227. Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting1

[Omitted here are the Summary of Decisions and discussion unrelated to oil.]

Mr. Newsom: Mr. Secretary, I was at a banquet in New York last night at which there were a number of executives of American oil companies—

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t want to hear that. They are revolting. They are crying about the Middle East. Do they have a solution?

Mr. Newsom: No, they don’t have a solution. But the impression I come away with is that there is a reverberation of reinforcement of doom between them and the Arabs.

Secretary Kissinger: I have been telling you this.

Mr. Newsom: And I think that when you see them on Tuesday2—I am sure you will—but I would just like to reinforce my feeling—

Secretary Kissinger: Can’t somebody tell them to shut up—that they are making their own disaster? What the hell do they want us to do?

Mr. Newsom: I told Mr. Folmar last night—

Secretary Kissinger: Who is he?

Mr. Newsom: He is the Texaco man, who is the principal spokesman—

Secretary Kissinger: Do they have any idea of what we should do?

Mr. Newsom: No, they don’t.

Mr. Rush: They have some ideas, but they are not acceptable.

Mr. Newsom: They don’t stand still long enough to understand what we are trying to do, for one thing. I said to him: “You are sure you are not part of the problem, because you have a tendency to reinforce the Arab feeling that the United States doesn’t know what it is doing in the Middle East?” And I tried to indicate what our basic objectives were. I cite this only to underline the fact—

Mr. Rush: What you said is exactly what they all think. They all think our Middle Eastern policy is wrong.

[Page 635]

Secretary Kissinger: What is their solution? Since we cannot destroy Israel, what is it they want us to do?

Mr. Rush: That we should step in, make Israel withdraw to her own boundaries, and then the Arabs will be very nice and sweet to us.

Secretary Kissinger: Countries in a monopoly position will use it.

Mr. Rush: Exactly.

Mr. Newsom: One thing, Mr. Secretary. They tend to believe a lot of the more outlandish statements which come from Arab sources, largely about what we are doing. For example, one of them said to me seriously last night “Why are we letting the Israelis expand their enclave on the west bank of the Canal?” And I said “We are not. We are making every effort to try and get it stopped.”

You are very much aware of the problem. I just wanted to reinforce it.

Secretary Kissinger: They think I am part of their problem, too.

Mr. Rush: I don’t think so.

Mr. Newsom: They speak of Washington in a broad generic sense, which encompasses all of us. One of them came up to me and said “Don’t you people know what you are doing in Washington?” I said, “Yes, we think we do.”

Secretary Kissinger: Are they being brought in here on Tuesday?

Mr. Rush: Yes. I am waiting for a date from Larry. Larry, do we have a date for Tuesday?

Secretary Kissinger: A date or a time?

Mr. Rush: A time is what I mean—an hour.

Mr. Eagleburger: I will check.

Secretary Kissinger: Just give an hour. Shift something out.3

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to oil.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Box 720, Secretary’s Staff Meetings, 9/73–10/73. Secret. According to an attached list, the following people attended the meeting: Kissinger, Rush, Tarr, Kubisch, Casey, Sisco, Hummel, Newsom, Springsteen, Lord, McCloskey, Pickering, and Eagleburger.
  2. See Document 230.
  3. In an October 25 telephone conversation with Rush, Kissinger stated that he wanted to meet with the oil men the following day. During the short conversation, Kissinger stated: “I want those idiots talked to before. I am not going to have an hour’s battle with a bunch of maniac oilmen.” He also reaffirmed the need for Clements to be present. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 23, Chronological Files)