424. Telegram From the U.S. Interests Section in Cairo to the Department of State1

4252. Subject: Letter to the Secretary From Foreign Minister Fahmi. Ref: Cairo 4245.2

1. I was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 1400 local today by Omar Sirri to receive a letter to the Secretary from the Foreign Minister. Sirri told me that this letter was in effect a reply to President Nixon’s letter of December 28 to President Sadat3 and also the Secretary’s letter to President Sadat,4 but he left open the possibility that President Sadat might also reply directly about any new development regarding the basic issue raised in President Nixon’s letter.

2. Sirri made a special point of telling me that the Government of Egypt wanted to respond quickly to messages from the USG and in this particular case President Nixon’s letter and the Secretary’s letter were both seen by President Sadat on Dec 29 and the response which we are transmitting at this time was prepared on the same date although it is dated Dec 30, 1973. Sirri said that he made the trip from Aswan to Cairo for the sole purpose of delivering the response to me and he would be returning to Aswan tomorrow morning. He did not know how much longer he and the Foreign Minister would be in Aswan.

3. The Foreign Minister’s letter to the Secretary of State follows:

[Page 1209]

“Dear Mr. Secretary of State,

“This is to inform you that President Sadat has received President Nixon’s message of Dec 28, 1973. This message referred, inter alia, to your reporting to the President regarding your talks with my President and, in particular, to the principles you have agreed upon concerning the disengagement problem.

“President Nixon, furthermore, referred to the ceasefire and the six point agreement. As you know, the ceasefire is still fragile and while we have carried out all that was required from us under the six point agreement, the Israelis, on the other hand and up to this very minute, have not implemented in good faith their obligation so far as item 2 of this agreement is concerned. Moreover, they are complicating the situation of the town of Suez, which is supposed to be an open town, refusing to supply Egyptian positions of the Third Army at Kabrit on the eastern bank of the canal while still holding 57 Egyptian prisoners of war.

“In spite of that, Egypt went to the peace conference in the hope that a serious step be taken towards a disengagement agreement which, after a long and protracted delay, we expect to be concluded soon as President Nixon repeatedly promised and guaranteed.

“After reporting to President Sadat on our talks in Geneva and on the proceedings of the conference, he received President Nixon’s message which he carefully examined. He took note with appreciation of President Nixon’s reference to the improvement in our bilateral relations and to his and President Sadat’s efforts to build a new basis for the common good and welfare and benefit of the area where we live.

“President Sadat fully reciprocates President Nixon’s desire to set up this new relationship on frankness and directness. He asked me to convey to you, and through you to President Nixon, that he took special notice of President Nixon’s personal pledge to do everything in his power to ensure that his second term as President will be remembered as the period in which the United States developed a new and productive relationship with Egypt and the Arab world.

“As to President Nixon’s reference to the December 25 decision of the Arab Oil Ministers in Kuwait, President Sadat authorized me to say that this decision was not meant, in any way whatsoever, to be discriminatory in relation to the U.S. President Sadat’s feeling is that the Arab Oil Ministers, while having in mind the direct and immediate impact of the embargo on the European countries, were under the impression that the United States, because of its resources was not that badly affected.

“However, in view of the apparent difficult situation which President Nixon is facing in the light of the Dec 25 decision, President Sadat will make immediate and appropriate contacts with King Faisal who [Page 1210]received from President Nixon a similar message on the same subject5 and also with President Boumedienne.

“In this connection it is germane to indicate that during your talks with President Sadat it became apparent that an effort will be made to ease the embargo even so far as the U.S. is concerned, once the disengagement agreement is signed. As promised President Sadat will do his best to see to it that this will be brought about.

“In concluding, I hope that you for your part will be able to guarantee that Defence Minister Dayan and his government will be in a position to accept and implement forthwith the agreement on disengagement which was discussed and approved during your talks with my President.

“I will certainly keep you informed of any new development regarding the basic issue which President Nixon raised in his message of Dec 28 to President Sadat.

“With warm personal regards

Ismail Fahmi

  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.
  2. Dated December 29; not found.
  3. Document 422.
  4. See Document 423.
  5. See footnote 3, Document 422.