138. Backchannel Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the Egyptian Presidential Adviser for National Security Affairs (Ismail)1

Dr. Kissinger expresses his appreciation to Mr. Ismail for his prompt reply and friendly words in his message of 9 October 1973.2

The U.S. side trusts that the Egyptian side understands that what the United States has done thus far in the current crisis is the absolute minimum action it could take in view of the public pressure to which the U.S. Government is exposed. As a result of the explanation in Mr. Ismail’s message, the U.S. side now understands clearly the Egyptian position with respect to a peace settlement.

The U.S. side is less clear, however, as to the views of the Egyptian side on how the present fighting can be brought to an end. These views [Page 408]would be very useful to the U.S. side in formulating its position in the current debate in the Security Council. In the hope of hearing the views of the Egyptian side, the U.S. side will hold off as long as possible in presenting a definitive U.S. position in the Security Council.

The U.S. side wishes to reiterate its willingness to consult urgently with the parties concerned in order to achieve a just peace settlement in the Middle East. In these difficult times, it is important to keep this long-term perspective in mind and to avoid confrontations and bitter debate as we seek to resolve the present crisis.

This will be the guiding principle of the U.S. side, and we hope that it likewise will motivate the actions of the Egyptian side

Warm personal regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. VII, October 1–31, 1973. No classification marking. The date is handwritten. The message is attached to an October 9 transmittal memorandum from Scowcroft instructing that the message be delivered as soon as possible. Scowcroft’s memorandum is marked Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. In this backchannel message to Kissinger, October 9, Ismail confirmed that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 lines and return Egyptian territory to Egypt, not international control; and that there could be an international presence at Sharm el-Sheik to supervise free navigation of the Straits of Tiran. (Ibid.)