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

Thank you for your message of 11 October 1973.2 The comments from President Sadat were, of course, immediately passed to President Nixon.

You are aware, of course, of the fact that the United States is not familiar with the details of any Israeli military operations and is not informed in advance of those operations.

However, the United States will use its maximum influence to prevent any attack on civilian targets. Strong representations to that effect have been made to the Israeli Government.

In this connection, it is important to point out that falsification and outright lies with regard to U.S. activities in the present crisis make matters very difficult. Cairo press reports that United States forces are involved in military operations are totally and outrageously false. No United States forces are involved in military operations. No United States forces will be involved in any way unless other powers intervene from outside the area with direct military action.

The United States wishes to emphasize again that it will do its utmost to conduct itself so as to be able to play a useful role in the resolution of the problems of the Middle East, both in ending current hostilities as well as in bringing a permanent peace based on justice. The United States stands ready to consider any Egyptian proposal for ending hostilities with understanding and good will. It will attempt to be helpful when hostilities are ended. Whatever the inevitable pressures of the moment, the U.S. hopes that both sides will not lose sight of this objective.

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. A handwritten notation indicates that the message was transmitted to Cairo on October 12 at 9:30 a.m.
  2. In this backchannel message to Kissinger, Ismail laid out Egypt’s “qualifications”: return to the 1967 lines under UN supervision; UN guarantee of freedom of navigation of the Tiran Straits for a specific time; upon complete Israeli withdrawal, an end to the state of belligerency; after Israeli withdrawal, the Gaza Strip under UN supervision pending exercise by its population of their right of self-determination; and a UN peace conference of all interested powers after the termination of belligerency. (Ibid.)