380. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Kissinger in Brussels1

Tosec 18/240937. Subject: Middle East Negotiations. Reference: Secto two.2 For the Secretary From Sisco.

1. I have been in touch with Scowcroft persuant to your instructions in Secto two. He has already reported to you by cable with the results of his conversation with Dobrynin indicating to him that we are prepared to give on UN auspices but not on the Palestinian “timing” issue.3 In order to assure that we instruct Eilts precisely of what you have in mind, here is the telegram that I would propose to send to Eilts.

2. For Ambassador Eilts from the Secretary.

Scowcroft has talked to Dobrynin and has informed the Soviets that we can move on UN auspices, in response to Fahmy’s views, [Page 1041]which is consistent with our agreement. Scowcroft has also informed Dobrynin that insistence on changing positions regarding point six relating to Palestinian issue is not sustainable in Israel.

3. You should see Fahmy immediately and tell him that we are prepared to meet his view on the question of UN auspices, but insist that he hold to the understanding on the question of Palestinian representation that was reached between the Secretary and Fahmy in Cairo talks.4 You should explain to Fahmy that changing positions on point six is not sustainable in Israel. We therefore suggest very strongly immediate Egyptian agreement to following revised letter.

“Dear Mr. Secretary General:

“On October 22, 1973, the Security Council adopted Resolution 338, jointly sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union which calls for negotiations to start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices, aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East. The United States and the Soviet Union have now been informed by the parties concerned of their readiness to participate in the peace conference under the auspices of the United Nations.

“It is our understanding that Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria have agreed to participate from the outset in the conference which would begin in Geneva on December 18. The parties have agreed that the conference should be under the co-chairmanship of the United States and the Soviet Union. The parties have also agreed that the question of the participation of the Palestinians and Lebanon will be discussed during the first stage of the conference.

“It is our hope that you will find it possible to participate in the opening phase of the conference at which it is expected that the governments concerned will be represented by their respective Foreign Ministers and later by their specially appointed representative with Ambassadorial rank. We also hope that you can make available a representative who would keep you fully informed as the conference proceeds. Finally, we would also appreciate it if the United Nations could make appropriate arrangements for the necessary conference facilities.

“We request that you circulate this letter to members of the Security Council for their information. We believe it would be appropriate for the President of the Security Council to consult informally with the membership with a view to securing a favorable consensus of the Council.”

End text.

[Page 1042]

4. Eilts is also authorized, regardless of Fahmy’s initial reaction, to agree to added formulation contained in State 239993.5

5. I am repeating this internal telegram to Cairo for information. If you agree with the recommendation, please send a go ahead to Cairo, with an information copy to me at the Department. In the meantime, Eilts should take no action whatsoever.6

  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; Nodis; Cherokee. Drafted and approved by Sisco. Repeated Niact Immediate to Cairo. Kissinger was in Brussels December 8–11 attending the NATO Ministerial meeting.
  2. In telegram Secto 2/3190 from USNATO, December 8, Kissinger informed Sisco that he was prepared to give in on UN auspices, which were largely cosmetic, but would not agree to any movement on the Palestinian “timing” issue, that is, the question of when the Palestinians would join the conference, adding that if that remained a sine qua non for Egyptian participation, there would be no conference. The Secretary noted that he had instructed Scowcroft to talk to Dobrynin along these lines. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 1179, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East—1973 Peace Negotiations, December 6, 1973 thru Dec. 12, 1973 [2 of 3])
  3. In telegram Tohak 6/WH37487, December 9, Scowcroft reported to Kissinger that as instructed he had just met with Dobrynin, who said that he had already discussed both the UN auspices and the “timing” issues with the Secretary and had communicated with Moscow. Scowcroft had reiterated the danger of a complete road block, which the “timing” issue posed for the conference. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 42, Kissinger Trip Files, HAK Trip—Europe and Mideast, TOHAK 1–75, Dec. 8–22, 1973)
  4. See Document 330.
  5. In telegram Secto 7/3195, December 9, Kissinger informed Scowcroft that he approved the actions proposed in paragraphs 3 and 4. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1179, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East—1973 Peace Negotiations, December 6, 1973 thru Dec. 12, 1973 [2 of 3]) In telegram 239993 to Cairo, December 7, Kissinger told Eilts that if Fahmi raised the point that the draft letter to the Secretary General made no direct reference to the conference being under UN auspices, the Ambassador was authorized to suggest the following alternative language, which would become the penultimate paragraph: “If as we hope you will find it possible to participate, as co-chairmen the U.S. and the Soviet Union would appreciate it if you would agree to serve as convener of the conference and preside in the opening phase.” The Secretary added that his own preference was for the draft as it stood, but that he had provided this additional paragraph in case Fahmi had any problem with the “auspices” issue. (Ibid.)
  6. In telegram 3870 from Cairo, December 9, Eilts reported that when he delivered the revised draft letter, Fahmi had “exploded.” Fahmi charged that once again the United States was deferring to the Israelis, while also giving them $3 billion for weapons to kill Arabs. Fahmi said he was skeptical that the conference would even take place, and insisted that confining its first phase to initial disengagement was not enough. He warned that unless “large or medium scale disengagement” was agreed upon and finalized in the upcoming Geneva talks, Egypt would not go back to the conference. Eilts reported that he had pointed out that all he was asking was Egypt’s expeditious concurrence in a revised letter containing language that Fahmi himself had earlier accepted as satisfactory. The Foreign Minister agreed “wearily” to submit the letter to Sadat and the Syrians for approval. (Ibid., Box 639, Country Files, Middle East, Arab Republic of Egypt, Vol. X, Nov.–Dec. 31, 1973)