[Page 324]

112. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting1

SUBJECT

  • Middle East

PARTICIPANTS

  • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
  • State
  • Kenneth Rush
  • Joseph Sisco
  • Robert McCloskey
  • DOD
  • James Schlesinger
  • James Noyes
  • Jerry W. Friedheim
  • JCS
  • Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
  • CIA
  • William Colby
  • NSC Staff
  • Major Gen. Brent Scowcroft
  • William Quandt
  • Jeanne W. Davis
  • Treasury
  • William Simon

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

It was agreed that:

1) the Carrier Task Force in Athens will be ordered to proceed to the eastern end of Crete;

2) any reply to the Israeli request for equipment would be delayed until Monday or Tuesday;2

3) State will prepare a report on the status of plans for evacuation of Americans from the area, should this become necessary;

4) a Task Force under the direction of Mr. Sisco will prepare a coordinated, detailed contingency scenario for a possible move into Libya to rescue American citizens;

5) a coordinated study will be prepared by State, Treasury and the NSC on various contingencies involving an oil cut-off and our choices in each contingency;3

6) press statements will be coordinated by Bob McCloskey at State until the return of Ron Ziegler, when coordination will transfer to the White House; if asked about 6th Fleet movements, Defense will confirm the movements but say we do not discuss details of such move[Page 325]ments; if asked about American citizens, we will say that the need for evacuation has not arisen but that we have contingency plans and are ready to act.

Mr. Kissinger: Bill (Colby), may we have your briefing? I have already read your latest situation report. (attached)4 Has everyone read it? If so, maybe we don’t need a briefing.

Mr. Colby: I’ll just summarize briefly. The Egyptians did make some progress over the Canal. They also carried out some helicopter operations and lost some in the process. Things have quieted down some now with nightfall.

Adm. Moorer: They lost 4 out of 15 in one group and 6 out of 10 in another.

Mr. Kissinger: Eban told me the Egyptians lost 15 helos.5 How many men does that mean?

Mr. Schlesinger: 30 per aircraft.

Mr. Colby: Israel’s defense on the Canal isn’t a line defense—it’s a series of bunkers.

Mr. Kissinger: How long will it take Israel to push them out?

Mr. Colby: A couple of days.

Mr. Kissinger: Tom (Moorer), do you agree?

Adm. Moorer: Yes. Israel will start working on them about 1:00 a.m. our time when it gets light.

Mr. Kissinger: How did they pull off such a surprise?

Mr. Colby: Because they had had this exercise going for the last few days, and there had been a lot of activity, much of it unimportant.

Adm. Moorer: They have done it before. They have moved their forces up to the Canal and have sent raiding parties across. They have even exercised this bridge operation. [less than 1 line not declassified]

Mr. Colby: On the Golan Heights the Israelis appear to have contained them.

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Mr. Kissinger: Eban told me an Israeli outpost on Mount Hermon was surrounded.

Mr. Colby: The Israelis now claim to have retaken Mount Hermon.

Adm. Moorer: The Syrian tanks got in a minefield up there and had heavy losses. For what it’s worth, Soviet naval forces in the Mediterranean are still in a routine disposition. The flagship is steaming east, but the rest of the ships are pretty well distributed throughout the area. (Displayed maps showing disposition of Soviet and U.S. fleet units in Mediterranean).

Mr. Kissinger: (referring to map) Our ships are sure as hell distributed throughout the area. You have called the men back to their ships?

Adm. Moorer: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: The President wants to start moving them east. We can hold them around Crete.

Adm. Moorer: Do you want us to get them underway? That will be quite visible.

Mr. Kissinger: That’s what he wants.

Mr. Schlesinger: Do you want both Task Forces to move? It will take about [less than 1 line not declassified] to get the one from Spain.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s keep the one in Athens until we get the other one further east.

Mr. Schlesinger: If you want to keep some ability in the area, we should move the one out of Athens. If you want visibility, we should move the one out of Spain.

Mr. Kissinger: It will be visible either way.

Mr. Schlesinger: You will be sending a clear signal either way. You may want to send that signal without necessarily moving deeper into the area.

Mr. Kissinger: Then let’s move the one out of Athens. We may move the other one tomorrow, but for today let’s move the Athens part.

Adm. Moorer: Do you want to move the carrier task force only?

Mr. Kissinger: What else do we have there?

Adm. Moorer: We’ve got an amphibious force—9 ships—that were there for that exercise.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s move only the carrier task force. Don’t move the amphibious ships yet. Where are the amphibians?

