Ken Stein Interview with Mark Siegel, Washington, DC
Ken Stein, Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Emory University with permission of Emory University, November 1983

July 21, 2010

Among those who served in the Carter administration, Mark Siegel personally witnessed and experienced Carter’s distancing and fraying relationship with the American Jewish community and Israeli leaders. From 1974-1978, Siegel’s engagement with Jimmy Carter and his administration was as vital to Carter’s 1976 election as it was controversial when Siegel resigned in March 1978. 

Siegel resigned because Carter’s State Department supplied him with an intentionally deceitful message to deliver to American Jewish audiences; the message erroneously claimed that the F-15 airplanes had to be sold to Saudi Arabia and Egypt because they were defensive weapons, and they were aimed at thwarting then, communist presence in the region. It was known that the weapons would not be delivered for five years!

During the 1976 presidential campaign, Siegel had worked closely with Hamilton Jordan, Carter’s chief strategist, giving him valuable understandings of the Democratic National Committee and the delegate selection process. Separately, Siegel carefully negotiated the removal of Eugene McCarthy’s name from the New York State ballot. Carter subsequently won New York state in the 1976 presidential election, causing Pat Caddell, Carter’s pollster, to tell Siegel, “You elected him. If McCarthy had been on the ballot, we would have lost New York, we would have lost the election.” 

As a Democratic candidate, American Jews preferred Scoop Jackson and Fritz Mondale to Governor Carter. In the general election in 1976, Carter won 72% of the Jewish vote and his campaign reportedly raised 63% of its funds from Jewish sources.  When he took office, Carter fully understood that Jews were critically important to his election as president.  According to Siegel, “Cadell told Carter on election night that if Jews had voted like other America whites, Carter would have lost 103 electoral votes, New York alone would have made the difference.” Yet from the very outset of his  presidency, he persistently made remarks and took policy initiatives that steadily widened the gap between his administration and supporters of Israel (Jewish and non-Jewish )in the American electorate, American Jewish organizations, and members of Congress.  It took a toll. In 1980 when Carter ran for reelection, he received barely 40% of the Jewish vote.

In the presidential transition, Siegel accepted a position on Jordan’s White House staff, vetting staff appointments and providing insights for Jordan about the impact of policy choices. Immediately after Carter became the first U.S. president to call for a “Palestinian homeland” in March 1977, Siegel was asked to become the administration’s liaison with the American Jewish community. Repair was needed, but it did not materialize. Israeli foreign ministry officials at the time, Hanan Bar-On, Epi Evron, Shlomo Avineri, all of whom I interviewed at length in the early 1990s,  believed that Carter was not aware or did not care that his public statements had negative fallout, including the US-Israeli relationship. According to Carter’s Domestic Affairs adviser, “Carter felt that foreign policy in general, and the Middle East in particular, should be insulated from domestic politics.” 

After governing Israel for 29 years, there were numerous reasons why the Israeli Labor Party was turned out of office, including the building friction in the US relationship. The Israeli electorate and leadership saw a strong US-Israeli relationship as critical to Israel’s national security and defense. Any decline in that relationship was put at the feet of those in office, and the Likud Party that won those elections in their campaign speeches berated the Labor Party for fraying the US-Israel relationship.   If in fact, Carter’s public statements contributed even in a small way to the Labor Party’s defeat, and to Likud leader Menachem Begin’s ability to build a ruling coalition after the May 1977 election, then the Carter administration’s negative actions and statements toward Israel helped elect the very Israeli political leader whose deep ideological ties to the West Bank/Judea and Samaria were directly contrary to the Carter administration’s preference not to lead Israel. The administration was already fervently seeking maximum Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, minor changes to the pre-June 1967 armistice lines,  and the ultimate implementation of Palestinian self-determination in those areas.

Siegel’s (59 page) interview shows little restraint in his expressions of dismay, if not repeated disdain for positions on Israel taken by Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski.  Siegel enumerates how Brzezinski helped orchestrate a series of policy actions that were directly aimed at undermining American Jewish political engagement in local politics and foreign policy making. Later during and after the 1978 Camp David negotiations between Egypt and Israel, Brzezinski persistently pushed on Israel to make concessions on Jerusalem, withdrawal of Israeli presence from the West Bank, and turning Begin’s political autonomy idea for the Palestinians into the devolution of a Palestinian state.  While Siegel acknowledges that he and Brzezinski were at odds about Israeli policies, its security requirements and American Jewish engagement in policy formation, Siegel noted that Brzezinski’s biased views on Israel were manifest.” He pointedly adds, “I think Carter was educated by someone… who thought that Israel was a future liability.”

In March 1978, after Siegel resigned his post as liaison to the Jewish community over the aircraft sale, he stayed involved in Democratic national politics, and at one point went to work for Ted Kennedy – adding to the deep estrangement between Carter administration officials and Siegel. It was Kennedy who challenged Carter for the 1980 Democratic Party nomination. To substantiate Siegel’s conclusions about Carter and Brzezinski and their negative outlooks toward Israel, see Peter Evan Bass, The Anti-Politics of Presidential Leadership: Jimmy Carter and American Jews, Princeton University, 1985. 

Ken Stein

July 21, 2022

  1. Peter Evan Bass, The Anti-Politics of Presidential Leadership: Jimmy Carter and American Jews, Princeton University, 1985, pp. 23-24.
  2. In writing Heroic Diplomacy Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace (1999), these Israelis were among the dozens of bureaucrats and others from interviewed for the book.
  3. Stuart E. Eizenstat, President Carter- The White House Years, St. Martin’s Press, 2018, p. 447.

MS: I’m 64 years old and I’m afraid you couldn’t extract excruciating details any longer, so I’m glad you —

KS: No, I was very fortunate. I got a lot. In any case, so, I wrote the book and then after Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid came out [in 2007], I took a very public stance against [Jimmy] Carter and the inventions in the book.

MS: Were you surprised by that, by the book?

KS: I was surprised by the tenor, I was surprised by the sharpness. I had written The Blood of Abraham with him in 1984. We co-authored a book together, and I knew he was a stickler for phrases and details and concepts and there was a certain perception outlook that he wanted to convey and he would make those happen. He would correct accuracies in the history in order to create inaccuracies to create a perception. I was pretty honest with him as executive director and as his fellow. I never held back in my private memos. I went back and read. And I read some of the ones I wrote in ’84, ’85, ’86 and they were much harsher than my public criticism was in 2006, 2007. I knew he had a drift, I knew where he was going. I took the position at the Carter Center on the condition that we both saw eye to eye on a two-state solution. I didn’t really care where the borders were as long as it was a two-state solution. But it was the inventions — and most prominent for me [as] I was the fact that note-taker at meetings where just the three of us were at a meeting, with Assad, or Mubarak or Arafat or something — and he completely reversed, inverted, convoluted the conversations in order to make his point that Israel was to blame. And I had to hold his toes to the fire. As a historian, I live on documents. I live on what was said, not on what people wish was said. And he just invented things – it was pure inventions. And then when he went on his book tour, the inventions were even greater. 

MS: I was actually surprised from a strategic, political point of view because the overtness of the bias that he exposed so took him off the table as a serious player that it was, I thought, unlike him as a man with good political instincts. 

KS: I would agree, I don’t want this to be me giving commentary on Carter, ’cause I need to extract what’s inside your head.

MS: I asked you the question.

KS: But the point is when I took the position as executive director of the Carter Center, it was a center that was aimed at him engaging in foreign policy issues that he did not complete when he was president. He didn’t want to do domestic. And on more than one occasion, early on, he took positions on either arms control or Latin American democracy, or the Middle East that put him on the fringes and didn’t put him back in the center, as a potential negotiator, mediator, whatever. In the backseat of a limousine in 1983, leaving the Sheraton Damascus, going to the airport on our first trip to the Middle East in March of ’83, he put his hand on my knee — and he’s very unphysical that way, he just doesn’t do that — and he said, “If only those bastards would let me do this, I could finish this.” And he said that again to me in ’87 when we went to see —

MS: The language is uncharacteristic as well.

KS: No, that’s right and I think he felt very comfortable with me because I was very honest with him, I was very straightforward. If there was a time when he needed to be called out on something, I always did it privately. There were times when Mrs. Carter asked me to go to him and say things to him that she would say and he wouldn’t listen but she knew if I said it to him, like he criticized Reagan in Cairo in front of a meeting of people, and she came to me afterwards and said, “You have to tell Jimmy he can’t to do that” and I said, “I’m not going to do it unless you’re in the room.” And she said, “You’ll know if he’s serious if he bites his bottom lip and doesn’t look at you.” And, sure enough, he came out of a holding room and I said it to him and he looked at me and he didn’t say anything. I said, “Mr. President, don’t criticize Reagan while we’re on this trip. You can do whatever you want at home, but not abroad. It’s not right. It’s not appropriate. It’s not what a former president does.” And that’s the exact tone I said it. And I think because my emoluments, my salary was not predicated on working or not working at the Carter Center, because I was a full time employee of Emory University, I had a lot of leeway. Anyway, enough of that. Was I surprised? No. Was I surprised at the level? Yes. Did I feel obliged to set the record straight? Certainly. And now I, in the process of writing, not just that one article which I wrote in the journal [Middle East Quarterly in Spring 2007) (Next brief exchange omitted)

KS: When did you get called to work in the Carter Administration? When did that happen and how, under what circumstances?

MS: Can I just go back a few years before that, because it puts it in context?

KS: Sure.

MS: I was executive director of the Democratic National Committee. I was also the person in charge of delegate selection reform and charter commission. In 1974, we were having, the delegate selection committee was having hearings all across America. In the same year, Bob Strauss had selected Jimmy Carter, Governor Jimmy Carter, to head our DNC’s campaign division. And put Hamilton Jordan on our staff, his Chief of Staff.

KS: Who made that choice? 

MS: Jimmy, President Carter, wanted.

KS: You said ’74.

MS: ’74, yes. 

KS: But he’s not president yet.

MS: No, he’s not, president, he’s governor of Georgia. 

KS: Oh, sorry.

MS: And he’s made chairman of the DNC’s campaign committee for 1974 and puts Hamilton Jordan on our staff for that year. So I — and as executive director, Hamilton ostensibly worked for me — so I developed a very close relationship with Hamilton. On top of that, Governor Carter piggybacked on our delegate selection hearings around the country, a series of campaign meetings. You know, we had six or seven meetings and, you know, he would travel with me to those six or seven meetings; he would meet with candidates, he would meet with consultants, and I would do my delegate selection stuff. But during that time we became, actually very, quite close. 

KS: Any of the other potential candidates travel with you?

MS: No, but remember he had a title. He was the chairman of the campaign committee. Now, Bob Strauss knew exactly that Jimmy Carter wanted to run for president when he appointed him as chairman. But, he also knew — and Strauss was frankly very much a [Henry] “Scoop” Jackson person — but Jimmy was a lame duck incumbent, he had the time, he had the energy, he had the interest, he was high profile, had a good reputation, etc. So, he used us, we used him — it was mutual. Both sides knew what the other’s agenda was. So that’s where I got to know Carter very well. Now, as executive director of the DNC, I was the political director of the Madison Square Garden convention of ’76 and I worked very closely with Hamilton, and that all worked very, very well. There is an incident in the platform committee I will relate to you, but I don’t want to divert right now.

KS: When you say you work well with Hamilton, that gave Hamilton an opportunity to learn the system, the process, how delegates were persuaded, cajoled, urged, voted — I mean, well, did Hamilton have any of this knowledge about how this worked nationally?

MS: He didn’t, but you know, you’re using pre-McGovern guideline reform rhetoric. When you talked to me about “influence,” “cajole,” I think we can substitute all of that with the word “elected” because after 1972 the process had become democratized. So, the question was no longer influencing Mayor Daley to deliver the 86 votes of Illinois, but how do you file delegates in the Illinois primary to win those delegates? 

KS: So, he learned about that process?

MS: Yes. As I recall, Rick Hutchinson was his delegate guy. Now he’s in Palm Springs, on the city council, actually.

KS: That’s correct.

MS: Yeah, and [a] very nice guy. I sort of think of him as a child, but anyway — We worked together during the convention, and they were quite satisfied with that. Then during the general election campaign I was tasked with a rather medial role, which was making sure that our candidate was slated on every ballot in the country. 

KS: What does that mean?

MS: That Carter, Carter electors, were on every ballot in the country. I mean, you vote for electors. 

KS: Right, but how did you get to that pro-Carter position?

MS: After the convention. 

KS: Oh, after the convention.

