124. Memorandum of Conversation1


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

Kissinger: The Shah is a tough, unemotional, and able guy. He has a geopolitical view.

President: Would he be interested in an analysis of the [Mayaguez] operation?

Kissinger: Good. Tell him you used more force than necessary.2

[Page 372]

Iran has now raised its trade figures from $15 billion to $26 billion over five years.

On the oil deal, he will do it if we can do it secretly. We haven’t figured how to do that. One way would be to pay in non-interest-bearing notes, if we could do it secretly. He would prefer a swap of military equipment for oil, with high prices for the equipment. But we haven’t figured that out.

I would go over the energy thing. He will slap you down, but it would be good.

Ask him about the Middle East. He is worried about Saudi Arabia. We told him we would support a paratroop operation in Saudi Arabia in a crisis. You could say you are aware of this contingency planning.3

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 11. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. Brackets in the original. The U.S. ship S.S. Mayaguez was seized by Khmer Rouge naval forces on May 12 and taken to Koh Tang island. Ford ordered a rescue mission on May 15, which landed Marines on the island. Although the Cambodians released the crew near mid-day, the operation continued until evening in order to withdraw the Marines, resulting in significant U.S. and Cambodian casualties. Documentation on the operation is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume X, Vietnam, January 1973–July 1975.
  3. In a briefing memorandum to Ford, May 15, Kissinger advised, “it will be important to impress upon the Shah not only that we remain strong but that we will continue to look to our defenses and continue our efforts to build a viable structure of peaceful relationships in the world.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Briefing Material for VIP Visits, Box 9, May 16, 1975, Iran (12))