December 17, 1975
In a Paris meeting, United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with Saddun Hammadi, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kissinger told Hammadi that the United States would not negotiate Israel’s existence but could “reduce its size to historical proportions.” This was consistent with former President Richard Nixon’s attitude and was voiced in private.
More than a year earlier in Damascus, Nixon had told Syrian President Hafez al-Assad that Washington was committed to seeing an “Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied territories.” Later, President Gerald Ford promised Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin “positive treatment” of Israel’s desire to retain the Golan Heights. Ford’s promise was not ironclad, however, nor did the White House entertain any secret accords to allow Israel to retain the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Kissinger’s statement to Hammadi that the U.S. envisioned Israel as becoming small and non-threatening like Lebanon may have been wishful U.S. foreign policy, or his personal view, or ingratiating diplomacy, or some combination of the three. Regardless, Kissinger’s comments were what Hammadi wanted to hear.
The photo shows Kissinger with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Washington in September 1975.
The transcript of the conversation can be viewed here: http://www.meforum.org/1032/henry-kissinger-to-iraq-in-1975-we-can-reduce
Photo Credit: Henry Kissinger with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Washington in September 1975. Government Press Office