Adm. Moorer: In Pireus with the carrier force.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s keep the amphibious there.

Mr. Schlesinger: It depends on where you think you might want to use them. If there is any trouble, I think it will be in Libya.

Gen. Scowcroft: Isn’t part of that amphibious force a helo carrier?

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Adm. Moorer: Yes, the Guadalcanal.

Mr. Kissinger: It seems most logical to move the carrier task force.

Adm. Moorer: To Crete.

Mr. Kissinger: Is that closer or further away?

Adm. Moorer: It’s half-way between Tripoli and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s move toward the eastern end of Crete. Then if the situation is worse tomorrow, we can start moving the amphibious force. Later, if necessary, we can move the Western task force.

Adm. Moorer: I agree that the most likely evacuation area will be here. (indicating Libya on map)

Mr. Kissinger: But we may have to stand the Soviets off somewhere. There is no sign of that yet, but they may trigger themselves. Is either Arab state going to suffer a catastrophic defeat if the war continues?

Adm. Moorer: My personal view is that Israel will take advantage of the opportunity to severely punish Syria, by flanking movements and other means. Also, there are 2000 Moroccan soldiers in the southwest part of Syria who might get involved. I think the Israelis will see how many casualties they can inflict but I don’t think they will go to Damascus.

Mr. Kissinger: If the Arabs suffer a real debacle, the Soviets may have difficulty staying out.

Mr. Colby: We may have the answer tonight. Israeli air can thoroughly punish Syrian military capability.

Adm. Moorer: I think they’ll try to force the Egyptians back across the Canal, then stop.

Mr. Kissinger: How long will that take?

Adm. Moorer: A couple of days in the south. A little longer in the north.

Mr. Kissinger: How many Egyptians got across?

Adm. Moorer: About 20,000. They have been coming across at night. They try to do everything they can in darkness to escape the Israeli air. In the morning there will be a heavy Israeli air strike and the Egyptians have no place to hide.

Mr. Colby: The real question is whether Israel will confine itself to this or whether they will go further inland.

Mr. Schlesinger: It will be an abortive effort by the Egyptians. Whether or not it is a debacle depends on how soon it can be terminated. The Israelis will focus first on the Egyptians then will turn to the Syrians up north.

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Mr. Colby: Remember this is the third round for the Soviets in providing equipment for Egypt. They might get a bit desperate.

Adm. Moorer: The Soviets haven’t taken any military action that we know about.

Mr. Schlesinger: Quite the contrary.

Mr. Kissinger: What sort of action do you envisage over the next two days?

Mr. Colby: Elimination of the Egyptian bridgeheads, continued fighting and extension into Syria.

Adm. Moorer: And heavy air activity.

Mr. Kissinger: But no breakthrough? In previous wars, the Israelis have had a breakthrough within 36 hours. Not now?

Mr. Colby: It’s a different situation.

Adm. Moorer: We had one report of a Kelt missile fired at Tel Aviv. If Tel Aviv is bombed, Israel might go for Cairo. But I think they will remove the bridgeheads, hold east of the Canal and then wax the Syrians up north.

Mr. Kissinger: Can they do this?

Adm. Moorer: I think so. Also they will attack the Frog missiles and the SAMs in Egypt.

Mr. Rush: I estimate that within a day or two a ceasefire with return to the status quo ante will be in order.

Adm. Moorer: A ceasefire will be easier to bring about in Egypt than in Syria. The ceasefire line will be restored more quickly in the south than in the north.

Mr. Kissinger: All right. First we have a number of practical things, then I’d like to discuss the political issues and our general strategy. What about evacuation?

Mr. Sisco: We have sent an alert message to our missions telling them to take preliminary precautions.6 Assuming the military scenario goes as you describe, the frustration level will be pretty high in the Arab world. If their military activity is choked off, the danger of our missions increases substantially. We need to examine closely what we can do.

Mr. Kissinger: Have you checked with the Embassies to see that their plans are all in order?

Mr. Sisco: We have done that.

Mr. Kissinger: Are there any technical problems?

Mr. Sisco: The Task Force is working on that right now.

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Adm. Moorer: I’ve talked to General Lee and told him to review the evacuation plans with emphasis on Lebanon and Libya.

Mr. Schlesinger: We should think about Dhahran, too.

Mr. Sisco: And Morocco.

Mr. Kissinger: We’ll have another WSAG meeting tomorrow.7 Can you have a report by then?

