32. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • General Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense
  • Simcha Dinitz, Israeli Ambassador to the United States
  • Colonel Aryeh Bar-On, Aide to Minister Dayan
  • Mordechai Shalev, Minister, Israeli Embassy
  • Moshe Raviv, Counselor, Israeli Embassy
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large
  • Alfred L. Atherton, Assistant Secretary-designate for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
  • Harold H. Saunders, Senior Staff Member, NSC
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff

[The Secretary, Minister Dayan and General Scowcroft conferred alone from 12:05 to 12:45 p.m. in the Secretary’s Office. The meeting then began in the Conference Room.]

Secretary Kissinger: I have already welcomed you here. I am delighted you are here. The last time I saw you I was afraid I wouldn’t see you in an official capacity. [Laughter] Without interfering in Israeli politics, I want to say it is a great pleasure for us.

General Dayan: Thank you very much.

Secretary Kissinger: We will meet again tomorrow. The principal reason we are here is to discuss Syrian disengagement. I will talk to you also about my talks in Moscow, which were very tough, and in a way quite worrisome. Which way should we do it?

[Page 169]

General Dayan: There are four subjects: One is our plan, the other one is the present situation on the Syrian front, which is something to make us worry too. Then if you could tell us about Moscow and the future of Geneva, and then our requests for armaments, which we will discuss tomorrow probably.

Secretary Kissinger: Right.

General Dayan: Should we present our plan?

Secretary Kissinger: Let me talk to you five minutes about Moscow. It was the roughest conversation I have ever had with the Soviets on any subject, including Vietnam.2 On Vietnam they were tough, but since it didn’t affect their interests they gave up easily.

The main thrust was we had squeezed them out of the Middle East and violated our understanding—that understanding which we showed you the text of.3 The understanding of course was premised on the fact that we needed these auspices in order to get the sides together. It never occurred to us it should mean they could insist they had to be there.

They insisted on immediately reconvening the Geneva Conference and that the Syrian disengagement talks be held there. They refused any proposal that I consult with Gromyko before or after a trip.

They were much tougher generally. On U.S.-Soviet things we made good progress except on SALT, where, between us, our position is as crazy as theirs.

They said the Syrians wanted them present. We checked with the Syrians and fortunately it was not true. But it is clear they won’t accept any settlement in which they don’t participate, and they want the Geneva Conference, and they want the Palestinians present.

I think nothing would please them more than a breakdown of the negotiations with Syria. Nothing would please them more than to be able to say to the Syrians we couldn’t produce progress. They may prevent the Syrians from making an agreement, and then the problem will be whether we can separate the other Arabs from Syria.

It was a very brutal talk. They didn’t come back to it. We left it that I would see Gromyko again when he comes to New York.

Ambassador Dinitz: To the special General Assembly.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. Let’s see your plan.

[Page 170]

[Dayan unfolds a map on the table. See Tab A.]4

General Dayan: Let me explain. These are our settlements on this side. It is important to bear it in mind. These are Arab villages. Some are still inhabited, those in red. The ones in green are evacuated. So you see there are some Arab villages empty. All except one in the new area are empty now.

Secretary Kissinger: I should have known you would place your settlements right on the road!

General Dayan: This is the map. That is where they are. [Laughter]

If the Syrians want the people to go back to villages, here they are.

I think it is important both in principle and as a practical matter that as many as possible go back.

Secretary Kissinger: I agree. They have said this to me.

General Dayan: It used to be no man’s land before, where no one could go. I think now the status should be different—the people should go back and it should be Syrian administration. The civilians should go back even to the area under UNEF administration.

The blue line is our line, the red line is the Syrian line. So it is the same as in the old area except UNEF goes between and the civilians go back.

Here [in the north] we won’t want to go back to the old line. We would divide it in three parts—our area, the UNEF zone, and the bigger part to go back to Syrian forces without any restrictions, except some I will mention that are mutual.

There are two [overlay] maps here, one with the villages and one with the lines.

We’ve followed the model of the Egyptian agreement on limitation of forces: There will be ten kilometers with limited forces, and an additional 15 kilometers with some limitation, and then 30 kilometers.

There will be two infantry battalions, with 60 tanks, 3,000 men, within the ten kilometers. Then, within the 25 kilometers, one infantry division, 300 tanks, and 100 guns. Then the 30 kilometers is without anti-aircraft missiles, on both sides.

