251. Memorandum of Conversation1

    • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    • Dr. James R. Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense
    • William Colby, Director of Central Intelligence
    • Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
    • Amb. Kenneth Rush, Deputy Secretary of State
    • Major General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Kissinger: I have been telling the President that we should say to the Arabs that we will make progress when you lift the embargo—not that the embargo will be lifted as we make progress.2

Schlesinger: We have been talking about using the Marines.3

[Page 706]

Kissinger: We should have a plan before we move troops. It is ridiculous that the civilized world is held up by 8 million savages. I spent three hours with Faisal.4 His problem is he is a friend of the United States, but he is pressured by radicals. So he is leapfrogging the radicals so he isn’t embarrassed by his U.S. relationship.

We have had two letters from Yamani.5 I told them that we couldn’t operate under pressure.

I get the impression they are blinking.

Colby: Yes, they are looking for ways to get us oil.

Schlesinger: They are turning up the screws on Aramco.

Rush: I don’t know how it could be done without being found out.

Colby: If it was antitrust, they could keep it quiet. The oil companies don’t have the incentive.

Kissinger: They seem to be looking for a way out. They told me if they could have announced the six-point deal, they could have lifted the embargo.

The opening of negotiations might do it.

Rush: If we could get a withdrawal to the passes…

Kissinger: Ken, we can’t yield to blackmail. We can’t tie ourselves to any scheme. We have to show our muscle now or the Russians will take extreme positions and drive us right out of the Middle East.

We will have to pressure Israel, but if it looks like we do it under pressure, we won’t even get credit for it. We must pressure Israel, but at the right time; don’t nickle them on petty issues.

I was impressed with Sadat. He showed statesmanship. I told him if he insisted on the 22 October line, he could get it, but with great agony and it would stop there. The same agony later would get us something more.

I think he doesn’t like the Soviet Union.

An announcement of the Conference has a 50–50 chance of getting action on the oil.

If I support 242, that will get us something.

We won’t make the oil conditional on progress in the substance of the talks. We have to be prepared to stop the negotiations if we get pressure—otherwise the Russians will make extreme demands. The Arabs like us.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to oil.]

Kissinger: Let me summarize.

Hassan, Hussein, and Bourguiba are with us.

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Faisal, I think, is in a dilemma. He gave me a hard line and I told him bull shit. I said you tell me about the World Wide Jewish conspiracy and you want me to take it on without preparation. These Jewish groups will say we are yielding to the Arabs’ blackmail. That is impossible. He agreed and said, “Can’t you help me? Can’t you give me Jerusalem?” I said: “That’s the last. Our enemies would like to hang us up on a tough point like that. Give us time and we will do it.” He asked me to do something, and I said I would see what I could do. Then Fahd and Saqqaf came to me and said they would do what they could. They bled about some Navy deal where we keep raising the price.

Moorer: I know about that.

Kissinger: If we could give on that—but let me do it.

[Read Yamani letter.]

I have already done some—when I said in Peking that Israel would have to do some withdrawal.6 We have shaken the Saudis. They are saying they trust me. If we keep discipline, we have a chance. But we can’t put out that the oil embargo will be lifted as we make progress.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to oil.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 2, November 29, 1973. Top Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the White House Map Room. All brackets, except those that indicate omissions, are in the original.
  2. See Document 244.
  3. See Documents 244 and 247.
  4. See Document 238.
  5. Presumably a reference to the messages in Documents 239 and 241.
  6. See Document 244.