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

D: You wanted me.

K: The Egyptians have asked for a SC meeting tonight. They have now made another appeal to us from Sadat2 and from New York—El Zayyat through Waldheim in which they say the Third Army will never surrender no matter what you do and that they will take drastic measures if you continue blockading them.3 They don’t care what line you go back to. They won’t quibble about that and they are willing to talk about prisoner release and other matters. It seems to me you are going to come to a crossing point tonight of either making concrete proposals or . . . I tell you this as a friend, I have kept this from the President who is preparing for a Press Conference. I don’t want him to say something you will regret. I have no doubt what he will do when it gets there. We also have a hot line message coming in from Moscow.

D: Can I tell you what the military situation is. I will not elaborate.

K: Our own information is that you did not start it.

D: Thank God.

K: But that does not make any difference. What produces the fighting is that they are desperate.

D: Absolutely correct. They are attempting to break out.

K: Why don’t you let them break out and get out of there.

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D: We would be willing to let them break out and go home but they are not trying to break out and run. They are shooting at our forces and . . .

K: Why can you not let them take the tanks with them. The Russians will replace them anyway.

D: We will not open up the pocket and release an army that came to destroy us. It has never happened in a history of war.

K: Also it has never happened that a small country is producing a world war in this manner. There is a limit beyond which you cannot push the President. I have been trying to tell you that for a week.

D: We are not trying to push the President.

K: You play your game and you will see what happens.

D: The PM is sitting now on suggestions on what to do.

K: I am suggesting to you to make a constructive suggestion.

D: I understand and I asked you if you have any thing in mind.

K: I gave you what I have in mind.

D: About the food.

K: That while talks are going on you permit non-military supplies to go in there and perhaps you can establish the principle that no military supplies can come in from the road and you pull back from it.

D: One of the suggestions from the PM as I left the phone to come to you is that she thought she would send to you Gen. (Riva?) with a complete proposal of how to solve the situation.

K: That would take ten hours.

D: At least. She thought he could convey that would mean either swapping people, territories. Things that would solve the question. We cannot let them out without getting something in return.

K: That is right but you have to buy time for this discussion. We will be glad to propose that there will be immediate discussions between you and the Egyptians to solve this problem. We are willing to be cooperative but I tell you what will happen is another maximum Soviet demand and you cannot put the President in confrontation day after day.

D: We don’t want to.

K: Always has happened that after ceasefire one country traps the army of another.

D: It is not exactly what we want to do. I will pass your urgent message to the PM.

K: I am telling you as personal advice. I guarantee if you want me to take it to the President you will get a much worse answer.

D: I am completely confident in accepting your advice. Believe me.

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K: I have got to see the German Ambassador now and raise hell with him about your ships.4

D: Yes. O.K. I will talk to the PM and I will tell her may be . . .

K: I think you have a bargaining situation and I think you can get something for it. There has to be a bargain.

D: How do we go about it?

K: By at least getting talks started on that narrow issue.

D: On the food.

K: By getting a certain standstill enough so they don’t get so desperate you do not get constant fighting.

D: Our people say at least 2–3 days of food and water. We hear talk from the commander they say in 2–3 days the UN will get us out of here. That is the situation there. We must strike some sort of a bargain out of it.

K: Make a proposal.

D: All right, so that is what I was trying to ask you. I will tell the PM that if she does not think . . .

K: But before 9:00 tonight make a proposal to confuse the issue. Or you will get a condemnation on you.

D: I will talk to her again.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. See footnote 6, Document 279.
  3. Waldheim informed Kissinger of Zayyat’s warning in a telephone conversation that day. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23)
  4. Telegram 212618 to Bonn, October 27, recorded that Kissinger met with FRG Ambassador Von Staden on October 26. After a brief exchange concerning FRG Foreign Minister Scheel’s forthcoming visit to Moscow, Soviet observers in Egypt, and the possibility of West Germany transporting UN peacekeeping force personnel to the Middle East, the discussion turned to the FRG attitude toward the military resupply of Israel from US stocks in Germany. Kissinger stated that he was “astonished” at the FRG position on this matter. “We have no interest in a pro-Israeli policy per se. Once the ceasefire has been fully established, we intend to promote a political settlement and in the process we will take positions which will not be fully acceptable to the Israelis.” Kissinger also emphasized that what was at issue was not the question of Israeli ships or individual arm shipments. “We think our actions in the Near East are in defense of Western interests generally,” he said. Kissinger later repeated that the ships were themselves not an Alliance issue, but he was concerned about “the general attitude our European allies have adopted on this issue. It is one that profoundly concerns us. It has happened with too much consistency, too many times.” Kissinger said that the Ambassador “might deem him arrogant,” but he asked that Von Staden understand the background from which he spoke, as one who had long favored European integration. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL US/Kissinger)