107. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1

Following is a report of SecretaryKissinger’s second meeting with the Israelis.

“In a three-hour session with Rabin and Cabinet colleagues,2 Israel has agreed in principle to open negotiations with Egypt looking towards a second stage agreement. My session this morning had been preceded by an Israeli Cabinet meeting which concluded in the middle of the night. Since it is essential none of the above be revealed, I am not reporting this in any other channel.

“The mood was still reserved and cautious, but more relaxed than Saturday night3—a reaction in part, I believe, to the fact that I did not ask Israel to produce a map or line of withdrawal in the Sinai at this time, since I was afraid it would leak and it is not what is needed anyway at this stage. The understanding with Rabin, Allon and Peres is that I will return to the area in early November to try to fix the date, place and modalities of negotiations between Egypt and Israel, but none of this can be final, of course, depending on the results of the October 26th Arab summit. The question is whether Sadat will feel free to engage in such a negotiation as he has told me, or will Syria be able to build up enough pressure at the summit to make Sadat cool on the idea. I told the Israelis that if Sadat agreed to a separate negotiation, we will have achieved a tremendous step forward in reducing the danger of war. In these circumstances they must make a substantial withdrawal including the oil fields. In response, they made some excessive demands but on the whole we have achieved what we came for: an Arab-Israeli negotiation provided Sadat holds through the Arab summit.

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“Israel has set no preconditions to entering these negotiations which they insist cannot be limited only to a military withdrawal, but must be political in content, i. e. there must be an Egyptian commitment to non-belligerency. I told them this was impossible as a formal statement but that some of the content of non-belligerency was achievable by specific steps.

“The Israelis are clearly in no hurry to enter into negotiations with Jordan. They have left open this option, however, and seem disposed to consider negotiations on this front as well if Hussein decides he wants them in the aftermath of the Arab summit. Such talks could proceed at a slower pace than those with Egypt. Again, however, any final decision in this regard must await the results of the Arab summit. Sisco went to Amman Sunday to brief Hussein on the Israeli talks. Hussein confirmed that he will make an all out effort to get support that he, and not the PLO, should be the negotiator with Israel. He told Sisco that he has modified his approach somewhat to the Arab summit in the last 24 hours. If he is not supported he will not tell his Arab colleagues, as previously planned, that he has given up entirely any future plans to regain the West Bank by political means, but rather he will retain his option and will limit himself to a statement pinning the responsibility for continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank on the Arabs supporting the PLO—for everybody knows Israel will not negotiate the West Bank with the PLO nor anyone else other than Hussein.

“Finally, some time was spent on bilateral matters particularly Israeli preoccupation with long term arms procurement. I reaffirmed your support for such a program, and that as a matter of principle the U.S. is committed to a long term supply of arms. However, I also made clear that no final decisions had been made as to when and in what form the authorization will be submitted, that no specific amount had been committed, and that the timing of submission has to be phased into an overall strategy for making progress towards peace in the area. I said the arms question was not linked to negotiations, but it was related to it.

“Monday is perhaps our longest and most arduous day—Cairo in the morning, Damascus at mid-day, and Algiers at night.”

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 15, Israel Items 16–24, September 17–November 6, 1974. Secret; Sensitive. Ford initialed the memorandum.
  2. According to the memorandum of conversation, the meeting between the Israelis and Kissinger took place on October 13 from 9:45 until 11:55 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. They also discussed immediate Israeli defense needs, U.S.-Soviet détente, negotiating strategy, long-term arms supply, and the PLO vote in the UN General Assembly. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 22, Classified External Memcons, December 1974 to April 1975) The meeting was preceded by a breakfast meeting between Rabin and Kissinger from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. They discussed next steps in the negotiations, military supply, Europe, and the Kurds. (Memorandum of conversation, October 13; ibid., Box 25, CATC Nodis Memos, July to December 1974)
  3. October 12. See Document 106.