12. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir1

Dear Madame Prime Minister:

I want to inform you that the Government of the United States has received from the Government of Egypt assurances to the effect that, in connection with the agreement on the disengagement of Egyptian and Israeli forces, the Government of Egypt confirms that it regards the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb as an international waterway for ships of all flags and that it will not interfere with the free passage of Israeli ships or cargoes.2

Further assurances have been received from Egypt that upon the opening of the Suez Canal, the principle of free passage will likewise be observed and that principle will be extended to Israel when the state of belligerency between Egypt and Israel has ended.3 As a first step, all [Page 89] cargoes destined for and coming from Israel will be permitted through the Canal from the time of its opening.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1180, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, January 10–17, 1974. Secret.
  2. These assurances were expressed in a letter from President Sadat to President Nixon, January 17. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974)
  3. The assurance of free passage was included in the same letter that confirmed the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb as an international waterway.