Secretary Kissinger: It is like Admiral Moorer presenting a SALT plan. It is probably exactly what you have got there now. Our military have discovered that arms control is a way to expand armaments; you build up to a compulsory ceiling.

General Dayan: At least I am in good company.

Secretary Kissinger: Do you have that much there now?

[Page 171]

General Dayan: We don’t have that much there now. [Laughter] That is why we want more tanks.

Now we have about 350 tanks now along the Syrian line. I don’t like it because the war might break out now. We have more than 300.

Secretary Kissinger: You want more?

General Dayan: No, I don’t want so many there, so close to Damascus.

We don’t want this kind of war of attrition. If we strike back, they will say we are undermining the situation on the Egyptian front. This can’t go on every day.

Of what we have heard of the Egyptian [Syrian] position, besides that they want to ask us to get off the Golan Heights, they also want no buffer zone.

Secretary Kissinger: We never raised it formally but it is my impression too.

General Dayan: They told Kreisky.5

Secretary Kissinger: That is nonsense, what they told Kreisky. We heard that they told him about the ’67 borders and the Palestinians. That was Asad’s maximum position.

General Dayan: The buffer zone is very important for two reasons. It is a real buffer. There is no demilitarized zone, like on the Egyptian side. The question is whether there is something like that on the Syrian front too, something to make war less likely. So the question is whether this is an obstacle to offensive operations. Of course, everyone can overrun a UN force.

Secretary Kissinger: But it would be a moral barrier.

General Dayan: It would make things more difficult.

Secretary Kissinger: No, we would support a UN zone, and I think the Egyptians would.

General Dayan: With civilians returning, it will be Syrian administration.

But here it is too narrow and if they agree, it will have to be widened.

The question is whether they want a UN zone.

Secretary Kissinger: I have never raised it formally, and my impression is if I raised it now, they would reject it.

General Dayan: So the question is whether they want it and what the conditions would be—like how wide, and the status of the civilians.

[Page 172]

The second question is whether they want a limited-forces zone.

Secretary Kissinger: It depends on whether they have enough forces! [Laughter]

General Dayan: The main question is anti-aircraft missiles. We would have to take ours back.

Secretary Kissinger: How many artillery do you have there?

General Dayan: About 120 guns.

Secretary Kissinger: Will you make sure, while we are negotiating, that you put more there than you want to leave? Quite seriously.

General Dayan: We have 300 tanks there and want only 60.

Secretary Kissinger: You said you have 360 on the Golan Heights.

General Dayan: It depends on what you mean by the Golan Heights. This is all the Golan Heights. We would have to take them further back behind the 1967 line.

Secretary Kissinger: Looking at the Syrian line, if you put your tanks—the 300—behind the old line, that is something they can understand.

General Dayan: Whatever they are willing to do, we will do.

Secretary Kissinger: That is fair enough.

General Dayan: The number of tanks and the distances are the same for both parties.

Secretary Kissinger: Let me give you my view. As a plan of disengagement of forces, I can’t argue with it. What are the arguments for Syrian disengagement? The arguments are not as militarily compelling as on the Egyptian front. Second, you are dealing with a country that will be even less reliable than Egypt. Third, you are dealing with a leadership that is less stable.

The argument is a temporary neutralization of the most radical elements; it gives the opportunity to take the Egyptians out of the negotiations altogether. Third, while it can’t prevent a war, it permits a war to start under conditions that help keep the others out. Fourth, the Soviets want this to fail to bring about a disintegration of our role in the Middle East.

If this happens, the Soviets will accomplish not only the end of the American role but also the destruction of Sadat, which I think they are interested in. Second, the French are determined to see our role fail because that is an obstacle to their policy in the Middle East. Third, Callaghan, whom I saw yesterday,6 I could see was under pressure from the [Page 173]experts in the room. They [the new Labour Government] are well-intentioned but their ignorance is a problem. You saw their endorsement of the November 6 declaration on the Middle East.7

So we can’t afford a failure. And if the oil embargo is reimposed . . .

This plan—I have to consider whether even to present it. From abstract logic, you are reasonable. The civilians returning is reasonable. But these lines are impossible. We can present it only on the basis that something else can be done with you. I will be frank with you. The war may break out anyway, if the Soviets give a blank check, no matter what you do. But if I present this, war will break out. We will be discredited; Egypt will be discredited.

