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235. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • 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

Kissinger: Here are the two letters I mentioned [to Sadat and Rabin on assurances].2

The President: These are the ones you don’t think we should put out.

Kissinger: They aren’t too bad. The one to Sadat is okay. The one to the Israelis would require some long explaining. Neither of them is something you haven’t said before.

The President: [Reads] This Sadat thing we have said many times.

Kissinger: Joe and I really came back with a bad taste about the Israelis. They were treacherous, petty, deceitful—they didn’t treat us like allies. Sadat said their strategy is to sell his land to us for arms which they will use to prevent giving up any more of any land.

[Page 841]

The President: [Reads the Israeli letter.]

Kissinger: This one in effect confirms commitments rather than making new ones. You have told Rabin you wouldn’t put something forward in ’76 and to trust you in ’77. To Sadat you said nothing in ’76 but more in ’77. They aren’t inconsistent but the Jewish community would be upset.

The President: The funds for Israel is for the current year.

Kissinger: Our experts think they will be strapped at under $2.6 billion. But this is an annual thing for the indefinite future. If we put it over $2 billion that will become a benchmark. What will you tell the leaders this morning?

The President: I could say there is some flexibility depending on consultations between their and our technicians.

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

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 282, President’s File, September 1975, Folder 1. 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 between Ford and Kissinger began at 7:30 a.m. (Ford Library, Staff Secretary’s Office Files) Presumably Scowcroft joined them at 7:45 a.m. The meeting was followed by the meeting with the bipartisan congressional leadership; see Document 235.
  2. Documents 233 and 234.