197. 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: That gets us back to our friends. This is one of the most inconceivable things I have ever seen. With their support, with the upturn here, they could put you over the top. Rabin complained to Marquis Childs2 about our giving things to Jordan and not Israel. We gave them 200 tanks in April—that’s more than we give in two years for Jordan.

[Page 740]

[He shows the map.]3

Egypt now can’t accept, and this freezes the Israeli position. It makes us look like liars to the Syrians. This is a confrontational position. They are hitting the Jewish community. My children will suffer. They are gambling on being able to take us domestically. Dean Rusk said if what is presented in this country is Semitism, then the only counter is anti-Semitism. If it is true that Israel is not a satellite of the U.S., neither is the U.S. a satellite of Israel. He got tremendous applause.

President: This is a crass effort to undermine our foreign and domestic policy.

Kissinger: Javits is willing to support lifting the Jackson amendment, if they will just give a token increase in emigration. Last year 38,000 wasn’t enough. He said he wanted five minutes with you—he said he knows you are mad at him, but he wants to tell you as long as you promise you won’t let Israel be destroyed, you can do anything else.

President: Why not show him the map?

Kissinger: I think you shouldn’t bargain—these guys know the country isn’t with them.

President: But if one of them knows what the Israelis are really doing . . .

Kissinger: I would do it with Ribicoff then. He is more honorable. Javits is too opportunistic. When I was on the ropes he ignored me. I don’t trust him. Let him come in; hear him for ten minutes. Tell him you support the existence of Israel but they cannot run our foreign policy.

President: Let’s get somebody down here who is Jewish and respected so someone knows the facts.

Kissinger: Javits will want to appear as the moderator. We shouldn’t bargain with them.

We have heard from the Egyptians. Their answer is very tough.

[Page 741]

[He reads from Eilts’ cables.]4

President: Where does that leave us?

Kissinger: We have drafted a letter to send to the Israelis. I recommend you give it to Dinitz Friday.5 That would keep it out of the press for a day or so in Israel, and Congress will be out here.

[General Scowcroft left briefly and returned.]

You think about the letter. I don’t want to rush it by you. I think we should not give Israel the Egyptian counterproposal;6 we should not tell him we will ask for reconsideration.

Tell Dinitz he is accredited to the President of the United States. If this continues you will have to take it to the American public. Be icy cold. You have no other choice. I think the tougher you are, the more chance there is to move them. Only you can do it. We have to know by the time I meet Gromyko.7 I think they will cave.

President: You are more optimistic than I am. I think we have to present them something which they accept or reject.

Kissinger: I think your view is the right one. I think Brent should protest to Dinitz in the sharpest terms today.

President: I should be prepared for a press conference question.

Kissinger: I would be as icy as can be. I would stick to the outline of our policy as I gave it in Atlanta.

[General Scowcroft hands the President a copy of the Atlanta speech.8 He leaves briefly, and returns.]

President: I would send a letter to Banking, Ways and Means—four committees—saying that shortly after recess we are prepared to move.

Kissinger: We’ll do a draft and clear it with Simon. I don’t think it is bad to get Simon out ahead on this.

On the letter, I think we need enough of the history in, so if it is leaked it is all there.

President: I agree. We may even have to release the letter.

Kissinger: If Israel had done this gracefully, think what a good position we would now be in.

President: I like the letter. It is firm, not belligerent. I will study it.

Kissinger: Do you agree on having Dinitz in?

President: Let’s make it Friday morning.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 13, June 25, 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. Marquis Childs, an American journalist.
  3. Not attached. The Israeli Government released its proposal and an accompanying map on June 24 in Jerusalem. (New York Times, June 25, 1975, p. 1)
  4. Not further identified. Eilts’s report on his June 23 meeting with Sadat, when he presented the latest Israeli map and proposal, is in telegram 6195 from Cairo, June 23. Sadat was “clearly dismayed,” calling the Israeli proposal “totally unacceptable.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files) He subsequently wrote to President Ford; see footnote 2, Document 199.
  5. June 27. The letter is attached to Document 200.
  6. Fahmy and Gamasy gave Eilts an Egyptian map and counterproposal in a meeting on June 24. (Telegram 6274 from Cairo, June 25; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  7. They met in Geneva July 10–11.
  8. See footnote 2, Document 196.