I have told your Ambassador, some slice of the Golan Heights, including Quneitra, will have to be part of this arrangement. I know you’re not authorized to discuss it here. You don’t have to discuss it. But one reason I am going in so leisurely a pace is to let Israel reflect on it.

As to the other aspects: I think it should include a UNEF zone. If they totally reject it, we have another problem. But it is to our advantage to have it as close to the Egyptian model as possible. Sadat can support it more easily.

On first look, I like this idea of the zones. I think these numbers are much too high. But if you accept the principle that anything they will accept you’ll accept, . . .

General Dayan: No, on Egypt, we agree to 60 tanks.

Secretary Kissinger: You are giving me your fallback position on Egypt. When I was in Israel, Golda said she would die if there were any tanks.

General Dayan: No, it is double the Egyptian.

Secretary Kissinger: If you accept that principle, it is fine. If it is flexible, not a ceiling, I think we are fine. I have no reason to haggle with these figures. We will support symmetrical limits.

We are back to the problem of where the line is.

Asad has told me in innumerable conversations that the October 6 line was unacceptable. All our intelligence indicates this is his position. Sadat took this position too. The Soviets told me their impression is what is needed is a small line beyond the October 6 line, and didn’t say they objected to that.

General Dayan: Did the Soviets tell you they want the final lines?

[Page 174]

Secretary Kissinger: No, they didn’t mention it. We have to discuss, before Gromyko gets here, what we can give them. They mentioned only the Palestinians in connection with the Geneva Conference. They might pay a price for it.

You have to report to your Cabinet my strong conviction that it is very dangerous for me to present this line even to the man that comes here. I don’t say give him your final position, because if you do, he will have to reject it, to show how tough he is.

General Dayan: One point: We are now keeping the old Syrian positions on Mt. Hermon and we suggest we will hand them over to UNEF.

Secretary Kissinger: To present this line will produce a war. It will certainly produce a war. What do you think, Joe?

Mr. Sisco: That is what worries me the most.

Secretary Kissinger: It will produce a war and almost certainly eliminate us from the negotiation.

We have an urgent request from Sadat for food grains which the Russians have cut off. Someone told me he made an anti-Soviet statement.

Mr. Sisco: In a Beirut interview, he said that the Soviets told him a lie during the war, that the Syrians had agreed to a ceasefire.

Minister Shalev: October 13.

Mr. Sisco: He cabled to Asad who said no, they hadn’t. So he accused the Soviets and Vinogradov of double-dealing.

General Dayan: On the Syrian front, we are very worried. We hear the Egyptians will send 3–4,000 troops, commandos, there. This information repeated itself several times. There are Cubans there, out front, manning tanks there with others. There are some pilots from Pakistan, from Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. So there is quite a mixture of international brigades—mostly from Arab countries, and they all came to fight, not to be stationed there. What worries us is the ones from Communist countries who are not Arabs—this is new: North Korea, Cuba, Poland, East Germany.

Secretary Kissinger: But this strengthens my argument, really, that it is essential we make a major effort to keep this from being stirred up. I have told you this. What I have said is, it has to include Quneitra and some line parallel. There will be no American pressure to give up settlements. I think it is 60–40 Asad will accept it, but whether his Government will is another problem.

The problem is how to deal with the Soviets. With Jackson and the Congress, we can’t say to them they will lose détente if they don’t behave, because our Congress is wrecking it anyway. On SALT, we are giving up nothing; we are offering them nothing. All Dinitz’s brigade is [Page 175]writing profound articles on SALT. I am not blaming you. And we are squeezing them in the Middle East. So if I tell them they are threatening détente, they will say, what? I am very worried about the Soviets.

Can we do something to get them to cooperate if we give them the line as I suggest? I think we can do it if we get Boumedienne lined up. If I gave this line to Asad, he would switch completely to a destructive line.

I know you have no possibility to change it now, but you should report to the Cabinet what I am saying.

General Dayan: I want to say one thing about the timetable: It has been going on for a month now. If we have an intensive negotiation, it is at the end of April.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t want an intensive negotiation now before Asad goes to Moscow. I will write to Sadat tomorrow;8 I won’t present details but an attitude. I will tell him to use his influence to get the military activity to stop.

