334. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and President Nixon1

K: Mr. President.

N: Hi Henry. Anything on the foreign policy front you want me to try to get out on board today. I don’t think I’ll be asked anything.2

K: On the oil embargo, the way it stands now, just to let you know—I wouldn’t go beyond what we discussed yesterday. The Libyans don’t want to hold it in Tripoli3 so Sadat has invited them all to come to Cairo. Which at least gives us a fixed location. We have had a cable from the Saudis saying that the King after the meeting I had with him has now definitely decided to lift it,4 but even that I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on given their volatility. But this time it comes from the Foreign Minister which is higher than we have ever had it. We made a statement yesterday that we hadn’t been consulted on that European thing.5

N: Right.

K: And I think you should just stick with that because that is true.

N: Should I say that we take a dim view of it or not.

K: I think what you said yesterday…

N: Well, we might say that they are obviously looking to their interests and we will of course look to ours.

K: Something like that. That would be fine. But otherwise—I am just leafing through my cables to see whether there is anything else that is likely to come up. On the European thing, they are obviously looking to their own interests; we have offered cooperative arrangements and it is up to them which way they want to go. If they look to [Page 933] their interests exclusively, then we’ll look to ours. I would leave open the possibility of the cooperative.

N: Ok.

K: There is nothing else you don’t know.

N: The meeting is tentatively schedule for the tenth, is that right?

K: It is tentatively scheduled now for the 11th but again I would not tie yourself to it because so many things can happen. I would just say that there is a meeting; it is their decision to make but we of course have indicated our view. Something like that.

N: As far as the Syrian thing is concerned we will simply say that it is a difficult problem that will be discussed further when the Syrians and Israelis come to Washington.

K: Yes, but you could say, Mr. President, that the United States will exert all its influence to bring about a just disengagement scheme between Syria and Israel. It would be well received in Syria.

N: Right.

K: And the Syrians have been actually in their public statements very restrained.

N: Alright. Fine Henry that is good. If you think of anything give me a call.

K: Right, Mr. President. All the best.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 25, Chronological Files. Unclassified.
  2. Nixon’s press conference was scheduled for that evening. Excerpts dealing with the oil embargo are printed in the Department of State Bulletin, March 25, 1974, pp. 294–295.
  3. According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, he met with Nixon March 5, from 11:10 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. No other record of this meeting was found. The Libyan decision is in telegram 1086 from Jidda, March 5. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 631, Country Files, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Vol. V)
  4. Telegram 1085 from Jidda, March 5. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 207, Geopolitical Files, Saudi Arabia, 2 Mar–27 Apr 74) For the meeting, see Document 332.
  5. The Washington Post on March 5 reported that Kissinger had told a NATO news conference in Brussels that he would not comment on the recent EC agreement to negotiate with 20 Arab countries on oil and other areas of interest.