180. 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

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

Kissinger: Nahum Goldmann’s views are that Israel will never back up under overwhelming pressure. If the Klutznick meeting goes well,2 you might consider meeting with them. It is quite a group. Goldmann says there is nothing we can do through the Presidents Group.3 They are too committed.

They are very upset about the letter of the 76 Senators.4 They thought it was a great mistake. Even Ribicoff thought so.

President: Who started it?

Kissinger: Javits with Dinitz. It was designed to bring pressure on Congressmen like Percy, and you.

I have tried to give you a fair analysis in this package. I don’t think you should get into aid. Tell them you can’t talk aid until you know whether or not you are supporting a stalemate. They are projecting a conciliatory air. I think you should be very stern—whether you were misled or not you were deeply disappointed. Next, the leaks and proselytizing with Congress and the public here is unacceptable. Then say you must know within two weeks whether or not an interim agreement is possible. We have a window with the Soviets until CSCE and I wouldn’t let it drag out.

I think we are in good shape for a comprehensive settlement. Ribicoff says the Jews couldn’t stand against you if you went on TV stating an American position. He spoke very highly of you and he thought only Kennedy would have a chance against you. And Kennedy’s life is such a mess that it would be a real problem.

[Page 667]

President: Some people are prone to mistakes. He can’t make good judgments under pressure. He doesn’t plan it—it just happens.

Kissinger: It’s almost as if he punishes himself.

President: The odds are he will make another public mistake.

Kissinger: Back to the Israelis. Their capacity to misrepresent is so total that it’s hard to know how they will hit you. I think they might say they will accommodate if Egypt will change its position. Then they will leak the Egyptian position and we will be in a hassle. We should do it the other way around. Ask them what they want; if they say non-belligerency, say forget it. If it’s about duration and warning sites, say he and I should talk about it.

President: How about American manning of the warning sites?

Kissinger: I would leave that to the last, as a major concession. Don’t give it during the meeting. They should then send Allon back over with the answers to the questions we need. They shouldn’t spend more than a week.

He will also want to tie you down to a figure, and a commitment not to make an overall proposal. That you can’t do.

President: How about a move with Syria?

Kissinger: If he is willing to go for a Syrian one, we can avoid a comprehensive proposal. If not, I would say we have to go to Geneva. Don’t tell him we would put forward a comprehensive proposal, but just say we would consult with them closely, but keep open the option.

My meeting with the SFRC was an eyeopener. They were very deferential and every few sentences there was a comment about the success of your trip.5

The Israeli Cabinet has said it would stick with their March position unless Egypt made some changes in its position.

The first day I would be very tough—say there’s no sense talking economics. Rabin’s nerves are not that good. He is smart and shy, but he’s not all that tough.

On aid, we have a really good paper. The $2.6 figure they gave is phony. With $1.5 they can meet their military purchases and still have a GNP growth of 4%. I think we should keep them on a tight leash and give $1 billion if they come across. If they don’t . . .

President: Keep them to the level of this year.

Kissinger: Right.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 12, June 9, 1975, Ford, Kissinger. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House.
  2. See Document 189.
  3. See footnote 5, Document 171.
  4. See Document 175.
  5. On June 6, Kissinger briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on President Ford’s trip to Europe. (Washington Post, June 7, 1975, p. A2)