MS: In the general election. And I think I did one thing that, I think, got their attention, that made them think they could quote “own me.” I was convinced that if Gene McCarthy stayed on the ballet in New York and ran as an independent candidate that we could very well lose New York State. I mean, I’d seen data and I’d talked to [pollster Patrick] Caddell and tested this — that potentially McCarthy could get up to 600,000 votes — and I thought that could be the margin of difference. I told Hamilton that what I wanted to try to do, and he could do deniability, whatever — I was going to try to knock Gene McCarthy off the ballot by a ballot petition challenge. New York, this is probably way too much detail than you want to know, you had to file 1,250 signatures for every delegate position, at the time I think there were, I dunno, 39 congressional districts, or whatever. So, at the time, it was an enormous task and I was convinced, knowing how the reform wing of my party operated, that they probably went at Bloomingdales and had people signing petitions instead of — Anyways, Hamilton said, you know, “Fine” and Strauss said to me, “If you can raise the money, fine, but don’t dare use any of our money on this.” Anyway, I raised the money, we knocked him off the ballot, we won.

KS: What was the money spent for that you had to raise?

MS: Hiring lawyers in New York.

KS: To do the challenge?

MS: It was an intense challenge.

KS: How much money do you think you had to raise?

MS: It was $80,000 as I recall. Bottom line of it all was, I think we won New York by 380,000 votes. And, the day after the election, Caddell said, said to me, “You elected him. If McCarthy had been on the ballot we would have lost New York, we would have lost the election.” 

KS: Were there challenges in any other states?

MS: No. 

KS: And no other third-party candidate? 

MS: None that were serious. I, obviously, I was concerned about Carter’s relationship to the Jewish community. Not because it was bad, because it was non-existent. During the campaign, I was concerned about New York State, is what I’m saying. I had reason to be concerned about New York State; he had done miserably in the New York primary. I think he came in fourth, I think it was Jackson, [Morris] Udall, Uncommitted and Carter. Something like that. So I had real concern and, you know, a lot of liberals in New York were very strongly pro-Udall. If they had an option on the ballet, I was concerned that they would just vote for that option, the McCarthy option.

KS: And not Carter. 

MS: Yeah, and not Carter. Anyway, so that, all that, we get to after the election and Hamilton Jordan asks —

KS: Before you even get there, tell me why did you, what drove you, persuaded you that Carter’s connection with the Jewish community was non-existent, or was rough? I mean, was it because — and here I’m putting an answer in your mouth — was it because the Jewish community had their [Walter] Mondale, [Hubert] Humphrey, Scoop Jackson favorites? 

MS: No, it goes back to Georgia politics. You know, there is a significant Jewish community in Atlanta and it was always aligned with [previous Governor] Carl Sanders. I mean, that was the wing of the party, and therefore was not — they were not Carter supporters. So even, and generally — what the Jewish community, when they don’t know a candidate nationally, they ask the community. So, if Jewish leaders across the country were asking, “Can we trust this guy Carter?,” they were asking people in Atlanta who might say, “We never did,” something like that. There was also an incident during — now I’ll segue into that — there was an incident during the platform committee that gave me cause for concern. I don’t know if you knew about this, but the Democratic platform had a plan in 1972 that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and pledged to move the embassy. This was something that was generally always in the platforms. And at the drafting committee in Washington, Stu [Eizenstat] was the key drafter and I was in the room representing the party and there were 17 members of the drafting committee. And one of them was [Patrick] Moynihan. And the — Moynihan made a motion for this platform plank and Stu objected. He said, “This is not consistent with Governor Carter’s views and this boxes him into a commitment that we don’t think we can fulfill,” and blah blah blah blah blah. And then I talked to Moynihan, Moynihan talked to me and he said, “I don’t care what he wants or what he doesn’t want. I’m going to put this before the platform committee, it’s going to prevail and if he wants a platform fight on this against a senator from New York, fine.” At which point I talked to Stu and I said — speaking only politically, not substantively — saying, “We can’t do this.” Anyway, platforms are bullshit anyway, no one holds you to it. I was just trying to persuade. And he called up Carter — I was standing outside and he called up Carter, and he came out to me and said, “Alright, Jimmy said you can go ahead and put it in the platform but he wants you to know that he’s not going to abide by it, [not] one word of that plank.” 

KS: He wanted who to know? Wanted you to know?

MS: Yeah. You know, ’cause I was the one who was gonna give the greenlight to Moynihan or whatever, he said, “Go ahead, yeah, do it politically, but he wants you to know that this is not his policy.”

KS: So Carter did this for expediency purposes?

MS: Yes. 

KS: The reason I use the word expediency — I’ll come back to it later when I ask you another question.

MS: We had presented Stu with a real politic situation. Moynihan was going to go ahead, he was the senator for New York, he was going to prevail. The convention was barely controlled by Carter, and a lot of Carter’s delegates probably agreed with the platform plank. You know, all of these Udall and Jackson people — this was not going to prevail and it would be a very messy debate — I mean if Carter’s people were speaking against this — and it dcould really jeopardize New York, and I had a special concern about New York.

KS: Did anyone else know that this was Carter’s real attitude about Jerusalem before the election?

MS: I told Moynihan and I told Strauss. I mean, I had to tell Moynihan.

KS: It never appeared in the New York Times? This was not public knowledge, that Jimmy Carter had a different attitude than the platform, unlike the other Democratic candidates who didn’t want to make it a big deal?

MS: — and initially, actually, would have fought it but was convinced politically that it was too dangerous. 

KS: Were there any other issues in the platform discussions where there was a measure of expediency where Carter said, “I’ll do this anyway,” — Soviet Union, oil?

MS: I do not recall, we are going back to ’76, 34 years.

KS: I’m sure you’ve told it before, but you recollected it very well.

MS: Well, it did sear in my memory because it was a very intense few minutes and I, because of my role, I was in the middle of it.

KS: Where were you the day that the election took place?

MS: I was in Washington. I was getting our results from state chairs all across the country. I may have been the person who actually called Hamilton, told him that the results from Hawaii were okay and the results for Mississippi were okay and we actually had more. 

KS: And what was the position that you occupied?

MS: Executive director of the Democratic National Committee.

KS: And in terms of how the committee was organized, was there anyone above you?

MS: The chairman.

KS: And that was Strauss?

MS: Yes.

KS: Did you communicate this first with Strauss?

MS: Yes.

KS: You guys were sitting there together, or something?

MS: We were sitting, you know, in a room with booze and stuff and it was a boiler room kind of situation.

KS: So, the election is over, Carter is told, Hamilton is told — now the election is his, what happens next in terms of your relationship with either Hamilton or the administration or the Middle East, from what you know?

MS: Hamilton, the day after the election, says he wants me working with him on transition. And within a day or two said that they were interested in, I don’t think we had the word “vetting” at that time, they were interested in learning more about Patricia Roberts Harris, whether she would be appropriate for a cabinet position. So, I sort of developed a process, which then later was then replicated for everyone else. How information is presented to Jordan, to [Jack] Watson, who was ostensibly the head of transition, and of course to the president-elect. And it was, you know, intense biographical material, all writings by and about and then a series of interviews with people who interacted with the candidate at various levels of that candidate’s career. And it soon became — each person got a book, and I did a Patricia Robert Harris and Hamilton liked it very much and it became sort of the model for the transition. I became one of the six or seven members of the transition on the cabinet selection level and worked very closely with Hamilton. Now, what Hamilton did is he asked me to move to transition headquarters and he moved into my office, literally into my office at the DNC, so that no one ever knew where Hamilton was. But Hamilton was in my office, took over my office and I was over at transition. We worked closely together and then — I don’t remember the date, but at Harvard, after every election they have a forum called “Campaign Managers Speak” and I, as executive director, was asked to be there. Hamilton, of course, as campaign manager was asked to be there and we spent those two days together. And Hamilton said to me, “Where would you like to be in this, where’d you like to wind up?” And I said, “You know, I’ve thought about this a lot, and I know I’m still very young, but there’s one position that really interests me.”

KS: How old were you?

MS: I was born in 1946.

KS: You’re 64 now.

MS: I was 30, or maybe even 29, I was turning. I said, “This may be presumptuous, but I would very much like to be secretary of state for congressional relations. That would just be everything that I love – Congress and foreign policy, both of those together.” And he said, “We’ll talk about it.” A week later or so he asked me to come to the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, where for some reason he was staying or had a suite. And he said, “We talked about it. Jimmy and I talked about it and we have a deal with [Cyrus] Vance that we don’t really force people on him, but you know, if that’s what you want, that’s what you can have, but we had something else in mind. And I said, “What was that?” And he said, “We’d like to have you come to the White House with us, we don’t have very much experience with Congress, we don’t have much relationship with labor, we have zero relationships with state parties and that’s where you’re very, very strong. And why don’t you think about it?” And, you know, I thought about it and talked to my wife about it, talked to my — I dunno, I talked to [Washington Post columnist] David Broder and he said, “As much as you want the other thing, you just can’t turn your back on that.” So, I became one of Hamilton’s three deputies.

KS: Who were the other two?

MS: Landon Butler and some woman from Atlanta with like an Indian name, this is terrible but it was so many years ago [it was Betty Rainwater]. Landon Butler is actually still in Washington. And, so, that’s how I got to the White House. During transition, I talked to Hamilton about the political structure of the White House and it was very, very different then. There was no political director; there were no political offices. To the extent that there was a political director, it was de facto me because they made me the political controller of the White House. And all that meant was that I controlled political expenditures of the DNC on behalf of the White House. Some of it was very menial, like every time someone would take someone to the White House mess, that was political. They would charge it to me and I would be reimbursed by the DNC. I would order the White House Christmas cards for the president and the first lady, paid for by the DNC. It was more a paper function than anything else. But now it’s a huge political director and regional desks and all kinds of stuff like that, that didn’t exist. We also did determine that the president did not want ethnic liaison desks, did not want coordinators. 

KS: How as that decision made? It was just sort of stated? 

MS: I, we asked specifically. We were trying to fill positions and, you know, usually in the Office of Public Liaison, there would be a liaison to labor, there would be a liaison to the Jewish community, which you know was relevant, various.

KS: Any particular reason why they said no to that? Any —

MS: They thought it was patronizing to bring people on with these kinds of assignments. 

KS: But they never saw it as bringing on people with expertise, they saw it as bringing on people with assignments.

MS: Yes, yeah. That’s right. They didn’t think of these people as resources. They, it sort of was, their link, political links, to these communities, not an attempt to outreach to these communities. To try to output information to these communities.

KS: And yet they were willing to ask you to do things that took advantage of your expertise, let’s say with state parties.

MS: Yes.

KS: And they were smart enough to know what they didn’t know at one level, but what they —

MS: But I did not have the title of “Deputy Assistant to the President for State Parties.”

KS: But there still was no one in the White House for the first couple weeks or months in office who did, who focused on labor, who focused on the Jewish Community. In other words, what happened, was —

MS: That’s right. I think that Landon Butler did labor work. No one did the Jewish community. That becomes an issue later because that was — Carter was particularly offended by the notion that there should be a “Jewish liaison,” a “Jewish desk.” He felt that was inappropriate.

KS: I still have to probe: what is inappropriate? What was —

MS: Well, he was doing things differently. Another thing, he also — I can tell you wonderful stories, he thought that the perversion of the presidency in the Nixon Administration was a concentration of power, functionally a concentration of power in the hands of the chief of staff and the way he was going to insure that, that could never happen to him was that he wasn’t going to have a chief of staff. He was going to have, you know, the spokes-of-the-wheel theory, with 11 assistants to the president with equal access to the president. Sort of a wonderful little story: I was, during the transition I was appointed to be the liaison to Ford’s chief of staff in the White House during the transition. Do you remember who it was?

KS: [Ron] Nessen?

MS: Dick Cheney.

KS: Dick Cheney, that’s right. Nessen was press secretary.

MS: It was Dick Cheney. I had known Dick Cheney ’cause we had both been congressional fellows together. He was older than me, but we would meet occasionally and one day he presented me with. He said, “I have a gift for you to give to the president elect”. I said, “Okay.” He goes to his closet, like that, opens it up and it’s a bicycle wheel with all the spokes gnarled and twisted and just totally screwed up, just awful looking. He said, “Here, tell him this is what the spokes of the wheel organization looks like”. So you are not amused?

KS: I’m amused. I read it also in your interview.

MS: Oh, is it in there? Oh, that’s right, yeah. You should have stopped me.

KS: No, no, no, it’s quite all right. It’s nice to hear it again.

MS: It was very funny, but who knew then that he would be — he was a different person then, by the way.

KS: Who’s the “he?”

MS: Cheney, much more moderate, much of a good sense of humor, really good interpersonal skills. There was some kind of transformation that took place. He was taken over by the devil or something. I don’t know that happened, he sold his soul. Somewhere there’s a closet with a horrible face of Dick Cheney. Anyway, I think I told you how I got to the White House.

KS: So by the time inauguration rolls around, do you know anything about any kinds of initial foreign policy, forays, discussions that took place in the transition on any major foreign policy issue? Were you aware of the Soviet Union, arms control, Latin America, Middle East, anything?

