210. 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
- Middle East, Angola; Soviet Grain; SALT; President’s Trip
[There was discussion of the new Israeli lines in Sinai]
Kissinger: We will send Eilts back Saturday.2 This won’t help us with Sadat. It’s not a big concession after all our table-pounding. He could quit his talk and take it, or tell us to go to hell. If he says no, maybe we should go for an overall settlement.
President: I agree.
Kissinger: The only value of this is it gets us a settlement and a year and a half.
President: If Sadat says no, there is no reason to force more concessions from Israel for an interim, is there?
Kissinger: If you give them an ultimatum, they will do it, but you will pay for it in a confrontation.
My assessment of Israel’s situation is that for us to start a showdown for a few changes . . . It’s better to brawl over a failure.
President: Sadat might buy it; he may want something more. He must understand we can’t make a major effort for changes.
Kissinger: We will make an effort, but not a massive one.
President: We will do what we can; if that is not enough we will tell Sadat we will go comprehensive.
Kissinger: That’s my judgment. [To Scowcroft:] What do you think?
Scowcroft: I agree.[Page 789]
Kissinger: The reason I reluctantly came to an interim agreement is that if you get it, plus a SALT agreement and one or two others, you’ll be in good shape in foreign policy.
[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Arab-Israeli dispute.]