162. Memorandum of Conversation1
- President 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
[From 9:30–9:34 a.m., Secretary Kissinger stepped out to take a telephone call from Ambassador Eilts.]
Kissinger: Javits came in very threatening. If we went after Israel, he and Ribicoff would come after me. He said our interests were identical with Israel.
He wanted to introduce a resolution in both Houses to urge you to use the waiver on the Turkish issue.
President: That is stupid on the part of Israel.
Kissinger: We are in the position where three million Israelis and three million Greeks are running American foreign policy. We are giving aid to Israel at a rate which would be unbelievable for any other country.
I could keep the Middle East quiet through the ’76 election. I did the same in ’72, when Israel did the same thing to Rogers in ’71. Then I cooperated to keep the Soviet influence out.
On the Middle East, there is an option to let Geneva go on, get it all screwed up and have a stalemate. The other is to force the pace of events. I am afraid that a stalemate will radicalize the Arabs and lead to war. The European Ambassadors told me last night that we did our best and they would cooperate in a settlement.
But the press campaign is that this is just a minor misunderstanding and we can go back to business as usual.
President: We can’t do that. We must move comprehensively. Let’s get that speech under way.
Kissinger: If we stay steady, Israel may crack and give us something to get things under way.
President: We must stay steady.[Page 574]
Kissinger: They will come after me.
[Omitted here is discussion relating to the United Nations and the Geneva Conference.]
[Kissinger:] At my press conference, I thought I would make a strong statement on Vietnam, I have a statement on Israel.2 Is it worth doing?
President: I gave a press conference. I said Israel is inflexible.
Kissinger: Good. They will attack you.
President: I know they will hit us, but I kind of enjoy a fight when I know I am right.
Kissinger: It is reaching impossible proportions. First, they ruin our trade relations with the Soviet Union. Rabbi Miller is demanding we hold up MFN to Romania until they agree to 9,000.3
President: Did you see the emigration figures?
Kissinger: I will bring Fisher in.
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Arab-Israeli dispute.]
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 10, March 26, 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.↩
- Kissinger’s opening statement on the Middle East at his March 26 press conference was printed in the New York Times, March 27, 1975, p. 17.↩
- A reference to Romania allowing 9,000 Romanian Jews to emigrate.↩