President Ford–Henry Kissinger memcon (September 13, 1974)

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).



E.O. 12958SEC 3.6
CIA ltr 5/12/08; OSD ltr 8/15/08
MR 08-90, #1; State review 3/9/04
BY  del  NARA DATE 9/24/08


The President
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
September 13, 1974
The Oval Office

CLASSIFIED BY Henry A. Kissinger

[The decision was made to let NATO announce Haig.]

President: Wayne Hays said it is not good to send A1 to NATO. I said I made a commitment and would stick to it.

Kissinger: Goodpaster hasn't helped or been generous. Wayne Hays will be okay.

President: How about meeting with that group?

Kissinger: We are going the CRA route.

President: We still can offer credits.

Kissinger: It depends on whether to take on the Turkish aid cutoff. We brief on the Greek-Turkey situation and say why are you giving a generous interpretation to hold aid over the Turks. It would be the forthright thing to do.

President: I think we are sort of commmitted to the leadership. It would keep the good atmosphere of yesterday. Let's try to set it up.

You also are meeting with the Scott group?

Kissinger: Tuesday.

Dinitz is the only one who really understands the process. I told Dinitz that Rabin should be trying to establish rapport with you, not just ask for handouts.

I have decided: They don't want to move; if there is a war, they think it would be better if it were now. And they want enough arms to get flexibility. I told them we agreed in principle on lasers, besides the list.

I told them we need a rough outline of what we are aiming for. If I don't have something for the Arabs by the time I go to the Middle East, we are in trouble. I need a concrete proposal on Egypt and Jordan before I go there. We shouldn't engage in shuttle diplomacy -- it stakes too much on the personal.

I planned to go the 8th-14th, and maybe to Greece and Turkey also. Then to the Soviet Union, and India, the last week in October or first week in November. Then on to Iran, and to Rome for the food conference. Then to Japan and Peking.

Nothing Rabin says has meaning until it goes through the Cabinet. We can't keep stalling. If it hadn't been for the change of Administration, we would be in trouble now.

President: So you need a concrete plan on timing, substance and negotiation method in October. If he gives this commitment....

Kissinger: You could then say we, in this atmosphere, would look over the rest of the list in December.

President: I would say we would have real trouble going beyond this.

Kissinger: Giscard wants to meet in December.

President: I would like to be free after about the 18th-19th.

Kissinger: It would probably be about the 15th or 16th.

President: Fine, I could go until the 20th if necessary. Is Schmidt off?

Kissinger: He has his own scandal. Brandt's plus an advisor buying votes for the Soviet treaty ratification. Much like your problem. Now Brandt has decided to publish his memoirs. The whole affair is much like Watergate. Like the Chile affair.

President: That is not going anywhere, I don't think.

Kissinger: They are hunting in foreign policy. It is now my operation, not CIA.

President: I probably should have a good question and answer session on the Chile operation.

Kissinger: Separate the two issues. Describe why covert operations are sometimes necessary. Refuse to talk about the specifics of this. This operation followed the procedures that were regularly used.

President: On the Israelis, which is the chicken and which is the egg?

Kissinger: We have to give them this list. Don't put it on a blunt quid pro quo basis. That could leak to the Jewish community.

The Jackson letter. It is in bad faith. The Soviet Union won't buy it. I don't even know if these could stick.

President: In the House, one Congress is not bound by the previous Congress.

Kissinger: This procedure means that every year we would go through this. Javits thinks it should be a regular veto by one House.

President: He told me that. I wouldn't buy that until we have fought for the other.

Kissinger: We could get up a breakfast or just say it is unacceptable and see.

President: I would want to know that Ribicoff and Javits are okay.

Kissinger: Why don't I call him and meet again before you meet with them.

President: We've got to make sure about Javits and Ribicoff.

Kissinger: They are afraid to stand up to him. The Jewish community looks okay.

President: Can I get the precise language I want before the meeting.

Kissinger: On the UN speech -- this is pretty good. I may not speak because most of it is here. Shall I give it to Bob Hartmann?

President: Give it to me. On the guest list from here, I noticed some Counsellors. I don't want a field list. You and Henry, but rotate the others.

Kissinger: On attendance at SALT, I recommend the same group plus Alex Johnson.

President: Yes. I like the meetings small.

Kissinger: On the SALT meeting -- the Delegation is going to start talks on the 18th. We need general guidance. But someone may spring a full proposal. I would just say we will study it. You will also hear buzz words. We don't want to freeze the delegation approach, because the Soviet Union will take that as a hardened position -- but we can float reduction and slow deployment as principles to discuss. We need to look hard at the trends in the arms race. The throwweight problem is of our making and can be corrected by a bigger Minuteman. To ask them to come down to us is to ask them to redesign their force.

We eventually will give you the equal aggregate options, differentials, and throwweight options. We will need a Verification Panel and NSC meeting before I leave so I can take concepts to the Soviet Union. If you want equal aggregates, the Soviet Union ought to know; ditto with differential and reductions. If we get somewhere we could have announcement at Vladivostok and then -- after a helluva negotiation -- sign an agreement here in June.

With Brown you have a great and cooperative man.

President: On the Army Chief, I want three nominees rather than just one.

I think time is of the essence.

Kissinger: Yes, you need a strong leader.

President: When I get the names I will talk to you.

Kissinger: North Korea has made many feelers to us. I would use them to get good behavior in the UN but not so as to shake up South Korea.

On the UN, you can go straight in or go to the US mission. It would please Scali, but I think your first visit should be to the UN. Then if you want to go to the mission you can do it afterwards.

President: That sounds much better. Let's do it that way. Speaking of Rogers and Cuba, where are we?

Kissinger: I planned to talk to you soon.

There are two aspects: bilateral and in the OAS. State is preparing a paper with these guidelines: We are being moved into relations with Cuba, but it should not appear to the American people as if it is being forced on us. So I would hold tough in the OAS, using the Brazilians. But we should start with low level talks with the Cubans to see what we can get for it. If we don't we may be driven by majority votes from one position to another.

President: Let me look at the paper. What price would we want?

Kissinger: Some promise against subversion. Some principle on expropriation of assets; some foreign policy moves.

President: What would be the Soviet attitude?

Kisinger: It is costing them a lot. We have little to gain from Cuba. There is nothing Castro can do for us. A little embarrassment in Third World meetings. We should move slowly.