198. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger in Rabat1

Tohak 10. 1. Following your conversation with Shultz on the trade bill this morning,2 he and Sonnenfeldt reformulated the statement on sus-pension of credits. Shultz then called Dobrynin about 11:30 a.m. and after explaining again our efforts to get Title IV dropped and the reasons therefor read him the revised credit formula: “Since no major Soviet applications of EXIM credits are at present under consideration it is not anticipated that any such credits will be approved by the US in the course of the next six months.”

2. Dobrynin, after rehearsing his concern about the impact in Moscow of anything that sounds like a credit suspension and pressure on the USSR in the Middle East context, asked how this formula affects our previous understanding that we were prepared to grant half a billion dollars worth of credit. Shultz explained that counting final and preliminary commitments as well as loans currently in application status the total would come to 470 million, i.e., very close to the half billion dollar understanding. Dobrynin seemed reassured by this. He also understood that in citing applications Shultz was not waiving normal EXIM examination of suitability of these credits but was merely pointing out that the formula to be used on the Hill would not be the cause for any disapproval.

3. Dobrynin said that if we felt that the legislative situation required our going ahead with Shultz’ formula he would understand. He would, however, send the formula and the explanations immediately to Moscow and provide any comments as quickly as possible. Dobrynin further said he fully understood our motives in going through this whole exercise and that Soviets would trust the President’s judgment of what was required on the Hill to safeguard our trading relationship. In making this point, Dobrynin referred to the President’s latest message which had explained our tactical problems on the trade bill. Shultz told Dobrynin that legislative situation was such that we would be proceeding shortly on the Hill with our effort to get Title IV [Page 720] dropped, in the process using the formula he had provided Dobrynin. Dobrynin again said he understood.

4. The present plan is to approach Ullman some time today, using your letter in which you ask for dropping Title IV on national interest grounds and the above credit formula. Shultz’ own proposed letter is being redrafted to reflect the new formulation on credits.3

5. Meanwhile, there are indications that Jackson’s people are getting to Jewish leaders and that several of the latter are backing away from earlier support for or acquiescence in dropping of Title IV. This reinforces need for speed.

6. If efforts with Ullman and others fail or indicate poor prospects of achieving elimination of Title IV on the floor, the issue of whether then to seek postponement of bill will have to be put to the President. Flanigan says he has assured you that your position on this will be put to the President in the strongest terms. But you would probably also wish to do this yourself. We will start contingency drafting of a statement from you to the President favoring postponement and of a Presidential request to the House. If there are particular points you wish made, we would need them quickly, since this whole thing may precipitate rapidly.

7. Hakto 14 received after Shultz approach to Dobrynin but Shultz formula is consistent with it and Dobrynin, from tone and content of what he said to Shultz, seemed quite positive under the circumstances.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Scowcroft Daily Work Files, Box 5, 11/1–8/73. Confidential; Eyes Only. The original is the draft as approved for transmission. Kissinger was traveling in the Middle East and Asia November 5–16.
  2. No record of this conversation has been found.
  3. See Document 197.
  4. Not found.