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294. Backchannel Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the Egyptian Presidential Adviser for National Security Affairs (Ismail)1

I had learned, shortly before receipt of President Sadat’s message No. 10 to the President,2 that for reasons which I have not been able to ascertain, the meeting agreed to earlier today between Egypt and Israel failed to take place.3 I also learned that your convoy was not passed through to Suez and the Egyptian Third Army.

I have, therefore, talked personally, and in the strongest possible terms, to Prime Minister Meir.4 I insisted that arrangements be made so that if your representatives were to appear at 2200 hours Cairo local time today at Kilometer 101 of the Cairo–Suez Road they would be met by Israeli representatives, and that the meeting place would be under the supervision of the United Nations peacekeeping force. I also insisted to Madame Meir that an Egyptian convoy carrying non-military supplies for Suez and formations of the Third Army east of the canal should be allowed to pass Israeli lines at 2200 hours Cairo local time today under United Nations and Red Cross supervision.

I learned from Foreign Minister El Zayyat,5 shortly after my conversation with Mrs. Meir, that 2400 hours would be more convenient, both for the meeting of Egyptian and Israeli representatives and for the movement of your convoy through Israeli lines. I have now been assured by the Israeli Government that 2400 hours is an acceptable time for both events.6

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You may already have learned this information from Foreign Minister El Zayyat, but I wanted to confirm it to you. I also want you to know that you have the solemn assurance of the United States Government that we have done—and will continue to do—all we can to assure that these arrangements will be carried out.7

  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. A handwritten notation on the message indicates that it was sent for delivery at 2:55 p.m. on October 27.
  2. In this backchannel message to Nixon, October 27, 1:12 p.m., Sadat complained that Israel was preventing the Egyptian side from reaching the rendezvous point at Kilometer 101. (Ibid.)
  3. In a telephone conversation with Zayyat, October 27, 12:04 p.m. (Ibid., Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23) Printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 404–405.
  4. In a telephone conversation with Meir, October 27, 12:40 p.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23). Printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 406–408.
  5. In a telephone conversation with Zayyat, October 27, 12:55 p.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23)
  6. In a telephone conversation with Dinitz, October 27, 1:55 p.m. (Ibid.)
  7. Kissinger wrote in his memoirs: “Ultimately, at 1:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, October 28, an hour and a half behind the new schedule, Israeli and Egyptian military representatives met for direct talks for the first time in twenty-five years, under the auspices of UN observers.” (Years of Upheaval, p. 611)