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366. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders and William B. Quandt of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Allon and Eban on Prospects for Peace

In recent days both Deputy Prime Minister Allon and Foreign Minister Eban have spoken out publicly on peace and the need for policy rethinking within Israel. If you have not already seen the attached cables,2 you may want to read them.

Beyond noting these remarks by two influential Israeli leaders, however, you may find it useful, particularly in your contacts with Congress, to be able to cite Israelis on the need for Israeli flexibility and the inability to achieve security through territorial acquisition.

The following points are the most useful in this regard:


—Israel regards peace as a concrete objective. . . . All alternatives must be explored. Israel must do everything possible to make this the last war.

—With the disengagement of forces, it is not Israel’s intention to create a new status quo. Israel does not insist on geographic symmetry as far as the separation of forces is concerned, but does require “strategic symmetry.”

—“In view of the possibility of demilitarized zones, I would prefer minor border changes.”

—He attacked extremist territorial demands by Israelis (e.g. Galili[/PL), which have created the image of Israeli intransigence compared to Arab moderation.


—Israel must undertake a far-reaching conceptual reassessment. The results of the 1967 war did not reflect the real military balance between Israel and the Arabs.

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—Before the war, the Israeli doctrine based on absolute confidence caused a national style and rhetoric that was excessively strident, leading to maximalist statements.

—Borders are only one of the conditions of security. An integral security doctrine must include such elements as the balance of forces, vigilance, organization, economic productivity, and ability to draw strength from external connections. Without these, Israeli security would be undermined, regardless of boundaries.

—Israeli policy should be aimed at making the Arabs not only unable, but also unwilling, to fight Israel again. This requires a degree of restraint on Israel’s part.

—Israelis have lived with numerous illusions: that the ceasefire could last indefinitely in a diplomatic vacuum; that one million Arabs could be kept under Israeli control indefinitely provided that their economic and social welfare was impressively advanced; that Zionism forbids sharing of national sovereignty within the former Palestine mandate area; that Israel must demonstrate its toughness in every contingency to be seen as strong.

—Strategic depth, which is necessary, need not always be achieved by territorial change.

—The peace conference must be approached as an opportunity and not only as a danger.

Recommendation: That you may find it useful to draw on these points in talks with Congressional leaders. If you approve, we could also provide this information to others who deal with Congress for their guidance (Laird, Timmons, etc.)

Agree. Do memo covering these points that can be provided to others on FYI basis.

I will use this in my own way.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1179, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East—1973 Peace Negotiations, November 28, 1973 thru Nov. 30, 1973 [1 of 3]. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. Telegrams 9553 and 9610 from Tel Aviv; attached, but not printed.
  3. Kissinger checked this option.