182. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger1
K: Hello, Mr. President.
P: Hi, Henry. I talked to Al and got a little fill-in because I had to go over some other things with him.
P: And I am glad to hear that we are going all out on this.
K: Oh it is a massive airlift Mr. President. The planes are going to land every 50 (15?) minutes.2
P: That right. Get them in there. And the only addition that I said—I told them to check the European theater to see if there were some of those smaller planes that they need and fly them detailed down there so that they can replace their aircraft losses. And the other thing is that these big planes you can put some of those good tanks—those M 60 tanks on if necessary if that would have some good effect and put a few of them in there too.
K: Right, Mr. President.
P: So in other words don’t—if we are going to do it, don’t spare the horses, just let . . .[Page 518]
K: Actually with the big planes Mr. President we have also flexibility. We can fly the Skyhawks in.
P: Put them on the plane you mean.
K: Yes. I don’t think there is a [another] way—no country will let them overfly.
P: All right. How many can a big plane take?
K: It can take five or six.
P: All right—put some Skyhawks, do that too. You understand what I mean. If we are going to take heat for this well let’s go.
K: I think that is right. And I think Mr. President we discussed this in the group—I think after Al left.3 We can offer to stop the airlift if the Russians do after a ceasefire is signed.
P: Exactly. I think we should say—I think a personal message now should go. I mean you have been sending messages, but one should go from me to Brezhnev saying . . .
K: Everything I am sending too goes in your name.
P: Good. But I think he should know now look here. The peace of not only this area but the whole future relationship is at stake here and we are prepared to stop if you are and we are prepared—you know what I mean. I don’t know—have you got anything developed along those lines so that we just don’t have . . .
K: I have—I am developing it now and I think I could call Dobrynin and point it out to him.
P: Right, right. Put it in a very conciliatory but very tough way that I do this with great regret because—great reluctance but that we cannot have a situation that has now developed and we are prepared to ________ tit for tat. The situation which regard to nothing on the battle so far. [sic]
K: On the battle—it is the Israelis ________ no, that hasn’t been announced yet that they have knocked out 150.
P: And lost 15. Yes I heard that this morning.
K: Something like at 10:30 this morning.
P: The Egyptians . . .
K: Again seem to be heading more south than east and are not really trying to break into the Sinai at this point. So they are just keeping their defensive position of ________ down the coast. And they may be going for ________. But ah . . .
P: Nothing new in Syria.
K: In Syria the Israelis have told us this morning they have stopped their advance on Damascus. They stopped about 20 kilometers short. [Page 519]And they are now heading south for Syrian infantry divisions. There is a report from some foreign correspondents that went up to the front from Damascus on this Syrian side and indicated the Syrian army now was getting to be demoralized and were abandoning equipment. But still Mr. President they are the reason why the Egyptians are holding. Much of the Israeli army is still tied up down there. The estimate of our group was that it would take the Israelis three more days to knock out the Syrians and that they couldn’t really turn to the Egyptians for another four days to five days.
P: What then do we plan then.
K: Well what we plan is to try to get it wound up this week.
P: Well, I know you are going to get it until someone is knocked out. That is the problem. Well at least I feel better. The airlift thing is—as I told Al if I contribute anything to discussion it is the business that don’t fool around with three planes. By golly no matter how big they are. Just go gungho.
K: One of the lessons I have learned from you is that if you do something you might as well do it completely.
P: Do it completely and . . .
K: You never have the choice to do it half out right.
P: Even Jackson will support this. OK. Best of luck.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking. The blank underscores indicate omissions in the original. President Nixon returned to the White House from Camp David at 10 a.m.↩
- The revision in parentheses is correct.↩
- See Document 181.↩