282. Memorandum of Conversation1
- The Secretary
- Assistant Secretary Atherton
- Deputy Assistant Secretary Day
- Jock Covey, Notetaker
Atherton: The Soviets have announced that they are concerned that the Sixth Fleet is steaming towards Lebanon.
The Secretary: Okay, this is the note I want to send (hands annotated draft back to Atherton). You should get it over to Voronstov, but just don’t send it all over this bloody building.
(reading a draft cable) I wonder if we could be more specific with Asad? We’ve got to keep it all within context.[Page 1009]
(reading another draft cable) Just make sure Toon gives this to no one below the rank of Allon and that they know they should protect it. Otherwise it will leak all over that government.
(calls Scowcroft—referring to draft note to Soviets) Have you discussed this now with Hyland?
Atherton: Yes, we discussed it with Hyland and Scowcroft has agreed to it.
The Secretary: (with Scowcroft still listening on phone) Don’t you ever tell me that Scowcroft agrees to anything. Even if Scowcroft disagrees, it will go anyway (laughter) but in this case it is okay because we agree totally.
Atherton: Mr. Secretary, you’ll see that we did up talking points that you may want to use with Dinitz in response to his note about Chamoun’s talk with the Israelis.2 You know Chamoun really is living in the past.
Day: He’s headed directly towards partition.
Atherton: Although I don’t know how he expects to do it unless he takes all the Christians to Southern Lebanon.
Day: The strategy of strengthening the Christians is basically good, but he is clearly headed toward partition.
The Secretary: Tell Brown that our contacts with the Christians indicate that they are heading towards partition and that his efforts must be aimed towards a united Lebanon. Tell him that he’s got to work around a very fine line between strength and intransigence.
Tell Murphy, too, he should tell the Syrians we only want the Christians strong enough to defend themselves. Maybe we should tell Asad that we are letting some Israeli arms in.
Atherton: Do you think he doesn’t know already.
The Secretary: I think he is already tumbled to it.
Atherton: Do you feel under any pressure to get back to Dinitz today on the Chamoun business?
The Secretary: There’s plenty of time. I’ll get back to him by tomorrow.