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369. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests Section in Cairo1

236062. Subj: Letter From the President to President Sadat. For Ambassador from Secretary.

1. Please deliver following message from the President to President Sadat:

2. Begin text. Dear President Sadat: I have been following closely developments in the area and your role of leadership during these crucial days. I know that you have just returned from a very important meeting with your Arab colleagues, the results of which, I believe, reflect the hope and the desire of the overwhelming majority of the Arab world—indeed people from all corners of the earth—for a just and durable peace in the Middle East based on Security Council Resolution 242.

3. We are at an important stage, Mr. President, and I hope all of us have the wisdom and the courage, despite difficulties, to stay on the course charted by you and Secretary Kissinger recently in Cairo.

4. We agree that the six-point agreement is a package. We do not believe that certain elements can be implemented and others left to languish indefinitely. However, the disengagement proposals which Egyptian and Israeli military representatives have been discussing in recent weeks are far-reaching. This is the reason we have felt, and have said honestly to you, that final agreement was probably not possible before the peace conference. I can assure you, however, that in our view the groundwork laid in the military representatives’ talks has not been in vain. We will make every effort to ensure that the ideas on disengagement discussed in that forum will be carried over for consideration at the Geneva conference.

5. I want to reenforce what Secretary Kissinger has conveyed to your government. To retreat now on the understanding reached in easing the blockade of the Red Sea and to permit your disappointment over the lack of progress in the Kilometer 101 talks to divert us from opening the peace conference on the 18th of December would be a major set-back with incalculable consequences. Moreover, Mr. President, with all due respect, asking the United States and the Soviet [Page 1022]Union to come into the area to guarantee the implementation of the Security Council resolution would be an ever more grave step, a step which would not serve either the interests of your country or of world peace generally.2

6. Secretary Kissinger will be writing in more detail to Foreign Minister Fahmi. I just want to leave you with one concluding thought. I am committed to a major effort to achieve a durable and just peace in the Middle East. There will be disappointments on the way. You and I know that the road will be difficult and arduous because there remains in the area deep mistrust and a lack of confidence. The Kilometer 101 talks are not the main arena. It is at the peace conference that the United States will be in a position to exercise our constructive influence towards peace based on Security Council Resolution 242.

7. As Secretary Kissinger has written to Mr. Fahmi,3 the objective conditions today in which the conference will take place are better than at any other time in the history of this problem for achieving a just peace settlement in accordance with Resolution 242. It would be a tragedy if this opportunity were missed. A breakdown of the ceasefire would regrettably again force us into a situation of confrontation and that opportunity could be irretrievably destroyed.

8. I have asked Secretary Kissinger to undertake another trip to the area and to make Cairo his first stop. I hope that you will agree to receive him on December 13th or 14th, and that meanwhile restraint with respect to the ceasefire will be exercised by both sides, so that all aspects of the situation can be discussed in the spirit which prevailed in his first talk with you. We will of course similarly counsel restraint in our discussions with the Israelis. Sincerely, Richard Nixon. End text.

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9. You may convey foregoing message through Foreign Minister Fahmi or in whatever other way you consider most appropriate and expeditious.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Vol. VIII, November 1–December 31, 1973. Secret; Immediate; Cherokee; Nodis; Niact. Drafted by Sisco, cleared by Eagleburger, and approved by Pickering. Repeated Immediate to USUN as Tosec 7.
  2. In telegram 3737 from Cairo, December 1, Eilts reported that he had delivered to Sadat the President’s letter and the Secretary’s November 21 letter to Fahmi (see footnote 4, Document 347). Sadat said that he now wondered if he had done the right thing in accepting the six-point agreement. He warned that if there were no first phase disengagement, Fahmi would have to make an opening statement at the peace conference that negotiations were not possible until the cease-fire was fully honored and then walk out. Sadat said he needed U.S. help in achieving first phase disengagement in order to strengthen his position. Otherwise, he would have to call on the United States and Soviet Union as guarantors of the Security Council resolution to send forces. Eilts reported he had assured Sadat that the United States wanted to continue to work with him, and warned that an appeal to the Security Council for joint U.S.–Soviet action would set the peace process back. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 639, Country Files, Middle East, Arab Republic of Egypt, X, [Nov. 73–Dec. 31, 1973])
  3. The letter was sent in telegram 236061 to Cairo, December 1. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Vol. VIII, November 1–December 31, 1973)