President Ford–Henry Kissinger memcon (September 10, 1974)
E.O. 12958SEC 3.6
MR 05-21 #1; state lth 8/4/05
BY NARA DATE 7/28/06
THE WHITE HOUSE
MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION
- President Ford
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
- DATE AND TIME:
- Tuesday, September 10, 1974
- The Oval Office
The White House
Kissinger: For you to go to Korea from Japan and back would be a slap at the Koreans and present protocol problems with using Japan as a base. We should go to Korea and leave it up to the Soviet Union about getting on to Vladivostok.
President: I agree. Let's do it that way.
Kissinger: How is the foreign aid memo dealing with all aid? I would deal with the leadership on Indochina and the restrictions.
I told Dinitz to get Rosenthal off our back. He will -- he already has on poppies. Dinitz understands the danger of the Turks going radical.
On Vietnam, they will have to cut sorties, ammunition use, and the North Vietnamese will get more aggressive. They are spoiled on ammunition use. We are getting in a position where we are not getting enough but still getting Congressional scrutiny. The worst case is to operate 2-300 dollars below what is required. The restrictions will eliminate your flexibility.
President: Can we paint an accurate and dire picture that if Vietnam goes down, the whole policy in Southeast Asia is in jeopardy?
Kissinger: It will happen more insidiously. It will be used as vindication by the McGovern group that they were right all along. In foreign policy it will happen insidiously -- others will see what happens to people who rely on the United States. First we make an undesirable settlement, but with the promise of unlimited aid -- and then aid is cut off within two years. The impact over three to five years is bad.
President: I would be prepared to veto. We can't have just a one-area policy -- we can have it one way in Asia and another in the Middle East.
Kissinger: You do have an option as a new President. You could let it go -- and not be blamed, at least through '76. I must say I think it is wrong. The liberals who would applaud it would fail you when the going was tough. The liberals always move just out of reach.
President: The Post is okay now.
Kissinger: Yes. They are just right. We have done enough to get involved but not enough to win.
President: I want to give some specific categories of examples. If they are going to give us inadequate funds for Southeast Asia and load up the Middle East, I would have no hesitancy to veto.
President: He is torn between what is right and trying to save $10 billion. Did you see the McGovern report on food aid in the paper this morning? They are supportive.
Kissinger: The opposition will be on financial, not political grounds. Why don't you look at this and make a decision next week?
President: Get me the McGovern report.
Kissinger: I can't now find a counter candidate to Meany's ILO candidate.
President: Would there be any Congressional objection?
Kissinger: I'll have to run it down. Meany said...
President: Let's go ahead with Lippe. Get credit with Meany.
Kissinger: I'll tell George you ordered it.
I told Javits his needs were fulfilled but as a favor he would like her through December 31.
President: I will give it to him as a favor.
Kissinger: Reciprocal dinners. It sets a precedent. Nixon never did it.
President: I usually like to read at night.
Kissinger: I advise against it unless you like it.
President: Let's not.
Kissinger: Now Heath. He is able, strong, courageous. He is odd, though. He is doctrinaire, while most British politicians are pragmatic. He is the only Prime Minister who would favor Europe over the United States, and since he might become Prime Minister, if you could in an easy way say we couldn't stand Europe organizing itself on an anti-American . If that happened, there is no reason for us to keep troops there -- we couldn't anyway.
President: Should I be that tough?
Kissinger: Say you want to keep the contact to Europe but can't if there develops an anti-American basis for Europe.
Another thing on Heath is his sensitivity. He sulks and it is hard to know why; communication just stops.
On the other hand, he is a strong, decent man and you should establish a relationship.
President: What do I call him?
Kissinger: Mr. Heath. His fate depends on the elections. If he loses, he is through, except perhaps as Foreign Minister.
It is in the European blood to reduce the power of powerful friends. For 300 years they have followed internecine wars for no real objective.
President: What does Heath think on detente?
Kissinger: He is tougher, but what the Europeans really want is to have it for themselves, but they don't have the power. When we were tough on the Soviet Union, they pandered to their left as holding back a wild US, and they kept running to the Soviet Union. We are best off keeping the Europeans to the right of us.
President: How about MBFR?
Kissinger: He is opposed to it. The Europeans want a free ride. Take CSCI -- we opposed it, now they are being miserable about the meaningless Basket III.
We have to be careful on detente. though -- if we go too far, they will go wild. On credit too, anything we don't give the Soviets on credits, they will get from the Europeans. I bet the Europeans will meet with Brezhnev before they do you. The tendencies are for them to kick us around a bit.
President: And Rabin?
Kissinger: We would like to extend the welcome remarks. You should say, (1) you are committed to the survival and security of Israel, and (2) you would like to reaffirm our commitment to a Middle East settlement.
Then you meet for a half hour. Tell him this is not a confrontation but a meeting among friends to devise a strategy. Mention the Turks to give Dinitz some credit.
President: I'll say you have heard through the Ambassador.
Kissinger: Yes. Mention Dinitz in the toast.
Then outline the agenda and get his concurrence.
President: Can I start with the idea that we are dedicated to their survival and want to insure it but we have to have progress in the negotiation coming up? We have things to consider -- we don't want a war, or an oil embargo. He must realize we have problems on Congressional backing, inflation and the budget; we can't strip our forces to oversupply them. Is that okay?
Kissinger: It will frighten him but it doesn't hurt. Nixon gave him a letter on long-term supply. I told them it had no specific meaning.
They say they need hardware to be flexible. I don't believe it. A big authorization now would rip it with the Saudis. Maybe next year, after a major disengagement.
President: Let's discuss it frankly.
Kissinger: I don't think you can go beyond the first two packages and we will discuss the rest now.
President: We are committed to the long-term, but we can't put a dollar figure now.
Kissinger: They are saying if they don't get something they will go into a confrontation. He needs something.
There is a need for progress toward peace -- that is compatible with Israeli security. You can say the spirit of the last negotiations will be continued.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Presidential Libraries Withdrawal Sheet
WITHDRAWAL ID 010715
|REASON FOR WITHDRAWAL||National security restriction|
|TYPE OF MATERIAL||Memorandum of Conversation|
|DESCRIPTION||handwritten version of memcon #010714|
|COLLECTION TITLE||NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER.OF CONVERSATIONS|
|FOLDER TITLE||September 10, 1974 - Ford, Kissinger|