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33. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Mrs. Meir’s Talks Yesterday

Prime Minister Meir’s talks in Washington yesterday seemed to have had their “ups and downs” and perhaps more of the latter.

She seems to have put her main emphasis on the subject of aircraft.

—In Defense, the discussion seems to have centered on the old argument by the Pentagon that Israel does not really need the aircraft, that it has enough security as is.2

—In State, Mr. Rush confirmed the principle of our ongoing supply relationship, made the point that these large deliveries cause problems for our own air force, and concluded that everything he said should be considered as preliminary comment since she would be seeing the President later.3

Apparently the conversation in State was mainly on these issues with Mr. Rush spending some time describing our impressions on the Hussein and Ismail visits, but she was unbriefed on the ICAO resolution4 and got emotional about that. There was not a great deal of discussion about the question of peacemaking.

In short, she must have ended yesterday with more of a negative than a positive impression. Thus the usual has happened: Instead of trying to create a positive tone of close cooperation as a backdrop for whatever decisions are made, an atmosphere of some contention has been created. This, of course, leaves the President in a position to save [Page 103]the day, but it does not necessarily create confidence in a close relationship between our two governments as well.

I am attaching rough and uncleared summaries from the talks in State and the Pentagon yesterday.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 922, VIP Visits, Israel (Golda Meir’s Visit), 1 Mar. 1973. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. The conversation between Meir and Secretary of Defense Richardson took place on February 28 at 4 p.m. in Richardson’s office. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 135, Country Files, Middle East, Rabin/Kissinger (Dinitz), Jan.–July 1973 [2 of 3])
  3. The conversation between Prime Minister Meir and Acting Secretary of State Kenneth Rush took place on February 28. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Box 922, VIP Visits, Israel (Golda Meir’s Visit), 1 Mar. 1973)
  4. On February 28, the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization voted 105 to 1 (Israel) to condemn the Israeli actions that led to the downing of the Libyan airliner on February 21. U.S. Representative Betty Dillon voted “reluctantly” for the resolution, saying that the United States did not favor prejudging Israel by condemning it before the investigation had begun.
  5. Attached, but not printed.