125. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft

Kissinger: Mahon is worried that we will load up the Senate bill.

Sadat’s problem may be that we aren’t giving him an agreement before Brezhnev comes.

The President: How can we? I saw Israel released its proposals yesterday.2

Kissinger: Tell Golda3 that if the Israeli Government doesn’t improve its procedures, you don’t see how we can continue its relationship. Dinitz said Sadat wants an excuse for going back to the Soviet Union. He said we are making it tough by saying that another war would be a tragedy and the whole world would gang up on Israel. Tell her about leaking in the strongest possible terms.

Wayne Hays said he gave a Chamber of Commerce speech and after it a banker stood up and said George Brown4 is one of the greatest Americans and is right and got a three-minute ovation.

I believe Israel is insane for not taking what they can get in a Sinai settlement.

If this negotiation blows up, we should move quickly to Geneva. We should either get a settlement fast or diffuse the responsibility by going to Geneva.

The President: What is the Israeli reaction to going to Geneva?

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Kissinger: They don’t like that either. The first issue there would be the PLO.

George Ball hurts us by saying we should work it out with the Soviet Union.5 That means the ’67 borders. If we are willing to do that, we don’t need to do it with the Soviet Union.

Sadat is pissed off because we let him go naked into Rabat and now into a Brezhnev meeting.

Keep Golda to 45 minutes—30 minutes with us and 15 alone. She will be very emotional.

The Israelis told Rockefeller the three indispensables in the Cabinet are me, Schlesinger and Simon.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Arab-Israeli dispute.]

  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. All brackets, with the exception of ones describing omitted material, are in the original.
  2. The New York Times reported accounts in Tel Aviv newspapers on December 15 of the Israeli withdrawal proposals that Allon made in Washington the previous week. (New York Times, December 16, 1974, p. 14)
  3. The memorandum of conversation of Ford’s meeting with Meir on December 18 at 3:30 p.m. is in the Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 8, December 18, 1974, Ford, Kissinger, Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. The memorandum of conversation of a December 19 meeting from 8 until 9:25 a.m. is in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 156, Geopolitical File, Israel, December 9–31, 1974.
  4. Apparently a reference to General George S. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  5. Former Under Secretary of State George Ball reportedly warned of a future preemptive Israeli military strike and stated that Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy had shut out the Soviet Union from the peace process. (New York Times, December 15, 1974, p. 30)