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

K: Hello.

D: Yes, Dr. Kissinger.

K: Mr. Ambassador, the message of Sadat to us2 asked us to intervene with forces on the ground.

D: The message of Sadat asked you to intervene?

K: With forces on the ground. Now if he asks the same thing of the Soviets and if the Soviets put some divisions in there then you will have outsmarted yourselves.

D: But Dr. Kissinger . . .

K: Foreign policy is to _________ your victories where you’ve got them. You had a tremendous victory . . .

D: Yeah, but we are not. But you have to believe me, we are not doing anything. I mean they are ________ try to break out of the cease-[fire] and I have the solemn word, we are now only reacting trying to block them from advancing, and we are prepared to stop the fight any minute. I don’t know how I can get it to you.

K: But will you please behave with circumspection and will you please stop bragging.

D: That I have already told them this morning.

K: You know, there’s a limit beyond which we can’t go and one of them is we cannot make Brezhnev look like an idiot.

D: I understand it.

K: Last night I already had a call from Dobrynin3 in which they are accusing me of having gone from Moscow to Tel Aviv to plot with them the overthrow of the whole arrangement we’ve made.

D: Well, that’s ridiculous.

K: Well, it may be ridiculous, but that’s how war starts.

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D: Yeah, I understand. I will talk about the announcements again to them but I was just in the process of reading to Eagleburger the situation there and when you will see . . .

K: Don’t tell me you’re taking Cairo in order to prevent the breakout of the Third Army.

D: Mr. Kissinger, they’re absolute quiet on the West Side of the Canal because there there is no fighting. All the fighting is going on on this side of the Canal.

K: If you wind up tonight having captured 20,000 Egyptians you won’t be able to tell us that they started the fighting.

D: May I suggest something, Dr. Kissinger? Why don’t you have your military attaché in Tel Aviv go into the area with our Command and see the situation?

K: O.K. Can we do that?

D: Yes, I think it’s a good idea.

K: O.K. Will you arrange that?

D: I will phone right away.

K: O.K. good.

D: Thank you.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking. The blank underscores indicate omissions in the original.
  2. In this message, received at 1145Z, October 24, Sadat informed Nixon that the Israelis had resumed their attacks on the Third Army positions on both the eastern and western sides of the canal. Sadat asked Nixon to assure that Israel abide by the cease-fire resolution even to the point of U.S. intervention on the ground. (Ibid., NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. VII, October 1–31, 1973)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 253.