164. 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

Kissinger: I have the uneasy feeling Egypt is ready to cave and we don’t want that. Israel would get out of control.

The President: They would claim they were right.

Kissinger: We plan to say the maps Dinitz is putting out are inaccurate.2

The President: If it is the truth.

Kissinger: I am glad I read the text of your Hearst interview. You blame them for being inflexible. You should tilt a little against Israel.3

The President: That is not hard.

Kissinger: Here are two cables4 I want to show you. King Hussein despairs of the U.S. and the Middle East—we aren’t even prepared publicly to say Israel is to blame. War is inevitable.

In one way our withdrawal is good, because everyone now sees the important role we play.

I think we need psychological warfare against Israel. We may yet get an agreement.

The President: I have had it in the back of my mind that if we play brinkmanship, we may get something. But we shouldn’t talk about it. I thought you were too unhappy to entertain it.

Kissinger: Not so much that as the unravelling of our Middle East policy, and Israel has treated us as no other country could.

The President: Should we tell Max5 that?

[Page 577]

Kissinger: Max must know. It is not just a friendly misunderstanding. If the Jewish Community comes after us, we will have to go public with the whole record.

Tell the NSC that Israel behaved recklessly. You are trying to create a state of mind in Israel that if we have to run the risks of war for them, they have to run the risks of peace for us.

The President: Did the interview go too far?

Kissinger: Nope. It was a good, strong interview. They will put heat on you anyway, so there is little to lose.

We may yet get an agreement within a couple of months, and it may be a lesson—even to the Arabs.

Tell Max Fisher that Israel misled us. Moynihan said Israel really let the President down, didn’t they? They attempted to blow up our Middle East strategy. Now they are dumping on Geneva.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 10, March 27, 1975, Ford, Kissinger. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House.
  2. On March 26, Ambassador Dinitz gave newsmen maps of the Israeli and Egyptian negotiating positions in the Sinai. They were printed in the New York Times, March 27, 1975, p. 17.
  3. President Ford’s interview with Hearst Newspapers was published on March 27. See ibid., March 28, 1975, p. 57.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. A reference to Max Fisher.