185. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • 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


  • Rabin Visit; FRG-Brazil Nuclear Deal; Turkish Aid; Iranian Oil Deal

Kissinger: They are a bloody minded bunch. There could be some dispute about whether they said they would get out of the passes. There can be no dispute that we have been telling them for months that getting out of the passes was the sine qua non of an agreement. Of that there can be no doubt. [Rockefeller calls]

Kissinger: Then they raise duration and warning stations. We settled duration and I showed them Sadat’s letter2 without saying he had bought it.

President: What was their reaction?

Kissinger: They slobbered. Then we gave them the warning stations. Last night I asked for precision about where they would be in the passes. He said they would be deep into the passes.

President: You tell him I understood they would have the eastern end and Egypt the western end.

Kissinger: I am meeting him again at 5:00.3 If it turns out we get into another endless haggle . . .

On Syria, he said he would consider a unilateral move but he would never do it. Then there is the question of armaments and thinned-out zones—again it was unsuccessful.

President: I thought last night we should start a specific proposal for an overall settlement.

[Page 687]

Kissinger: We are well along on that. Let me meet with him and tell him that an interim arrangement won’t work.

Scowcroft: [Described the Presidential statement.]4

Kissinger: There just cannot be an Egyptian arrangement with nothing at all on Syria. We would be beaten to death and I think it would be better not even to go into it.

I don’t think Sadat will accept each side being at the respective ends of the passes unless the positions are symmetrical. Much of this is pure Israeli domestic politics. He said publicly in February that he would give up the passes only for nonbelligerency; he can’t wriggle off the hook now. I wanted just to have a line at the eastern end without defining it at the end of the pass—so Sadat would say they are out of the pass and Israel would know they weren’t, I didn’t get that far.

President: Let’s refine this, pass it to Sadat, and see his reaction. If it doesn’t work, we will go to a comprehensive settlement.

Kissinger: That is probably the best. I think we should not spill too much blood for an interim settlement.

President: One argument is that it looks forthcoming if we put in the manned warning stations than if we go for an overall settlement.

Kissinger: They are almost irrational. It is 90 percent domestic politics.

President: Betty found Mrs. Rabin very demanding and aggressive.

Kissinger: Let’s see where we are tonight. If they are close, you might think of making an American proposal, but not before we see Sadat’s reaction.

You will see Max Fisher. They are constantly telling me they are getting to you. I say go ahead. They said a leading Jew told you that your place in history depends more on what you do for the Jews than on what you do for the Arabs.

I’ll tell Max there has been some progress but there are still some issues on passes. Sadat has made some concessions.

President: Why not say I have ordered a comprehensive plan?

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 12, June 12, 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. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting began at 9:50 a.m. and ended when Max Fisher arrived at 10:35 a.m. (Ibid., Staff Secretary’s Office Files)
  2. Sadat’s letter has not been found.
  3. No memorandum of conversation has been found.
  4. Statement not further identified.