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419. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and Egyptian Foreign Minister Fahmi1

K: Everything is going along fine.

F: How is your health?

K: I am much improved.

F: Tell me I have good news.

K: What is the news? You have good news? What is it?

F: The Syrians have accepted to send a military man to join the military committee.

K: I am not sure the Israelis will sit with him.

F: Why not? He will be in our delegation.

K: He will be part of your delegation?

F: He will be part of our delegation. This is a good step. If you can work on the Israelis and let me know. This is a good step to bring the Syrians to the conference.

K: Yes, but do we have to do it before the elections?

F: Why not?

K: They will never agree before the elections.

F: The next meeting is on Friday.2 When the Syrian man comes here I can convince him to come after the election.

K: That would be very desirable.

F: Can you do that tomorrow and let me know.

K: I will do my best. What would you discuss? Only Egyptian matters or Syrian matters . . . with Egyptians or with regard to Syrian . . .

F: Both of them.

K: They won’t do it without getting a prisoner list.

F: We will discuss later on. We have a unified command . . . good formula to get the Israelis out from under the umbrella . . .

K: If you can get them to provide a list then no problem.

F: Don’t make a condition. Let’s take one step at a time.

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K: I think the Israelis might agree to the Syrian if it doesn’t concern Syrian problems. They will not discuss Syrian problems.

F: They will if necessary.

K: If they get a prisoner list.

F: I will work on that but don’t make it a condition.

K: Not for me to do that but I can guarantee the Israelis will do that.

F: If I have the list in my hand, I can guarantee the Syrians can .

K: I will be in touch with you. The problem is we have had it all set and you are complicating it.

F: I am not. This is a big step. I want to get the Syrian letter out formally.

K: Let me get in touch with the Israelis and I will call you back.

F: Work hard on them, Henry; and get in touch with me direct. Not through your man here.

K: OK.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 24. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington; Fahmi was in Geneva. The blank underscore indicates an omission in the original.
  2. December 28.
  3. Kissinger spoke to Fahmi again at 4:50 p.m. and urged him not to raise the issue of a Syrian officer on the Egyptian delegation until next week: “Next week there is one chance in five, this week there is none.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological Files, Box 24)