97. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • 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: The overall situation: Sadat courageously bet on the U.S. last winter. The Soviets had poured equipment on and they are getting little from us. The nuclear plant is held up on an Israeli technicality. We are trying to get Butz to make a year’s commitment of PL–480.

President: He signed 100,000 tons.

[Page 410]

Kissinger: That is the first quarter. Tell him you will do the utmost.

On negotiations: The Jordanians want to go first. Egypt feels they can’t wait. They want something by October 6.

[Wilson calls]

[Omitted here are Ford’s side of a telephone call to British Prime Minister Wilson on Cyprus and discussion of British leaders.]

Kissinger: Back to Fahmy: He is afraid we will push for Jordan rather than Egypt. We should, but we need Egypt. You should tell him we will put Egypt first. That problem with Hussein—but we discussed that. You should get a promise he will help you with Jordan. Also you need 4–6 weeks to get control of the government before you move. You really should.

President: Before or after Moscow?2

Kissinger: We should start before but complete it after. I may have to go consecutively to Cairo and Jerusalem the end of September. If I go to Moscow in October and you go to Vladivostok in December, I should go to China the middle of September—about the 10th. I would stop in Tokyo on the basis of preparing your trip—a total of 6–7 days. I don’t want to, but I am worried about the Chinese seeing all this Soviet activity.

Israel wants to wait until next year. No way. The Syrians might not wait. You should tell Dobrynin you won’t meet Brezhnev if the Syrian buildup turns into something.

Tell Fahmy another oil embargo will have dire consequences—you don’t have to spell it out. Allon promised ideas in three or four days for a Sinai move. But we have heard nothing yet. Fahmy says, “How can we believe you?”

We are doing a paper for you on Israeli aid.3 There is no small dispute within the bureaucracy. The big issue is with Congress—how much to ask for. I could confirm the shopping list.

The Saudi purchasing mission came here to buy it for their account. I would tell Clements to do it.

President: How is that bureaucratically?

Kissinger: I’m afraid of leaks. You could tell Schlesinger and insure him to secrecy.

President: How about getting both of them over here? I think that is best. We want it implemented with total security in Defense.

Kissinger: Good. Maybe meet early next week. If you could assure Fahmy of this.

[Page 411]

President: It would be part of the Saudi sale.

Kissinger: Yes, it should be part of a larger package.

President: What are we agreeing to?

Kissinger: Tell him you signed for 100,000 but the year total will be higher. You’re going to work with Congress to get the $250 million. You’ve approved the supply arrangement and the list Nixon gave Sadat—with strict security. We will have to get Congress involved, but deliveries can’t start before the first of the year.

I will write Sadat again.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 280, Presidential File, August 1974. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at the White House. All brackets, except those that describe omitted material, are in the original.
  2. A reference to Kissinger’s October 23–27 trip to Moscow where he met with General Secretary Brezhnev, Foreign Minister Gromyko, and other Soviet officials.
  3. See Document 96.