298. Telegram From the Department of State to the Interests Section in Egypt1

130867. Subject: Your Meeting with Ghaleb. Ref: Cairo 2040.2

1. It is very firm policy view here that USG should not repeat not inject itself in any way into current developments in Egyptian-Soviet relations. In your meeting with Ghaleb you should carefully avoid indicating, even in indirect way you propose reftel, any curiosity about [Page 1022] these developments.3 It follows, therefore, that you should not proceed along lines suggested para 3 reftel. Re para 3(D), You should make no reference at this time to our having received report of Prince Sultan’s discussions with President Sadat. While we of course have telegraphic account in Jidda’s 23854 of highlights of these discussions, Saudi Ambassador has not yet presented Sultan’s report formally and has requested appointment with Secretary in next few days to do so. Furthermore, Jidda’s 2385 indicates Sadat has impression from Sultan that USG contemplates early new initiative on Middle East, and we do not want in any way to feed this idea.

2. In making presentation authorized in State 125234,5 you should limit yourself to talking points in paras 6–9, eliminating paras 10, 11 and, as you have recommended, para 12. You should also make clear to Ghaleb that points you are making on proximity talks per State 125234 as modified above are based on instructions received week ago, to avoid any risk that they will somehow be interpreted as reaction to current developments in Soviet-Egyptian relations.

3. Re para 3(C) reftel, you should limit yourself at this point to expressing thanks for President Sadat’s reply of July 176 and to informing Ghaleb it has been passed to President Nixon.

[Page 1023]

4. FYI: We agree with your assessment that we are in new situation, which will require our keeping antennae finely tuned. Before we begin to draw firm conclusions, we will also be waiting to see what sort of Soviet presence in fact remains in Egypt following implementation of Sadat’s decision. Another major factor will be how Egypt decides to treat USG under new circumstances. President Sadat’s speech July 247 may provide clue in this regard. End FYI.

5. Exempt from general declassification schedule of Executive Order 11652.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. V. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Cedar Double Plus. Drafted by G. Norman Anderson (NEA/EGY), cleared by Rogers (in substance) and Davies, and approved by Atherton.
  2. In telegram 2040 from Cairo, July 19, Greene informed the Department that Sadat’s announcement one day earlier of the expulsion of all Soviet military advisers and experts from Egypt had “substantially” changed the context in which his previously scheduled meeting with Ghaleb would occur. Greene wrote: “All these things considered, my (luckily) postponed meeting with Ghaleb takes on a new perspective and could be markedly significant in determining what happens in next few weeks.” He then asked for authorization to, among other things: 1) obtain clarification on the details of the Soviet military withdrawal from Egypt; 2) state that the U.S. Government received Sadat’s message to Nixon “with particular interest”; and 3) mention that the U.S. Government had received Saudi Prince Sultan’s account of his talk with Sadat. (Ibid.) On July 18, Sadat announced in a speech before the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union that he had ordered all Soviet “military advisers and experts” out of Egypt and that all Soviet bases and equipment would be placed under Egyptian control. He did not make clear, however, if the Soviet combat personnel manning the missile emplacements or the Soviet pilots would also be withdrawn. (New York Times, July 19, 1972, p. 1)
  3. In a telephone conversation with Dobrynin on the morning of July 20, Kissinger said: “We don’t really know what the hell is going on in Egypt, and we want you to know that, as far as we’re concerned, our discussions remain unimpaired. We’re not going to play little games there. We have given the strictest orders to our diplomats to stay the hell out of that discussion and not to make any approaches or anything else.” (Transcript of a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Dobrynin, July 20, 9:45 a.m.; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 15, Chronological File)
  4. Not found.
  5. In telegram 125234 to Cairo, July 12, the Department instructed Greene to inform Ismail that: 1) U.S. officials conveyed Egypt’s negative reply to Rogers’s February proposal to Israel, including an account of comments that Ismail made when he presented Egypt’s reply (see Document 278); 2) the United States did not think “this is best course for Egypt, but it is Egypt’s decision to make”; and 3) Israel had not yet given U.S. officials a reaction to Egypt’s reply. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. V) Greene’s meeting with Ghaleb occurred on the morning of July 20, during which the Egyptian Foreign Minister asked five questions designed to determine how the United States planned to approach the Arab-Israeli dispute in the coming months. The questions concerned: 1) proximity talks for an interim agreement; 2) further U.S.-Soviet discussions; 3) whether Four-Power discussions would be reactivated; 4) how the Jarring Mission would be supported; and 5) what alternatives to what had already been discussed would be considered. They also discussed Sadat’s decision to terminate the Soviet military advisory presence in Egypt and the resulting state of Egyptian-Soviet relations. (Telegram 2054 from Cairo, July 20; ibid., Box 638, Country Files, Middle East, Arab Republic of Egypt (UAR), Vol. VIII)
  6. Sadat’s July 17 message to Nixon, contained in telegram 2029 from Cairo, July 18, addressed the President’s June 26 oral message to him concerning the Moscow Summit and expressed his appreciation for Nixon’s “initiative” to keep him informed about the summit’s results. Sadat also commented broadly on the importance of the United States and the Soviet Union reaching out to each other to “strengthen cooperation between them” and “for the sake of world peace and the peoples of the world as a whole.” (Ibid., Box 763, Presidential Correspondence 1969–1974, UAR President Anwar Sadat, Vol. 3) The Interests Section conveyed Nixon’s June 26 oral message to Sadat regarding the Moscow Summit on June 27. (Telegram 1857 from Cairo, June 28; ibid., Box 638, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Vol. VIII)
  7. That day, Sadat delivered a 4-hour speech before the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union, during which he asserted Egypt’s independence from both the Soviet Union and the United States. He declared that he would not steer Egypt toward the United States, which he claimed some had suggested he do, nor would he allow a total rift between Egypt and the Soviet Union to develop. (New York Times, July 25, 1972, p. 1) In March, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence produced a 10-page memorandum entitled “Soviet-Egyptian Relations: An Uneasy Alliance,” which concluded: “Egypt is anxious to reduce its dependence upon the Soviet Union, but cannot effectively do so until the Arab-Israeli impasse is resolved. In the meantime, the tenet that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ will prevail, and the state of relations between Egypt and the Soviet Union will continue on the uneasy base achieved after the debacle of 1967.” (Central Intelligence Agency, OCI Files, Job 79T00832A)