118. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • 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


  • Middle East; Angola; Soviet Grain; SALT; President’s Trip

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

President: I have decided on Angola. I think we should go.2

Kissinger: You will have to certify it.

President: I am willing to do it.

Kissinger: We’ll send Vance to Mobutu [1 line not declassified]and more if needed, and ask him to come up with a program. It may be too late because Luanda is lost. Unless we can seize it back, it is pretty hopeless. We’ll have a resignation from Davis, then I’ll clean out the AF bureau.

President: But if we do nothing, we will lose Southern Africa. I think we have an understandable position.

I think we can defend it to the public. I won’t let someone in Foggy Bottom deter me.

Kissinger: In six years I have been on the tough side. But I push détente in order to be able to be tough. If we were publicly tough, the Soviet Union would have no incentive. Now, so long as they think we are pushing détente, they will keep their heads down.

Call the Agencies and give them the decision.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Angola.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 282, Memoranda of Conversations, Presidential File, July 1975. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.
  2. In a July 21 memorandum for the record on Angola, Ratliff informed members of the 40 Committee that Ford approved the expenditure [text not declassified] for covert action on July 18. (National Security Council, Ford Administration Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Meetings)