41. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Authorization for Next Step in SiscoDobrynin Talks

Sisco has revised his approach in the light of our comments and Barbour’s recommendation that we go to the USSR first.

This is a lot closer to your position—let the USSR make the first big concessions and defer a confrontation with the Israelis until we can give them those concessions, if any, to consider.

Joe has a tentative appointment with Dobrynin Monday2 but will, of course, delay until he hears from us. Now that we have moved him this far, I see no tactical reason to delay further once you are satisfied this is close enough to the President’s view.


That you send the attached memo to the President.3
That you at least authorize me to show Sisco informally, before he sees Dobrynin, contents of the draft NSDM 4 I sent you earlier in the week if you feel it represents the President’s views.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 653, Country Files, Middle East, Sisco Middle East Talks, April–June 1969. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Sisco met with Dobrynin on May 6; see footnote 2, Document 44.
  3. Attached but not printed. In this May 3 memorandum, seen by the President, Kissinger described the principal changes decided at the NSC meeting on April 25, which included the following: “We would not, therefore, have one big consultation with Israel before giving our ideas to Dobrynin. Instead, Sisco would try pieces of our proposal out on Dobrynin first, and then—hopefully after negotiating the best possible Soviet response—he would bring Rabin up to date. This would give us a chance of avoiding one sharp Israeli reaction, while still keeping our promise to consult with them.” Nixon initialed his approval for Kissinger to tell Rogers to proceed on the basis laid out in the memorandum. The minutes of the April 25 NSC meeting are in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1969–1972.
  4. Not found. Kissinger wrote the marginal comment, “Tell Sisco no NSDM because of sensitivities.”
  5. Kissinger initialed his approval of both recommendations.