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.]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A reference to Romania allowing 9,000 Romanian Jews to emigrate.