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

Thank you for your message No. 12 of October 28.2

We understand that the supply column has now been permitted to move, and I am glad that this first fruit of our cooperative effort is being successful.

We are grateful to have your report of the first meeting with the Israeli representative. We think that it is very constructive on your part to be willing to meet again as quickly as possible. We have transmitted your willingness to meet as soon as possible to the Israeli Government with our favorable recommendation.3 You should be aware that our ability to influence Israel is being substantially weakened by Egyptian unwillingness to release the prisoners of war, which we had been led to believe were a part of the understanding reached recently in the discussions leading to the cease-fire agreement of October 22.

We appreciate the thoughtfulness of President Sadat in sending Minister Fahmi and Ambassador Iryan to Washington in preparation for my visit to Egypt. I would suggest that they arrive not before Wednesday4 in order that my trip to Cairo could be announced concurrently with their arrival. However, should you see some advantage in an earlier arrival by Minister Fahmi, that can certainly be arranged.

With respect to efforts to bring a just and durable peace to the Middle East, it is important for us to be concrete in our thinking, as well [Page 783]as to have in mind a reasonable schedule that can in fact be carried out. You have our assurances of a serious effort in this regard.

With warm good wishes,

  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 by the Situation Room at 1 p.m.
  2. In this backchannel message, October 28, 3 p.m. Cairo time, Ismail stated that the Egyptian relief column was being delayed by Israeli forces, but the meeting at Kilometer 101 took place. Ismail noted that the Israelis introduced “new elements” regarding the exchange of prisoners of war. He also informed Kissinger that Sadat was sending Foreign Minister Fahmi to Washington for talks with Kissinger in preparation for Kissinger’s visit to Egypt. (Ibid.)
  3. In a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Dinitz, October 28, 11:10 a.m. (Ibid., Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23)
  4. October 31.