General Dayan: Will it affect the Egyptian front?

Secretary Kissinger: I will tell him (a) to use his influence on the Syrian front, and (b) not to join a war, provided Israel doesn’t do anything wild.

We will talk about it again tomorrow. Because if we get squeezed out of the negotiations now, we have an unfortunate combination of circumstances—the Russians, the French, the British Foreign Office, and the Germans, who are shaky. We are keeping them out only by the illusion of success. And Dinitz’s brigade, who want now to undermine our foreign policy . . . If on top of that the Middle East blows up next month, you will have a combination of desperate men, infuriated Soviets, French eager for our failure, the British civil servants, who are already pushing Callaghan in a certain direction . . .

General Dayan: I am scheduled to be on “Meet the Press” Sunday. Is there any objection if I mention the Cubans there? Because it is a fact.

Secretary Kissinger: Bebe Rebozo9 will love you. Let’s have lunch.

[The party moved to the Eighth Floor and continued the conversation at lunch]

Ambassador Dinitz: The General’s problem is that we have to give Siilasvuo an answer.

Secretary Kissinger: You will have the photos next week. We will fly at the very end of the period the Egyptians gave us.

[Page 176]

General Dayan: I will be challenged very hard in the Parliament. One aspect is the promise; the other is the finding.

I will have to go Tuesday afternoon to say something and we will have to rely on our own checking.

Secretary Kissinger: On Wednesday, the photographs will show, and you will be okay.

I think it would be suicidal for you at this complex point to take on the Egyptians, when we have these assurances. Over an issue that is essentially trivial. It is not like 1970.

General Dayan: It is not the Government; it is the opposition!

Secretary Kissinger: Then they will have to be faced down.

General Dayan: I will have to say I believe that by the end of next week they [the extra Egyptian guns] will be removed.

Secretary Kissinger: That is all right.

General Dayan: But I would have to mention Siilasvuo.

Secretary Kissinger: I will get in touch with Sadat. I am extremely reluctant to make an American statement on this without checking with the Egyptians.

Maybe they will have removed it by then. Although this doesn’t quite solve your problem.

I am sure I can get a formal assurance that they will be out by next week. We already have the formal assurance from [War Minister] Ismail, who has been more of a problem than Sadat.

General Dayan: On the prisoners, I wonder if we can get an immediate exchange of wounded in accordance with the Geneva Convention. We just got a report from the Red Cross that two are in hospital and are getting operations. We don’t think they have the best surgeons.

Secretary Kissinger: The Red Cross knows how many wounded you have?

General Dayan: Yes. About 30–40 wounded in Israel, in the class that should be returned right away. And could they give us the names of about 18 who were killed there, and let us recover the bodies? And we would give them three Syrians killed in Israel.

And if the Syrian civilians come back, it will have to include the exchange of prisoners.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, that will have to.

General Dayan: And the Jews in Syria—if they can let them out . . .

Secretary Kissinger: He has told me so many times they were well treated, he would be offended. I didn’t realize why they didn’t leave until you told me they weren’t allowed to leave.

Frankly, I should raise this at the end of the negotiation, not during it.

[Page 177]

General Dayan: Would the Russians get involved, or wouldn’t they touch it?

Secretary Kissinger: The Russians will pay a heavy price to get involved, and for that they might even support the line I am proposing—not your line. But I am not eager to let the Russians into the room. Because I am not sure what Israel and Syria will do in a room together that won’t be disastrous.

General Dayan: I was negotiating with a Syrian in 1948—and another Syrian came over and said, “What are you two Jews conspiring about?” Because he was Jewish; I hadn’t known it.

We have word the Russians are delaying the return of their civilians to Syria.

Secretary Kissinger: I am uneasy because the last time Brezhnev yielded so easily was after June [1973] in San Clemente10 when it was followed by massive arms shipment to the Middle East and no real restraint. So maybe I faced him down; but maybe they are about to do something.

General Dayan: Did the Russians promise to help?

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know. For letting a Russian into the Conference, we could get quite a few concessions. On Syrian Jews, I don’t know. For the line I suggested, it is almost certain.

Brezhnev had a map of the disengagement things once—which he never produced. When he was showing me other maps, I saw it. From a quick glimpse, it looked like the October 6 line plus the salient.