Mr. Sisco: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: If the situation gets out of hand, we may want to put some additional forces into the Mediterranean. Do we know where they are?

Adm. Moorer: We’ve got that. The Kennedy is in the North Sea.

Mr. Kissinger: How long will it take to get it to the Mediterranean?

Adm. Moorer: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Mr. Schlesinger: There’s no reason why it can’t steam to Gibraltar.

Mr. Kissinger: It’s too early for that. We don’t want to excite the Russians.

Adm. Moorer: The Kennedy, 8 destroyers and 1 cruiser—they can be there [less than 1 line not declassified].

Mr. Kissinger: We may want to do that tomorrow.

Adm. Moorer: We also have an amphibious ready group in San Juan. That could be there in [less than 1 line not declassified]. This is a battalion—the same as in Athens. We had two battalions in Athens because of the exercise, but one Marine group was in reserve so they have been removed. But we have one ready group that we could fly back into Athens right away.

Mr. Kissinger: I’m just looking at various means of escalation. We have the task force in the Western Mediterranean, we could move the Kennedy south, and we have the amphibious unit in Puerto Rico. We have plenty to move.

Mr. Schlesinger: We also have our forces in Europe and we have the 82nd Airborne.

Adm. Moorer: We have one 82nd ready company now, one brigade in [less than 1 line not declassified] and the entire division in [less than 1 line not declassified].

Mr. Kissinger: Could you compress that to [less than 1 line not declassified]?

Adm. Moorer: We could compress it some. We have the unit in Germany, too: one air-borne infantry company in [less than 1 line not de[Page 330]classified] plus travel time; one airborne battalion and one brigade in [less than 1 line not declassified] plus travel time.

Mr. Schlesinger: You would have political problems in moving troops out of Germany.

Adm. Moorer: I’ve contacted all the commanders of the 82nd Airborne and our naval forces in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. They’re ready to move when they get the word.

Mr. Kissinger: It’s still a little premature. As long as the commanders know and are at maximum readiness without calling people back onto base.

Adm. Moorer: The only callback is the 6th Fleet.

Mr. Kissinger: That’s what we want. How would we get the 82nd Airborne in?

Adm. Moorer: Fly them in [less than 1 line not declassified].

Mr. Schlesinger: It would be easier through [less than 1 line not declassified].

Mr. Kissinger: Could they go directly from [less than 1 line not declassified]?

Adm. Moorer: In the Jordanian crisis we went [less than 1 line not declassified]. But Joe (Sisco) has [less than 1 line not declassified] so mad at us, they may not let us this time.

Mr. Sisco: (to Mr. Kissinger) I did think [less than 1 line not declassified] seemed a little prickly last night.

Mr. Schlesinger: [less than 1 line not declassified] has more fish to fry in the Arab world. It might be easier through [less than 1 line not declassified].

Mr. Kissinger: [less than 1 line not declassified] should be happy to do it since I refused to see their Foreign Minister.

Mr. Sisco: What about our public posture?

Mr. Kissinger: We’ll talk about that later. We’ll get McCloskey and Friedheim in for that. What about intelligence flights? I’m inclined to think we should stand down our routine flights off shore.

Adm. Moorer: We’ve backed off from [less than 1 line not declassified].

Mr. Kissinger: Right. Do we have a U–2 flight scheduled?

Mr. Colby: No. [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Colby: [2 lines not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: [less than 1 line not declassified]

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Mr. Colby: [1½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: Let me bring you up to date on our diplomatic activity. If you have any comments, I will pass them to the President. The first thing I heard was at 6:00 this morning when I got the cable from (Ambassador) Keating on his conversation with the Prime Minister. I called Eban, Dobrynin, Zayyat, and the Israeli man here. I told them if Israel took preemptive action, we would oppose them. I told the Arabs not to move. Israel came back in about an hour and promised not to take preemptive action. I told the Egyptians and the Soviets this, but an hour later the action started. We also made an approach to Faisal and Hussein to use their influence. The Saudis have already published their rejection. Our major effort was to see how we could get it quieted down. Our major problems were 1) the position of the UN; 2) the general U.S. stance; and 3) the Soviet Union. Ideally we would like to deal with the matter jointly with the Soviet Union to get a ceasefire and a restoration of the status quo ante. But the Arabs in their demented state are opposed to the phrase “status quo ante.” In three days, they will be begging us for it. But our problem is to get a position we can stand on for a few days. The Arabs are opposed to a Security Council meeting. They want to go to the General Assembly. The Europeans were all in favor of the Security Council until they ran into a little Arab opposition. Now they want informal consultations. At noon today, the British were begging me for condemnation of the Arabs, but now they want a simple ceasefire declaration.8 If we don’t get this into the Security Council, we will find ourselves in the General Assembly by Monday. The Arabs have indicated they will inscribe themselves for debate on Monday. They have told Secretary General Waldheim that the time on Monday depends on the military situation,9 which is a truly cynical approach.

