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254. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the Israeli Ambassador (Dinitz)1

K: Mr. Ambassador, now we have got another message that you are attacking the third army.2

D: No, that is exactly what I told Eagleburger that I was running to the office because I had a direct line from Israel and I just got the message from Israel what is happening and I will get in detail to . . .

K: Just tell me in one sentence.

D: Right. I will give it to Eagleburger but I will give it to you in one sentence. The ceasefire went into effect and then the third army has tried to make efforts to break out of the siege. And started attacking and even advancing toward Mitla—on the east and even break through in the west as well as in the north with three divisions. It is a big power. When they returned fighting they have brought 30 Egyptian planes over to support the action and fifteen of them were shot down by us. A big battle has developed over which we are just blocking the third army from getting out of the siege. We are not advancing. We are returning the fight. And the whole thing that has happened now is their attack to try to break out of the siege. Both northward, westward and eastward at the same time.

K: Northward . . .

D: Northward, eastward toward the Mitla Pass . . .

K: Westward would put them across the Canal, you can’t . . .

D: To the Mitla Pass and westward—in three directions.

K: Well, now, wait a minute—westward means they are going across the Canal. Are they drowning themselves?

D: No, they are trying to break through the north of Suez, the bridgehead that we have closed.

K: Look, Mr. Ambassador, we have been a strong support for you.

D: Right.

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K: But we cannot make Brezhnev look like a Goddamn fool in front of his own colleagues.

D: But, but, Mr. Secretary, I am telling you exactly what is happening there. As I was on the way to phone you they told me that you were looking for me and I will give it to Eagleburger in a very orderly form.

K: Okay, will you do that.

D: Right away.

K: Okay.

D: Thank you.

K: Now, are you prepared to stop if they stop?

D: Yes. Not only this. Even now the message is that we are not shooting except in self-defense. Except in return. We are not initiating any action. We stopped right away.

K: Okay, now you know Dayan performed another one of his genius acts.

D: What did he do?

K: Well, by announcing everything you took yesterday.

D: I talked to them about this, too, and they said if was a situation of the correspondents, but I will check. Did he talk himself, or . . .

K: Well, no, the Defense Ministry announced the strategy which I had proposed is now impossible.

D: I told them this. I told them . . .

K: It still could have worked, which you could have withdrawn somewhat . . .

D: Yes. I will talk to them again about this. I did this morning already.

K: Well, you know, I am having trouble enough keeping the supply going as it is.

D: I understand this, Mr. Secretary. I told them this, too.

K: Okay, fine.

D: Thank you.

K: Bye.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. An October 24 message from Ismail to Kissinger, received in Cairo at 2 p.m. local time, stated that the Israelis had resumed their attacks against the Third Army to gain new positions on its lines of communications. Ismail wrote that it was hoped that “Dr. Kissinger will see to it that practical and effective measures are taken to oblige Israel to comply with the ceasefire resolution.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. VII, October 1–31, 1973)