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

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

Mr. Rush: One other matter. One thing I might mention is that Exxon International sent letters—and we have had cables from our Ambassadors2—to the U.K., Bonn and Rome saying that they were cutting us off from all supplies. I got hold of Ken Jamieson about this. And he went back and checked into it and said this was absolutely imperative. Otherwise they could not—they would be entirely shut out by Saudi Arabia. The Department of Defense knows all about it. It is about seven percent of our supplies overseas. They agree with Exxon. So there we are. But it is a very bad thing.

Secretary Kissinger: They will not supply our forces overseas?

Mr. Rush: They do business—Exxon is a major supplier of our forces from their outlets in Germany, Italy and the U.K. They have been told they have to cut off all supplies to our military forces, and they have told us that. They say it is being monitored.

Secretary Kissinger: By them?

Mr. Rush: By the Arabs.

Secretary Kissinger: How would the Arabs be able to monitor it unless our companies monitor it for them?

Mr. Rush: They tell me they do have that capability.

Secretary Kissinger: How?

Mr. Rush: I don’t know.

Mr. Porter: There is a lot of Arab personnel involved—probably local accounts, others.

Mr. Sisco: Reports said this morning they have got Arabs checking the various vouchers and bills of lading and what-have-you. In other words, they are actually checking the amounts.

Mr. Rush: But the risk was too great for Exxon to take. They would be frozen out completely.

[Page 695]

Secretary Kissinger: We better do the letter about the military aspects of it.3

Mr. Rush: Actually, it is only seven percent.

Secretary Kissinger: There was a draft.

[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, 11/73–12/73. Secret. According to an attached list, Kissinger, Rush, Porter, Stoessel, Sisco, Newsom, Kubisch, Hummel, Casey, Ingersoll, Wright, Weiss, Lord, Vest, and Pickering attended the meeting.
  2. Telegram 12938 from Rome, November 21; telegram 13616 from London, November 21; and telegram 16817 from Bonn, November 20. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Not further identified.