If that happens, the situation will get out of control. First because of the Sino-Soviet dispute. Then, the Soviets will be driven by the non-aligned countries and the non-aligned countries are driven by the Arabs. We must get into the Security Council before it gets to the General Assembly. Then we can stone-wall in the General Assembly on the basis that the matter is in the hands of the Security Council. We have tried to get a common approach with the Soviets but they have difficulty with getting the Arabs to withdraw from the areas that were conquered. They haven’t given us their last word on this, though.

Mr. Schlesinger: How about a joint position on a ceasefire?

Mr. Kissinger: Yes, but Israel won’t accept it until the Egyptians and Syrians are thrown out. We’ll have the situation where a Security [Page 332]Council resolution will be used against the victim. This will teach aggressors that they can launch an attack, then call for a Security Council resolution for a cease-fire and, if it is not accepted, call for its use against the victim. This makes the UN a completely cynical exercise. The Israelis will go to an all-out attack, get a ceasefire resolution drafted, grab as much territory as they can, then accept the ceasefire. If the Arabs were not demented, they will realize that in the long term, and I mean by Wednesday. . . . If we can go in with a ceasefire resolution which Israel can accept, then we could use it against Israel if necessary. And the Soviets won’t get the credit for stopping the fighting.

So our strategy is to go in with a ceasefire, status quo ante resolution. We will let the military situation go on until all parties want to grab the resolution.

Mr. Schlesinger: Even Israel?

Mr. Kissinger: If it is done with the concurrence of Israel, they can’t very well ask us to pull it back.

Mr. Colby: If the Israelis have moved far ahead, we will have a bargaining point.

Mr. Kissinger: Even if Israel wins, we will stick to the resolution. If we can force Israel out of their forward position, it will be a good point with the Arabs—if Israel gets beyond the ceasefire line.

Mr. Colby: Israel isn’t interested in territory this time. They’re interested in beating up the Arab forces.

Mr. Kissinger: This is a very critical period in our relations with the Soviets. If the Soviets get themselves into an anti-U.S. or an anti-Israel position, they can kiss MFN and the other things goodby. If we can get joint action, it might turn the situation around. They have a big stake in this. But if it gets into the General Assembly, the non-aligned countries are more anti-American than the Communists. The Non-aligned Conference passed 18 resolutions, of which 10 were violently anti-American and not one was supportive of the U.S. In the General Assembly we would have to be very tough. Our forum is the Security Council.

Mr. Colby: Is there an argument with the Soviets that their real interest lies with us and not with the crazy Arabs?

Mr. Kissinger: If anyone here can come up with a concrete proposal for the Soviets by about 10:00 p.m. this evening, it might get accepted. The Arabs and possibly the Soviets have been somewhat duplicitous. We had even discussed a schedule of negotiations—the next round in November and another in January. But that isn’t important. We hadn’t a prayer in the negotiations for a final settlement. One of the things we can offer Israel is some U.S. guarantee in return for withdrawal from some territory. This might give us a better opportunity to [Page 333]make the guarantee look real, unless Israel steps across the ceasefire line.

Mr. Colby: If they agree to step back, we can give them the guarantee.

Mr. Kissinger: Are there any different views?

Mr. Schlesinger: Israel has requested a fairly substantial amount of military assistance. Their only real shortage is in mortar rounds.

Adm. Moorer: They’ve also asked for trucks and Sidewinder missiles.

Mr. Schlesinger: We can delay on this. Our shipping any stuff into Israel blows any image we may have as an honest broker.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s wait until tomorrow.

Mr. Schlesinger: We can hold off until Monday or Tuesday.

Mr. Rush: They have no real shortages. They plan better than that.

Mr. Schlesinger: I have one further question. Suppose Qadhafi begins to misbehave tomorrow?

Mr. Kissinger: What constitutes misbehaviour?

Mr. Schlesinger: Attacks on Americans sanctioned by the Government. We can expect him to nationalize the oil companies, sweeping aside the negotiations.

Mr. Rush: And the law prevents anyone engaged in operating a nationalized property from leaving the country.

