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

Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass the following report of his meeting with President Sadat to you:

“‛I hope this round will be fruitful and decisive.’ These first words, spoken by Sadat at the opening of seven hours of talks here in Aswan,2 characterize the mood of hope, expectation and quiet determination which Sadat reflects. He also added at the press conference that ‛this will be a hard round’—meaning it will be a tough negotiation.

“I covered in some detail the principal points which Sadat is willing to consider in return for an Israeli withdrawal from the strategic passes and the oil fields. I got him to delete the point on linkage to a Syrian agreement which I knew in advance would result in a very adverse reaction in Israel. A number of the points which Sadat has given me are positive, and while some will not be acceptable to the Israelis, I am bringing enough with me to at least get the negotiations started in a serious way. The most positive element we have received is a willingness by Sadat to in effect agree to a no-war pledge. The form of words in which this is expressed is likely to be haggled over.

Sadat is having a monumental problem with the military. Significantly he had with him throughout the day, General Gamasy, his Min[Page 528]ister of Defense, whose support for any agreement is crucial. He brought in Gamasy to give us a full conceptual explanation from a military point of view of the next step as seen by the Egyptians. All of the possibilities discussed by Gamasy would move Egyptian forces east of the passes. I felt that it was essential that I tell Sadat ahead of time when I spoke to him alone afterward that Israel will not accept Egyptian soldiers east of the passes. We discussed as a possible alternative, a possible small advance of Egyptian troops to the present Israeli line which is west of the passes.

Gamasy said that the agreement should be based on the following principles: (1) any line manned by one side should be secure from the other side’s troops; (2) the agreement should not give either side any military advantage; (3) there should be a balance of troops in the Sinai for both sides; (4) the new lines should be a sufficient distance away to give security to the Egyptian people in the cities in the Suez Canal area and to navigation through the Canal; (5) the buffer zone should be wide enough to avoid clashes between the two sides; (6) navigation through the Suez Canal, once opened, would be an obstacle to Egyptian military reaction in event of renewed hostilities, thus making it necessary for Egypt to have more forces in Sinai.

“My plan is to return to Aswan on Wednesday.3 In the meantime you will have seen that Esenbel has invited me to come to Ankara. I am planning on having talks with the Israelis on Sunday night and Monday a.m.,4 after which the Israelis will have 24 hours to think over what I have brought from Egypt. During this 24 hour period—Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning—I will be in Ankara to discuss the Cyprus situation with all of the principal Turkish leaders, including Ecevit and Demirel. I will use the occasion to explore possibilities, but will make no moves in this regard without further consultation with you. The principal focus of the discussions will be on what the Turks would be willing to give in return if we are able to get a commitment from the Greek Government to the concept of a bizonal federation.

“I leave Aswan early Sunday morning; I will make a brief five hour stop in Damascus before arriving in Israel Sunday night.”

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East, Box 3, March 7–March 22, 1975, Volume 1.1 (2), Kissinger’s Trip. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. The memorandum of conversation of the meeting between Sadat and Kissinger, which took place on March 8 at 11 a.m. at the Presidential Palace in Aswan, is ibid., Volume 1(1), Kissinger’s Trip.
  3. March 12.
  4. March 9–10.