177. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and Secretary of Defense Schlesinger1

K: Portuguese have agreed to use of the airfield.2

S: For charters?

K: For anything.

S: Jesus Christ, that’s a surprise. What did you tell them?

K: I just told them we wouldn’t bargain. If they reject we will remember when the crisis against which they want to protect themselves occurs.3 This is for your own personal information.

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S: That means we can go over to charter by Monday . . . continue to fly the stuff into the Azores.

K: One problem you have to remember . . . looks like our diplomatic initiative is coming apart. The British won’t play because Egypt won’t play according to the British. We may be getting into a confrontation posture with the Soviets. Soviets may just figure that if they have the whole Arab world against us . . . you know the 21st armoured division crossed the Canal, we just got the word from the Israelis.

S: . . . leave them alone in the . . . part of the Sinai. When they get out the Israelis will look better.

K: Israelis lined it up. Russians assured me Egypt was lined up.

S: I don’t get the Brits. Why not tell them we are not going to give them any Poseidons or Polaris?

K: No, they’re going to get them anyway, these things have to be done in cold blood. No, don’t share your information yet, do it tomorrow morning.

S: Well, I’m going to tell Clements about the Portuguese. Can I tell you something funny. One hell of a lot of stuff ready to move. We’ve got it on the planes in case we got the word to fly it direct to Israel. Then we found out the stuff was still sitting right here in the United States. We didn’t get a clearance from the State Department. We’ve moved the stuff off to the Azores now, 15 C141s and 3 C58s will be airborne at noon.

K: Moving in to Tel Aviv?

S: Yes, Henry.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 176.
  3. See footnote 6, Document 173.