149. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Nixon1

Dear Mr. President,

In my yesterday’s message to you2 in connection with President Sadat’s request—which he, as I know now, made simultaneously to you and to us—to permit a convoy of non-military supply for the Egyptian 3rd Army, I did fulfil the request of President Sadat. On my own [Page 614] part I asked you to take decisive (moreover, at that time I thought—final) measures to influence Israel not only with the aim of giving mercy in the form of permitting necessary food, medicine, blood for wounded and dying people, but to take measures in order to put an end to all kind of adventurist actions on the lines which were at the time of adoption of the well-known Security Council decisions.3

I would not have addressed to-day myself to you with this message, since to my yesterday’s communication I received a prompt reply4 from you which said in particular that you were happy to inform us that you were able during the night to arrange for talks between Israel and Egypt regarding the implementation of the Security [Page 615] Council Resolutions and that Major General E. Siilasvuo5 at the moment of your communication was arranging these talks and that Israel had also agreed to permit a convoy of non-military supply to reach the Egyptian 3rd Army.

You expressed in your letter a hope to continue to work closely and cooperatively with us in resolving the Middle East crisis. You stressed that we were now well on the road to the achievement of a true cease-fire which will make it possible for the parties, with our help, to arrive at a just settlement and a lasting peace in the Middle East.

Such a reply on your part was received by me with satisfaction. However one and a half days later I again received a communication from Cairo (as I understood, a similar communication had been sent by the Egyptian side also to you, Mr. President) that up till now Israeli military, who are now on the seized by them territory, put roadblocks stopping the convoy, and that part of this convoy of supply was shot at crossing at the canal.

Informing you about this I must—however reluctantly—tell you frankly and straightforwardly, as I always did, the following.

I personally and my colleagues have reached a point of crisis of confidence that the whole exchange of messages during a week time and all assurances both to us and to the Egyptian side that all measures are being taken for cessation of firing and for fulfilment of the Security Council Resolutions, especially under our with you auspices about which we were given a written confirmation on behalf of the President, is in fact a support for Israeli military clique who continue to act provocatively with an obvious, I would say—naked aim which is now absolutely clear to the wide world public opinion.

I can assume that all this happens as a result of a false information to you and even a deceit aimed at, on the one hand, encouraging the aggression and worsening as far as possible the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and, on the other hand, at undermining personal mutual confidence between us.

I am deeply convinced that we should not allow such kind of actions, including elements of confrontation, to happen, because it does not correspond to the interests of our peoples and states, as well as to the interests of the cause of peace.

Such wishes can be implemented, of course, only with mutual agreement in which I do believe.

Addressing these words to you and also taking into account communications to you from the Egyptian leadership, and looking—as I said it above—at the whole picture of events which happened during the past week both at the front and in various exchanges of messages, I am asking you to inform me in the nearest hours of your firm decision which you will take with the aim of real cease-fire and implementation by Israelis of all adopted Security Council Resolutions and of our understanding with Kissinger in Moscow, which as you communicated to me is an understanding with you personally, so that we in the Soviet Union can determine our decisions on this matter.


L. Brezhnev6
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 20, October 12–November 21, 1973. No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the page reads, “Handed to HAK by D 1:00 pm 10/29/73.”
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 288.
  3. UN Security Council Resolutions 338, 339, and 340. For Resolution 338, see footnote 6, Document 143. For Resolution 339, see footnote 3, Document 146. Resolution 340 was proposed by eight powers and adopted on October 25. It recalled the earlier resolutions, regretted the alleged cease-fire violations, demanded an immediate and complete cease-fire, requested the increase of UN observers, established a UN Emergency Force, and requested the cooperation of member states. For the full text of the resolution, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1973, p. 213.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Documents 290 and 292.
  5. Major General Ensio Siilasvuo from Finland was Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force, which was dispatched to Cairo to observe and enforce the cease-fire.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.