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

1. Secretary Kissinger wants to inform you that he has accepted an invitation from the Soviet Government to come to Moscow immediately to continue the discussions which have been carried on through diplomatic channels with the Soviet Government, of which you are [Page 623] fully informed. He will be leaving at midnight Washington time October 19. He will want to stay in touch with you throughout the period, and if you wish to communicate with him, the fastest and most effective way would be by means of this special channel. Any such messages will be transmitted to Dr. Kissinger promptly in Moscow.

2. Dr. Kissinger wants to stress that our objective continues to be the one previously expressed to you: to help bring about an immediate ceasefire and to begin promptly a diplomatic process to move toward fundamental settlement.2

3. Dr. Kissinger’s trip will be announced after he has left Washington.3

With warmest 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. Secret; Sensitive. The original is marked “Draft.”
  2. Telegram Tohak 46/WH32577 to Kissinger, October 21, transmitted the text of an October 20 reply from Ismail. Ismail noted that Egyptian experience was not encouraging, but agreed that a linkage between a cease-fire and a final settlement might be assured if the two superpowers guaranteed the speedy conclusion of such a settlement. On that basis, he stated the Egyptian Government’s position: “(A) a cease fire on the present lines, (B) convening a peace conference with the object of reaching a fundamental settlement, and (C) a guarantee by the United States and the Soviet Union of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops.” Ismail wrote that he believed Kissinger’s presence in Moscow would be helpful in reaching an agreement along these lines. (Ibid.)
  3. White House Deputy Press Secretary Gerald L. Warren announced on the evening of October 19 that President Nixon was sending Kissinger to Moscow at the request of the Soviet Government. See The New York Times, October 20, 1973. The President wanted to announce Kissinger’s trip along with Senator Stennis’ compromise on release of the Presidential tape recordings. Kissinger told Haig it was a “cheap stunt” and “poor tactics” and would “look as if he is using foreign policy to cover up a domestic thing.” Kissinger told Haig: “I will not link foreign policy with Watergate. You will regret it for the rest of your life.” (Transcript of telephone conversation between Kissinger and Haig, October 19, 3:20 p.m.; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23) Nixon agreed to separate the announcements, but insisted they both come from the White House. (Transcript of telephone conversation between Kissinger and Haig, October 19, 3:35 p.m.; ibid.) Both transcripts are printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 296–299.