66. Telegram From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

Tohak 263/WH 41432. The President called me out of staff meeting this morning.2 He has a message for you, which he had written out longhand and which he half read and half ad-libbed to me. The message is as follows:

“As I am returning to Washington from Florida I am writing this personal message for Brent to transmit to you.

“Of all your superb accomplishments since we have worked together, the Syrian/Israeli breakthrough, regardless of what comes out in the odds and ends of bargaining which still lies ahead, must be considered one of the greatest diplomatic negotiations of all time. I know well how hard you have worked, how discouraged you must have been at times, and I just wanted you to know how personally grateful I am for this example of diplomatic service far beyond the call of duty, which has become your trademark.

“I believe we should follow up this development with a trip to the Middle East at the earliest possible time. We will thereby be able to seal in concrete those new relationships which are essential if we are to be successful in building a permanent structure of peace in the area.

“It is of course vital to constantly reassure our Israeli friends. The hardware-software analogy plus the implied U.S. commitment to hold the ring against great powers should they ever threaten Israel’s existence should be conclusive to a realist like Rabin.

“On a personal note, I thought you would be interested to know that nowhere in the transcripts or the tapes, and I had Len Garment listen to the three in question, did I ever use the terms ‛Jew boy’ or ‛wop.’3 The New York Times following its usual practice nevertheless refuses to retract.

[Page 291]

“When you return I would like to have a long conference with you, if convenient for both of us at Camp David this weekend, before we have a briefing of the leadership next week.4

“Pat joins me in sending Nancy and you our warmest personal regards.”

After reading-dictating the above, the President commented further on your fantastic ability to glean the framework of agreement from seemingly unreconcilable positions. He asked again for your views about a trip. I told him you would want to make a discussion of that a first order of business following your return. He said he understood and he wanted no discussion of a trip with anyone but he wanted, in order to get his own thoughts in order, your ideas for him alone on timing and itinerary in the event a trip should take place. He asked me, working alone, to start thinking about what a schedule might look like. While he stresses the tentative nature of the trip situation and the need to keep discussion confined to the three of us, it seems apparent where his inclination lies. Any tentative thoughts that you could give me just for him would greatly facilitate maintaining the present relaxed and composed atmosphere. I would continue, as I have thus far, to stress the tentative nature of any thinking along these lines until you return and discuss it thoroughly with him.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, TOHAK 246–310, April 28–May 31, 1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Black Patch; Immediate.
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon met with Scowcroft on May 21 from 8:50 until 9:13 a.m. in the Oval Office. (Ibid., White House Central Files)
  3. In a May 12 article in the New York Times, Seymour Hersh wrote that in secret taped conversations, Nixon called Judge John J. Sirica a “wop” and referred to “Jew boys” in the Securities and Exchange Commission. (New York Times, May 12, 1974, p. 1)
  4. See Document 91.