Ambassador Dinitz: Do you have any information about Egyptian contingents being sent to Syria?

Secretary Kissinger: No. It strikes me as improbable. And if it is so, they are being sent there to restrain them.

Mr. Sisco: They would have informed you.

Ambassador Dinitz: It seems improbable too, but we have repeated intelligence.

General Dayan: The rationale would be he wants to keep his own line quiet and show solidarity with Syria. He doesn’t want his own front flared up.

Secretary Kissinger: No.

General Dayan: They have opened up the Morgan oil field.11

[Page 178]

Ambassador Dinitz: You will have, in addition to minesweeping, other units of the Sixth Fleet there?

Secretary Kissinger: No.

Ambassador Dinitz: Zumwalt12 will say he has not enough ships to put there!

General Dayan: I saw a letter in the Washington Post asking if you are getting money from the Europeans for opening the Canal, since they get the benefit.

Secretary Kissinger: The Russians don’t get all that much benefit from it, and we can send carriers through too. This is one of the cheap insanities the intellectual community is now engaged in. This isn’t a great period to conduct American foreign policy.

Do you as a military man think it makes any difference?

General Dayan: If it shortens the lines for ships in the Indian Ocean. As an infantry man, I don’t take the navy very seriously anyway. [Laughter]

Do they have an aircraft carrier?

Secretary Kissinger: They have a helicopter carrier.

General Dayan: What kind of helicopter do they have? Like the Cobra,13 of course.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know.

General Dayan: The New York Times said the Russian equipment was better than American in the October war. Our people didn’t like that.

Secretary Kissinger: Is that true?

General Dayan: Regarding anti-aircraft missiles, yes.

Secretary Kissinger: We were too busy designing planes which play the national anthem of the country over which they are flying.

Ambassador Dinitz: How about the armored personnel carrier?

General Dayan: The American ones are better—there is such a variety of missiles attached, it is not a simple personnel carrier.

We don’t think very much of the new Russian tank, by the way.

Secretary Kissinger: Really?

General Dayan: We were expecting something more efficient and with better armor. There is not much difference between the T–62 and the earlier one. Not basically. We thought it would be of a new genera[Page 179]tion that would cause new problems. Not that it is not a good tank, but it is nothing special.

Secretary Kissinger: Why does it require special training?

General Dayan: It has night-aiming, and anti-infrared, and a lot of new devices.

Ambassador Dinitz: Is there any progress on Soviet Jewry?

Secretary Kissinger: I want to discuss that with you.

We are now in a suicidal period of American foreign policy. In Vietnam, $200 million stands between us and guaranteeing South Vietnamese survival. $200 million caused by inflation and oil. We fought there for ten years, with a loss of 50,000 men—and now we can’t get it.

On MFN—if we get that, then we have the problem of credits. I must say, negotiating with the Russians as American Secretary of State, we really have nothing to offer.

No sooner will détente end than they will all switch to the left of us. Once they have the assurance there will be no SALT agreement, they will point out that we have 15,000 warheads overkill.

General Dayan: Is the oil embargo lifted completely?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.14

General Dayan: Sadat got his way on the postponement of the Arab summit.15

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. That is why we have to get something on the Syrian front.

Mr. Sisco: Our Israeli friends can be helpful there, in your interest as well as ours.

General Dayan: We don’t want escalation on the Syrian front; but if it increases . . . So far, they are not shelling settlements, only military positions. But if one commander some day decides to shell a settlement, there will be an outcry. Everything might happen.

Mr. Atherton: What have your casualties been?

General Dayan: Last night there was one dead and one wounded. In a month, not many—five killed and five wounded in a month.

Ambassador Dinitz: But there is growing sentiment to retaliate.

Secretary Kissinger: I understand the situation. In many ways the Syrians are the hinge. That is why the Soviets are so nervous. Once the Syrians reach an agreement . . .

Ambassador Dinitz: Then they will work on the Palestinians.

[Page 180]

Secretary Kissinger: But there is no obvious confrontation aspect. The Saudis and the Egyptians will have a good alibi to keep things quiet; they will have a vested interest.

Ambassador Dinitz: If the Russians tell the Syrians: “Accept that line but in a month we will be behind you on the ’67 line.”

Secretary Kissinger: That will be true on any line.

