[Page 878]

316. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

K: Sorry, I have been talking to the President,2 then I had to make another call. I had a rather lengthy talk with him. First, we will send over the letter for the General Secretary.3 Let’s go to the proposal of joint Soviet-American cooperation. Here is our difficulty. I’m going to be going to Egypt next week. The purpose envisaged in our understanding has not even started yet, although we strongly favor it. What we are going to do is to send a senior man as head of the Interests Section in Cairo. We have no hesitation about announcing publicly that he is to work closely with your Ambassador there on the cease fire agreement.

D: What about cease fire, what is . . . ?

K: Not on cease fire. Work in close cooperation on Security Council resolution issues.

D: Yes. What is actual situation, as it stands now? What is Israeli position and what is, as of now? on the Security Council I mean.

K: As of now we are having a monumental problem with Israel. You can get that from the newspapers. You can see how they are beginning to attack me.

D: What is their position, Henry? They want to have exchange . . . ?

K: They want an exchange of prisoners, and they want an exchange of territories, West Bank for the East Bank.

D: As a whole. Egypt doesn’t like the idea?

K: The Egyptians don’t like it. There is something to be said for it, but Egypt won’t accept it, we’re not pressing them.

D: Israelis propose an exchange of prisoners and an exchange of territories. This is their position?

[Page 879]

K: Right. We will get at minimum some arrangement for permanent supply of the Third Army.

D: The corridor you mean?

K: That’s one of the ideas McCloskey mentioned.4 I’ll be goddamned if I know where he got it, I didn’t give it to him, but as it turns out it is a possibility.

D: I think these issues look, putting aside the resolution, October 22 without telling us, unacceptable . . . but I don’t, might change their minds.

K: Let me finish the bilateral thing and then we’ll go back to that. As soon as we get back I will designate somebody, Dean Rusk or Herb Brownell.

D: Yes, it should be a big man.

K: . . . to represent us in the peace negotiations. We would be prepared to say the first thing he should do is go to Moscow to talk to your people to prepare some action.

D: Did you talk with Rusk or is it just an idea.

K: As a matter of fact, I have been trying to get Rusk on the phone but haven’t been able to reach him. Those two people are who we have in mind. I may be able to tell you by the end of the day what reaction I get.

D: When are you leaving?

K: Monday5 morning at 9:00. To get back to the issues.

D: So where does it stand now?

K: We would like to get Israel to accept the proposal with withdrawal. We are having monumental task. I sat up with Mrs. Meir until 1:30 last night. And, I can imagine prettier girls to sit up with.

D: Well, sometimes you have to sacrifice . . .

K: This is where we stand right now.

D: As of now, peace proposal to begin negotiations of exchange prisoners and territories and position is to solve the Israelis’ business? What is position of Egypt? When I spoke with them yesterday they said no, no, but what about today.

K: Their position is no.

D: Then what is your position?

K: Our position is to try to find some, at least interim, solution but we haven’t made a formal proposition yet because we are trying to see [Page 880]what we can get through a combination of negotiation and pressure on the Israelis.

D: As it looks now then, you do not have any decision?

K: The problem is that the Israelis have to have a cabinet meeting tomorrow. By Monday we hope to have the specifics. We will communicate them to you.

D: The general situation is what you just mentioned?

K: That is correct.

D: And maybe by Monday you will have more precise information. Suppose I call you on Monday at 8:00 a.m.

K: Well—will you be home tomorrow?

D: I would like to go out, but could I call you.

K: What time will you be back in the evening?

D: Around 9:00 p.m.

K: Why don’t we have a chat tomorrow evening.

D: Around 9:00 or 10:00, whatever you like.

K: Well, I don’t mind coming by the Embassy, say around 9:15.

D: OK. I will be back. 9:15? Tomorrow, not today? Just want to be sure.

K: Yes.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 315.
  3. In this message to Brezhnev, November 3, the President sent the General Secretary his thoughts on U.S.–USSR relations. Reflecting on the Middle East, Nixon recalled that both the United States and the Soviet Union had agreed that efforts “to obtain unilateral advantage at the expense of the other” was inconsistent with “peaceful relations and the avoidance of confrontation.” This prescription was essential in the current Middle East crisis, Nixon suggested. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 70, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Exchange of Notes Between Dobrynin and Kissinger, Vol. 8)
  4. Kissinger is referring to a statement by McCloskey at an October 31 press briefing. See The New York Times, November 1, 1973.
  5. November 5.