MS: This becomes very important. I was not. And I could say I think with reasonable certainty that Hamilton Jordan was in no way part of the foreign policy decision-making process and was not exposed to information. The reason I can tell you that was — and this applies directly to the Middle East — in March of 1977, the president made a speech in Clinton, Massachusetts.

KS: Called “Policy No More?”

MS: Yeah. This is because — unfamiliar with the rhetoric, unfamiliar with the issues and all that, so he endorsed the concept of the Palestinian homeland. They couldn’t understand how the shit hit the fan.

KS: Who is the “they?”

MS: Politically, the White House and Hamilton. 

KS: So, you’re saying Carter didn’t understand the terminology.

MS: He didn’t understand that it would be controversial. That few people have national rights and they should have the homeland like every, you know —

KS: It was reactive, it was nuclear.

MS: But didn’t understand that these weapons were nuclear.

KS: Great political zombies or whatever the contemporary —

MS: So, this becomes important, because there is a huge uproar, a huge uproar by the Jewish community. Hamilton comes to me and says, “You know, we never wanted a Jewish liaison, but we have to have a way to communicate.”

KS: This happened after Clinton, Massachusetts?

MS: After Clinton. And he asked me if I would become the Jewish liaison. 

KS: In addition to what?

MS: That’s what I said. I said, “You want me to be the Jewish liaison and do you want me to add that to my portfolio?” ’Cause I have no intention of being or limiting myself to that. Then I said I would do, but I would do it under only one condition: that I was a two-way liaison and I would be the White House’s outreach, provide information to the community, but I also could input the views of the community into the White House and that I would be kept informed about decision-making process.

KS: You think this was after. —

MS: End of March. It was right after Clinton. It was right after the uproar or in the middle of the uproar of Clinton. So, that is when I got that title.

KS: So, did it happen — it happened I think while Rabin was here in early March. Then Clinton, Massachusetts. I think that’s right. Then you had a whole series of Arab leaders who came.

MS: Well, I don’t know — at one point we have to talk about the Soviet and American communication. I don’t remember when it comes in — because that becomes very important.

KS: Vance is detailed to do that without [Zbigniew] Brzezinksi’s knowledge at the end of May and Brzezinski doesn’t know about — neither does [William] Quandt.

MS: Neither does Hamilton, neither do I. What is up on that?

KS: After Tim ? said — and afterwards — [Joseph] Sisco said after two of you, would figure with Mondale in the White House and understand how the Congress works and understand that this was a big issue for [Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin and [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat. 

MS: Because it is very important with Sadat. I have to —.

KS: I want you to tell the story. I don’t want you to tell the story I know, but before we get there — So, what did the Carter administration or Hamilton know about the American labor movement when they came to the White House?

MS: The labor supported Scoop Jackson, they didn’t support Jimmy Carter, but they were very helpful in the general election.

KS: And they knew the same thing about Jews?

MS: Yes. In fact, I gave Hamilton and Hamilton showed the president — dated, like up to Caddell, that showed that we capture 72% or 73% of the Jewish vote and that alone determined New York. New York was key because — 

KS: You gave this information to him before Clinton or after Clinton?

MS: Oh no, it was during transition, after the election. I was very focused on New York and very kind of proud of.

KS: Hamilton also wanted to know how did we win, ’cause he was [a] junkie.

MS: You’re right and Caddell — you know, he said that if whites, non-Jewish, gentile whites in New York had voted like everyone else, you know whenever it was, that we would have lost New York considerably, but it was this sort of Jewish bloc vote that went 72% percent. That made a difference or whatever. I thought that was — you know, I wanted him to know that.

KS: Did Hamilton and Carter know that the Jewish vote — 

MS: Yes, I made a point of it.

KS: But they knew it?

MS: Yes.

KS: Did it feel like in any way that the Jewish vote had not been supported in the 1976 election? There is no way they could not have known it.

MS: Absolutely. They were well aware of it. Caddell had the data. I had the data and I shared it.

KS: Did they know how supportive the evangelicals were with Carter in 1976 election?

MS: I believe yes.

KS: Those are the two groups, and I have to say, groups that we know in hindsight from data. So what I want to know is did the administration know about those two? And my understanding —

MS: Yes. The answer is yes.

KS: Okay. So, if what we know —.

MS: Can I just check on being honest with something?

KS: Do whatever you need to do.

MS: I just didn’t know what numbers of course you needed.

KS: Oh, I’ll stay here to be brief.

MS: I have an 11:30, which means I didn’t realize this would be so long.

KS: Well, if we can continue it, I would love to continue it at some point. 

MS: We can.

KS: We should go on until we stop and then we’ll pick it up.

MS: No, I just — someone is going to come in at 11:30, you don’t even have to leave. When is your appointment?

KS: I have to be at the convention center at quarter ‘til two.

MS: Okay, this 11:30 thing should not be more than a half or forty-five minutes. The convention center is right here. 

KS: Or if you want me to come back some other time?

MS: No, if you want, we can put you in an office.

KS: Great, great. So, what you are saying is that the Carter administration, when Palestinian homeland was articulated or when Vance went to the Middle East and said you can’t use cluster bombs or Carter in public when Rabin was here made remarks about negotiating with the Palestinians and borders — what you are saying is that —

MS: Rabin thinks Carter cost him the election.

KS: Well, I’ll get to that in a moment. But the point is the knowledge of the terminology, the knowledge of the nuances, the knowledge of the grey areas, they just weren’t known?

MS: That’s right. I think one of the reasons — and going back to his tenure in Georgia — is that politically he didn’t interact with the Jewish community. So he didn’t understand the issues of concern for the Jewish community domestically or internationally.

KS: But he did have a foreign policy advisor. He did have a national security counsel staff. But that didn’t enter into his knowledge.

MS: Well, I don’t like getting into personalities. I was convinced that Jimmy Carter did not come into the presidency being hostile or prejudice or bias in any way to Israel. I just throw it aside as a tabula rasa with a total blank slate. I think — giving the president the benefit of the doubt — I think the problem, to me it’s a problem, occurred by speaking of Brzezinski being the person who filled in the blank slate, almost exclusively. And his biases were manifest, were clear, were made explicit to me directly by him. So again, giving the president the benefit of doubt, I think he was educated by someone with a strong bias.

KS: Were the biases of Brzezinski shared with you?

MS: Zbig thought that Israel was a future liability. Zbig had a theory or call all of the elements of it, but that they were inevitable confrontations with inevitable outcomes in various parts of the world and that we should be on the right side of those confrontations and outcomes. One of them was South Africa, and I agree. One of them was the Palestinian question and Israel. I believe, which is really bizarre, I think one of them actually was Iran and he was concerned about them. He flipped of course. The challenge could not be from the right but through religious right, jihadis or whatever, but from the left. He wanted liberalization for the Shah, because he was concerned about a revolution from the left. A people’s revolution. I don’t know what the other. He must have written about this because this is one of the theories that he was sort of pounding away at on with the president and with me, but, this is inevitable outcome, or are we going to be with the winners or the losers? Did that help?

KS: That’s terrific. And so there would be no way that the Carter administration in March or April were aware of the Jewish lobby?

MS: Well —

KS: Other than the fact that they existed.

MS: That’s a little simplistic. I mean they did win the Presidency.

KS: My point, but he said Palestinian homeland, he didn’t know there was an uproar.

MS: That’s correct.

KS: So he didn’t know, let’s not say a lobby, let’s say a Jewish reaction or an Israeli reaction.

MS: He was very surprised by that. But none of us were — I mean, if —

KS: Okay. Do you think there was any moment —

MS: I don’t think — I think he used the term “homeland.” Well, he didn’t say “entity,” he didn’t start saying anything like that.

KS: No, no, he said, “Palestinian homeland,” absolutely yes. And I asked him where did you take it from. He said, “I took the terminology out of the Balfour Declaration, the ‘national home for the Jewish people’ and I said ‘homeland’ and after I said it, I called Brzezinski and Vance. I said, ‘Don’t correct anything I said. I want this to stand cause I really believe it.’”

MS: I don’t think Brzezinski would have corrected him. Vance, I think might have.

KS: I said. “Originally, what was it about the Palestinians?” He said. “It was a civil rights movement, a civil rights issue for me. They had deserved self-determination and I thought the Jews and the Palestinians could live along side of each other. It was very easy for me.”

MS: I agree.

KS: That is how he viewed it and he said he —

MS: Even those of us who agree, know that saying it in that way was a tremendous setback to that goal.

KS: Why do you suppose Carter decided to be so public about his foreign policy actions and statements? What was it? His style, was it his that he didn’t want to be covert like Nixon, he didn’t want to be secretive like Kissinger, what was it?

MS: Those things could also be in itself sort of self-righteous quality to him. He was very sure of his decisions that he was right and people were wrong. He saw a lot of black and white and not so much grey in these areas and it’s that self-righteousness. He was going to do the moral thing and if you disagreed [with] it, then you were immoral. I hope you know that I don’t dislike the man. I don’t want you to think that.

KS: No, no, no. You are talking to a guy who worked with him intensely for almost a quarter of a century. I understand.

[RECORDING ENDS, NEW RECORDING BEGINS]

KWS: I’m going to ask now you a question which I have my own answer in my mind. How would you describe him [Jimmy Carter] in terms of his intellect? 

MS: I don’t think frankly he’s as bright as people think he is.

KWS: He is?

MS: Okay, I know people think you a nuclear engineer. I think he lacks nuance. He lacks the ability to see nuance and gradations. Sometimes very, very simplistic. I don’t think he responds well to complex situations. He sometimes mixes complex situations into simple situations. I come from an academic environment. My Ph.D. is in political science and it’s not in international relations, but you know I — he makes decisions very quickly. He jumps into them and he’s so self-assured that — so self-confident that he doesn’t ask for a variety of inputs. He doesn’t like to be challenged. These are my experiences. He doesn’t like to be challenged. When staff knows that he doesn’t like to be challenged, they stop challenging. I think Obama is different that way, from the way I understand it. If you don’t challenge, you should be, “Why aren’t you challenging me?” kind of thing. That is not the way it works in the White House. I am just curious how do you feel about that?

KWS: He’s got an incredible memory. He has the capacity to remember things very easily. Months later after you put something in front of him, he can pull it out of context and put it right where it belongs. He is a terrific conversationalist. I’ve seen him with outside interviewers for five hours. I’ve seen him with Arafat; I didn’t go to the Arafat meeting. I’ve seen him [with] Rabin and Begin, although Begin didn’t want to pay much attention to him in 1983 when we saw him. But I’ve seen him call information. He’s an absorber of that.

MS: You’ve seen him call the information?

KWS: I’ve seen him take it from other people and then —

MS: Does he call only what he wants to call, to reinforce some preconceived notions?

KWS: I think that’s accurate. I think that’s accurate. I think that’s very accurate. If he doesn’t have the basic information, then he relies upon a specialist. He relied upon Brzezinski. He relied upon Bob Pastor. He relied upon Quandt. I mean he had people that he relied upon and he pigeon-holed them as, you know — When we set up the Carter Center, he had someone who did Middle East, someone who did Latin America, someone who did Soviet Union and relied upon us as if we were his personal national security council. Whatever we wrote, he basically used. He didn’t go check our footnotes.

MS: [Did] he have the time or he didn’t want to?

KWS: Umm.

MS: Where are we in your questioning? How far down the list are we?

KWS: No, no, no. We are doing very well. Tell me about  — there’s been a question that’s been outstanding in my mind for a long time. As someone who has worked in the campaign and you probably worked closely with Bob [Lipshutz] was the Treasurer.

MS: Yes.

KWS: Correct. They have to file forms monthly in order to get matching funds. Is that right?

MS: Yes.

KWS: And then they have to raise a certain amount of money in order to get matching funds, if I’m remembering correctly.

MS: You know, the presidential election was publicly funded. The national convention was publicly funded. I don’t recall if these nominating campaigns were — I just don’t recall, so I can’t answer the question.

KWS: You never had any doubt in your mind that Lipshutz was as honest as the day is long.

MS: Honest, yes. Sharp.

KWS: Oh, I don’t think he was the sharpest lawyer in the pool. There is no doubt about that. I can leave it off the record, I promise you.

MS: Well, the word sharp is very, very funny. Is Bob still alive?

KWS: Yes, he is.

MS: Lipshutz is still alive?

KWS: Yes, but he’s frail, very frail. I saw him at a funeral two weeks ago.

MS: Leave it to Jimmy Carter to find the one duck Jewish lawyer in America, which you gotta love that.

KWS: That’s the third time I heard someone tell me that.

MS and KWS: [Laugh.] 

MS: About [Robert] …..

KWS: Exactly.

MS: Oh, okay.

KWS: No, Strauss saying it about Lipshutz.

