27. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Next Step in Our Mid-East Peace Effort—Revised Version

State has reflected on the April 25 NSC discussion,2 heard your subsequent views and consulted with Ambassador Barbour in Tel Aviv. The result is the attached revision3 in the course they proposed at the NSC.

The principal changes are:

1. We would not surface a complete American document on the terms of a UAR-Israel settlement now. That would make too big a target for the Israelis to shoot at. Instead, we would deal with the elements of the package piece-meal.

2. 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.

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3. We would not initially commit ourselves to Israel’s full withdrawal from the Sinai. Instead, we would start with a vaguer formulation on the final border and see what price the USSR is willing to pay for a more precise commitment.

This seems to me to come much closer than the original proposal4 to meeting our objectives. It leaves the burden on the USSR and UAR to make the first concession and defers a confrontation with the Israelis until, if ever, we have serious Soviet-Arab concessions from them to consider.


That you authorize me to tell Secretary Rogers you are willing to have him proceed on this basis.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1170, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East Settlement—US–USSR Talks. Secret; Nodis. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. See Document 26.
  3. Attached but not printed is a May 1 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon.
  4. See Document 25.
  5. Nixon approved this recommendation. Underneath Nixon’s approval, Jeanne Davis wrote: “State (S/S—Walsh) notified 5/8, 10:30 am. JWD.”