Mr. Kissinger: What can we do?

Mr. Schlesinger: If he nationalizes, nothing. The real problem would be attacks on Americans. Then the question is if we go in just to rescue Americans or to stay.

Mr. Kissinger: We wouldn’t get any Congressional amendment cutting off funds for that. Do we have a plan to get in?

Mr. Schlesinger: The Marines would take Wheelus Field and start flying in troops.

Mr. Kissinger: Could they hold Wheelus?

Adm. Moorer: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: Then fly in the 82nd Airborne?

Mr. Schlesinger: Yes, or troops from Germany. There would be some short and long-term costs, but maybe some benefits, too.

Mr. Kissinger: The worst thing would be for the U.S. to come out looking as though our domestic difficulties had paralyzed us.

Mr. Schlesinger: But we have to wait for provocation. Otherwise it will look like 1956.

Mr. Kissinger: But we wouldn’t move just for nationalization.

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Mr. Colby: If we mounted anything more than a pure rescue mission, we would be in difficulty with the Soviets and in oil.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s get a coordinated, detailed contingency plan on what happens if we go into Libya. Alex Johnson was a master at this. Let’s get a spread sheet, showing what agency is responsible for what, who has to be notified, what landing rights are required and when do we ask for them, when should we go to the Portuguese, etc. Let’s get this by tomorrow night. From the time the first order is given until the 82nd Airborne is all in. (to Mr. Sisco) Joe, will you get a Task Force together to do this, with Defense, JCS and CIA.

Mr. Sisco: Yes, you all let me know whom we should work with.

Mr. Kissinger: What if oil supplies are cut off? What do we do?

Mr. Schlesinger: It depends on the kind of cut-off. If they cut off the U.S., it would be a failure. Qadhafi can do anything. They have a 60-day supply in Europe.

Mr. Rush: There would be no real problem for us.

Mr. Simon: Do you believe Libya would cut off the 300,000 barrels a day? Just against us?

Mr. Rush: They all exchange oil so freely that it wouldn’t work.

Mr. Schlesinger: Qadhafi would just go into a rage and cut off everything.

Mr. Simon: You say Europe has a 60-day supply, but I don’t believe it. If they do, it’s like our 80-day supply which really isn’t that, because we can’t move it from place to place, it gets bogged down in pockets, etc.

Mr. Kissinger: So what happens?

Mr. Colby: The Europeans will scream.

Mr. Simon: The European fear of a cut-off might create an export embargo by the European Community.

Mr. Colby: A refining embargo.

Mr. Simon: We need this fuel oil to heat this winter.

Mr. Kissinger: What do we do?

Mr. Schlesinger: Begin to ration.

Mr. Simon: If there is a cut-off, we’re already there.

Mr. Kissinger: We need to get an understanding of what will happen, and of what our choices are in each contingency. Who could do what? What does the U.S. Government do and with whom? Could we get this by tomorrow night.

Mr. Simon: Whom shall I work with.

Mr. Kissinger: Roy Atherton and Brent Scowcroft. What time shall we meet tomorrow?

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Adm. Moorer: The afternoon will give us more time to work.

Mr. Kissinger: 5:00 p.m.?

Mr. Sisco: Also it will be dark by that time and we can assess the activities of the day.

Mr. Colby: Tomorrow’s events will be from 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., our time.

Mr. Kissinger: We’ll keep you informed through Scowcroft if anything dramatic occurs.

Mr. Schlesinger: What about the movement of forces?

Mr. Kissinger: If I hear from the Soviets in the morning, I’ll be in touch with you.

Adm. Moorer: I’ll be home all day and will stay in touch with Jim (Schlesinger). We’ll work it out.

Mr. Kissinger: I don’t see the need for moving a lot of forces. Even a little move would be picked up, wouldn’t it?

Adm. Moorer: You bet!

Mr. Schlesinger: What if Qadhafi goes on a rampage?

Mr. Kissinger: Then we’ll get the Marines moving.

Let’s get the public affairs people in. If we can get our resolution in, it might even be easier for the Russians to back us if Israel has crossed the ceasefire line. I think the Russians have no doubt who will win.

(Messrs. McCloskey and Friedheim joined the meeting)

Mr. Kissinger: Until Ziegler gets back, Bob McCloskey will give general guidance. He will tell everyone what we propose to say and everyone should clear any statements with him. When Ziegler gets back, the coordination will be done out of the White House. In New York, we have been talking in general terms without going in detail.