General Dayan: The Russians asked for immediate opening of the Geneva Conference?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, and to have the Syrian disengagement discussions there, and in a room with the United States and the Soviets, the Egyptians and Syrians and Israelis. It has a number of advantages: It puts the Egyptians on the spot. If the Egyptians don’t back the Syrians, or if they do.

The only possibility for us is to tell the Syrians, “If you play with us you will get something; if you don’t you will get nothing.” The only other possibility is, if there is an agreement, to let them ratify it. But letting them in will be too dangerous.

Ambassador Dinitz: Did they raise the question of resuming diplomatic relations with us?

Secretary Kissinger: Not in Moscow. But Dobrynin did in the week before. I found him, in the week before, somewhat misleading. Some of the press problem is from briefings by him.

Has your Foreign Minister decided to come to the UN?

Ambassador Dinitz: He has not decided yet. It depends on who else is coming.

Secretary Kissinger: What Time said [about Eban’s low standing] won’t help.

Ambassador Dinitz: That came from an Israeli source. That article [about Kissinger] came out all right.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

Ambassador Dinitz: There is another one coming in the New Republic.

Secretary Kissinger: That won’t come out so well.

Ambassador Dinitz: Not as well, but not bad.

Secretary Kissinger: Really?

General Dayan: Is there anyone in America who is not a newspaperman? [to Dinitz:] Not that you know. [Laughter]

Ambassador Dinitz: After we spoke to you about the need to play down Egyptian violations, you know Marilyn Berger16 physically [Page 181]changed the headline from “Gross Egyptian Violations” to “Diplomatic sources play down violations.”

That is because I told her.

Secretary Kissinger: That is more than I could do.

Ambassador Dinitz: You should have had me in Moscow with you.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. The situation is not so gloomy, or it is gloomy but not because of what happened there but because of the stupidities here. They constantly altered the schedule, and so on, but that is no different from the way it has been on previous pre-summit meetings there.

The underlying reality is gloomy because we are facing these brutal bastards with nothing to offer them.

Ambassador Dinitz: What do you think is Brezhnev’s situation with respect to the war party there?

Secretary Kissinger: The only thing different was that he stuck religiously to a talking paper. Either he will be replaced by the right or he will shift to the right.

Mr. Sisco: What will determine the situation? SALT?

Secretary Kissinger: On SALT we will have nothing. Given Jackson and our Armed Services Committee. Economic things would help. On the Middle East they need a little face-saver. Well, more than a face-saver. They want a dominant position in Syria.

Ambassador Dinitz: Is it hurt pride, or are they afraid of you getting a position in Syria like in Egypt?

Secretary Kissinger: They should see, if they are intelligent, that we will be in much more difficult negotiations a year from now. So part of it is hurt pride.

General Dayan: Egypt is more important to them than Syria.

Secretary Kissinger: Egypt they have already lost. Unless they can get rid of Sadat.

General Dayan: They might try it.

Secretary Kissinger: That is why they want the Syrian thing to fail; it discredits both the U.S. and Sadat.

It is unfortunate this happens at a time when China is paralyzed. We can’t use China to scare them. We have no moves to make to China.

Ambassador Dinitz: Fahmi is the big man now.

Secretary Kissinger: Hafiz Ismail will be sent to Moscow.

General Dayan: If there is anything Sadat wants us to do to avoid embarrassing him, I suppose we should do it.

Secretary Kissinger: Military trainees!

[Page 182]

Mr. Sisco: What would you recommend, Mr. Secretary, to the Minister to say on “Meet the Press?” He will get asked, “Are there violations?” “If so, what are you going to do?”

General Dayan: I will say we had a dispute about the number that should have been left, because it was expressed in units rather than in numbers, but we think it will be corrected.

Secretary Kissinger: Good. On disengagement, you can say you brought a plan.

General Dayan: And we will meet tomorrow.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. We should say it was a constructive talk, and we are hopeful.

Can I say you accepted my offer to return as Defense Minister? [Laughter]

General Dayan: Can you find out about the Egyptian troops in Syria?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, I will. I don’t want to deal with the people who are in Egypt now; I want to send our Ambassador to see Sadat.

Ambassador Dinitz: He [Sadat] is in Yugoslavia now.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

I don’t know whether I need to propose a toast to someone who is a friend as well as an ally. But I want to express our hope we can bring this to a successful conclusion.

