335. Backchannel Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger in Islamabad1

Tohak 79/WH37308. There follows the full text of the Prime Minister’s message to you, which has just been delivered from the Israeli Em[Page 926]bassy. Minister Shalev indicated that it had also been delivered to AmEmbassy Tel Aviv, and they also will be transmitting it to you.

Delivered from Israeli Embassy

1:35 pm, 11/9/73

Prime Minister Golda Meir’s message to the United States Secretary of State, 9 November 1973

“In addition to the points I made to Ambassador Keating and which he has communicated to you2 I wish to add the following:

1) Israel’s position on the six points that Assistant Secretary Sisco brought with him from Cairo and the oral understanding concerning the blockade3 was that it could not accept the proposals except in conjunction with certain clarifications. Therefore, we reached an understanding that Mr. Sisco embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding of 8 November 1973. In addition, in the final talk I had with Mr. Sisco on November 8, just before his departure I thought we had further clarified and agreed on some points.4 I had thought based on all this the announcement of the agreement could be made today.

2) With Mr. Fahmi’s latest message before me and your communication of this morning to me5 I must state that:

(A) Israel is prepared to implement scrupulously the six points proposal as interpreted by the joint Israel–U.S. Memorandum of Understanding.

(B) There is no change in our position as to the status and situation of the City of Suez and our control of the Cairo–Suez road. With regard to the check points our position is as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding (Article 5A & B). To be specific, regarding Suez City what we are committed to is Article (C) of the six points proposal. In the meeting with General Yariv yesterday the Egyptian General made requests beyond what had been agreed. It is significant that he admitted that he had instructions from President Sadat which he then presented. This means that he did not make the requests within the limits of the clearly explicit and well-defined terms of Article (C) of the proposals which he already had before him at the talks. As a matter of fact, he admitted this was so and that he was acting on instructions from the President.

(C) We would appreciate your assurance that this agreement as embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding will have your full [Page 927]support and also that you will lend us your support when we take a stand based on the two documents herein referred to.

(D) On Bab-El-Mandeb, as agreed with Mr. Sisco, I will state publicly in the Knesset and elsewhere that Israel and Egypt would observe the ceasefire on land, air and sea. The reference to sea would indicate that the blockade had been lifted de facto and would not be implemented although no announcement would be made. I cannot be held responsible, and that was agreed to by Mr. Sisco, for any Israeli press and mass media statements.

(E) I was surprised to learn from your message for the first time that Sadat had told you that a visible Israeli presence on the road would make his position with respect to the agreement untenable. This naturally cannot change our position as to the road.

3) (A) You asked me to confirm that what you told Mr. Fahmi is a proper reflection of our position. I regret this is not so. Our position is as outlined above (2).

(B) I cannot agree that in the meeting between the Generals tomorrow the problem of the City of Suez be given priority attention. We have before us a package deal and as you know, Mr. Secretary, Israel’s priority are the POW’s.

I must take exception to your admonition that our negotiators should not act in a harassing manner. As you know the Egyptians described the meetings as dignified ones. Our negotiating team, headed by General Yariv, is one which is uniquely qualified to conduct negotiations in a spirit conducive to achieve results in an atmosphere of candor and bridge-building.

If we have your assurances, Mr. Secretary, regarding (2) above you may proceed with the announcement in New York as planned.

Note: Whenever any of the six points are referred to above by letters the sequence is as per Secretary of State’s draft letter to the UN Secretary General 9 November 1973.6

As more extremely disquieting information concerning our POW’s in Syria reaches us I must again say that we would appreciate urgent action on your part to persuade the Syrians to hand over to us the list of our POW’s and then proceed to the exchange of all POW’s. Without such a list in our hands we are certain that all POWs’ lives in Syria are in great jeopardy.”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 41, HAK Trip—Mideast, Islamabad, Peking, Tokyo, Seoul, TOHAK 70–119, Nov. 5–16, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Flash. Sent to Rodman or Jonathan Howe for Kissinger.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 333.
  3. See Document 324.
  4. See Documents 326 and 327.
  5. See Document 329.
  6. Document 334.