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279. Backchannel Message From President Nixon to Egyptian President Sadat1

I appreciated very much receiving your message No. 6.2

We are at this very moment in urgent communication with the Israeli Government3 to establish precise conditions for the operation of United Nations truce supervisory personnel in the area between Israeli and Egyptian Third Army forces and to allow the introduction of non-military supplies to the Egyptian Third Army.4 It will of necessity require several hours to get a definitive response on these points. It is our earnest hope that in the interim you can avoid taking any irrevocable actions.

I am very encouraged by your substantive preparations for discussions during Secretary Kissinger’s upcoming visit.5 You can be sure he [Page 756]will adopt a constructive attitude. We hope that his visit may represent a milestone on the road toward a permanent and just settlement.6

  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. A handwritten notation on the message states that it was sent for delivery on October 26 at 10:38 a.m. The message is attached to a note from Scowcroft to Eagleburger asking him to bring this to the Secretary’s attention as soon as possible.
  2. In this message, 2 p.m. Cairo time, October 26, Sadat informed Nixon that the Israelis were attempting “to isolate and oblige” the Egyptian Third Army “to surrender in humiliation.” Sadat stated he had to consider measures to reopen lines of communication with the Third Army and that Israel was preventing UN observers from reaching the area. (Ibid.)
  3. At 9:38 a.m. on October 26, Kissinger telephoned Dinitz to inform him of Sadat’s message to Nixon (see footnote 2 above). (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23)
  4. The Department of State’s Middle East Task Force issued a situation report as of noon stating that on the morning of October 26, the Egyptian Third Army had attempted to break through the surrounding Israeli forces, thereby creating a new strain on the cease-fire. The U.S. Defense Attaché in Tel Aviv reported that the Egyptian attack had been repulsed by the Israelis, who were supported by Israeli Air Force units. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1175, Harold H. Saunders File, Middle East Negotiations File, 1973 Middle East War, 26 October 1973, File No. 21)
  5. See footnote 7, Document 261.
  6. At 2:34 p.m. on October 26, Egyptian message No. 8 from Ismail reached the Department of State. Kissinger was asked to transmit a message from Sadat to Nixon which reads: “At that moment when I am receiving your encouraging message with respect to the future of peace, the Israelis are launching air and ground attacks against the Third Army under the false pretext that it has initiated the attack. I wish to advise you that the moment is critical and that the future of peace is in danger. Your guarantee of the Security Council Resolution is being defied under false pretenses. I hope that we can act swiftly to stop that deterioration of the situation immediately.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. VII, October 1–31, 1973)