19. Editorial Note

On February 13, 1973, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger sent a message to Egyptian Presidential Adviser for National Security Affairs Hafiz Ismail agreeing to an earlier Egyptian suggestion that the most appropriate format for a secret meeting between Ismail and Kissinger would be in the context of an official visit by Ismail to the United States for meetings at the Department of State. Therefore, an invitation for an official visit would be extended to Ismail through Ambassador Greene. The message also informed Ismail that President Nixon would be able to meet with him at 9 a.m. on February 23. Following Ismail’s meetings at the Department of State, Kissinger would join him at a Westchester County location outside of New York City for their meetings. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 131, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. II) In telegram 28752 to Cairo, February 15, the Department conveyed the same message to Greene. (Ibid.)

Ismail responded to Kissinger’s message on February 14:

“Egypt, in making this contact with the US Government, is acting independently and is considering Egyptian national interests within the general framework of Arab interests. For a long time Egypt has shouldered the responsibility for the independence and development of Arab countries. In the future Egypt sees itself as a partner in the Arab community of states. Egypt believes that a good settlement is one that is defensible both with Egyptian public opinion and Arab public opinion.

“What we are trying to achieve is the formation of those conditions which will help to establish a stable peace in the area. This is the point of starting these contacts and the point from which these contacts must start. Egypt can see different ways of moving towards this objective. But Egypt does not wish to take steps into the dark and lose its way. Egypt is therefore starting these discussions with both eyes open, looking for opportunities that can be a basis for normalization of the Middle East situation.

“If Egypt thinks that there is a good solution that meets at least the minimum requirements of its people and the people of the area, it will [Page 52] go ahead with it and will not allow it to be vetoed by anybody. Only in this way can the problem be settled so that both we and you are helped.

“Egypt appreciates the constructive attitude shown by the US Government. I personally am highly honored to be received by President Nixon. I am sure I will carry to him a message from President Sadat. I am looking forward to seeing Dr. Kissinger and hope our discussions will lead to further meetings in a way appropriate. We sincerely hope our contacts will be characterized by an early settlement.” (Ibid.)