MS: Oh, okay. Right, right.

KWS: Oh no, it was right. 

MS: But a sweet man.

KWS: Very. What was his relation with Eizenstat?

MS: Junior partner. I mean, Stu was very, very sharp and very aggressive and works very, very hard and is very smart. The fact that they were both Jewish oh, almost becomes coincidental. Stu would go out on the limb. Stu would insinuate himself on matters relating to Israel. Stu would be helpful to me when I needed a partner. Lipshutz was not relevant. 

KWS: How about Brzezinski and Eizenstat’s relationship?

MS: Well, mine with Brzezinksi was horrible and I think Stu’s was probably much more simple, but occasionally strained on policy issues. But with me and Brzezinski, he personally disliked me.

KWS: Why?

MS: I think he resented any political, he didn’t that the foreign policy should be influenced by private political factors and he certainly didn’t appreciate the input I was giving into the process from the American Jewish community.

KWS: Did he ever articulate to you his desire to limit, break , damage Jewish involvement in American politics?

MS: I think once he did in referencing AIPAC, but there was an incident after the joint Soviet-American communiqué and all of the uproar about that. I scheduled a series of monthly meetings where I would bring in Jewish leadership into the White House to the state dining room for luncheons. The president spoke once. The vice president spoke once, whatever. There was one occasion where the Brzezinski spoke. I don’t know if it was a solo speak or after, but no one else in the administration on a high level was there, but we had the cream of the crop, the President’s conference, I think. Someone was complaining about the — this was actually later on, now I remember it, but someone was complaining about the arms F-15 sale to Saudi Arabia which ultimately lead me to leave. So, this had to be in February of 2008 and Brzezinski — remember the whole point of these meeting was to reassure the community. 

KWS: February 1978.

MS: Oh, I am sorry, 1978, yes. February 1978 and the whole point of me bringing these people from all over the country every month was to reassure them that we, the White House, had the best interest of Israel. We were a friend, we were not an enemy, were not hostile. Someone, one of the presidents [Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizaitons], complained about the F-15 sale. Brzezinski got up and he pointed his finger away like this and he said, “You people have to decide whether you are Americans or whether your Jews.” There was an audible gasp. Ii was the classic dual loyalty [anti-Semitic stereotype], but for him, “You people” from a Pole, you could just —

KWS: Was this before the Sadat’s visits to Jerusalem?

MS: Sadat was November. This was after.

KWS: Carter came back from the Middle East in January ’78 and this was already a discuss about the F-15s.

MS: Yeah, the F-15s. I think that was when the president was in Saudi Arabia at Christmas.

KWS: That’s right. And he saw the Shah and Sadat on the same trip. 

MS: I think that is when the F-15 deal was cut.

KWS: Yes, that’s exactly right.

MS: It wasn’t made public then, but that is when it was cut. There were many other incidents, but when I — in November ’77 we didn’t talk about this, but I was in the Middle East with Jim Wright and Ike Caddell meeting  (Congressional delegation visit) with Sadat when Sadat announced that he would go to Jerusalem if he received a proper invitation. I was there. I was the one who called it in, I was the one who reported it in. Brzezinski looked at me immediately, as soon as it looked like there was actually going to be a trip of Sadat. He wanted, Brzezinksi, wanted me recalled, recalled because he didn’t want anyone to ask to be there [as a witness from the administration) because this notion of bilateral process would upend his hopes for comprehensive peace.

KWS: And you were intruding into that?

MS: Yeah, but by being there and being part of the process. I was with Sam Lewis and we delivered together the proper invitation to Begin. You know Begin is very formal man and the proper invitation came from [Hermann] Eilts. Eilts was our Ambassador in Cairo and it was sent by cable to Lewis and actually we were in the consulate in Jerusalem. Kind of funny the only time I was ever there. Got the invitation and delivered it to Begin. So that is sort of how that came about.

KWS: Delivery of the invitation?

MS: The cable, yes. It was — 

KWS: Oh, the cable that Sadat said, “I would be willing to even go to their house.” He said on November 10th at the Parliament —

MS: No. Yes.

KWS: While he said that it was a congressional delegation in — 

MS: We were in — I know this. We were — ’cause I relived this a million times, and actually I have a tape of it somewhere — we were meeting with Sadat. This is Jim Wright, [Dan] Rostenkowski, Jim Blanchard, Henry Waxman — and I mean, all these people who became quite important over the years — in just what was supposed to be a typical “Caddell, meet the president and had a cup of tea,” — in his talking, I thought he said — and I was sitting next to Jim Wright — I thought he said something like, “I would go to Jerusalem to talk about peace” or something like that. I asked Jim Wright to ask him in the question period whether he understood correctly that that was his position. And yes.

KWS: Exactly coterminous to that, he was in a presentation in the parliament where Arafat is in the audience and he says, “I will even go to their house in order to discuss this” and then I think the same day he has this meeting with you guys. So, what’s happening —

MS: I don’t which occurred first.

KWS: Right. So, from there you then went to Jerusalem. 

MS: No, from there I go to the — he said, if he got a proper invitation.

KWS: Right and then you went to Begin and said to Begin, and said to Begin — 

MS: And then I went to Eilts at the Embassy and reported. I gave him a very, very long memo, which was the old fashioned — I typed it out — about what occurred. Oh, simultaneously, I spoke to both Hamilton and Stu, calling them and telling them what happened. I was told to go on to Jerusalem.

KWS: With the delegation?

MS: The delegation was actually [to] leave the next day, but to go with the delegation to Jerusalem. We stayed at the King David Hotel. They had emptied out the King David Hotel thinking that there might be a visit. I immediately went to meet or met with Sam Lewis. I think I met with Sam Lewis first at the Embassy in Tel Aviv and then we traveled together or we traveled separately to the consulate because I know that we were waiting in the consulate. I know, I know what this was. Okay, so we got the proper invitation from Begin and we cabled that back to Eilts and Eilts delivers it to Sadat and Sadat accepts the invitation and Eilts informs us by cable that Sadat has accepted the invitation and will be coming on 19th of —

KWS: ’77.

MS: And we go to Begin to deliver the news that Sadat has accepted the invitation. Then Begin — I remember this and I sat out on the sideline — Begin had a press conference right in the lobby of the PM Secretariat announcing the trip.

KWS: Did you have any contact with Epi Evron on that trip?

MS: The ambassador? Was he ambassador at the time?

KWS: Epi Evron was director general of the foreign ministry.

MS: No, the only person our — Yahiel Kadishai, who was Begin’s Secretary, yes. I worked with him and I worked with Begin. Who was the foreign minister at the time?

KWS: Foreign minister of Israel was Moshe Dayan—. I want to say the guy who’s head of the Jewish Agency, the one that Carter did not like at all, who was at Camp David was Simcha Dinitz.

MS: It’s not him. I guess my role was exactly what I told you and was limited to what I told you. I was more of a sort of involved in a courier back-and-forth.

KWS: But I’m interested in how you got communication from Brzezinski that you were to —

MS: I didn’t get it from Brzezinksi. Brzezinski couldn’t tell Hamilton’s deputy to come home. Hamilton told me with sort of a lilt and a giggle in his voice, you know, “Zbig wants you out of there,” and I said, “Why?”

KWS: But Hamilton had said to you to go on to Jerusalem.

MS: Oh, Hamilton, absolutely. But he told me that Zbig wanted me out of there and I said, “Why does he want me out of there?” and he said to me, “He’s really concerned this could lead to some kind of bilateral peace treaty and that would mess his plans up for what he — a comprehensive treaty. And then right after I come back, there is a meeting in the vice president’s office and I’m there and Brzezinksi is there. That was a very ugly meeting.

KWS: You want to tell me about it? 

MS: Umm, I don’t, I just — Brzezinski made this presentation. This was after the Sadat visit. He made this presentation about why this was not a significant development and in fact it why might be a dysfunctional development. He went on and on postulating why a bilateral treaty really with the most important Arab country really sort of took the impetus out of the comprehensive negotiation and I wasn’t called on and I said, “I would really like to say something, Mr. Vice President.” I probably, too emotionally, considering. Who knows, I was supposed [to be] dispassionate, [and] said, “I think it may be me and I don’t know what world Zbig is living in, but it’s not my world. It’s not what I just lived through, not what I just saw and not the reaction I got from the people of Israel.” That was when I said I was being emotional, but he was. He turned bright red, he was furious. Fritz [Mondale] kind of smiled ’cause, I guess, I think Fritz agreed but wasn’t going to say it.

KWS: Probably wasn’t going to say it. Right, I got it, I got it. So it was nice to have someone else do it for you.

MS: But I, you know, if I was thinking about my future or whatever, I probably wouldn’t have, but I was just like dumbfounded. I was open-jawed, that kind of shit. It was sort of an amazing thing. Again, he was talking about a theory that didn’t fit with reality, but he didn’t want to adjust his theory.

KWS: I don’t know if this other person is here, but I would like to just go back to two points. You eluded earlier that you thought that maybe Carter’s public statements, Palestinian homeland and others, may have had an impact on the Israeli election. 

MS: [Unintelligible.]

KWS: How do you know that?

MS: Because Rabin told me that.

KWS: What did he say?

MS: He said that your president did everything he could to defeat me and now I hope he likes the result, or something like that.

KWS: And why would he say that to you?

MS: Well, you know after I resigned from the White House, I became something of a fifteen-minute hero on Israeli TV as you would expect. And it was in — 

KWS: I’ve been having the same satisfaction [laughs].

MS: Oh, okay. And that wasn’t — my resignation was a very, very difficult decision and I didn’t do it for glory. If I was thinking about what was good for my career, I wouldn’t have done it. Resignations and protests usually occurred at the end of a career, not at the beginning of a career. But I worked. In July of ’78 was my first trip to Israel after my resignation which was in March and basically I met whoever I wanted to meet with on that trip. Everyone sort of wanted to meet with me and I —

KWS: Rabin didn’t attribute it to his bank account and attribute it to the fact that he’s a —

MS: No, No. 

KWS: That he’s, Jimmy Carter’s public statements and —

MS: But then it was interesting and I hope he is satisfied with the outcome, meaning you know, he’s with someone now. 

KWS: You never heard from Begin or Kadisahi that they felt that Carter’s remarks helped elect them?

MS: No, No.

KWS: When I asked Kadishai he said —

MS: By the way, I shouldn’t — I left out something that was very important Sadat said in that meeting with Caddell. He very specifically said one of the reasons when he answered the question he would go to Jerusalem — one of the very important reasons was the joint Soviet and American communiqué. That no one and he said something like, “We spent thirty years trying to get the Russians out of the Middle East I am not going to stand by and watch you bring them back in.”. He was going [to] cut his own deal. I don’t know if that’s ever — I’m sure it’s been reported.

KWS: Did Sadat say anything about the U.S.-Israeli correction that happened three or four days later in New York with Dayan and Brzezinski? They were at a hotel the evening of October 4th and 5th with Staff, Naftali Lau-Lavie and Vance. They negotiated essentially what was a neutralization of the U.S.-Soviet Declaration. 

MS: He didn’t, but by the way when that whole thing occurred — we didn’t even talk about the joint Soviet-American communiqué. I mean Hamilton knew nothing about it at the time and Rabin, who was the — 

KWS: Rabin was out of office.

MS: Who is the ambassador? The Israeli ambassador?

KWS: I am still trying to think of his name.

MS: In Washington?

KWS: Yeah, he —

MS: It was him?

KWS: Who was it?

MS: Whoever it was, was called into — we had a meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Shulman, Marshall Shulman was there, I was there, Hamilton was there, Brzezinksi was there and the Israeli ambassador was there over the joint Soviet-American communiqué. I think that that meeting may have led to whatever occurred a few days later, but more important, that meeting, that incident, caused Hamilton Jordan to become very much part of the decision-making loop in the Middle East, to bring in the political process into the Middle East.

KWS: I’m going to —

MS: Let me just see, one second, let me — just want to check my screen for a second.

KWS: Absolutely.

MS: Okay, Sorry. This is almost like therapy. You are making me remember things that I haven’t thought about for a long time. Maybe they were locked away. Maybe I will sleep better tonight.

KWS: Are you going to say anything to your wife about this? I mean this —

MS: [Laughs.]

KWS: Let’s see — Bar-On, Ben-Evron, Eizenstat, agreements, Carter, Simcha Dinitz.

MS: Simcha Dinitz. He was furious. He was really, really angry. Shulman sort of is not political. I mean, you know, he didn’t think, you know. Vance wasn’t there, but Brzezinski was there and Shulman was there. He didn’t think this was a big deal, but we weren’t aware. I don’t remember if Brzezinski was in this loop or not in this loop. I think he was. I think he knew.

KWS: He only knew about the declarations four days before it was going to commence.

MS: Okay, but he knew about it. Hamilton didn’t know about it at all.

