205. Memorandum of Conversation1
- President Gerald R. 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 of Indonesian President Sukarno.]
Kissinger: Let me tell you about the Israeli thing. Dinitz asked me a series of questions:2 “Where did we want the line?” I don’t think we should give them one because then we are stuck with it. They want American troops in this area—there don’t have to be too many. Sisco, Atherton and I are all against it. Once we have combat troops there . . . Geneva will stalemate and down the road Egypt may get restive. If we pull our troops out, we will be accused of starting a war. If we won’t, we will be accused of protecting a part of the front. The Israelis think you are softening.
The President: On what grounds?
Kissinger: You had a meeting with some contributors and said to a Jew that you are anxious for a settlement and would delay your departure for Europe to get it.
The President: That is not so at all. I don’t even remember his name, but I may have said to him I hope for an agreement. We never talked about the European trip.
Kissinger: This just shows you how the network works. Dinitz knows every conversation I have with a Jew. My concern is, if we go in, what will we say to the Syrians if they want us there? Or if they want Soviet troops? This arrangement would break the back of it, so it is a big decision.
The President: My reaction was it is hazardous and will give us a Congressional problem. Why can’t we compromise on the warning stations?
Kissinger: That is my thinking. Perhaps we could increase the number of warning stations. Maybe up to five—not more.[Page 773]
The President: I don’t think we could go for a combat troop presence. It would cause much more of a problem than warning stations.
Kissinger: Should I tell Shalev that we can’t agree but we can increase the number of warning stations?
The President: Yes. Could we have them manned by civilians or mostly civilians?
Scowcroft: Probably civilian technicians.
Kissinger: They asked for a line in the east, but I wouldn’t give them one. In the south they would draw the line straight down, so it would be a bitter pill for Sadat to accept the Israeli line. The Egyptian line also cuts out the Israeli logistics base.
The President: I think Israel should keep that base.
Kissinger: I would like to call Shalev and tell him there can be no area presence, but there can be warning stations. You are absolutely firm that something has to happen?
The President: Absolutely.
Kissinger: On seeing Rabin, I am not anxious to. I would leave it up to them. We have nothing to say. They asked more questions. On Syria, I said the unilateral gesture might get us through 1976. On aid, I said we could go higher with an agreement than without one. I said I didn’t think we could go as high as $2 billion. He said they could go down to $2.3 billion.
The President: That is almost as much as the entire foreign aid program.
Kissinger: They want reimbursement for losing the oil fields and a guarantee of oil supply in case of an embargo. We could use the Iranian oil.
We have a deal with Iran if you want it. I will show you it Monday morning.3 It is a five-year deal, either at or less than the OPEC price. It is payable in 5-year notes, non-negotiable and non-interest-bearing for the first year. Zarb and Greenspan are afraid that if DOD buys the oil, it would lead to a government purchasing agency. Greenspan is worried about whether you should give the Saudis the same deal. That is a nice kind of problem to have. I would give them the same deal for the same amount but ask for a better deal if they want more. I would wait to see if the Saudis came to us. This would end the charges of cuddling the Shah and the money would be spent only in the United States.
The President: On the Israeli thing—I would tell them there can be no combat personnel, and only civilians in the warning stations. It has [Page 774] got to be way down on the eastern slopes. Israel keeps the logistics base, but they’ve got to widen the line in the south.
Kissinger: What I would like to do—the best Jewish group is the Klutznick one. It is the most responsible, but they are unpopular in Israel. Maybe I should bring them down and briefly have you see them.
[Omitted here is discussion of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.]