278. Telegram From the Department of State to the Interests Section in Egypt1
28420. 1. There are a number of indications that Egyptians, in reacting to Secretary’s message to Sadat,2 may take position that interim agreement talks should be conducted under Jarring’s auspices rather than through USG go-between. On basis of our discussions with Israelis, we are convinced that this would be an absolute non-starter so far as they are concerned. For tactical purposes, however, if Egyptians make this suggestion to you, you should limit yourself to commenting as follows:
A. It is your strong impression that Israel’s decisions to explore idea of interim agreement and to enter proximity talks for this purpose were based on understanding that this effort would be conducted through USG representative. FonMin Eban made statement along these lines recently. USG has been operating on assumption that this is also Egyptian approach; change in that approach would create new situation and, in your judgment, could add new complications not likely to be overcome in foreseeable future.
B. You should add that this is your off-cuff visceral reaction and that you have no instructions on this point. You will report Egyptian view to Washington.3
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. V. Secret; Nodis; Cedar Double Plus. Drafted by Atherton and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Tel Aviv.↩
- See Document 276.↩
- Greene reported Ghaleb’s reaction to the Secretary’s oral message to Sadat in telegram 552 from Cairo, February 23. Sadat had instructed the Egyptian Foreign Minister to receive Rogers’s message on his behalf and told him to emphasize the importance to the Egyptian Government of keeping secret the content of the message and the fact that it had even been delivered. Ghaleb said that his own first impression was that “it was a good and careful message, both in style and psychology.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. V) In his analysis of the meeting sent in a separate telegram, Greene’s “major comment” was that if there was “any leak at all” regarding Rogers’s message, Sadat might well have taken “occasion to walk away” from the current round of discussions. He added: “Ghaleb was equally obviously sensitive about anything reaching the Israelis.” (Telegram 554 from Cairo, February 23; ibid.)↩