145. Diary Entry by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer)1
[Omitted here is material unrelated to the Middle East.]
I told Bud the Russians are starting a big airlift into Egypt.[Page 425]
The Saudis are saying that all the Arab countries are in this thing for the first time now, they are even urging Jordan into it. I said Brezhnev is purring about the détente on one hand and saying “lets you and him fight” on the other. They are going around to all of the Arab States and egging them on. We wondered if HAK is really focusing in on the fact that we are about to lose our ass in the MidEast. The Israelis are trying to paint us into a corner as their sponsor and the more they can paint us with a brush the more secure they feel. The Russians are posing as the Arabs’ sponsor which puts them in the cat bird seat. One big difference this time was that the Israelis were not mobilized and did not preempt the strike. Also the other side is better prepared this time than before. It is at best a disaster and at worst a catastrophe. We can not win this one no matter what. I told HAK that this airlift is going to break sooner or later, some sailor that has worked all night is going to squeal.
Bud said the Secretary knew about it and I said he is the one that authorized it when it turned up last night that they had not painted out the insignia, they said to go ahead anyway.
I said one thing I will do is certainly talk to the Chiefs this afternoon about it. Also I told no one on the Joint Staff to talk to the Israelis direct. ISA is their contact point. Bud said that his Service Attachés have been in touch and he is going to tell them to knock it off. I said that it is allright for your intelligence people to talk to them, but not about matériel policy.
Bud said that my request is to get the word to HAK from him in a smooth way that he has cut his Navy in half, created impossible foreign policy situation and he needs a bigger Navy to do it. I told him that the President knows that. The sad part is that the Administration has torn us asunder. Congress wants the authority without the responsibility. There is no question we are in a real pickle on being tied to the Israelis in a disaster.
- Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of Admiral Thomas Moorer, Diary, October 1973. Secret. The entry summarizes Moorer’s 10:48 a.m. telephone conversation with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt.↩