290. Hotline Message From President Nixon to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Dear Mr. General Secretary:

We have studied your most recent message carefully.2 I want to assure you that we strongly favor the establishment of an effective ceasefire and that we will continue to make every effort to achieve this fully, in the spirit of our mutual understandings and if at all possible through cooperative efforts with you.

As to your first point, we will raise with the Israeli Government the issue of non-military cargo, including food supplies, medications and blood for the wounded for the Egyptian army located on the east side of the Canal on an urgent basis. We will make every effort to get you a response by late afternoon today Washington time.

We agree also that the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization personnel should be positioned promptly and our understanding is that this process is well in train. We believe that the same [Page 775]principle should apply to the UNTSO as applies to the UN force; namely, that it would be better if it was made up of individuals coming from countries who are not permanent members of the Security Council. However, in light of your desires to have Soviet observers involved, we have offered a limited number of American personnel for service in the UNTSO. We believe the Secretary General is considering the augmentation of UNTSO, and that he will decide how many of our respective personnel will be utilized. We cannot accept that observers or representatives of any country can be active outside the observer framework of the UN.

At the same time, we also favor the earliest possible positioning of the United Nations force, and we welcome the fact that Secretary General Waldheim has moved promptly and that the first contingents of the UN Force have been airlifted today from Cyprus to the area.

Finally, as to the actions which the United States took as a result of your letter of October 24,3 I would recall your sentences in that letter: “It is necessary to adhere without delay. I will say it straight that if you find it impossible to act promptly with us in this matter, we should be faced with the necessity urgently to consider the question of taking appropriate steps unilaterally.” Mr. General Secretary, these are serious words and were taken seriously here in Washington. We believe our joint support for the establishment of the UN Force including the permanent members was a sensible course in our mutual interest. For our part, we continue to adhere scrupuously to the principle of joint cooperation to help maintain an effective ceasefire looking towards a fundamental settlement.


Richard Nixon4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 70, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Exchange of Notes Between Dobrynin & Kissinger, Vol. 8. No classification marking. A handwritten note on the message indicates that it was LDXed to the NMCC at 1 a.m. on October 27. The message is attached to an October 27 memorandum from Scowcroft to Dobrynin forwarding a copy of it and the subsequent message sent to Brezhnev at 8:55 a.m. later that day ( Document 292).
  2. Document 288.
  3. Document 267.
  4. The original bears this typed signature.