100. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel
- Ambassador Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the U.S.
- President Gerald R. Ford
- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Rabin: I want to give you a letter from those people who have relatives in the Soviet Union. I was asked to do this.
President: We are working hard and are making headway.
Rabin: Presidents Taft and Teddy Roosevelt visited Tsarist Russia about the stories about discrimination there.
President: I notice here the Zalmonson case. She has been released.
We would like help on the Trade Bill.
Rabin: I had a meeting with the Senators. I kept out of it, and said we couldn’t speak to the trade bill.
Kissinger: The Soviet Union won’t accept a positive renewal each year.
President: If Dinitz could help. We want a bill.
Rabin: Jackson and Javits said they were on the verge of agreement.
President: Not exactly. We need some help.
I understand that you and Secretary Kissinger have discussed the [military aid] list I proposed.2 It is because I feel so strongly about your security that I have your higher items of priority here and the money wanted. It is a reflection of my attitude.
Rabin: We all appreciate the time you have taken. Without your decision we wouldn’t have gotten this. There were certain other items . . .[Page 421]
President: Henry is going to check it out. We will do what we can.
Rabin: We didn’t stress the F–4’s, the big difficult items. It is mostly ammunition and other general equipment. We face very sophisticated systems—much more than in Vietnam. We think we need your advanced technology to offset the advanced technology of the Soviet Union, which is going to our neighbors.
President: There is the laser item which you consider high-priority. One item caught my eye—50 additional tanks. I will make that without further reference. We will check out the report.
Rabin: It is difficult to find the right words to express our need for the right weapons to defend ourselves.
Dinitz: We really appreciate it. We have been working for years on this.
President: We think it is essential that we affirm progress with respect both to Egypt and Jordan.
Rabin: We are ready to enter every effort to move toward a political settlement, which would not be just a military settlement but a step toward peace. We are ready—vis-à-vis Egypt or Jordan. We prefer Egypt. The difference between Egypt and Jordan is we haven’t found a basis with Jordan on which we can move. I believe the preferred move is with Egypt. Egypt is the Arab leader and it is good to go there first. But Egypt can’t be alone, and we understand it would be immediately followed by Jordan. What we seek from them is non-belligerency, demilitarization, and time to change the infrastructure, so we can defend on the new line.
Kissinger: I don’t think non-belligerency is attainable. But you can ask for it.
President: Kissinger will be there from about October 8–14. If he could get something.
Rabin: We will do our best to work with Secretary Kissinger.
President: Can I have a good, strong commitment that you will work with him? We both have a strong interest to keep the momentum going.
Rabin: We will do our best to move at that time.
I understand the issue of the final borders won’t be discussed.
Kissinger: We have not discussed final borders at all [with the Arabs]. They have not raised it. And we haven’t. We have discussed interim steps, but neither I nor the President have talked final steps. At the time of the Syrian disengagement, I said we would not push Israel off the Golan.
President: I reaffirm that commitment.
Rabin: Thank you very much. I commanded at the Golan for three years; it was an intolerable situation.[Page 422]
Kissinger: For us to keep this process going, we need some ambiguity, you know. We take the position that it is unrealistic to discuss final borders. If Israel could avoid saying what they will never do with the Syrians, we would be better off.
Rabin: I never mentioned a line, just that we wouldn’t leave.
Kissinger: Even that . . .
President: My feeling is we have made progress, and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you. It has been fruitful.
Rabin: Thank you. We appreciate it and know that without you we wouldn’t have gotten this decision.
Kissinger: What do we say to the press? The less said about quantities the better.
Dinitz: We can just say the principle of our ongoing relationship has been reaffirmed.
Kissinger: The ongoing relationship was reaffirmed.
Dinitz: In a concrete way.
Kissinger: It was continued with concrete decisions.
President: The ongoing relationship was reaffirmed with concrete results . . .
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 15, Israel, Items 8–14, September 3–15, 1974. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House. Brackets are in the original.↩
- A meeting between Rabin and Kissinger to discuss the list took place on September 13 at Blair House. Tab B to the memorandum of conversation contains the proposed list. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 20, Classified External Memcons, September 1973–April 1974, Folder 2)↩