198. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Amb. Malcolm Toon, U.S. Ambassador to Israel
  • 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

The President: When are you actually leaving?

Ambassador Toon: Saturday.2 I am stopping to pick up my daughter in Rome.

The President: Are you going to straighten out Italian politics?

Ambassador Toon: I’ll leave that to Volpe.

The President: We certainly want to maintain a friendly relationship with Israel, but it must be on the proper basis. We are having problems with them. The proper attitude is to keep them at arms length but on a friendly basis. You will have a greater role than some of your predecessors. If we don’t get an agreement, we will have difficulty both with Israel and with the Jewish Community here. I am willing to take them on because I think we are right and I am disillusioned with how they have behaved in March and now.

Secretary Kissinger: Are you up to date?

Ambassador Toon: I don’t know.

Secretary Kissinger: The map we got was no different from the one we saw here. You saw the letter?3

Ambassador Toon: Yes. It was very good. I am in thorough agreement. I read the record and I agree with you on their lack of flexibility. What I don’t see is where we go. I think you have to take on the Jewish Community.

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Secretary Kissinger: The Jewish Community is getting very uneasy. Max Fisher and Len Garment, and even Danny Kaye,4 who is an all-out Israeli supporter but knows nothing about the past.

The President: If the record gets published, the zealots will be shocked. It is a record that our government can be proud of. I hope it doesn’t have to take place. If there is a confrontation, your job will be tougher. We recognized this possibility when we picked you.

Ambassador Toon: I appreciate your confidence. I hope I will be kept abreast of everything happening.

Secretary Kissinger: You will know everything they know.

Ambassador Toon: The Hill is getting uneasy. I think you should talk to them.

Secretary Kissinger: We will, it is a matter of timing. We have to know something before I meet with Gromyko on the 10th and 11th of July.

The President: I think Israel is totally misreading the letter from the 76 Senators.5 Several of them have written qualifications, and it doesn’t really commit them to any specific proposals. When it gets to dollars, many of them will have a different attitude.

Secretary Kissinger: If Israel won’t agree with the letter, I think there is no choice but to go for an overall settlement.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 13, June 26, 1975, Ford, Kissinger, Ambassador Malcolm Toon (Israel). Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House. The previous Ambassador to Israel, Kenneth Keating, died of a heart attack on May 5 and was replaced by Malcolm Toon, who was appointed on June 9.
  2. June 27.
  3. Apparently the letter from Ford to Rabin, presented to Israeli Ambassador Dinitz on June 27; see Tab A, Document 200.
  4. Danny Kaye was an American actor, singer, and comedian who served as an original UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador beginning in 1954.
  5. See Document 175.