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129. Memorandum From William B. Quandt and Donald Stukel of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1

SUBJECT

  • WSAG Meeting, October 8, 1973, 5:30 p.m.

The main items on the agenda for today’s WSAG meeting will be the following:

—Situation Report

—Israeli Arms Requests

—Status of Libyan Contingency Study

—Status of Oil Contingency Study

—Jordan’s Possible Involvement in the Fighting

The Israeli arms requests may be the most sensitive issue. They have apparently asked for 40 F–4s and 300 M 60 tanks, as well as some smaller equipment. Because of the signal it would give to the Soviets and Arabs, we will not want to make commitments on the larger items now. Even after the fighting, we will not want to be the first ones to engage in a massive resupply effort. There are some grounds for thinking the Soviets may be more restrained this time than in 1967.

The smaller Israeli requests—ammunition, CBUs, ECM, sidewinders—are in a different category, since they might be handled secretly and could actually affect the course of the battle. If we decide to grant these requests, we must try for total secrecy. This means Israeli aircraft landing at night at designated airfields to attract minimum attention.2

The tabs in this book3 cover the main issues:

—Situation Report

—United Nations Activity

—Libya Contingency Paper

—Oil Contingency Paper

[Page 378]

—Evacuation

—Cables

Situation Report

Attached is an early afternoon status report and a CIA situation report. They state that the Israelis have gone on the offensive on both the Egyptian and Syrian fronts; that Israeli casualties since the war started appear to have been substantial; that Jordanian entry into the war remains a strong possibility; and that there have been no new moves today by other Arab countries or by the Soviets toward active involvement. The Israeli Chief of Staff said this evening that Israeli forces have retaken most of the territory the Syrians had taken in the Golan Heights, and that the Israeli offensive on the Egyptian front was making good progress but had not yet crossed to the western bank of the Suez Canal.

Talking Points:

—Does everyone agree with the CIA/DIA estimate that the fighting will have turned decisively in the Israelis’ favor very shortly?

—Does anyone see a serious possibility, for example, of prolonged indecisive fighting? Of Israeli forces getting trapped on the west bank of the Canal?

—Do we foresee involvement by the other Arab countries on a scale that could seriously prolong the war or affect the outcome?

—Will the chances of other Arab involvement increase or decrease with an Israeli rout of the Egyptians and Syrians?

—What can we do now to reduce the danger of Jordanian or Lebanese entry into the war?

United Nations Activity

Ambassador Scali’s speech is included at this tab.

The key issues to be considered now are when and whether we will want to take a more specific position on the terms of a ceasefire and when we might want to table a resolution. The position of other parties appears to be as follows:

Egypt continues to feel that a ceasefire must be linked to a settlement which results in Israel’s withdrawal from from the occupied territories.

The Europeans are meeting to develop a common position, but have not reached any conclusions yet.

The Israelis will show little interest in a ceasefire unless it involves withdrawal to the previous lines.

Talking Points:

—Ambassador Scali has given a speech at the UN which is deliberately vague on terms of a ceasefire. Until the situation on the ground is [Page 379]a bit clearer, we will stick to this position. It is possible that some minor changes in the ceasefire line, especially on the Syrian front, could be accepted by both sides, so we do not want to tie our hands in advance. Nonetheless, the general point of favoring the restoration of the status quo ante remains.

—We have not yet tabled a resolution. At what point in the fighting would it make most sense to do so?

—The British have just passed us language for a possible compromise resolution that they would table tomorrow. It would call for “immediate cessation of hostilities in order to create conditions in which rapid progress could be made toward a peaceful settlement in accordance with resolution 242.” The British see this as a possible compromise between the position they assume we will take and what the Arabs with support from the non-aligned will go for. Could we work with this resolution to make it more acceptable?4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box H–93, Meeting Files (1969–1974), WSAG Meetings, WSAG Meeting, Middle East, 10/19/73 to WSAG Meeting, Middle East, 10/7/73, WSAG Meeting, Middle East, 10/8/73. Secret; Nodis.
  2. A handwritten notation next to these two paragraphs reads: “You probably will not wish to discuss this at the meeting.”
  3. The tabs are attached, but not printed.
  4. Lord Cromer spoke to Kissinger at 11 a.m. on October 8 to tell him that the United Kingdom would not introduce a resolution but a “philosophical statement” in favor of a cease-fire and a return to the pre-October 6 positions. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22)