121. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger to President Ford1

SUBJECT

  • Premier Rabin’s Reply to You on Mideast Negotiation

On November 26 you wrote to Israeli Premier Rabin to urge that Foreign Minister Allon, when he comes here December 9, “should come prepared to develop a proposal that can promptly become the basis for a realistic negotiation with Egypt.” (Your letter is at Tab B.)2 You warned that Soviet attempts to regain lost ground in the Middle East required that we maintain the momentum of our negotiating ef[Page 464]fort. You also urged that there be no repetition of the sudden call-up of Israeli reservists, which added to the tension in mid-November.

Premier Rabin’s reply to you is at Tab A.3 He makes the following points:

—He says that the Soviets can always be blocked by a “firm steadfast” U.S. position.

—He reiterates the standard Israeli position that the next agreement with Egypt must involve “political” concessions from Egypt in return for any Israeli territorial concessions. Unless Egypt engages itself in a “conscious progression towards peace,” Israel is gaining only a temporary prolongation of a ceasefire, “i.e., a mere postponement of the resumption of hostilities.”

Rabin comments that Israel had had frequent contacts with King Hussein but that the King’s proposals were always unacceptable. Thus Israel does not feel itself responsible for the failure to achieve a successful negotiation with Jordan before Rabat. Israel remains ready to reach agreement and peace with Jordan.

—On the reserve call-up, Rabin asserts that he informed us immediately when the decision was taken.4 He attributes the call-up to Israel’s natural need to avoid being caught by surprise again. He expresses gratitude for our military assistance but reminds us that “in the final analysis” Israel bears the “awesome responsibility” for its own security.

The main point of your letter was the need for Allon to come with proposals enabling us to make substantial progress with Egypt. Rabin’s reply repeats a number of basic Israeli points but gives no indication of what Allon will bring.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger/Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 15, Israel, Items 32–37, December 5, 1974–January 12, 1975. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Ford initialed the memorandum.
  2. Tab B is Document 120.
  3. Tab A is Rabin’s letter as enclosed in a letter from Dinitz to Ford, December 1, attached but not printed.
  4. Telegram 6618 from Tel Aviv, November 15, summarized reports by the Defense Attaché of a briefing on the alert he had received from the Israeli Chief of Intelligence. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)