KWS: And Quandt told me he learned about it when Brzezinski — 

MS: And I remember how I learned about it. I had just returned from — I was doing an event with the Jewish community in Minneapolis and flew back to Minneapolis and was on the GW Parkway. And then Hamilton, I don’t remember how he tracked me down, did we have cell phones back then?

KWS: You may have had phones in the car. I am not sure of the reception.

MS: I had a phone in the car. He contacted me and he told me about this and I almost forked off the highway. He said, “You know, you’re not going to believe this.” 

KWS: Under the Freedom of Information Act, had you ever seen the document (On Jewish influence in the Senate)  that Hamilton wrote to the president in June of 1977. And in it, it’s Hamilton and Hamilton in writing this said, “I’ve only written two copies of this, one I’m keeping in my desk, one I’m giving to you.” In it he talks about how the American Jewish community needs to be approached. It needs to be, umm, a favor needs to be carried and he goes particularly into laying out —

MS: Can I see this? Because I think I may have drafted it at one point.

KWS: Well, that’s what I wanted to know.

MS: I have drafted this. I can see it. I remember the outline.

[Woman enters and whispers something to MS who responds.] 

MS: Okay.

KWS: When we come back, I would like to discuss it with you. I mean, I tried to do my homework before I came here.

MS: Wow.

KWS: ’Cause I can’t imagine who would have written this.

MS: I think I put in numbers from the election. Is it on here?

KWS: I don’t know that the numbers are there. I am not sure what you gave to Hamilton and Hamilton ultimately gave to the president. I mean I have learned that about passing things along, but the only thing that’s back here is this, what — as Carter —

MS: Yes, and we always do these.

KWS: Right, exactly. So what I’d like to do and read you the numbers of Jewish population. There’s a memo, which you got from AIPAC on —

MS: I might — I definitely compiled this. I remember this and I even seem to remember the type. But I definitely had voting results in mine, maybe he didn’t put it in.

KWS: I didn’t remember, but he made the case. He made a very strong case. He said, “We didn’t know.”

MS: Hold it. I wrote this. I wrote this. This is exactly what I just told you.

KWS: Okay. The point is —

MS: So he took out the numbers.

KWS: Well, I didn’t know how detailed the numbers that you were referring to, but I’d like to talk to you about this when we resume our discussions, if I might.

MS: Yeah, sure.

KWS: Because what it does is it states emphatically what the Carter administration did not know about American Jewish engagement in politics. Now I don’t know whether you overstated it, understated it, stated it exactly as you understood it, but there is a terribly important phrase in here which I would like to discuss with you when we come back.

MS: What’s the phrase?

KWS: I’m not gonna tell ya. But I mean, it is for me — it was a fascinating insight into learning what the Carter administration did not know or what they thought they needed to do and this was June. This was not January. This was June. 

MS: This is true. Right. Yeah, I remember.

KWS: I’m sorry for the catharsis.

MS: No.

[KWS: You’re putting structure and you’re adding additional detail, you’re filling in gaps. 

[Unintelligible conversation due to noise.] 

KWS: So you tell me where you want me to go.

[Unintelligible conversation due to noise followed by Mark Siegel apparently leaving the room; recording continues.] 

KWS [on telephone call]: Is Josh there? Can you call his cell phone? I think so. Alright. That’s great. Everything’s okay. All right, tell Mom I looked at the letter and there is just a couple of fine tunings I have to make. I haven’t had a lot of chance, just to sit with it, but I will get it done before the day is over. So I’ll get it back to her. Can I speak to her now, while you run to Josh or ask or walk to Josh and ask him to call me? But I just need to — but my, my question is this: Cost for the hotel is $126,000. Mom will put in at $146,000. It’s the only bill we have that’s outstanding of any particular one item that we have to turn into them if they want it. Everything else is sort of fudgeable, such as the materials, so I think we’re going to have to put the 20 extra elsewhere. In case we are asked, “Can you show us the largest sum?” and that 20 could go to, you know you can put an extra three or six for interns if you want. I don’t — you know, that’s all within the realm of possibility. What I don’t want to do is I don’t want to change that one bill that we have to provide, for which we only have one copy and we can’t change it. The rest of the things we can make up ourselves, but this we can’t. You understand my logic? [Pause.] Right, then they may come back to us next year and say, “You did it at $126,000 you may be able to do the $126,000 again?” I don’t want to jeopardize the possibility by not reporting accurately. So, if it’s got to be elsewhere, let’s find other places where. And you don’t want to add money to me, but if you want to add money to staff salaries, you know, go ahead ask at five or seven or nine whatever it is. They are not going to balk at that. They are not going to balk at that. All right. All right. Do you want me to have this conversation with her or you okay to cover it with her? Okay. All right. I just want to be sure that I said it out loud while I was still thinking about it. All right. You cover your tracks and cover your tracks. [Pause.] All right, so if we get a written card back for ISMI and it’s sent back to our address at 1256 and someone says they would like to contribute X number of dollars, we then have to, let’s say it’s a credit card, we send that to Randy Girard. [Pause.] All right, so what, okay. So, we don’t have to show any physical piece of paper to the development office that indicates that so-and-so gave us a contribution or is going to make a pledge of whatever. Let’s say someone comes to you and says, “I’d like to give you $180 a month for the next 12 months”, like Vicky Steinberg. What we then do is we then call Randy on the phone or write an email saying, “Ken’s been in touch with a former a student and would like to do this. Can you write or create a commitment form?” and then Randy would send us that and then we would send that to the person. What the development office will not like is if we are going out independently of them and asking for funds directly and then they have evidence that we did that. In other words, we don’t want to send them a commitment card and give them a commitment card that says Joe wants to give us $180 a month. Am I making myself clear? Whatever documentation we provide or you provide, it’s got to be on your stationary that says or on your form that says, “Here’s your $180, here’s this, we received this.” okay? ’Cause what the development office is going to say is, “Well, how come we didn’t know that you sent that or a letter asking for money?” [Pause.] Right, right. Exactly, exactly, exactly. Right, ’cause if someone’s sending you a check, they’re sending you check and you know, you just take it over. Now if they are sending us, like they send you appreciated stock, well we, you know — “Dear Randy, Joe wants to send appreciated stock. Please send him the form” — Right. Okay, that’s the only thing is if that is the case then we can do it that way and then we can disguise the limit and the number of former students they can go to by a letter that we can send directly to them or email to them. In this case, I’m not going to, I don’t want to email them, I want to do snail mail. ’Cause I don’t want them forwarding back to Randy saying I received this from Ken Stein. You with me? Randy is more than willing to allow me to go ask people and he told me. He said, “I don’t want you feel inhibited in any way if were to go after these people or by the way we don’t need to know every time you have a cup of coffee with someone.” I think he is getting — I think he is feeling I am doing my job too well and he doesn’t want to end up being my gopher. I am serious. Right, well that’s the case, then you just opened a big flood gate honey. Right and that’s fine with me. Okay, great. So I’m going to try and get an early flight in tomorrow morning and try and be at the office by 9:15 or 9:30 if I get back in time. So I will be in the office in the morning if I possibly . . . All right, cool. All right, I’ll call him as soon as I hang up. Yes I do. All right, thanks, bye.

KWS [on telephone call]: Hi. So, this guy Siegel hadn’t changed the meeting to 10:00. So I’ve been in his office for an hour and a half and umm, he’s filtering out incremental pieces of information and I showed him the Jordan memo at the very end of our very first session, we are going to continue after he has another meeting with someone. I showed him the memo written in June of ’77 and I said, “Do you have any knowledge of this?” and he looked at it and he said, “Yeah, I typed the original.” He said, “There are statistics there from the campaign,” and I said, “Yes.” Actually, I said, “No,” because I didn’t remember and he looked at it and said, “I wrote this, I gave this to Hamilton,” and I said, “Then why was it in June and not in January?” He looked at me and he said, “Because the Carter Administration had no idea how important labor in the Jewish community worked,” He [has] some incredible stories about Brzezinski and he said, “The reason that the White House was so cool to Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem was it completely confounded Brzezinski’s desire to have a comprehensive peace,” That’s why Brzezinski in the White House worked so hard against it and he said, “It was completely contrary to the way Brzezinski wanted to go, it was more Brzezinski driven than it was Carter driven.” He said, “At one point Brzezinski called, they had a meeting with leading American Jews and at lunch and Brzezinski was talking about the peace process and this was like January ’78 or February of ’78 or December ’77 and Brzezinski, when the American Jewish Community spokesman spoke and said we entrust you to — Brzezinski stood up and he pointed his finger at the 8 or 10 or 12 people who were at lunch and he said to them, “you have to decide, whether you’re Americans or you’re Jewish,” and he said Brzezinski got red in his face at his anger and he said we know that as a result of that meeting, the Begin Administration then could no longer trust Carter or Brzezinski because the contents of that meeting filtered back to Jerusalem.” He told me, he said — this is what I want to talk to you about — he said, “Columbia University did an entire series of interviews on the Carter Administration on the Middle East.” He did a very in-depth interview for Columbia University and he doesn’t know where those reside, but he’s sure that they are available somewhere and he’ll dig, he said. One more thing. He said, “If there is some sort of limitation on the use of those materials because of the sensitivity of them, then I’ll release my interview to you easily.” So there is, Josh, in Columbia University apparently according to him a series of oral interviews that were done, I don’t know if they are transcribed, but there are a series of oral interviews about the Carter Administration in the Middle East and that may connect to Iran and the hostage crisis more than it may occur back to the Middle East peace process. That’s because of a guy by the name of Gary Sick, who was Carter’s initial security advisor for Iran ended up going to teach at Columbia in the ’80s. So, it may be a jewel of a find simply because he revealed it to me in a first five or ten minutes of our interview. [Pause.]  The Virginia Polytechnic lady, Martha whatever? Right, right, I showed it to him. I showed it to him and he said, “No, no, no, there’s another one. There’s another very lengthy one that I did.” So there you go. [Pause.]  Yeah, I don’t know that she can even find it on Google, you may have to call Columbia University to their library. [Pause.]  You will be. [Pause.]  Uh huh. Right, so poke around and maybe what will happen is if we find stuff maybe you and I will go up there for a couple days and we will just sit and listen or transcribe or whatever ’cause it could be a mother lode. And you know just general overview of Carter was that Carter knew nothing about foreign affairs. That, I guess that left [Dick] Cheney and the bicycle and without me quoting the interview, he told me the story himself. He said, “You know that Cheney was a different guy then, when he was Ford’s Chief of Staff.” He said he was personable and fun and easygoing. Something happened and turned him into — something happened to him and it sort of like turned him into the devil or Darth Vader or something. He’s exactly my age, he was born in 1946. He’s very personable and when we finished the first part of the interview, he said, “This is very cathartic for me.” He said, “I didn’t realize all this was in me.” I said, “Well, I have to tell you as a historian that I am just fascinated by it.” He was part of the congressional delegation that was in Cairo on November 10th, the day that Sadat when to the Parliament and said the he would even go to their house, meaning Israel, and he came back and talked to the congressmen and then the congressmen all went up to Israel. When he, when Sadat saw this congressional delegation before they went up to Israel, he said, “You know I will go wherever it is, if I have to I’ll go to Jerusalem,” and so Jim Wright who was the speaker at the time from Texas — Siegel asked Jim Wright to ask once again did Sadat mean to say that he would go visit Israel and the answer was yes. So, Siegel immediately got on the phone and called Hamilton who called Stu Eizenstat and said, “You not going to believe this, but Sadat says he wants to go to Jerusalem.” So they went off to Jerusalem and they told Begin. By then, he didn’t — he was in the delegation who passed it along. He just reports back to the White House and by the time he gets to Jerusalem, he has a message from Hamilton that says, “Brzezinski wants you back immediately. You are not to continue with this effort of trying to get Sadat to visit Jerusalem.” Siegel said, “I asked Hamilton why and Hamilton said it — ’cause it’s going completely against Brzezinski’s effort to the comprehensive peace and there are unforeseen circumstances here which we can’t rule out and what we don’t want is we don’t want a bilateral treaty between Israel and Egypt.” Did you hear what I just said? Did you? I mean, Josh, did you just hear, you heard what I just said? So, before Sadat goes to Jerusalem, Brzezinski’s opposed to it. [Pause, then laughs.]  Yeah. You’re speechless like I was. And he said to me — three times in the interview he said, “The reason that Brzezinski kept on saying it or the reason that Hamilton kept on saying this to me to come home was it was contrary to a comprehensive peace that they were seeking.” [Pause.]  Yes. [Pause.]  Yes, yes. [Pause.]  Yes. [Pause.]  So I told him, I said, “What do you think about my title ‘Foreign Calls of the Elder Carter’ and he winced and he says, “Well,” and then I looked at him and I said, “Well, a ‘Palestinian Peace Not Apartheid’ can ring people’s chimes, maybe this will.” “Oh,” he said, “it will.” He said, “You have to have an agent. If you don’t have agent, I am going to find you an agent.” He said, “This will sell a lot of books. I want you to sell a lot of books” [laughs]. It’s amazing how many allies I have out there in the real world. [Pause.] So, umm, yeah. So there is a lot of work to be done, but, you know, hang on there, we’re going to have some fun. Cool huh? So I think I recorded it and I think the recorder is still working, at least it says “record.” I don’t know how long it’s going. We stopped talking when it was at 1:18 and its now at 1:46, but I am not messing around with the recorder ’cause I don’t — I don’t want to rewind it by mistake and start all over again, so I just kept it going. I’m not real technologically sound, so tell Anna that the interview is, it’s going well, and we’ll see what happens. As long as the red light stays on and yeah — Wow, wow. Some of this stuff I’ve ran into Brzezinski before and you know, I’ve talked to him and said it’s a big — just wanted to believe that the rest of politics should have no impact on foreign affairs and therefore he went off after the Jewish lobby. [Pause.]  Right, all right. [Pause.]  All right, I thought I should tell you so. I’m sorry we can’t do this at 2:00, but he is scheduled and as it turned out, my schedule too made it easier for us to do this sooner rather than later. So, I’ll be home and see what you can find out about the Columbia collection of holdings, ’cause I am going to go up to Columbia. I mean I am going to be up in New York a couple of times in the fall I know ’cause for certain and if we know that this material is there or it’s, you know, under control and can’t be released, maybe what we do is we write to the people and we ask them. We have to find out, of course, who was interviewed, when they were interviewed, how accessible is it, things like that. [Pause.]  All right, okay man. Thanks. Bye.

