50. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Gerald Ford
  • The Cabinet


  • Secretary Kissinger’s Presentation on Foreign Policy

[The Cabinet meeting began with discussions by Mr. Rumsfeld of the reorganization of the Executive Office of the President, by Mr. Marsh of the Congressional situation, and by Dr. Greenspan of the economic situation].2

President: Now, Henry will project the Foreign Policy problems for 1975.

Kissinger: In Cyprus, we now have political talks started and with good will we should get something in three to four months.

In the Middle East the possibility for moves still exists, and if we succeed, the chances of war will be greatly reduced and we can go to Geneva with a situation where our friends are having a success.

In our relations with the Soviets, we have a problem. The Soviet Union has had a massive shock over the MFN and Ex-Im legislation. Brezhnev’s opponents can quote our ’72 statements about economic relations to make him look like a fool. Obviously, there is a reevaluation going on. And to the extent that a deterioration with the Soviet Union takes place it will also with the PRC. This makes the Vladivostok hearings3 crucial, so they are not turned into another trade bill fiasco.

I am afraid the Soviet Union will turn down the trade bill,4 but don’t talk about it.

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But there is no deterioration of political relations with the Soviet Union.

Relations with the PRC are on course. There was not much movement on Taiwan, because we have little to gain from it. Our relations are basically doing well.

So much for the traditional foreign policy areas.

We are now facing for the whole world the situation which President Truman faced with Europe. There is a disintegration of old world patterns—it represents a danger and a great opportunity as new patterns become put together. In the past few years our relations with Europe have been very difficult. The Europeans have become provincial: only our efforts are seeking to restore to them a sense of competence to manage their own destinies.

A resurgent American economy will help us more in the world than anything we can do.

We have an historic opportunity to help construct a new political and economic world system. We have been making substantial progress in the whole energy/oil field. If we can move equally on food and raw materials, we may look back on this period on the structural side as having been an historic period of American foreign policy.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 8, Memoranda of Conversations—Ford Administration, January 8, 1975—Cabinet Meeting. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room at the White House from 11:11 a.m. to 12:14 p.m. In attendance were Ford, Kissinger, Simon, Schlesinger, Morton, Butz, Dent, Brennan, Weinberger, Lynn, Brinegar, Hartmann, Ash, Marsh, Rumsfeld, Scali, Seidman, Greenspan, Baroody, Friedersdorf, Scowcroft, Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Silberman, Buchen, Nessen and RNC Chairperson Mary Louise Smith. (Ibid., Staff Secretary’s Office, White House Daily Diary)
  2. Brackets are in the original.
  3. Reference is to the Congressional hearings on November 24, 1974, Vladivostok agreement. See footnote 6, Document 48.
  4. The Soviet Union did reject the conditions in the trade bill. See Document 31.