403. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the U.S. Interests Section in Cairo1

Secto 172. Subject: Message to President Sadat. You should pass following message from Secretary to Sadat through Fahmi as quickly as reasonably possible:

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“Dear Mr. President:

“I have just completed my talks in Israel2 and want you to know that I had very good discussions on Egyptian-Israeli disengagement along the lines of my discussion with you.3 I am confident that a serious and successful negotiation is possible when the working group starts its talks in Geneva in early January and that it can be completed during January. I shall speak further to your Foreign Minister about this when we meet in Geneva.

“The important issue now remains to begin the process of negotiation. The Israelis have told me that they are prepared to begin discussion of an Israeli-Syrian disengagement promptly and to allow the 15,000 or so Syrian villagers displaced in the recent war to return to their homes. Before any of this is possible, however, Syria must provide a list of the prisoners of war they hold and must allow Red Cross visits to those prisoners. I believe I can be helpful in a serious disengagement effort on this front as on the Egyptian front but only within the framework of the conference. Indeed, I cannot guarantee that Israel will stay at the plenary session of the conference if Syria is present and has not provided a prisoner list before the conference. I hope that you can use your influence to persuade Syria to create the conditions for the progress which is now so attainable.4

“As I leave the Middle East, Mr. President, I want not only to thank you for your hospitality but also to tell you again how much I continue to admire the statemanship with which you are proceeding.

“Warm personal regards.

Henry A. Kissinger”.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 639, Country Files, Middle East, Arab Republic of Egypt, Vol. X, Nov.–Dec. 31, 1973. Secret; Nodis; Cherokee. Repeated to the Department of State, Beirut, and Lisbon.
  2. See Documents 398, 399, and 401.
  3. See Document 390.
  4. In telegram 4076 from Cairo, December 17, Eilts reported that Fahmi had told him that he had been sent earlier that day to Syria where, during a 5-hour meeting, Assad and Khaddam had continued to insist that a prior agreement on disengagement which could be publicly announced at the opening session was a prerequisite for Syrian attendance. Fahmi had been unable to persuade them to budge. He had suggested that perhaps, in light of Syria’s position, the language in the joint letter should be altered to delete the names of all the parties, so that the door would be left open for Syria to attend. Eilts noted that Fahmi had been “dead tired” and they had had no opportunity to discuss the message to Sadat. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 639, Country Files, Middle East, Arab Republic of Egypt, Vol. X, Nov.–Dec. 31, 1973)