[Page 701]

251. Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Mr. General-Secretary:

You will have received word that we and you will once again be joining together in a proposal to the Security Council designed to make the cease-fire effective. We did so even though we had reservations regarding one part of the resolution. We felt that it was in our overall interests to maintain unity on this matter involving the first test of making the cease-fire effective. In this connection, I urge you to continue to press Syria to accept the cease-fire so that there will be greater assurance on both fronts that the shooting will in fact stop, and we can begin to move towards the next stage of our joint efforts toward a fundamental settlement.

You know, Mr. General-Secretary, that our principal reservation regarding today’s resolution was that the parties were being asked to withdraw to the positions they occupied at the moment they accepted the cease-fire. Our difficulty with this is that the positions actually occupied by both sides at that time are unclear. As I said to Mr. Vorontsov, and as he confirmed, our willingness to accept the principle of your Security Council proposal was made possible when your government assured me that it will show moderation when differences ensue between the parties, as to the positions in dispute. Once the observers are in place, of course, this difficulty will be eliminated. Thus the most immediate goal must be to speed the work of the observers.

Secondly, we agreed to proceed together because of the understanding we have that you will press for the immediate release of prisoners of war. I cannot underscore enough how helpful an immediate exchange of prisoners would be to assure an effective cease-fire and to move rapidly to joint auspices for subsequent negotiations. I continue to believe that you and we have done a distinct service to the cause of peace.

Warm regards,2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 20, [October 12–November 21, 1973]. Secret. A handwritten notation at the top of the page reads: “Rec’d Moscow 0141Z, 10/23/73, dispatched from WH at 5:15 pm, 10/23.”
  2. The original is unsigned.