Page:Ford, Kissinger, Syrian Foreign Minister Khaddam - August 23, 1974(Gerald Ford Library)(1552761).pdf/6

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President: The American people are interested in expanding relations with Arabs. Dr. Kissinger's efforts have given the American people a better understanding and appreciation of the Arabs. That's why we must have a peaceful atmosphere. An oil embargo would destroy this feeling of friendliness and cooperation with the Arabs.

Khaddam: As far as anything of a military nature, the Arabs will not undertake anything of that nature.

President: That's reassuring.

Khaddam: Why did we resort to war on October 6? Because for six years we had been trying for support and got no help at all. Imagine the Nazi -- in every sense of the word -- troops only 60 kilometers from your capital. If you come, I could show you mutilated Syrian children from Israeli bombs. We could have bombed Israeli cities, but we didn't. Even in war one should have traditional customs; war has its rules. We kept our operations in a military context.

I want to say a few simple words, Mr. President. The United States now has a great opportunity to put a strong priority on relations with the Arabs. The Arabs love Americans and admire their background. Conditions for a good relationship exist. What we need is a man of courage like you and men like Dr. Kissinger who understands the problems. You will find great willingness on our side to cooperate.

Kissinger: Foreign Minister Khaddam has made many helpful statements here which will help remove the [bad] image of Syria in American minds.

Khaddam: Let me assure you these statements reflect our official position and are made in sincerity and are true. I meant what I said. When you meet President Asad, you will find him a man who wants peace in all seriousness and wants good relations with the United States.

President: I look forward to meeting with him and working for a just peace in the Middle East. I appreciate your words about the American people. They want to cooperate with the Arabs. We have many citizens of Arab extraction. If we can work together, it will be very beneficial to the cause of peace.

Khaddam: I thank you very much for your kind words and for making it possible for this meeting. I will convey my impressions to President Asad. I will convey anything you might wish to President Asad.