337. Backchannel Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 31. Please transmit to Ambassador Dinitz for transmission to Prime Minister Meir.

Begin text:

Dear Madame Prime Minister:

With the publication today of the six point agreement on the ceasefire and prisoner of war exchange, the Governments of Israel and Egypt have taken an important step in clearing the way for negotiations. This agreement is also important in another respect. We have brought about a separation between the Egyptian and Soviet positions, since as you know the USSR had sought a return to the October 22 lines.

I have just read Ambassador Keating’s report of his conversation with you.2 There was no intention of extending an ultimatum, Madame [Page 937]Prime Minister, in transmitting to you the essence of an Egyptian message3 and on which we took no position. In our reply to the Egyptians we pointed out that the details of the implementation of the six points would have to be negotiated by the respective military representatives.

The point that we tried to make and I am making here again is that, since the details of the implementation of the six points would have to be negotiated by your respective military representatives, it is important that your negotiator approach this meeting in a positive spirit and in a way that would not make Israel seem to be the cause of any possible breakdown in the future.

While communicating the Egyptian message to you, we repeatedly insisted with Egypt on the position we agreed on with respect to the blockade. I firmly believe that Israel has attained the terms you gave last Saturday4 night—frankly against my expectations. I was extremely pleased to hear your description of the agreement as a “fantastic achievement”.

I do not think it impossible if both sides approach the discussions between your military representatives in a positive spirit, to resolve the outstanding question in a way that takes into account both Egyptian sensibilities and your military necessities.

Of course we stand by the six points and the Memorandum of Understanding as the way you intend to proceed at the military representatives level. It is nevertheless important Madame Prime Minister, that we all turn our attention to the problem of making a success of this agreement which gives Israel essentially what it sought. I hope the Government of Israel will now find itself able to proceed since my view remains that this agreement is based on an Israeli proposal and since the alternatives are much worse. I hope this letter constitutes also a satisfactory answer to your message5 which I have just received.

Warm regards,

Henry A. Kissinger

End text.

In giving this to Ambassador Dinitz you should tell him that you have shown the message to the President and the President feels the Secretary’s message is too mild and is deeply disturbed at these constant attacks in circumstances where we are making an extraordinary effort to protect Israel’s interest.

Please pass text of formal message to Keating.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 41, Kissinger Trip Files, HAK Trip—Mideast, Islamabad, Peking, Tokyo, Seoul, HAKTO 1–60, Nov. 5–16, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Flash.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 333.
  3. See Document 329.
  4. November 3. See footnote 2, Document 317.
  5. See Document 335.