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69. Backchannel Message From the Egyptian Presidential Adviser for National Security Affairs (Ismail) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

[Omitted here is material unrelated to the October 1973 War.]

Mr. Ismail has received with thanks Dr. Kissinger’s messages delivered in Cairo on 4 and 6 June. [Copies attached hereto]2

With regard to the first message, Mr. Ismail would like to reassert the Egyptian Government’s opposition to the continuance of an American policy of military balance of force. Furthermore, the significance of the timing of the American administration’s decision to agree to Israel’s request, did not escape the Egyptian Government’s attention.

As regards the second message, Mr. Ismail would like to point out what appeared to be the American position manifested on two occasions:

First: Mr. Scali’s declaration in a press conference after a White House meeting in which he referred to “mutual pullback of forces from the area of the Suez Canal”.3 Although the official text omitted the expression “mutual”, yet the Egyptian side has to inquire about the truth of the matter.

Second: Mr. Scali’s discussion with the Egyptian Foreign Minister in which he maintained that the U.S. Government (USG) was not prepared to accept any Security Council resolution interpreting its Resolution 242.

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This confirms Dr. Kissinger’s suggestion during the May meeting about a U.S. Government’s “general” declaration to assert the linkage between the “opening phase” and the “final settlement”, and Dr. Kissinger’s expectation to be able to “convince” Israel to issue a similar declaration. (It is noteworthy that certain Israeli leaders have already issued such a declaration without need to be “convinced” by the Americans.)

It is thus the Egyptian side’s appraisal that the present USG position is coming back to adopting the Israeli point of view and relinquishing its earlier stand in the years 1968 and 1971 when it agreed to the Jarring proposals.4 This USG new position might even be a deviation from the understanding on which the present Egyptian-American discussions was based.

At any rate the Egyptian point of view has been stated during the two rounds of meetings of Mr. Ismail and Dr. Kissinger,5 which had as their objective reaching a definite accord about “heads of agreement” for a peace agreement, the basic elements of which include final withdrawal of Israeli forces to Egypt’s international boundaries.

Due to the ambiguity that envelops the American position, Mr. Ismail will appreciate it if Dr. Kissinger clarifies what he exactly means by “principles of a general nature which would permit the parties to start a process of negotiation”, which Dr. Kissinger proposes to discuss with the Soviet side. This will enable the Egyptian side to state its point of view in a precise manner.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 132, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Vol. VI, May 20–September 30, 1973. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Brackets in the original. In his June 4 message to Ismail, Kissinger explained the current U.S. position on military assistance to Israel. He stated that the U.S. Government had just completed certain internal procedures relating to the ongoing military supply relationship, which he had discussed with Ismail during their May 20 meeting. Kissinger added that nothing in the way of military supplies was involved beyond what he had described at that meeting and that the amount involved was a reduction over current deliveries. In his June 6 message to Ismail, Kissinger said that “the U.S. side would appreciate it if Mr. Ismail could clarify whether the U.S. side can discuss with the Soviet Union the principles for a settlement along the lines outlined by Dr. Kissinger in his meeting with Mr. Ismail, that is, principles of a general nature which would permit the parties to start a process of negotiation.” Regarding their May 20 meeting, see Document 63.
  3. On May 29, after meeting with Nixon and Kissinger in Washington, Scali read a statement issued by the White House that reiterated U.S. support for Security Council Resolution 242 and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories. See The New York Times, May 30, 1973.
  4. Jarring’s first mission to the Middle East was in early 1968. For documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XX, Arab-Iraeli Dispute, 1967–1968. Regarding his 1971 proposals, see footnote 3, Document 10.
  5. The first meetings were held February 25 and 26; see Document 28.