KWS [on telephone call]: Yeah, Hi. So I am having this interview with Mark Seigel who was the Jewish liaison in the Carter Administration. A liaison to the Jewish community. And I am up here in Washington and he has said some remarkable things about Brzezinski and the White House and Jordan. Remember we had this memo that we found, Jordan’s memo, about the Jewish community? Well, you know, Jordan wrote a memo that said you have to harness the Jewish community better and we haven’t done a great job. Anyway, it was submitted in June of ’77 to Carter and we finished the first ninety minutes of our interview. I haven’t tried going to the recorder ’cause I’m afraid that if I turn off, I am going to erase something. So, anyway, the bottom line is — the end of the first segment of our ninety minutes I showed him the memo and I said, “Are you familiar with [this] memo?” He looked at and he said, “I drafted that on my typewriter. This is the typeface for my typewriter.” You should have seen — like a kid’s face, like he had been reunited with an old relative. Yeah, and I told Josh some more detail about what went on, some things that I found out that I didn’t know about. I hope I didn’t mess up the recording. The machine is still going. It still says “REC” on the front and the numbers are still launching forward, so I assume it is recording. I have not turned it off. Umm, I guess at some point I have to. Huh? Well, I don’t know how long the tape, I don’t know how much it can record. Oh well, I am at 151:29. So I am at two hours and thirty minutes for a count. So, we got time. So, I imagine we will talk for about another hour. But when I finish, you said end recording by pressing the play enter button and then slide the whole button upwards. That’s what you said, so umm, if I do that and it doesn’t stop recording, I will just let it — Shh, listen. [Pause.]  But you said [to] press the play enter button. To stop, you said, “When finished, end recording by pressing play with the arrow and the square enter button.” [Pause.]  But that’s not — okay. And then slide the whole button upwards. Okay, well the whole button is still down and it’s still recording, so I imagine it’s even recording this message, I mean this phone call. Right. It’s been very cool, very informative. Unbelievable, and of course the meeting with the Christians, as you can tell, was perfect. I’m meeting with eight rabbis this afternoon who are their liaison with the Jewish community across the country. These rabbis are supposed to tell me what these evangelicals need to know that they don’t know and how they need to know it. [Pause.]  Can he email it to me? Permission is, access is closed, right? Hi, so what did you find out? [Pause.]  Uh huh? [Pause.]  Permission from the interviewer. [Pause.]  All right, well I’ll just leave with him the possibility that he will have to get permission from him. He said he would give me permission. We have to find out who else is there, a listing of who else was interviewed. [Pause.]  Well, why don’t you check the following names: Brzezinski, Quandt, Saunders, Vance, Mondale, Eilts, Lewis (as in Sam), Yeah, those would be the keys. Maybe you’ll have to permission from these guys as well. But Siegel said he’s definitely going to give me permission. All right, thanks man, checking it out. Email me if I need to do something specific with him or otherwise, I will just follow up with him in a couple of weeks. [Pause.]  Nope, I’m good. Tell her thank you for everything. All right, cool stuff man. Thanks, bye!

[Interview resumes with Mark Siegel.]

MS: Are you too late?

KWS: No, I just am marveling at your face when I showed you the memo. 

MS: Oh yeah. Sort of bastard child [laughs].

KWS: You and Herman Eilts (US former Ambassador to Cairo). Hope you didn’t mind the analogy.

MS: Sure [laughs].

KWS: Sorry to keep you at this, but it’s fascinating and by the way, I do need your permission to access. I had my research assistant in Atlanta check it [out], in order for me to have access to the Columbia information material —

MS: Yes.

KWS: — you will have to give me a permission slip to do that.

MS: And I’ll have to find out how to do that. Okay, should I give it to you now?

KWS: No, I’ll — let me found out what the details are, I’ll draft it for you, you’ll read it, I mean I don’t know what their terminology is, I don’t —

MS: Well I don’t remember [unintelligible].

KWS: I don’t know if there is a time limit. I don’t know if they say you have to wait for the person to pass away and then they can allow it. Apparently, they interviewed 200-300 people a year  for an ongoing project on public service. It has to do with all sorts of areas, not just Middle East. It has to do with everything, so I don’t know if they have like(Herman) Eilts and (Hal) Saunders and (Bill) Quandt.

MS: I think they have a lot of the people you’re interested in. 

KWS: So let’s return to your memo. You want to tell me about how it [unintelligible].

MS: I mean again it was a reaction to two events. One was the Clinton, MA declaration of Palestinian homeland. The second was the joint American-Soviet communiqué.

KWS: But this is written in June and joint Soviet communiqué was October.

MS: Then it was just a reaction to the Clinton declaration.

KWS: And probably the remarks made in public when Rabin was here.

MS: And it was after I was given the assignment to function as Jewish liaison.

KWS: When did that take place actually?

MS: Soon after March. Maybe in March, I don’t remember when Clinton was, but it was almost immediately after Clinton, Mass (Palestinian homeland remarks) And he asked me to write this kind of a memo and I think I actually might have White House papers where I may have my version of this memo. Let’s see, I see the president’s handwriting on it. Yeah, the word. 

KWS: There is a very interesting phrase in there.

MS: I didn’t write this consultation with congressman foreign policy initiatives.

KWS: So that was maybe been done by [Finance Director] Frank Moore?

MS: Maybe [laughs].

KWS: Let the record show that your eyes were wobbling in your head.

MS: This is where I, this is — starts to be the stuff I wrote.

KWS: So that would be the introduction and going toward the summary with the prospect.

MS: Again, this is definitely what I wrote.

KWS: So, what is written here as page 18, handwritten.

MS: Yeah and no, but we have this — turn out the specifics, but they are here. 75% of the Jewish vote turned out of 85%. Yeah. For every black vote you receive in the election in New York, you will receive almost two Jewish votes.  So, what’s in there, what’s the secret phrase?

KWS: Well, that the interesting part that we did — you write about the Jewish lobby. Having previously discussed that Jewish funders have great influence, American Jews having a political process, it is equally important to understand the mechanism through which much of this influence is real, lived. You talk about the various organizations.

MS: I used to have a set. I remember that section on fundraising, contributions, candidates.

KWS: You did. And then you had — there’s a list here of senators who are hard supporters of Israel, those who [are] hard votes, those that are sympathetic and you can count on in a show down, depends upon the issue and generally negative and you have three people who are generally negative to Israel: Alvarez, McClure and Hatfield. Those are the three. To gain a majority in any issue for the senate, you write “the Jewish lobby has only to get its ‘hard’ votes and half the votes of those that are ‘sympathetic.’ This would concede all votes of all those in the third category.” You write here, “The new situation provides us with the potential for additional influence with the Israeli government through the American Jewish community, but at present we are in a poor position to take advantage of it.” One of the things you note is the American Jewish community is nervous because of the new Begin Administration.

MS: Correct.

KWS: Right. And you then go on to say it’s important to understand that we can we the administration can influence the American Jewish community because of their uncertainty. What I am curious about, what made you believe at that time if you can recollect — why would the uncertainty of the American Jewish community have given you the sense that the Carter Administration can shape or craft the position that would influence them positively?

[Recording paused.]

MS: Because the American Jewish community had — the only experience the American Jewish community had with Israeli politics was with the Labour party and with Labor officials and Labor prime ministers and Labor ideology and Labor positions. Begin and Likud, Herut, were viewed as extreme right wing opposition figures. There was no relationship very much, [no] relationship between the Likud and opposition and the American Jewish community. Some fringe pockets and some financial support, so there was surprise and concern that an extremist had taken over in Israel and to the extent that, I thought that could be used effectively to try to leverage the Israeli government using the American Jewish community as an interface. The Jewish community almost expressing out points of view that if that we have to be open to peace initiatives and things like that, community and leadership of the community knowing that in the past Begin certainly has never been open to these kinds of things. So, that is why I thought there was an opportunity there to work with the Jewish community to try to move the new Israeli government slightly.

KWS: And what effort was then made in order to try and effect or take this idea and maybe put it into reality or —

MS: Well, a lot of that, it sort of fell to me, I don’t want to overstate my role, but I was sent all across the country. I was out speaking to all various kinds of groups across the country, [Israel] Bonds, UJA, ADL and all of that stuff. Then I would — in the President’s conference I would call, I think I tried to call, five of them a day just to touch. This was modeled after my experiences of executive director of DNC. I would always call every day a few Democratic state chairs, just to talk, ask them what’s on their mind, if its anything I can do to help them. 

KWS: Stewardship. Political stewardship.

MS: Yeah. So and then organizing these monthly meetings. Bringing in the Jewish leadership into the White House, again into the State Dining Room for a kosher lunch and always having an important speaker or — remember, the vice president in particular, and then the Brzezinski one. The unfortunate one with Brzezinski where he attacked the loyalty of people, saying people have to choose which one they were. 

KWS and MS: American Jews or Americans.

MS: Yeah.

KWS: You said [in Jordan’s memo], “You’re not known personally to most of the national Jewish leaders and even those that know you have not worked with you over a long period of time, at the national level on matters of direct interest to Israel. Whereas they know and instinctively trust a Humphrey or a Jackson, you are less well known and more unpredictable.”

MS: I wrote that.

KWS:  Quoting from the Jordan Memorandum, ”The cumulative effect of your statements on the Middle East and the various bilateral meetings with the heads of state has been generally pleasing to the Arabs and displeasing to the Israelis and the American Jewish community.” And he proceeds to list that were four Arab leaders who came along and there were positive results of their visits, but the one Rabin visit that was in the press was negative and people had this anxiety and uncertainty about you. “The election of Begin has resulted in widespread uncertainty in the American Jewish community in this country… The leadership of the American Jewish community has had personal relationships” as you just —  “With the election of Begin, the American Jewish community sees for the first time the possibility of losing American public support for Israel” — that’s a hell of a statement.

MS: Yeah. That statement. The American people are always on the side of Israel or on the side of the underdogs and Jews were underdogs, but then after the Six-Day War, the underdogs were no longer the underdogs. A new class of underdogs developed in the Palestinians. The strategic relationship was absolutely critical. We would refer to Israel as another aircraft carrier in the sixth fleet. That’s — 

KWS: — Jewish. I believe Begin used the word strategic asset.

MS: Yes.

KWS: Some analogy.

MS: But there was a — I knew Brzezinski’s view that Israel was a strategic liability and to the extent that Begin looked unreasonable, intolerant, abusive to Palestinian nationalism, disrespectful, I mean he, I know, knew Begin very, very well. He could be very sharp with his tongue.

KWS: Absolutely.

MS: So many cases of that, you know he would talk to me after I left and I would go back to Israel and he would think of me as — he gave me an award. He gave me a beautiful award. He gave me the Benjamin Netanyahu award. 

KWS: Not Benjamin.

MS: No, no, I mean Jonathan Netanyahu award for simple courage. For standing up and publicly resigning over it. He would be very forthcoming about his distrust of a —

KWS: Carter.

MS: Yeah.

KWS and MS: [Laugh.]

MS: I didn’t want to say it ’cause, you know, I didn’t want to speak for him from the grave, but you know, he was very distrustful.

