43. Editorial Note

In an assessment of a February 3, 1972, meeting between Soviet General-Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat transmitted to President Richard Nixon in an April 8 memorandum, Assistant to the President Henry Kissinger concluded: “In sum, the record of the meetings in Moscow indicate that the Soviet-Egyptian relationship is considerably more reserved than it was before Nasser’s death. Sadat is trying to manipulate the relationship primarily to strengthen his domestic political situation. He does not seem genuinely interested at this time in war with Israel. The Soviets, for their part, are still holding Sadat at arms’ length. They are playing for time until they see how our private negotiations develop. The Soviets are clearly keeping their options open. The Soviets are willing to provide new arms to the Egyptians but they are concerned about the Egyptian request for an industrial base which would enable them to produce their own weapons. Such a development obviously would make Egypt less dependent upon the U.S.S.R. for weapon supply.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 638, Country Files, Arab Republic of Egypt (UAR) 1972, Vol. VIII) Kissinger attached an undated synopsis of this discussion. In a June 30 memorandum to Nixon, Kissinger summarized further meetings between Brezhnev and Sadat during the period April 27–29: “The overall theme of the late April talks reflect Sadat’s fears that the Soviets would sell him out at the summit. He was also insistent that the Middle East situation called for more explicit Soviet diplomatic support of the Egyptian position and for delivery of new types of arms to give Egypt a convincing offensive capability, especially in the air. The protocols do not suggest that Sadat received much real satisfaction.” (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 134, Country Files, Middle East, Rabin–1972–Vol. III)