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206. Message From the Israeli Ambassador (Dinitz) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

Following are preliminary remarks which I was instructed by the Prime Minister to bring to your personal attention as her first reflections on the conversation I had with General Scowcroft2 and the subsequent telephone conversation I had with you:

The Prime Minister appreciates your remark that we can be sure that the United States will not accept any proposal which refers to the ’67 lines. But she has to call your attention that any mention of 242 in connection with the cease-fire can be interpreted by the Egyptians and the Arabs as a reference to the ’67 lines.

The battle is not over yet and the Soviets are already trying to dictate to Israel political moves designed not only to save their client States but also to reward them. We will not be a party to such a move. This was a terrible war. Our casualties in dead, if we calculate them in terms of the population of the United States, are in the magnitude of the losses that the United States suffered in Korea or Vietnam, wars that lasted, of course, a much longer time. It was a very cruel war and it is not over yet. The Prime Minister is sure that K. will understand and believe her when she says to him again what she told him on several occasions in the past, that during a serious peace negotiation she will have no hesitation to bring before the Government, the Knesset and the people, any difficult decision that will be necessary. But as long as there is not even a serious proposal on a cease-fire, and as long as we are far from peace negotiations—she does not see any justification for the mention of 242.

It is important to remember that the decision on the cease-fire in ’67 did not mention the Armistice Agreements of 1949. Just as the cease-fire resolution of ’67 did not mention or refer to previous documents or resolutions but stood on its own, so also now a resolution on cease-fire in ’73 (after an additional war initiated by the Arabs and backed by the Soviets) must stand on its own feet.

Moreover, Resolution 242 refers explicitly to the conflict of ’67 and now we are discussing ceasefire resulting from the war of ’73.

We never believed that Resolution 242 is a panacea.

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We agreed to accept it in specific circumstances prevailing at the time, circumstances which do not exist any more.

For further clarification: We do not object that a resolution on cease-fire there will also include a call for negotiation for peace. But we object to the mention of a specific resolution which refers to circumstances which do not exist any more.

She will not go into detail on the pitfalls and difficulties of Resolution 242, difficulties which are not confined only to the question of withdrawal and borders.

The Prime Minister is anxious that K. understands that she says these things before a final position of Israel has been formulated. She is sharing her thoughts with him. She will have to consult with the Government. (There is a specific Government decision that the Cabinet must be convened and consulted before a policy on the cease-fire is fixed). Since we do not have yet any specific draft of a Soviet proposal, the discussions in Jerusalem at this stage must of necessity, be of a general nature and deal with matters of principle only. But the Prime Minister found it necessary to bring to his attention that the very possibility of a mention of 242 lights up a red light for us.

The Prime Minister has instructed me to tell you that she has invited the Foreign Minister, Mr. Eban, to return promptly to Jerusalem in order to take part in these discussions and in the discussions on the situation in the front.

From the point of view of the time-table, we see no reason for undue haste. So far there are only feelers from the Soviet side. As far as the situation in the front is concerned, we have no reason for any speed-up of the diplomatic moves.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, June 4–October 31, 1973. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 196.