General Dayan: Yes. Thank you.

We will be asked whether these Egyptian guns were discussed today.

Secretary Kissinger: You can say it was discussed.

General Dayan: And if you can, by the time I am home, give me some formula I can use.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. We won’t have an answer until Monday.17

Sisco will be at the throttle. He was last week.

Mr. Sisco: I must say, Mr. Secretary, I didn’t really feel you were ever away!

Secretary Kissinger: Ellsworth, we really have to send you to Geneva. Vinogradov was there in Moscow. You really have to keep him company there, doing nothing with him.

Mr. Sisco: That is the only job he has now.

Secretary Kissinger: Because Sadat would not let him back.

[Page 183]

When we put in for economic aid for Egypt, we may need your help.

Ambassador Dinitz: That presupposes our economic aid will be solved by then. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: Before I leave, I am going to get you declared PNG.

General Dayan: Will we get the full $1.5 billion in grant?

Secretary Kissinger: That will be settled in the next week.

General Dayan: After Sadat comes back. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: He hasn’t approved it yet!

The question is a presentational one. The determination made is not final. If we said all of the $1.5 is to be a loan, he would have the right to retroactively make it grant even if the initial determination is loan.

Ambassador Dinitz: But we hope it won’t be this way.

Secretary Kissinger: No.

Ambassador Dinitz: We don’t want our credits made into a grant. Because our policy is to pay all our loans. It would look like forgiving a loan.

Has the President finalized his Middle East trip plans? Because we get many reports.

Secretary Kissinger: No. You will be the first to know. It depends on many domestic things, and he can’t go while Syrian disengagement is unsettled. It would put him under too many pressures.

Ambassador Dinitz: Al-Ahram18 keeps saying May.

Secretary Kissinger: That is the intention. If we get a Syrian disengagement done, we can aim at the last third of May.

General Dayan: Will we meet tomorrow?

Secretary Kissinger: Make it 9:30.19

[The luncheon then ended. Kissinger and Dinitz meet alone in the Secretary’s office from 2:45–3:00. The Secretary and the Minister then went down to the Main Lobby together to face the press.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 5. Secret; Nodis. The meeting began in the Conference Room on the Seventh Floor of the Department of State, then moved to the Dining Room on the Eighth Floor. Brackets are in the original.
  2. Kissinger discussed the Middle East with Soviet leaders in Moscow on March 26 and 27. The memoranda of conversations are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974, Documents 167 and 170.
  3. A reference to the understanding that Kissinger and Gromyko initialed on October 22, 1973, in Moscow that Middle East peace negotiations would begin “under appropiate auspices.” See ibid., Document 144.
  4. Tab A, a map entitled “Separation of Forces Plan,” is Appendix A, Map 1.
  5. Bruno Kreisky, the Austrian Chancellor, led a mission of the Socialist International through the Middle East in mid-March 1974.
  6. Kissinger met with James Callaghan on March 28. On March 5, Callaghan had been appointed British Foreign Minister after the Labour Party took power in the United Kingdom.
  7. The November 6 declaration was a European Community declaration calling for Israel to withdraw immediately to the October 22 cease-fire line.
  8. Apparently a reference to a message transmitted in telegram 64526 to Cairo, March 30. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850038–2011)
  9. Bebe Rebozo was the son of Cuban immigrants who became a wealthy banker and close friend of President Nixon.
  10. Brezhnev visited the United States for a nine-day trip from June 16 to June 24, 1973, which concluded with a meeting at Nixon’s home in San Clemente, California. Documentation on the talks, which included lengthy discussions of the Middle East, is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974.
  11. The Morgan oil field is in the Gulf of Suez.
  12. Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. was Chief of Naval Operations from July 1970 until July 1974.
  13. The Cobra is an attack helicopter made by Bell Helicopter Textron.
  14. The embargo ended on March 17.
  15. Apparently a reference to the Seventh Arab League Summit Conference at Rabat, Morocco, which was held in October 1974. See Document 112.
  16. Marilyn Berger was a staff writer for the Washington Post.
  17. April 1.
  18. Al-Ahram is a daily Arab newspaper based in Cairo.
  19. Kissinger met with Dayan on March 30 from 9:50 until 11:05 a.m. in the Secretary’s office at the Department of State. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 5)