subject to review later in the day. We have passed the message to the King and urged the King to get in touch with the Israelis. We have asked the King what he thinks of Israeli ground action.3 Air action [omission in the original]. If he disagrees we would want to take that into account. Governing principles which must succeed. How do we define the objective? To force Syria from Jordan.

K: Exactly.

S: We prefer air action but we defer to Israel’s judgment. We strongly prefer in Jordan which is the source rather than in Syria. I will get a cable out reporting it. To Tel Aviv and Amman.4

K: Are you coming to the WSAG?

S: Eventually.

K: What about 5015?5

S: Sit tight. We have two cables in 1 and half hours and they are diametrically opposed.6

K: OK. I will wait.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 30, Chronological Files. No classification marking.
  2. A report on the meeting is in telegram 154587 to London, September 21, 1919Z. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 727, Country Files, Europe, United Kingdom, Vol. III)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 300.
  4. Telegram 154558 to Amman and Tel Aviv, September 21, 1824Z. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 619, Country Files, Middle East, Jordan Crisis)
  5. In telegram 5015 from Amman, September 21, 1435Z, the Embassy reported that the Syrians had occupied all of Irbid and had moved into surrounding villages. The King called for an immediate air strike to alleviate the pressure on the JAA and accepted the possibility of an Israeli air strike against the Syrians, even though he preferred a U.S. air strike. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 ARAB–ISR)
  6. Sisco is referring to telegrams 5015 and 5007 from Amman. Telegram 5007, September 21, 1310Z, preceded telegram 5015 by one hour and 25 minutes. It reported that the situation in Jordan was “better than it was this morning,” with Syrian forces not moving and reports of Syrian tanks withdrawing from Jordan and returning to Syria. (Ibid.)