Mr. McCloskey: We have said nothing officially in New York. With regard to a Security Council meeting, we have said we are not opposed and that this is the subject of consultation among the Security Council members. I have traced the chronology of events and have implied we were misled—that throughout the Secretary’s many conversations with Arab leaders there was no indication that the build-up was anything other than defensive. I have said that we had some independent reports and we ran them back through our own channels and were satisfied. The first indication we had was one report last night, then the word at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Our first step was to undertake diplomatic consultations to try to prevent the outbreak of fighting. Once the fighting had begun, we urged restraint on all parties. I have underscored throughout that the Secretary is carrying out the instructions of the President. I said there was a WSAG meeting earlier today and the press is aware of this meeting.

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Mr. Kissinger: Defense will be questioned about the movement of forces. We should say yes, they are moving.

Adm. Moorer: We’ve already been asked about the callback for 6th Fleet personnel. We said it was precautionary.

Mr. Schlesinger: We can say they are putting to sea as a precautionary measure in order to be more ready if called on.

Mr. Kissinger: Let’s make it as bland as possible. There should be no speculation on our UN activity or anything else.

Mr. Sisco: Who will put this out?

Mr. Kissinger: We should wait until Defense is asked about it, then have them reply. We shouldn’t volunteer.

Mr. Schlesinger: We don’t need to.

Adm. Moorer: Shall I instruct the commanders now to say the move is precautionary, or do you want them to come back here?

Mr. Schlesinger: They had better “no comment” and come back here. Jerry Friedheim can handle it.

Mr. McCloskey: If we’re that explicit, it might raise the level. I think we should just say we don’t discuss fleet movements. It depends on the effect you want.

Mr. Kissinger: If we say we don’t discuss fleet movements, that implies we’re moving. It sounds more mysterious and that might be better for us.

Mr. McCloskey: If you’re more explicit and go into the Security Council, it just gives people another thing to hammer you on.

Mr. Friedheim: We can confirm that the ships have moved, but say we don’t discuss details of fleet movements.

Mr. Schlesinger: When would they move?

Adm. Moorer: I was going to tell them tomorrow morning—at 9:00 a.m. their time.

Mr. Kissinger: That’s 2:00 a.m. our time so, by tomorrow morning, the move will be known.

Adm. Moorer: I will say in the morning of October 7 move to a holding area southeast of Crete. Then we can say we don’t discuss the details of fleet movements.

Mr. Schlesinger: The problem is that they might infer that the ships are moving into the area itself. Of course, we may want them to think that.

Mr. Kissinger: We mustn’t be too defensive. Then every time they move further east, there will be trouble. I can live with the statement about a precautionary measure, but I think it’s best to say we don’t discuss fleet movements. Some people will scream, but we can talk later about evacuation if we want to.

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Adm. Moorer: If one force stays in port, it’s not the same as if the whole Fleet were moving.

Mr. McCloskey: What about American citizens?

Mr. Kissinger: We should say we have contingency plans. That the need hasn’t arisen for evacuation, but we are ready to act.

Adm. Moorer: I told Senator Fulbright that we constantly maintained our contingency plans.

Mr. Kissinger: We can say we are getting our evacuation plans in order. We’ll meet at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 129, Country Files, Middle East, Nodis/Cedar/Plus, 1971–1974. Top Secret; Nodis; Codeword. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. October 8 or 9.
  3. This paper was discussed at the October 7 WSAG meeting; see Document 121.
  4. Attached, but not printed.
  5. At 6 p.m. on October 6, Eban provided Kissinger with a report over the telephone of the current military situation: “The Syrian advance fell because of nightfall. A garrison surrounded at Mount Hermon. No communication with the people in it. We have destroyed sixty tanks. A number of ours are out of action. Syrians have fired three missiles of the Frog type.” Later in the conversation, Eban reported that Israel remained in a difficult position on the Egyptian front: “Have a bridgehead and during the night will try to pass forces over them. They shot one air-to-ground missile toward Tel Aviv. One of our aircraft shot it down—brought it down—while still in the air. Brought down about fifteen helicopters. Lost three aircraft on the Egyptian front. Fifty killed and 140 wounded.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22) Printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 62–63.
  6. See footnote 8, Document 103.
  7. See Document 121.
  8. Kissinger spoke on the telephone with Sir Donald Maitland at 11:35 a.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22)
  9. Waldheim summarized his talk with Zayyat during a 1:20 p.m. telephone conversation with Kissinger. (Ibid.)