KWS: When we arrived in Israel in 1983 in March and a couple of months before Brzezinski’s memoir came out Power and Principle, was that Brzezinski’s or was that Vance’s title? No. Vance’s was Hard Choices [subtitled Critical Years in America’s Foreign Policy], Brzezinski’s was Power and Principle [subtitled: Memoirs of the National Security Advisor 1977-1981] and in an interview that he did with one of the magazines in advance of the book coming out. He called Begin a psychi which in Hebrew means, he’s psychologically deficient, he’s got a nut loose and it was all translated in Ma’ariv days before we arrived. When we arrived in —

MS: Why would Vance be using the Hebrew word? 

KWS: Brzezinski. 

MS: Brzezinski?

KWS: Brzezinski used the word. He was a psychi. (or a psycho)

MS: In Hebrew.

KWS: No, he said it in English and it was translated as —

MS: As a nut case.

KWS: As a nut case, right.

MS: Yeah, right, okay.

KWS: He didn’t use the word nut case in English, but it was translated as he has a psychological. And when we got to the Ben-Gurion Airport — I don’t know if it was called the Ben-Gurion Airport in ’83, maybe it was called still called Lod, but I don’t remember — we got to Ben-Gurion Airport and we are facing a battery of microphones. And there is a press conference and the first is, the first question is, “Is it true that your National Security Council advisor categorized Begin as a psycho?” And all of a sudden, Carter said, “I didn’t know” and then something happened and then the audio on all the microphones went dead and no one heard anything else in that press interview. This was a metaphor for what the visit was going to be like. Because driving to Jerusalem, Carter drove with Sam Lewis, or he drove with Sam Lewis and maybe someone from the foreign ministry, I can’t remember who it was. I drove with a young guy who was political officer in Tel Aviv at the time. He just came from Cairo, Dan Kurtzer.

MS: Oh wow.

KWS: And I’m sitting [with] Kurtzer in the back of a car and Kurtzer is telling me how the Israelis have had it with Carter. They are just apoplectic. We (Carter, Stein, and Rosalyn) saw Begin and Begin was very reluctant to see Carter. This was March of ’83. I think Aliza had died the previous November and I mean Begin, was not the same.

MS: Yeah.

KWS: We went to the Knesset where we saw him in his Knesset office. We went into a room and he barely had fifteen minutes of discussion with Carter and I was there and I took notes. As we walked out of the room, I turned around and I looked at the room number was 242. 

MS: Wow. The UN Resolution.

KWS: And I turned to Carter when I looked at it and I said, “How ironic.” He said, “Yeah, he and I never agreed on its meaning.”

MS: Uh huh.

KWS: The next time we —

MS: Well, you know, I — in terms of the Sinai, ultimately, he did agree on the — 

KWS: Right.

MS: And we never thought, you know, with Yamit and all of those places that we never —

KWS: Right, right, and Carter was referring to 242, had to be applied to all the territories.

MS: Right, right.

KWS: That was his view. When we came back in ’87 and we wanted to meet with people who had been in Camp David, including Dan Pattir and others, we had lunch at the President’s House. I think the president at the time was Ezer Weizman, who was very close to Carter anyway. We were at lunch and Kadishai is there, but not Begin. And Carter wants to put a call into Begin to say hi. And Kadishai says to Carter, “Begin isn’t feeling well.” Seven years later I interviewed Kadishai separately and I said, “So why didn’t Begin take the phone call?” He said “he would talk to that son of a bitch ever again.”

MS: And what changed from, “I will see you for a few minutes” to “I will never speak to you?”

KWS: I think he was just — he was so depressed after what went on and so depressed after his wife’s death and he felt that Carter had just done him such injustice. Which brings me to one of the concluding questions I have: You left the White House and I need know the conditions in which you left the White House. And then I want to ask you about the night he made the elections. What were the conditions under which you resigned?

MS: I accepted the responsibilities [of] being Jewish liaison with the understanding that it would be a two-way street. I was asked to go out around the country and sell the arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the F-15 arms deal. I was given a speech that was drafted by the state department that I was to use and not alter it in any way. I did that around the country to hostile responses. Finally, and then in very early March, I spoke in Washington before the Young Leadership Council at the United Jewish Appeal. I gave the speech as I was supposed to do and I was booed. Loudly booed. And I was shaken by that, I was. I guess I had become used to the stony silence, but these were people my age. This was Young Leadership Council. I went back to the podium and I said I been booed in my life, but never by my own people. Whatever I am doing in job, it’s because I really believe in peace and I said something that was very personal. It’s very hard for me to talk about. But I said I know what it is like to bury a son and I would do anything to stop generations of Israeli parents from that pain. So, there was applause and someone said, “What you said to us in that speech are lies and you can go and check and you will see there was.” They pointed to a few incidents in the speech. I got there and the next day I called into DOD, not at the state, and asked them about them sentences from the speech and I got laughing on the other end and just that the F-15 had no offensive capability. There were just a whole lot of things that were challenged which turned out that the challenges were correct and my information was wrong. I went to Hamilton and I said, “I accepted this uncomfortably, but only so that I could bring our views, the administration’s views, to the community and the community’s views to the administration. I don’t have the opportunity — no one is interested in the feedback from the community. I’ve destroyed my credibility among my own community, and I can’t do this anymore and I have to leave.” He suggested — and he had Jody [Powell] talk to me about doing different work, taking this off my plate and doing different work, but at that point I just felt that I — this was not a place where I could be comfortable and I resigned. It was a public resignation. I mean I wrote a pretty detailed letter of resignation, which is sort of not the way you’re supposed to do this [laughs]. But if I was going to resign, I was going to do it over principle. And that is what I did and I did all right since then, I mean it was rough for a while. I learned a lot about Washington. I was a pretty popular guy in Washington, not just because I was in the White House, but because I had spent my, you know a lot of time at DNC and all that stuff. And I should assume what it was like to be persona von grata even among my own party. It was kind of rough for a while. 

KWS: You had no idea that you were set up with this speech.

MS: Was I?

KWS: I don’t know.

MS: Are you suggesting that I was set up?

KWS: Well, the wrong information was put —

MS: No, I had — No, I — when you said set up, it was like a deliberate campaign.

KWS: No, it was a deliberate — someone gave you deliberate information.

MS: No, I had — No, no. Plus I believed what I was, you know, I wasn’t an expert on —

KWS: Right, right, but so, the assumption was that — was what was given to you was accurate.

MS: Yeah. That was my, clearly that was my assumption. Right.

KWS: Do you have any idea what the origins of this speech were other than it came from the state department? Or the contents? I mean you never went back and said, “Gee, it was drafted by an assistant secretary or — “

MS: Jessica Tuchman, I believe drafted the speech. I found out after the fact. Is that consistent with anything?

KWS: No, I am just curious. I mean, plausible deniability would suggest that the origins of the idea came from Brzezinski and the White House and in order for him not to have any fingerprints on it, he wanted Vance to do it or he wanted the office of public diplomacy at the state department —

MS: Do you remember what Jessica’s title was?

KWS: Nope, nope.

MS: You know, I — 

KWS: But that’s how things work in this city. I’m fully aware of it. Tell me about — 

MS: That was painful. Telling me that was painful.

KWS: I could tell and I didn’t want to interrupt and I could see it in your face and it was, I mean, it’s an emotional issue because you are talking something that’s very personal. You’re talking about principle. You’re talking about your own life and you’re talking about principle and your own identity and when all three come together and I mean, it’s a rush of emotion. How could it not be? Mondale have any influence on making policy?

MS: You know, I — Fritz was a very good friend of mine. I worked for Hubert Humphrey, and he’s a very good friend of mine. We, umm, after I left the White House, I obviously cared a lot about the F-15 issues. So, I was trying to do, I was trying to help the senate to defeat it and the person I cared most about was Muriel Humphrey. I had no doubt in my mind what Hubert Humphrey would have done — zero doubt. I spent a lot of time with Muriel, who I knew very well. She took his [senate seat after he passed away] and she said, “Fritz needs me to do this and I have to do what Fritz wants and you know, the president is holding him responsible for my vote, the president says. He wants me to vote this way and he knows he can make me vote this way and I don’t challenge what you’re saying about my husband, but I have to do what I have to do.” My relationship to Fritz was never the same after that. I never knew, Fritz would always tell me that when he is one-on-one with the president, he would make the big fight, but I never knew if that was the case ’cause I — 

KWS: — wasn’t in the meeting.

MS: Yeah.

KWS: One of two of the very last questions. I mentioned Frank Moore’s name before. Did the Carter Administration understand how to govern when it got to Washington?

MS: No. Frank and Hamilton would often talk about Congress’s issues with Georgia Legislature. They thought the situations were [similar] now and I guess Frank, more particular, said this is just like what happened in the legislature on this and that issue. So, they didn’t understand that they were in a different or broader, much more complex context now. I didn’t think with all due respect that Frank intellectually was up to the task. He knew nothing about Congress — zero. They often made it clear and Hamilton — who was my friend and when he ran for Senate, I gave him money, even after my public break with Carter and my support of Kennedy. Their interpersonal skills were puzzling. They would often go, would seem to me, to go out of their way to annoy or irritate the people they needed the most. Not in a benign way, but in an overt and aggressive way. They would just try to be not deferential, but just the opposite of deferential. 

KWS: Is this a righteousness that came from Carter, that they were running —

MS: No, I think they were young and smart ass. 

KWS: Inept, apparently. Apparently politically inept and they didn’t want to pat Tip O’Neill on the back or shake his hand. It wasn’t something that they really wanted to do.

MS: No, they thought they were the frontier. They would refer to Tip O’Neill by terrible names, jokes. There is one thing at the 1980 convention. They would refer interminably at the White House to Hubert as Hubert Horatio Hornblower and they would do it [to] me almost just to test my loyalty. They would just do it, do it, do it. And they did that a lot about other people, making these names up for people, but what becomes very funny is at the 1980 convention in Jimmy Carter’s acceptance speech — this was after Hubert in 1979, January 1979. When he was referring [to] Hubert, he called him Hubert Horatio Hornblower. It actually came out of his mouth, and I got a call and he said, “Did he really say what we think he just said?” and I said, “You know I don’t know,” since that is what they always said. Maybe I just heard it, you know, I wasn’t — could he possibly just said that, but he did say it.

KWS: So the answer to the question is that they weren’t prepared to govern. They were prepared to win an election, but not prepared to govern.

MS: But that’s true of a lot of administrations that aren’t vice presidential, that don’t have the vice presidential succession. Especially when it’s outsiders. The Reagan Administration may have been different because he had such, I mean ideologically, he sort of knew the direction he wanted to go. I think he thought a lot about governing. As simple as he could be in some ways, sometimes that simplicity helped because he was so focused on some key issues. It wasn’t this scatter shot that we have in the Obama Administration who’s going to change everything at once. Ronald Reagan was gonna cut the size of government, he was going to defeat communism, he was going to lower taxes. I mean those are the three things.

KWS: How much was, in making these appointments in this transition, how much of it had to do with loyalty, how much had to do with affirmative action?

MS: Affirmative action was very, very important, especially at the end because as I started to tell you, that we began the process with Patricia Robert Harris and at the end of the process, Hamilton determined that we were one woman short and one Black short and there’s only one person who could fit that and that was Patricia Robert Harris and she may not have known anything about housing, but she’s going to be Secretary of HUD. That’s, so —

KWS: Was that only, was that the exception or was that the rule or —

MS: Well, they know, we had women in the cabinet, Juanita Kreps, some of which we went looking for them. It wasn’t like it is, as intense as it is now. I’m trying to think, women in the cabinet. I think we only had those two. Did we get any more?

KWS: Hmm, there hadn’t been too many Blacks either.

MS: Well, I think we said Andy Young, but that’s UN positioning maybe. We said it was UN for Adlai Stevenson, but no one considered that to be, you know — So it was, I mean, I was concerned about it. We talked about it a lot, a lot and we always tried to come up with names of various people for lots of, for these positions, so that we’d be demographically diverse. At the end of the day, I guess they’ll be criticized, so that’s how Pat Harris got her position.

KWS: When most decisions were made, who were the people in Carter’s kitchen cabinet? Who were the people that really mattered around Carter, if he had to make a decision?

MS: Hamilton, Geraldine [Ferraro], Stu. Lipshutz was irrelevant, Jack Watson was irrelevant, Midge Costanza was irrelevant.

MS: Frank was irrelevant.

KWS: How about anyone at NSC, Vance, Mondale? Bottom line is these are the guys who mattered ’cause these are the guys who —

MS: In terms of foreign policy, you know my experience was that it was Brzezinski and Brzezinski’s inner circle. Hamilton didn’t want Vance to be secretary of state. Hamilton actually had said at one point that Vance has better not be made to be secretary of state or I’m going to resign. I think he actually said that publicly. That we were, are bringing new people, new faces, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, he had it very bad relationship with Vance and (Vance) also President Carter basically, he said he believed in cabinet government. He told cabinet members not to let his staff interfere with their policy decisions or their personnel decisions. There were, I mean one of the — it was very difficult for me ’cause I was —

KWS: He said don’t let your —

MS: — my White House staff. 

