100. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1
K: Where did we get you?
D: At home.
K: Are you in Maryland.
D: I am in the Embassy.
K: We have information from the Israelis that the Arabs and Syrians are planning an attack within the next 6 hours and that your people are evacuating civilians from Damascus and Cairo.2
D: Syrians and who?
K: And Egypt are planning an attack within the next 6 hours.
K: And that your people are evacuating some civilians from Damascus and Cairo.
K: And they want us to tell all interested parties that if the reason is that you are expecting an Israeli attack—not you—there is no intention of any attack.
D: What was the last phrase?
K: They have no intention of attacking.
K: Have no intention of attacking, if your motives for attacking are defensive. If there is attack they will react very strongly and violently.
K: I want to add a United States word to this.
D: They asked you to tell us this?
K: They asked us to tell this. I have just received this message from the Israelis.
D: This is what they said.
K: That is correct.
D: (Unable to hear)[Page 290]
K: The Israelis are telling us that Egypt and Syria are planning an attack very shortly and that your people are evacuating from Damascus and Cairo.
K: If the reason for your evacuation . . .
D: For our . . .
K: Yes. The Soviet evacuation is the fear of an Israeli attack, then the Israelis are asking us to tell you as well as asking us to tell the Arabs.
D: The Israelis?
K: Yes. They have no plans whatever to attack.
K: But if the Egyptians and Syrians do attack the Israeli response will be extremely strong.
K: But the Israelis will be prepared to cooperate in an easing of military tension.
K: Cooperation in an easing of military tension.
K: All right. From us to you. The President believes that you and we have a special responsibility to restrain our respective friends.
K: We are urging communicating to the Israelis.
D: Communicate to the Israelis?
K: If this keeps up this is going—there is going to be a war before you understand my message.
D: I understand. You have communicated with the Arabs and Israelis.
K: Yes and particularly to Israel warning it against a precipitate move.
D: I understand.
K: And we hope you might do the same thing and use your influence to the greatest extent possible with your friends.
D: Just a minute. This is the end of message.
K: That is right. I would like to tell you as you no doubt—that this is very important for our relationship that we do not have an explosion in the Middle East right now.[Page 291]
D: What is our relationship?
K: Until an hour ago I did not take it seriously but we have now received an urgent phone call from Jerusalem saying the Israelis believe it will happen within six hours and they are mobilizing.
D: Who? Israelis? Don’t you think the Israelis are trying to do something on their own?3
K: If it is, we are telling them not to do it. I cannot judge it. As of yesterday, our evaluation was that the Egyptians and Syrians were making military preparations but we thought another one of those bluffs. You understand?
D: I understand.
K: As of yesterday, Israelis had made no preparations that we had picked up but as you know they can move fast.
D: I understand and I will transmit this message. I will do it and take all measures necessary.
K: You can assure Moscow we are taking most urgent messages with Israel.
D: I understand and will do it right away. You are where?
K: I am in New York.
D: Very good. I can reach you.
K: Yes. On Chile—never mind you had better get your message off.
D: Could we use the . . .
K: Use the White House. Use the hotline and I will tell Scowcroft.
D: On ordinary phone. The military you will tell.
K: Are you coming to the White House?
D: Could I call through the ordinary phone?
K: Certainly. Can Scowcroft get you on the direct line?
K: On the line that goes to my office. We will move immediately.
D: Thank you very much.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22. No classification marking. Kissinger was in New York; Dobrynin was in Washington. Ellipses are in the original.↩
- See Document 99.↩
- At 6:55 a.m., Kissinger spoke with Israeli Minister Shalev saying that he was in touch with the Soviets and Egyptians urging the utmost restraint, and wanted to urge Israel against taking any preemptive action or else the situation would get “very serious.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22) At 7:25 a.m., Kissinger phoned Dobrynin’s assistant, Oleg Yedanov, asking that he inform the Ambassador that the U.S. Government had just been given an assurance by Israel that it would not launch a preemptive attack. (Ibid.) At 7:47 a.m., Dobrynin told Kissinger that he had passed his message on to Moscow. (Ibid.) The transcript of the conversation between Kissinger and Shalev is printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 17–18.↩