329. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the Minister of the Israeli Embassy (Shalev)1

Following are the main points just received from Foreign Minister Fahmi.

A. The Israelis have leaked the understanding on easing the blockade at Bab-El-Mandab. They also claimed through various sources Egypt would lift the blockade. Egypt will be forced to deny these assertions.

B. Egypt stands by its undertaking to ease the blockade if Israel will observe the six points2 without misinterpreting or changing the agreement.

C. At a meeting at 3 p.m. Nov. 8, Israeli representatives insisted Suez Town is a cut-off town and will continue to be so—no telephone communications out of town, no mail, no non-military goods, no free passage for doctors, etc.

D. Israel interprets point five that only two checkpoints will be placed on the Cairo–Suez road which remains under “Israeli control” from KM 102 to the entrance to town and that Israel will freely use that part of road.

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E. Point five of the agreement states that Israeli checkpoints will be replaced by UN checkpoints and that only at the Suez end of the road Israeli officers can participate with UN to supervise non-military nature of cargo at the banks of the Canal.

F. In view of above, and until Israelis will “faithfully implement” six points, Fahmi hopes that Secretary Kissinger will agree that release by Waldheim of six points should be postponed until next meeting of military representatives Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. local and after which Egyptian military would inform Fahmi “of the Israelis abiding by the text as agreed upon.”

G. However, if Fahmi hears from Secretary Kissinger at the appropriate time “that Israelis abide with this understanding” and that Kissinger “guarantee that”, then and only then would Fahmi have no objection to the original schedule for release of the six points.

We do not want to take sides on specific points. It is true that there has been some speculation on the Israeli radio, and obviously your military representatives were acting yesterday without reference to the agreement. We know press speculation is unavoidable. However, it is essential your government refrain from prodding the press with information about the specifics of the agreement and in particular any backgrounding or official statements about decisions by Egyptian government on easing blockade. I recognize that you are planning to speak to Knesset at time agreement is announced. We urge that your statement on this agreement avoid specifics of interpretative details a number of which will undoubtedly require full discussion, understanding and cooperation by the military representatives of both sides. We also urge that your representative proceed in a generous spirit. You should know that Sadat told me that a visible presence on the road will make his position with respect to the agreement untenable.

We are responding to the Egyptian Foreign Minister along the following lines:

—I have expressed my concern that detailed comment on the agreement be minimized and that public statement regarding the Egyptian commitment to ease the blockade be avoided.

—I do not believe that the Israeli military officials could be expected to begin implementation of the agreement prior to signature.

—Regarding the specific points on the road and Suez city it must be recognized that the military representatives will have to work out the many specific details of implementation.

—It was clearly understood in our discussions with the Israeli Government that the UN would take over the inspection and UN personnel would man the checkpoints.

—I believe we should go ahead and announce the agreement as planned. We agreed to the text of the six points. As for the points raised on Suez City, I recommend that your representatives give this priority [Page 918]attention in the Saturday3 meeting and hope that you will let me tell Foreign Minister Fahmi that this will be the case.

I am sure that PM will agree with me that the prompt and effective implementation of the agreement will depend on the spirit in which it is carried out. Therefore, it is important that Israel proceed now to follow through on the terms of the agreement in a positive spirit and that your negotiators not act in a harassing manner. If this agreement breaks down at this stage, an acrimonious UN debate is unavoidable, and I am certain the terms of a Security Council resolution will be much less generous than the terms of this agreement. Please confirm to me immediately that what we have told the Egyptian Foreign Minister is a proper reflection of your position so that we can proceed.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, November 1–30, 1973. No classification marking. The message is attached to a note from the White House Situation Room that reads: “Gen. Scowcroft: Attached is copy of message sent in your name by Sit. Rm. to Minister Shalev per instructions contained in Riyadh 059. Obvious clerical and grammatical corrections were made.”
  2. See Document 324.
  3. November 10.