124. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Sec. of State and Assistant to the President
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President

The President: Tell Mahon and Passman that I want the CRA on basis of the authorization. I would be happy to call Passman.

Kissinger: I promised Hays 15 minutes with you.

The President: Okay.

Kissinger: I think we are facing a major crisis with Sadat. Nixon promised to sell him arms. He doesn’t have anything we promised. We have two problems with him: The Israeli negotiation and his general perception of us. I think you should send him a letter saying we would like to open our hearts with them. He could send Fahmy or his personal aide, Marwan, or as a last resort I could go.

If we could hold it to January until he goes to France, I could maybe meet quietly. We must get to him with someone he trusts.

[Page 474]

The President: Can’t we get something between Israel and Egypt within the next few weeks? Can’t we act quickly on the Middle East package?

Kissinger: Yes. He said publicly yesterday that he would give us only a bit more time on step-by-step before turning to Geneva.

The President: You got the consensus in the leadership meeting.2 It is not at all solid.

Kissinger: I will talk to Dinitz today. Tomorrow we talk with Golda,3 and you talk to her at the end alone. If it blows up and gets to a war, you can’t guarantee American support. Their constant nitpicking has brought us to the edge of disaster. You don’t want to say this officially, but she should tell the leaders.

Six months ago the U.S. was a dominant figure in the Middle East, and a visit by me would quiet things. It’s not so now. This stuff about cooperation with the Soviet Union—They insist on the ’67 borders. If you are willing to do that, there is no reason to do it with the Soviet Union.

We have got to tell Israel we need their maximum position. I am not sure the Israeli-Egyptian negotiation will succeed. Sadat seems to be posturing himself.

There are two alternatives: Let Geneva fail and at the blow up impose a settlement that is close to the 67 borders. The other way is to do it without provocation, but that will be tougher.

[Omitted here is a brief discussion of administrative matters.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 8, December 18, 1974, Ford, Kissinger. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House. The original is incorrectly dated December 18. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Ford met with Kissinger and Scowcroft on the morning of December 17 after the 9 a.m. meeting with the congressional leadership (see footnote 2 below). (Ibid., Staff Secretary’s Office Files, President’s Daily Diary)
  2. The memorandum of conversation of the meeting with the bipartisan congressional leadership is ibid., National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 8, December 17, 1974, Ford, Kissinger, Bipartisan Congressional Leadership)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 125.