255. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

[Discussion of Angola letter to Speaker of the House.]

[Discussion of Marianias vote and call to Stennis.]

[Discussion on holding arrival ceremony for Rabin outside in rainy weather.]

Kissinger: We had that veto in the UN of the Middle East resolution.2 We did the right thing.

President: The interesting thing is that they barely had enough votes.

Kissinger: That’s right.

President: [Calls Stennis]

He is leaning against but will do what he can. His problem is that Puerto Rico before World War II voted the wrong way at the national political convention!

Kissinger: Lew Wasserman3 said the only one who could beat you was Kennedy. He said how you should use spots and saturate the media for three days. He is concerned about the Jews. He says the present course in Israel will lead to massive anti-Semitism here and the power of the institutional Jews must be broken.

I had a session with Harlow and Timmons and Korologos about my problems on the Hill and what to do about it. They said the number one issue was the perception that we are not together. It is contradictory—on substance we are together but I may be too dominant, but on selling we aren’t together.

President: That is a curious thing. I . . .

[Page 899]

Kissinger: You might want to talk to Harlow, for what it’s worth.

President: I will—this week. We ought to do whatever we can. Golly—you and Betty are the most popular in the country. I am lagging behind.

Kissinger: Did you see the Evans and Novak article that Rumsfeld is joining Simon on Iranian oil?4

[Some discussion.]

On Rabin—it is a delicate situation. We stuck with them on the veto but we are running out.

The Israelis blocked any possibility of progress with Jordan program and that led to Rabat. They have blocked any progress with Syria and so Syria is turning to the PLO. Israel can’t just continue to stall. They say they want to talk to Hussein but they have been doing it for eight years. Talking to him won’t help unless they give him a major proposal.

If they were a big government they would make a big offer—retreat a few miles from the border on all the fronts in exchange for nonbelligerency. You could sell this one on a Middle East trip—if you still plan one.

President: I definitely do, depending on the primaries. Should we agree to Geneva without knowing what Israel will do?

Kissinger: They are totally cynical on Geneva. They’re for it because they know nothing will happen. The first item of business will be the PLO and they’ll bring about an immediate stalemate.

[Discussion of the Moynihan meeting.]

I wouldn’t mention the settlements except maybe at dinner.

I would tell him if there is a war we will use it for making a final settlement.

[Discussion of military equipment.]

I think you have to tell him we have to move and just talking to Jordan won’t do it.

He wants a tour d’horizon today. I would listen and I’ll take him on at breakfast tomorrow if there is to be a blow-up, and then you can reinforce it at tomorrow’s meeting. I would be very firm with him that he can’t continue this kind of relationship and that you won’t play electoral politics with foreign policy.

President: I notice Jordan is going to the Soviets to buy helicopters. What the Congress is doing to us . . . The mess we had on Hawk missiles.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 17, January 27, 1976, Ford, Kissinger. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House. All brackets are in the original.
  2. A reference to a draft UN Security Council resolution, which affirmed the right of Palestinians to establish an independent state in Palestine and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and called for Israel to return to the borders preceding the June 1967 war. On January 26, the United States used its veto to block the resolution from passing. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1975, pp. 229–233.
  3. Lew Wasserman was a Hollywood studio executive.
  4. Rowland Evans and Robert Novak were nationally-syndicated columnists.