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51. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • Ambassador Dinitz of Israel
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Special Adviser to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Peter Rodman, NSC Staff

Amb. Dinitz: We got a message from our neighbor Hussein. The Prime Minister asked me to bring this to your attention

The King says: “A major international military fiasco in the area is inevitable. Algerian ground units will soon be in Egypt. The Sudanese will also be in Egypt. Morocco will send forces to Syria. Libyan Mirages are already in Egypt. Considerable Iraqi forces will be in Iraq very close to our borders under a united command.

“If Jordan’s fate were in the hands of the Iraqi Commander, Iraqi Lightnings would be in Jordan now, but probably they will end up in another theater. This is the alarming outline I see.”2

Dr. Kissinger: Can I pass this on to our intelligence people?

Amb. Dinitz: [less than 1 line not declassified]

Our remarks are that the information in the King’s message generally confirms our information from other sources. It doesn’t match every detail but it generally checks.

We also know Syrians have a major function in any military act. We also know the Syrians began military preparations.

We also call attention to the fact that Jordan will find itself under pressure from Egypt, Syria and possibly also Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

These are the questions I am supposed to ask you: Do you have such information?

Dr. Kissinger: Not yet.

Amb. Dinitz: I am to ask whether the King has given you such information.

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Dr. Kissinger: I will have to check.

Amb. Dinitz: The third question is whether the Syrians and the Iraqi forces will try to enter Jordan against the will of the King, but unlike 1970, not against his regime but to take positions against Israel.

Dr. Kissinger: What do you think?

Amb. Dinitz: We think the King tends to exaggerate, to be alarmist. But what concerns me is that what this message says we also have similar information.

My concern is whether Syria would do such a thing without the encouragement of the Russians. And there is no evidence of the Russians encouraging this.

Dr. Kissinger: It is not plausible before the Summit.

Amb. Dinitz: Right.

Dr. Kissinger: Egypt is also part of this.

Amb. Dinitz: It seems like part and parcel of the whole strategy, in which Syria will play an important part. Where Egypt might take action independent of the Russians, Syria is much less likely to because of the flow of Soviet arms. It doesn’t seem likely.

If in your absence this develops, whom do I see?

Dr. Kissinger: Scowcroft. You don’t think it is so imminent that we should make contingency plans? I should be here.

Amb. Dinitz: Within a month.

Dr. Kissinger: We will get our intelligence people to check and we will let you know.

Amb. Dinitz: Sisco wants to have lunch with me, alone, on something he heard from the White House. Would this be Russian Jews?

Dr. Kissinger: Maybe the Ismail talks, because the Egyptians leaked it to our Interests Section.3 If he raises Ismail, you can say you got a brief account from the White House. On the Russian Jews, it is up to you.

Amb. Dinitz: If it is in regard to Russian Jews, I won’t talk to them in the same way as to you.

Dr. Kissinger: I really must implore you—

Amb. Dinitz: I really tried hard before the meeting with the President.4

Dr. Kissinger: I knew, I could tell.

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Amb. Dinitz: It is really difficult here, because of the guilt feeling here because of the holocaust. In Israel it is a big issue because Golda has not come out for the Jackson Amendment.

May I say that a meeting between Jackson and the President should take place.

Dr. Kissinger: A private meeting?

Amb. Dinitz: Yes. The Senator is upset that he did not see the President alone.

Dr. Kissinger: I saw him alone. He is the only one who got advance word.

Amb. Dinitz: I have reason to know that if he gets a private meeting he might be willing to redraft the amendment along the lines you suggested—more monitoring than preventive, and eliminate the harassment provisions. It is easier for the Jews.

Dr. Kissinger: I saw Jackson last night and I think he will be reasonable. I wanted to show you my last message to Ismail. [Tab A]5 As you see, I have not committed myself to anything. Just a few general statements.

Amb. Dinitz: Well, there are many many pitfalls along the way.

Dr. Kissinger: Nothing can happen. It is too complex.

Amb. Dinitz: Very interesting his last speech.6 Total withdrawal from any reasonable diplomatic approach. To warn the Soviets against falling into the trap of the U.S. proposal when it was their proposal.

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t think they have any serious interest. Last March, and November, there were no proposals but at least there was some interest. Now it takes weeks to get an answer.

Maybe we should take an initiative, just to make it concrete.

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Amb. Dinitz: Along the lines of negotiations.

Dr. Kissinger: I know your domestic situation, but just to make a concrete proposal.

Amb. Dinitz: There are dangers. It prejudges you in negotiations.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but doing nothing has its dangers too.

Amb. Dinitz: The onus is on them, because we have accepted the two proposals from State put to us.

Dr. Kissinger: It can’t go on indefinitely.

Amb. Dinitz: In Moscow will it come up?

Dr. Kissinger: We will get a two-hour speech.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 135, Country Files, Middle East, Rabin/Dinitz Sensitive Memcons, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place in the Map Room at the White House.
  2. Rodman sent a copy of this message to Scowcroft, commenting that “the Israelis have confirmation of this general situation—though not every detail—from other sources, and want to know if we do. [less than 1 line not declassified] HAK told Dinitz he would have you check and give Dinitz our answer.” Scowcroft wrote: “Done, BS” at the bottom of the page. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 3, Geopolitical File, Jordan, Chronological File, Mar. 73–Sept. 76)
  3. See footnote 5, Document 48.
  4. Dinitz is presumably referring to President Nixon’s meeting with Prime Minister Meir; see Document 35.
  5. Not attached. Brackets in the original. In the May 3 backchannel message, Kissinger proposed moving the meeting to May 18. Kissinger also asked for confirmation that Egypt was prepared “to present more detailed views” at the next meeting of “heads of agreement which could lead to simultaneous negotiations on arrangements for withdrawal from the Suez Canal and on a final settlement.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 131, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. IV)
  6. On May 3, Saunders and Quandt sent Kissinger a memorandum informing him of Sadat’s May Day speech before Kissinger’s forthcoming talks in Moscow. In his speech, Sadat warned his “Soviet friends” that continuing the cease-fire was a U.S. policy that served U.S. and Israeli interests and that the U.S. objective was “to allow Israel to strengthen its presence in the occupied areas, to force Egypt to make concessions, and to weaken Arab solidarity.” The memorandum noted that Sadat was clearly worried that the United States and the Soviet Union had reached an agreement on preserving the status quo in the Middle East and that the bulk of his speech was concerned with urging both countries to become more actively involved in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. (Ibid., Box 1172, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, ME [Middle East], Jarring Talks, May 1, 1973–May 31, 1973 [2 of 3])