277. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Negotiations with Israel—Aircraft, Talks in Proximity

Secretary Rogers has sent you the attached concluding report on Assistant Secretary Sisco’s talks with Ambassador Rabin 2 on the provision of aircraft (delivery schedules at Tab A) and on the talks in proximity (Sisco-Rabin summary at Tab B).3 Mrs. Meir, with Cabinet approval, has agreed to enter such talks. The following are the essential points of the Secretary’s memorandum and attachments.

Aircraft

The Secretary reports that agreement has been reached with Israel on delivery schedules for 42 Phantom and 82 Skyhawk aircraft and that [Page 981] an Israeli team is currently discussing the details with Defense preparatory to concluding final contracts.

The final delivery schedule for the Phantoms (Tab A) has been brought into phase with Mrs. Meir’s desires of two per month starting this month. [20 are scheduled for 1972 and 22 for 1973.]

Agreement has also been reached on the provision of 82 A–4 Skyhawks. The Secretary notes, however, there may be some mutually agreed upon adjustments of their delivery schedule in the course of the present technical discussions. The Israelis are interested in the option of taking fewer of the older A–4E model this year in order to receive more of the new A–4N model from the production line in early 1974.

Talks in Proximity

On November 1 Mrs. Meir requested certain clarifications pending Israeli agreement to enter talks in “proximity” on an interim canal settlement.4 In the course of Sisco-Rabin discussions, the Secretary says that our clarifications have been provided in a manner which provides us with sufficient scope to play a “constructive role” in the event the talks get started. The Secretary informs you of his intention to “avoid false deadlines, proceed at a deliberate pace, avoid confrontations with the Israelis on various issues, avoid putting forth American blueprints to resolve the problem.” The following summarizes the Israeli requests and the US “clarifications”:

Aircraft: As noted above, requests met in full as to types, numbers and delivery schedules.

Six Points of Secretary RogersUNGA Speech: 5 These represent areas of difference between the parties. The US has “made no proposals of our own and we have not adopted any substantive position” on any of the six points. We have “no blueprint.” Both sides “will have to make adjustments” in their positions to achieve an interim settlement. A particularly difficult problem is “the nature of any Egyptian presence on the East of the Canal.” While the US hopes this might prove reconcilable, the US has taken “no substantive position,” nor should our hope for agreement on this point be interpreted that we have made a judgment or expressed a substantive view on how it should be resolved.

Position of the US on (a) whether it agrees that negotiations for an interim settlement are basically different from those for an overall settlement, and (b) what role it would play in these negotiations:

(a) The US believes there should be no preconditions laid down for talks in proximity. The principle of no imposed settlement applies both [Page 982] to an interim and overall settlement. While we have expressed hope that Israel could find it possible to reply to Jarring’s memorandum of February 19716 in a way permitting him to relaunch his mission, we agree Israel should not be expected to change its position—as Sadat insists—in order to begin talks in proximity. We will support this view with the Egyptian Government.

(b) The US will use its “good offices” to help the parties develop areas of common ground. In performing this role with Egypt, we will “consult fully with Israel on a step-by-step basis with respect to any ideas we may explore with the Egyptians and will make clear to the latter they are not proposals, are not binding on Israel and are strictly ad referendum.” The US “will not forward to Egypt, nor will it support any suggestions or proposals” without making every effort to seek and to achieve full prior understanding” with Israel. Furthermore, the US will not forward to Egypt any proposal on behalf of Israel without prior agreement. (The Israelis have gone on to unilaterally say that prior Israeli agreement on US “suggestion” to Egypt “is essential both in principle and in order to avoid possible complications” for which Israel not be “responsible.”)

The US “takes note” that Israel’s position objecting to language which would create linkage between the interim agreement and the Egyptian demand for total withdrawal remains unchanged. The US will not make any suggestion to Egypt with regard to “the relation between the interim agreement and the overall agreement” without prior agreement with Israel.

The Secretary envisages approaching the Egyptians after Sadat’s trip to Moscow and promises to clear the instructions here.7

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. V. Secret; Nodis; Cedar Plus. Sent for information; outside system. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. All brackets are in the original.
  2. Dated February 2; attached but not printed. Rogers’s January 14, 24, and 27 reports to the President are ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 12–5 ISR. The memorandum of conversation of the first Sisco-Rabin meeting is Document 271. The memoranda of conversation of their January 10 and 11 meetings are in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 12–5 ISR and POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR, respectively.
  3. Tabs A and B are attached but not printed.
  4. See Document 263.
  5. See footnote 3, Document 255.
  6. See footnote 2, Document 205.
  7. For the Secretary’s message to Sadat, see Document 276. See also footnote 3, Document 278. Sadat visited Moscow February 2–4.