182. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger in Jerusalem1

Tohak 121/WH51736. 1. Vorontsov just now (7:00 p.m.) delivered the attached personal message from Brezhnev to the President. Vorontsov made clear that this message had crossed yours to Gromyko and was written without relation to your communication.2

2. This is obviously a troublesome message. Do you wish me to mention it to the President at my meeting with him first thing tomorrow morning?3

3. Begin text: For obvious reasons in Moscow [we] attentively follow the negotiations conducted with the US mediation between Israel and Egypt on a partial withdrawal of Israeli forces on Sinai.

The President is well aware of our definite negative attitude towards such separate actions in the Middle East as well as of our principled position on the problem of the Middle East settlement on the whole. That is why we are not going to outline it once more on a broad scale.

However there is one specific aspect on which we consider it necessary to state now for the President our considerations. We have in mind the plans to dispatch American personnel with control functions to the zone of disengagement of the Egyptian and the Israeli forces in [Page 737] which the UNEF forces are stationed. The President himself mentioned such plans recently during one of his press conferences.4

In this connection we would like to say to the President with all clarity that if it really comes to realization of such plans then it could not be viewed by us otherwise but as bringing into the Middle East situation a new and complicating element. Such a step would contradict the Security Council decisions by which the UN Middle East control machinery was created and which were based on the understanding of “appropriate auspices” reached between our two countries in October of 1973.5

It goes therefore without saying that the Soviet Union would reject any attempts to get its approval—direct or indirect, within the framework of the Security Council or the Geneva Conference—for admitting the said American personnel into the zone of action of the UNEF. We say it frankly and in advance so there will be no vagueness for the American side on this score.

In Moscow [we] would like to hope that the President will pay due attention to the above considerations of ours dictated by the desire to avoid a new aggravation of the Middle East situation and its negative influence on the relations between our countries. End text.

4. Warm regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables of Henry Kissinger, 1974–1977, Box 12, Kissinger Trip File, August 20–Sept. 3, 1975, TOHAK (7). Secret; Sensitive. Sent with the instruction to deliver at the opening of business.
  2. In message Hakto 39, September 1, Kissinger asked Scowcroft to pass an oral message to Gromyko on the terms of the disengagement agreement between Israel and Egypt. (Ibid., HAKTO (2)) On September 1, Israel and Egypt initialed a second interim agreement on disengagement from the Sinai Peninsula. The agreement and its ancillary documents are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976, Documents 226234.
  3. In message Hakto 42 to Scowcroft, September 1, Alvin P. Adams and Paul E. Barbian, Kissinger’s special assistants, reported: “Secretary wants you to show referenced message from Vorontsov to the President, but to take no action until he returns. Also, please show the message to Sonnenfeldt and ask his opinion.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables of Henry Kissinger, 1974–1977, Box 12, Kissinger Trip File, August 20–Sept. 3, 1975, HAKTO (3))
  4. Reference is presumably to his interview with television reporters in Milwaukee on August 25, during which the President refused to confirm rumors that “American civilians, very limited in number” might be deployed between Israeli and Egyptian forces, primarily to operate technical warning stations in the United Nations buffer zone. “When I say ‘a very limited number,’ Ford added, “I am thinking maybe 100, 150, as I have read in the papers, as they would all be civilians and they would be in a U.N. zone, not with the Israelis, not with the Egyptians.” (Public Papers: Ford, 1975, No. 501)
  5. Reference is to the agreement reached during Kissinger’s trip to Moscow October 20–22, 1973, that the United States and the Soviet Union would jointly sponsor a resolution in the Security Council calling for a cease-fire in the Middle East and negotiations between the two sides “under appropriate auspices,” i.e., U.S. and Soviet. UN Security Council Resolution 338 was adopted on October 22, 1973. Documentation is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973.