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

K. Mr. Ambassador, this is a call not as Secretary but as a friend.

D. I understand.

[Page 767]

K. We are going to get a hot line message within an hour.2 I just wanted to tell you it is my honest judgment if you don’t move in some direction to get serious mention on the enclave you will lose everything.

D. Maybe I don’t know what your suggestion is.

K. My suggestion this morning was to offer some time . . . You should know once the President is involved he will order that we should join the others because we have nothing to hold on to. It is water over the dam at this point.

D. The supply business? That is what you mean?

K. The supply business or something else Israeli ingenuity could produce. His suggestion is a negotiation.

D. I told you that is what we intended to offer them.

K. You told me it might be. I didn’t know you wanted us to pass it on to them.

D. We don’t want to reveal all of the cards. Maybe I didn’t make myself very clear. I did not mean for you to withhold it from them.

K. That would be considered humiliating and it’s just as well. I know what you are trying to do. Maybe you should play it your way for awhile and they may buy it.

D. We have a mutual friend and he just called me on the direct line and he said something that I wasn’t going to tell you. But since you called, he said tell my friend, Henry, that if Golda Meir or any other government opens this route he will not survive 24 hours in Israel. I didn’t. . . .

K. The tragedy is that my judgment is that Israel will lose everything on this route but it is better for them to be raped and forced than to make it as a decision.

D. In this embassy we have three girls who lost either a brother or a cousin in this fighting. This is an example of what it has done to our country. In the closing of this route we have lost scores and scores of lives. If we open the route, we vitalize two or three divisions that will be a threat to our bridgeheads. We know what their intention is as of this evening. They are threatening us and the President of the U.S. We cannot let them execute these plans. We are not trying to . . . We cannot afford to have this army revitalized and they will be. They have the missiles and tanks ready for reloading. We saw them and we have tapes as of this afternoon.

K. I am trying to tell you it doesn’t make a bit of difference. You will be forced if it reaches that point.

[Page 768]

D. The Prime Minister asked if she should write a message to the President.

K. Write if it makes you feel good. It is almost totally impossible . . .

D. We are prepared to release them but should we . . . them. Should Israel take these enemies . . .

K. There is one . . . that you can hold the road after the ceasefire.

D. It is not a realistic argument here. The Soviet Union decided they cannot have the Egyptian army humiliated so we are trying to . . .

K. Let’s see what the hot line message says. We don’t know what it says yet. We may not have a problem. I am honestly very pessimistic. At least there should have been a proposal that is being considered.

D. By the way, now we have allowed the Red Cross to go in for the wounded. This evening.

K. You know I am on your side. If that 3rd Army could disappear tonight nobody would be happier than I. I have no interest in the 3rd Army, but this thing is going to get too big for us. It is my judgment but in no official capacity whatever. What I advised you this morning I advise you as a tactic for what I was sure would happen. It hasn’t happened yet. Let’s not worry about it now.

D. We will wait and face the situation as it comes. I don’t think we have any other choice.

K. I think you have practically . . . If you turn out to be right I will celebrate with you.

D. In any event we will celebrate that you were wrong.

K. Never have I more wanted to be wrong.

D. This is the only thing that keeps me believing is that we can work together with this.

K. You won’t be pressured one second before it becomes inevitable.

D. I appreciate it.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. Document 288.