4. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Egyptian Presidential Adviser for National Security Affairs (Ismail)1
Thank you for your message of January 15.2 We have also received the message that Mr. Ismail plans to be in London around February 19.
We regret that concluding the Vietnam negotiations has occupied so much of Dr. Kissinger’s time, both because of the extended negotiating sessions and because of the time needed for preparations for them.
We are prepared to start these discussions soon and we agree that the end of February offers a good opportunity. If Mr. Ismail could arrange to come to New York from London, under any pretext, private meetings could certainly be arranged in New York at that time. There is some possibility that Dr. Kissinger could arrange to be in London for a day and a half on February 22–23. Given the uncertainties in the current Indochina situation, Dr. Kissinger’s schedule could be subject to unex[Page 6]pected changes. This danger would be much smaller for a meeting in the U.S.
In either case the U.S. would prefer no publicity.
We agree that technical representatives should begin discussing the arrangements as soon as a date and venue are mutually decided. [less than 1 line not declassified] The U.S. side awaits an Egyptian proposal.
The U.S. side again expresses its appreciation for the patience of the Egyptian side.
We agree also to the Egyptian suggestion of January 4 that U.S. messages can be transmitted in the form of unsigned notes.3
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 131, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. II, January 1–February 23, 1973. No classification marking. The message is attached to a January 23 memorandum to Kissinger, marked Secret; Sensitive, that states that the January 21 message to Ismail had been passed to the Egyptian Government on January 22.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 3.↩
- A January 25 memorandum from Scowcroft to Kissinger transmitted Ismail’s reply agreeing to meet in London February 22–23, or in New York if Kissinger’s schedule were subjected to “unexpected change.” An attached memorandum noted that it would be much easier to keep the meeting secret if it were held in New York rather than London. Kissinger wrote on the top of the page that he would “strongly prefer N.Y.” and that it would be “almost impossible” for him to arrange a pretext for his absence. He added: “Strongly recommend February 23–24 in U.S. Would take him to Camp David.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 131, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. II, January 1–February 23, 1973)↩