6. Conversation Between President Nixon and Army Vice Chief of Staff (Haig)1

Nixon: The point, though, is this: Let’s take a problem like the Mideast. Now, you know very well that on the Mideast, while Henry talks about it in terms of the Soviet thing and the rest, he goes up the wall about Sisco, that Henry’s filibustered the Mideast for almost four years, too, because he is totally attacking what the Jewish agenda wants.Now, he really is. He really is. What I am trying to say is this: That we’ve got to take it. We can’t let State handle the Mideast; they’ll screw it up. But, we have got to handle it here, but I just can’t see Henry doing it. Now, I told him and practically choked right after the election. I said, “Henry, the time has now come that we’ve got to squeeze the old woman.”2 [unclear] 38 percent of the vote, but I said, “Screw the vote.” I said, “We’re doing this for the United States.” Do you agree or not?

Haig: Well, I agree. [unclear] I think right now we could stir up a hornet’s nest there.

Nixon: Screw them. To—to squeeze the—Mrs. Meir? What do you mean? She’s going to attack?

Haig: Well, we’re in a situation now where with Sadat he’s in deep trouble. We are going to have to do something, but I think that we should [unclear] very careful [unclear]. Sadat may not survive this one. [unclear] more conservative [unclear]. State has carried out two times in past four years what they were [unclear].

Nixon: Yeah. Oh, I know that. I have no confidence in State. I’m just saying, too, though, Henry has somewhat of a blind spot here, because he doesn’t want to do anything with the Israelis except reassure them and get them more arms. Well, now, the Israelis need a little restraint here, too, Al.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Conversation No. 404–6. No classification marking. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon met with Haig in the Executive Office Building between 9:29 and 9:50 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files) The editors transcribed the portion of the conversation printed here specifically for this volume.
  2. Golda Meir.