KWS: Interfere. 

MS: Again, we’re going back to Haldeman we’re going back that —

KWS: So, “Don’t let my White House staff interfere with your policy decisions.”

MS: Right and your personnel decisions. Back to personnel thing in particular caused me major problems ’cause one of the things that I was in charge of was the political clearances of higher-level appointments. Most I had, I had very few problems, but there was one case where I had a major problem and it was when [Joseph] Califano nominated someone named John Ellis to be Commissioner of Education. He didn’t have a Department of Education at that time and when I was doing my clear, I didn’t know it was [coming]. But when I was doing clearances, I found out that he was a Republican. He had supported Ford. He had a bad civil rights record. He was opposed by the AFT and NEA. What else do you, what else do you say —

KWS and MS: [Laugh.]

MS: So I refused to clear it. I told Hamilton that I refused to clear and he had, he didn’t like Califano anyway. He thought that was fine. Califano appealed it to the president. The president agreed to see him and the president and Hamilton [were] in the room. Hamilton told me that the President said, “Joe, I just want you to know this is not the kind of president I wanted in my administration. I think he is very wrong for this job.”

KWS: This is not the kind of person.

MS: Person, I’m sorry, “person I wanted in my Administration. I think he is very wrong for this job, but I told you when I told when asked you to join the cabinet that I wouldn’t interfere with your decisions, so you can — you know how I feel — when you can do, I hope you do the right thing.” Califano said, “I want Ellis as commissioner of education.” Carter said, “If that is what you want, that’s what it will be.” After that, I think the word went out in the cabinet that it was, it can roll, roll the White House, ’cause this was such a prima facie case. We’re doing foreign policy, but it’s a good example. A lot of this, but this is very important because a lot of this stemmed in the president’s defense from Watergate. He didn’t —

KWS: He was reacting.

MS: Reacting. He didn’t want centralization of power. He thinks centralization of power leads to abuse and corruption, so he tried to diffuse, democratize, decentralize and it caused chaos. 

KWS: But yet when it came to key decision-making, he kept those people who were just his loyalist.

MS: That’s right.

KWS: It’s a fascinating dichotomy of political decision-making. Give the cabinet to guys/women, their opportunity to hire who they want, make the decisions. to have as much of autonomy as possible. But when it comes to key decision-making . . .

MS: Well, to be sure, that his inner circle in the White House and on domestic issues, economic issues, maybe there wasn’t variance?

KWS: I don’t know. Stu didn’t seem to think that there was a great deal of dispute on major issues.

MS: Right.

KWS: I mean, that’s Stu’s view on things.

MS: I think that the real tension that I saw. That was not unusual. We’ve seen it in other administrations between the secretary of state and the national security advisor.

KWS: Lastly, why did Carter not connect with the American people? Some presidents are Teflon, some presidents are Velcro. Carter was Velcro. Clinton was Teflon. Reagan was Teflon. “Metro” with Obama is. But Carter just didn’t seem at any moment to be able to convince the American people and I’m interested from your view. 

MS: Want my view? What’s the word I used initially? I think despite, you know, what I still feel is some degree of fondness, I think he is extremely sanctimonious and he thinks he’s smarter and better than people. I basically think that’s the way he felt about a lot of the country. He really didn’t care what people thought — they didn’t know the facts, they didn’t know the intelligence. I think that attitude was pervasive and people sort of picked it up, I mean you know. He didn’t connect ’cause he didn’t want to connect.

KWS: He didn’t feel he had to. 

MS: Yeah. “Why do I care what they think? They don’t know what they are talking about.”

KWS: When he made the speech about energy conservation, one of the first things he said to everyone is, “Turn your thermostats down,” but before he said that, he stopped making short trips.

MS: Right, right.

KWS: You know, to tell the American people how to use their car.

MS: Right. In the [July 15, 1979] “Malaise speech,” again, I mean at the end of the day, he wouldn’t blame himself, he would blame the country. Blame the people.

KWS: Do you think he blamed his loss in 1980 to any group or element that he should have gotten votes from? I mean you’re a guy who was Democratic National Committee person, participant. You know how the Democratic party worked and operated. You were at the Democratic Convention in ’76 and in ’80. You saw the fight with Ted Kennedy. You saw the primaries in 1980. If you had to stand up and give three or four minutes why Carter lost, why did Carter lose and then why does Carter think he lost? Are they the same?

MS: Carter thinks he lost because of Ted Kennedy. It wasn’t as if it was a close election. You could say maybe if we had gotten 5% more of the black vote or 8% more of the Jewish vote or actually the Jewish vote went 40-40-20 in that election, unprecedented 60% of American Jews —

KWS: First time ever.

MS: Yeah. First and last.

KWS: Right, right, right.

MS: But he blames it all on the internal challenge by Ted Kennedy. I — 

KWS: Was he right?

MS: No. I mean, I think, well you know, I think if it wasn’t for the Iranian hostage situation or at least the outcome of that rescue mission, things might have been different, but the American people became very pessimistic about their future and lost confidence in his ability to lead. He did not inspire confidence and that’s why he lost. Ronald Reagan, for all possible intellectual weakness, had very strong leadership skills and people were confident in his strength and Jimmy Carter looked extremely weak. People didn’t know what he stood for.

KWS: If he blames the challenge from Kennedy and the fragmentation, if we want to use that term, or the Democratic Party or the splintering of it only came after the convention, if it ever did come I guess.  Does he lay it at anyone’s feet, the fact that he was challenged by Kennedy? Was it Kennedy or was it the third-party candidate who — 

MS: [John] Anderson? You know, I — it’s not a secret that I was the sort of national coordinator of the direct Kennedy movement in 1979. Rosalyn has never spoken to me since then, I mean, President Carter is preferably cordial to me when we meet and we occasionally do. I actually put Dennis  (?) here to, to Atlanta. I don’t know if you were there

KWS: When?

MS: They had a dinner at Carter’s Center.

KWS: No.

MS: I don’t know it must have been ten years ago. I can’t, yeah it was  ‘99

KWS: I wasn’t terribly active.

MS: So, you know, could he sort of blame the — me? It’s hard to believe. I’m not that significant player it seems, like Ted Kennedy, I think would have run for President if there had not been a John Kennedy movement anyway, but certainly gave him the sort, the apparatus to get in when he got in. I can’t know what Carter thinks other than he isn’t capable of blaming himself and holding himself accountable. He is too self-righteous and too sanctimonious to accept personal responsibility.

KWS: I got to tell you something which you may have heard for the first time. On at least three different occasions while I worked for him in the ‘80s and ‘90s in different contexts, Carter did say that had it not been for the challenge from Ted Kennedy, he would have had it much easier in the run against Reagan and he said the reason that Ted Kennedy could challenge him and did, was successful in the spring primaries in several Eastern states — here I’m quoting from Carter, “The Jews abandoned me and they abandoned me because Begin made it clear that I was not Israel’s national interest.” 

MS: Well, at least he blamed Begin and not me. The Jews abandoned him because they came to understand that he was biased against Israel, I think. I think it had nothing to do with Begin. 

KWS: I think its reflective of what you just said. He couldn’t accept that he was responsible, so he has to blame it on someone else. Yeah, I think I found that out myself. He’s a very complex guy who probably should never been elected president of the United States. I think he won because of circumstance.

MS: He won because of Watergate.

KWS: Yes.

MS: You know that.

KWS: Yes, that’s the circumstance.

MS: We were looking for the “un-Nixon” [laughs] and found him.

KWS: Right and that’s not to diminish anything that you did in the Democratic party or any of your effort. I just think the American public wanted Mr. Clean. They were looking for someone who was not tainted. You know when you look at the results of the 1976 election, it wasn’t exactly a landslide. 

MS: No.

KWS: If Gerald Ford hadn’t made his dumb remark in that debate about Poland.

MS: Which is amazing, that it wasn’t a landslide. That you know, after the Watergate experience, before it was, you know, not the strongest of potential candidates.

KWS: Right. I saw Ford in 1983 at Emory University when we did our first consultation. I said, “Do you blame yourself?” He said, “Yes, it was a stupid remark I made and I didn’t take Carter seriously.” You know lots of politicians who say that after an election, “I didn’t take my opponent seriously.”

MS: Well, Jimmy should have taken him seriously because Jimmy Carter is a very focused guy who can be extremely mean-spirited and he knows how to go in for the kill.

KWS: Yeah, yeah. One thing I have learned working for him was that it was or OPED pieces then it would be for me to be on outside, and my criticisms of him were harsh in the very early years from the very start, [and always between us]. He kept me on because Rosalyn thought that I made Jimmy better about the Middle East because of the monthly reports and analyses that I provided him.

MS: So, you think she is fairer on Middle East than —

KWS: Fairer? I think she felt a kinship to me because I made Carter look good, because he had up-to-date data and information on a regular basis. When I traveled throughout the Middle East, he was a hit, he was a star. She was crestfallen by the defeat in 1980. She was hurt probably more than he was or at least she showed it and the one story I want to relate to you is sitting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia sometime in ’82 or ’83, I don’t remember the exact date. Phil and Ethel Klutznick were visiting and we were at their suite upstairs watching one of Reagan’s State of the Union addresses. I don’t [recall] whether it was, maybe it was ’83, maybe it was ’83 or ’84, I don’t remember which. It had to be ’84. We’re sitting there and I’m sitting on the floor and the four of them were sitting on the couches and they show Reagan and Reagan speaks and then, as they do, they pan to the family in the box and they pan to Nancy and she smiled and Rosalyn stood up and she blurted out, “You bitch!” Jimmy put his hand on her arm and said, “It’s okay” and she said, “No, it’s not okay.”

MS: For smiling? What was —

KWS: She was angry at just looking at Nancy Reagan.

MS: Wow.

KWS: And working on that small entourage of people at the Carter Center over time, you got to understand how much she was hurt by the defeat, how much she was hurt by how the Reagans treated them after the election. And I think the one thing about Carter is Carter picks himself up and goes forward. She wallows in people who are nasty. So, I am not surprised she never talked to you again. When I resigned from the Carter Center, and it was a very public resignation, about 2 1/2 months later, I got a private note from her saying, “I’m sorry you and Jimmy had to end this way. I enjoyed our relationship.”

MS: Okay. That’s like uncharacteristic and very nice.

KWS: Totally. Totally uncharacteristic. Carter was angry at me. He once wrote me a note saying, “You have to desist in your criticism of me. It’s not fair, it’s untrue,” and I wrote back and said, “Amend the book and we can be friends.” She — within by February, mid-February of 2007, I got a note back from her.

MS: How are they physically? Do you know?

KWS: She — I don’t know. I’ve seen him recently and he looks gaunt, aged of course. She has had bad back problems for a long period of time and Jimmy is fretful of succumbing to the cancer that has eaten up his older siblings.

MS: But at a much younger age.

KWS: Yes. I am beginning to be interviewed by people of national media about what would you say about Carter, those who are writing OBITs about him.

MS: The “Morgue”, right. Isn’t that what they call it in Auntie Ray for the obits.

KWS: Yeah. You’ve been so helpful. You’ve forced me to focus again, and I hope I can — I’ll learn more by the Columbia interview. I will send you the — I’ll send Heroic Diplomacy [subtitled Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin, and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace ]. I don’t know if you saw the article I wrote about Palestine Peace Not Apartheid or about the book I’ll be glad to —

MS: No, I would like to see that.

KWS: I made my remarks and then I was a media star until Dennis Ross stood up and said, “Yeah, he cleared my maps and he rewrote —” Once Dennis, now the incredible negotiator, stepped in — and Dennis wasn’t sure he could, because had a, he and his publisher had a thing with Carter and his publisher about plagiarism. He wasn’t going to go public until his lawyers said he could. But I didn’t know at the time that I would become an icon in the Jewish community. So, when they introduced me at Christians United for Israel yesterday it was like, umm, Elton John was introduced or something.

MS: Yeah. I think you deserve it. You speak the truth.

KWS: Well, it’s too bad that you have to be acknowledged for telling the truth [laughs]/ Find that, as an academic I find that hard. Anyway —

MS: When you do go into the Columbia archives, try to look at the, see if they have Lipshutz interviews because I think it’s a gold mine there.

KWS: We may have the same issue as we had with your stuff is that —

MS: They may in fact agree to release it.

KWS: Yeah. I think you’re probably right. 

MS: I wanted to give you a copy of the book [noise].  

KWS: I appreciate it.

MS: I enjoyed talking to you and I hope we can meet again.

[END OF RECORDING]