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252. Backchannel Message From President Nixon to Egyptian President Sadat1

I appreciate your recent message2 and the frankness with which you spoke. Let me be equally frank, so that there will be no misunderstanding between us. All we guaranteed—no matter what you may have been told from other sources—was to engage fully and constructively in promoting a political process designed to make possible a political settlement.

Nevertheless, as evidence of our earnest desire to promote a lasting settlement in the Middle East and to further the improvement of relations between our two countries, I have instructed Secretary Kissinger to make urgent representations to the Government of Israel requesting its full compliance with Security Council Resolution 338. It is, of course, equally essential that Egyptian forces scrupulously adhere to the ceasefire.

The use of the UNTSO personnel, authorized by the Security Council this afternoon,3 should be helpful in assuring compliance by all sides.4

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. No classification marking. Sent in a message from Kissinger to Ismail. In his memoirs, Kissinger wrote that the reply to Sadat was sent late Tuesday (October 23) afternoon. (Years of Upheaval, p. 574)
  2. Document 248.
  3. On October 23, by a vote of 14 to 0, the Security Council adopted the joint U.S.–Soviet draft as Resolution 339 (1973). It reads: “The Security Council, Referring to its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1. Confirms its decision on an immediate cessation of all kinds of firing, and of all military action, and urges that the forces of the two sides be returned to the positions they occupied at the moment the cease-fire became effective; 2. Requests the Secretary-General to take measures for immediate dispatch of United Nations observers to supervise the observance of the cease-fire between the forces of Israel and the Arab Republic of Egypt, using for this purpose the personnel of the United Nations now in the Middle East and first of all the personnel now in Cairo.” (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1973, p. 213)
  4. In a follow-up message to Ismail later that day, Kissinger wrote: “Dr. Kissinger wishes to inform Mr. Ismail that President Nixon has, as he promised Sadat in his most recent message, made urgent representations to the Israeli Government asking that it stop any offensive action and comply with Security Council Resolution 338. In response, the Israeli Government has told us that it will desist from any further action. Mr. Ismail should be aware, however, that the Government of Israel told President Nixon that it will not be able to maintain this stance should Egyptian forces elect to take offensive actions of their own. Thus, Dr. Kissinger would like to suggest that President Sadat may wish to issue a new ceasefire order to his forces.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. VII, October 1–31, 1973)