406. Backchannel Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 64. You should as soon as feasible this morning contact Dobrynin and make clear to him that while we are briefing the Syrians on the present state of play, we have no continuing contacts with them and that it is a Soviet responsibility to bring Syria to the conference. That task is not our responsibility and it is not a responsibility we intend to assume. It is up to the Soviets, both on the POW issue and attendance at the conference, to assure adequate Syrian performance.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Trip Files, Box 42, HAK Trip—Europe & Mideast, HAKTO 1–88, Dec. 8–22, 1973. Secret; Sensitive; Immediate.
  2. In telegram 4095 from Cairo, December 18, 0945Z, Eilts reported that Fahmi was both apologetic and defensive about Syrian intransigence and claimed that Egypt had warned that disengagement would be a Syrian precondition for attending the Geneva talks. The Ambassador said that he had responded that at no time had the Foreign Minister given any such indication to him, although the two agreed that he had suggested that the Syrians might be difficult. (Ibid., Box 639, Country Files, Middle East, Arab Republic of Egypt, Vol. X, Nov.–Dec. 31, 1973) In telegram Tohak 127/WH37690, December 18, 1550Z, Scowcroft informed Kissinger that Dobrynin had called with a message for him and the President, saying that the Syrians had been approached “at the highest level” regarding the POW issue and attending the conference. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 42, Kissinger Trip Files, HAK Trip—Europe & Mideast, TOHAK 76–133, Dec. 8–22, 1973)