Kissinger sought 'small friendly' Israel
Kissinger-era foreign policy papers reveal details of US politician's talks
with then Iraqi FM
Associated Press 27 May 2006
[IMRA: For copy of actual document:
The United States reached out to hostile Arabs three decades ago with an
offer to work toward making Israel a ``small friendly country'' of no threat
to its neighbors and with an assurance to Iraq that the U.S. had stopped
backing Kurdish rebels in the north.
``We can't negotiate about the existence of Israel,'' then Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger told his Iraqi counterpart in a rare high-level
meeting, ``but we can reduce its size to historical proportions.''
A December 1975 memo detailing Kissinger's probing conversation with Foreign
Affairs Minister Saadoun Hammadi eight years after Iraq severed diplomatic
relations with Washington is included in some 28,000 pages of Kissinger-era
foreign policy papers published in an online collection Friday.
George Washington University's National Security Archive released the
collection, drawn from papers available at the government's National
Archives and obtained through the group's Freedom of Information requests.
In it, Kissinger tells Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in June 1972 that the
United States, mired in Vietnam, probably could live with a communist
government in South Vietnam as long as that evolved peacefully. ``If we can
live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it
in Indochina,'' he said.
He also hints that the United States, newly courting China, would consider a
nuclear response if the Soviets were to overrun Asia with conventional
At the time, Chinese-Soviet tensions were sharp and the United States was
playing one communist state against the other as best it could while seeking
detente with its main rival, Moscow.
But when the Japanese recognized China with what Kissinger called ``indecent
haste,'' he branded them ``treacherous.''
The transcript of Kissinger's meeting with Hammadi in Paris sheds light on a
little known maneuver that spoke to America's broader effort to win friends
in the Arab world even as it was giving military support to the Jewish
The meeting was frank and open - diplomats' preferred description of any
such meeting but in this case, true. And Hammadi, a friend of the Soviets,
was a tough sell.
``We are on the other side of the fence,'' he asserted. ``What the United
States is doing is not to create peace but to create a situation dominated
Kissinger pressed: ``Our attitude is not unsympathetic to Iraq. Don't
believe; watch it.''
He said U.S. public opinion was turning more pro-Palestinian and U.S. aid to
Israel could not be sustained for much longer at its massive levels. He
predicted that in 10 or 15 years, ``Israel will be like Lebanon - struggling
for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.''
Mindful of Israel's nuclear capability, a skeptical Hammadi peppered
Kissinger with questions, including whether Washington would recognize
Palestinian identity and even a Palestinian state. ``Is it in your power to
create such a thing?''
Kissinger said he could not make recognition of Palestinian identity happen
right away but, ``No solution is possible without it.''
``After a settlement, Israel will be a small friendly country,'' he said.
Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula, one of its territorial gains in the
1967 Six Day War, to Egypt in a 1979 peace deal. Current Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert has offered to give up at least part of the West Bank for a
President Bush is the first U.S. president to call explicitly for creation
of a Palestinian state.
Kissinger said U.S. officials had believed Iraq was a Soviet satellite state
but had come to a ``more sophisticated understanding now. We think you are a
friend of the Soviet Union but you act on your own principles.'' Saddam
Hussein was then vice president, in control of internal security and oil.
When Hammadi persisted with complaints about U.S. support for the Kurds,
Kissinger brushed them off by saying, ``One can do nothing about the past.''
``Not always,'' Hammadi countered as the meeting closed and he escorted
Kissinger to the door. Washington and Baghdad renewed relations after the
start of the Iran-Iraq war; Hammadi became prime minister in the Saddam era.
The collection, also available in microfiche, consists of some 2,100
memoranda of Kissinger's secret conversations with senior officials abroad
and at home from 1969 to 1977, serving under presidents Richard Nixon and
William Burr, senior analyst for the research group, said the papers are the
most extensive published record of Kissinger's work, in many cases offering
insight into matters that the diplomat ignored or merely touched on in his