136. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • 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


  • Secretary Kissinger’s Report on His Trip to the Middle East and Europe

[Omitted here is a brief discussion of the Soviet Union, the President’s standing, and France.]

[Kissinger:] The Israeli Government is weak. Rabin is okay but he is afraid to move and he is afraid of Peres. Allon wants to move in the right direction.

I had a two-hour lunch with Golda.2 She is a peasant and hates to give up the land. I could get her though, if she was the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is unbelievable. Rabin’s weakness is shown by the fact that I had to have lunch with the Cabinet to win them over.

Sadat is a big man. If we pull this off, we should get him right over here. He is very worried—but he didn’t complain about his troubles.

We had a two-hour talk alone3 and I said we had to have something for Israel.

If we will give them a letter that Israel won’t attack Syria or any of its neighbors, he won’t attack Israel.

The President: Would that include Lebanon?

Kissinger: That is a problem—I have to think of that.

On duration, he will extend UNEF a year and agree beforehand to an extension. The Soviet Union could veto it. But he will agree to joint Egyptian-Israeli inspection teams.

The Israelis have agreed to the oil fields but not yet the passes.

The President: Do they want an indemnity?

Kissinger: It will cost us.

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You can’t imagine the monomania, the hysteria in Israel. There is no sense of gratitude. They demand we put our whole policy in hock to them.

The President: Did they raise Matmon B?

Kissinger: I said I wouldn’t discuss until we saw what happened. I said we would go to Geneva but we would have to make proposals—that cooled them.

If we go to Geneva with a failure, we must consider whether or not to make an end of it.

The President: Did you see Dayan?

Kissinger: No. The whole Cabinet is opposed. They are vultures. You have to sympathize though, because they have seen their world position deteriorate to just us.

Sadat pleaded for some sort of arms just so he could show his military.

[There was discussion of a list and C–130s.]

The President: Asad?

Kissinger: If Asad could get something on the Golan, you would never hear of Geneva again.

You would like Asad. The Syrians and the Israelis are much alike. Asad’s basic problem is he has lost 15,000 men in the war and hasn’t gotten an inch. If Egypt makes big progress, he will look like a sucker to his people.

[When Asad and Nixon had their conversation last year,4 Nixon finally agreed to the ’67 borders.]

I asked Asad what he needed. He said “Everything.” I said, “What will you give for it?” He said, “Good will.” I said you don’t get good will for services already rendered.

It is almost impossible to move because of the Israeli villages, but if we could, we would have Geneva off our back for a year. That is what the Soviets are afraid of. I made noises about a simultaneous step, but Asad knew.

Faisal also supported a simultaneous step. If he sticks to it, we can’t pull it off. We may have to promise Sadat a follow-on step with Syria.

If Israel had a great leader, they would move jointly with Egypt and Syria and get the PLO off their back. Syria didn’t mention the PLO.

If Faisal gets exercised, we have a problem. At a minimum he would need a letter that you would make an effort with Syria. As a du[Page 516]plicitous move, we could go to Geneva for a Syrian move and have it fail.

The President: You had been concerned whether Israel was setting us up.

Kissinger: I changed my mind. I think Rabin wants a move. Gur made a good statement that Israeli security didn’t depend on any particular topography.

But they are in such a difficult domestic situation they could even prefer to go to Geneva and be raped.

The President: How about Likud?

Kissinger: They just want us to be tough. This is where the Jewish leaders are hurting us. They are leading to anti-Semitism.

The President: Javits told me we should make some statement about discrimination in banking.

Kissinger: That we should do.

The Likud is sort of Fascist. Like Perle.5 That reminds me—Jackson is making an issue about Romania. He is insisting no MFN without a specific number on emigration. I think we shouldn’t buy it—let him kill it.

If I told the Soviet Union we favored a step with both Egypt and Syria, but would only do Egypt separately and do Syria at Geneva, that would get Faisal off our back. To do it ourselves would be a horrible negotiation and a confrontation with Israel.

The President: I don’t think we can divert you that long.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 9, February 19, 1975, 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. See Document 134 and footnote 3 thereto.
  3. For a report to the President of the talk with Sadat, see Document 132.
  4. See Document 92.
  5. Richard Perle, an aide to Senator Henry Jackson.