108. Message From the Soviet Leadership to President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger1

The Soviet leadership got the information about the beginning of military actions in the Middle East at the same time as you got it.2 We take all possible measures to clarify real state of affairs in that region, since the information from there is of a contradictory nature. We fully share your concern about the conflagration of the situation in the [Page 315]Middle East. We repeatedly pointed in the past to the dangerous situation in that area.

We are considering now as well as you do, possible steps to be taken. We hope soon to contact you again for possible coordination of positions.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 68, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 19, July 13, 1973–Oct. 11, 1973. Top Secret. The message was telephoned by Ambassador Dobrynin.
  2. Kissinger wrote later that “this may have been technically true. But they withdrew their civilians from Egypt and Syria two days before, clearly in anticipation of imminent war.” (Crisis, p. 53)
  3. Kissinger telephoned Dobrynin at 3:50 p.m. and said that the Soviet message either meant they were confused or that they were cooperating with the Arabs. He warned that putting the issue before the UN General Assembly, as the Egyptians wanted, would be “a frivolous act” and that if it turned into a General Assembly debate, the United States would let the fighting take its course, certain that it would end in a military victory for the Israelis. He emphasized that the issue should be put before the Security Council and said he would wait until 5 p.m. for a Soviet answer. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22) When he talked with Shalev at 4 p.m., Kissinger said that the United States thought that the General Assembly was an extremely bad forum for Israel and that they had to call a Security Council meeting. Shalev agreed. (Ibid.) Kissinger told Haig at 4:15 p.m. to tell the President he was still waiting for the Soviet reply and if he didn’t have it by 6 p.m., the United States would call for a Security Council meeting. (Ibid.) All transcripts are printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 55–58.