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

Secretary Kissinger has asked that I pass you the following report of his meeting with Prime Minister Rabin.

“I have just completed a total of about eight hours of discussions with Prime Minister Rabin and his negotiating team which includes Allon, Peres and Chief of Staff Gur.2 I shared with them my analysis that he has limited room for political maneuver. I also gave them the sense of the mood I found in Damascus, stressing the tough talk about a [Page 531] possible war expressed by Asad, his strong opposition against a separate agreement between Egypt and Israel, and Asad’s strong desire that something be achieved in the Sinai and the Golan more or less simultaneously.

“I explained at some length the conceptual approach of the Egyptians to the next-stage agreement, as described to us by Minister of Defense Gamasy.3 I described the specific Egyptian thinking, all of which would involve from their point of view an Egyptian defense line east of the strategic passes. I informed the Israelis that I had made clear to Sadat that such a substantial withdrawal was out of the question as far as Israel was concerned, and Rabin of course confirmed this fact during our talk.

Rabin outlined the principal seven considerations from Israel’s point of view, emphasizing two that were particularly key.

“(A) An Egyptian commitment not to make war against Israel; and

“(B) the importance attached to the duration of the agreement, including continued insistence that there must be an Egyptian assurance that the UN force could not be removed except by affirmative Security Council action.

“The key statement which was underscored by Rabin and Allon is, to put it in their words: Israel wants an interim agreement, and it also leaves open the option to pursue a Syrian negotiation on a permanent peace.

“As you can imagine, the Israelis cast all sorts of doubts and threw up all sorts of hurdles on specific issues and points, but on the whole their posture and mood is positive, and they seemed to be ready to discuss matters seriously.

“I left it that I would return to Israel Tuesday4 evening for a further meeting. This will give Rabin and his colleagues 24 hours to reflect on what I have reported, to discuss my report with the Cabinet, and hopefully to come up with some concrete counterproposals which would not be intended as a final Israeli position but be sufficient to keep the negotiations moving. I urged that they be as generous as possible in the belief that this would have a favorable psychological impact on Sadat and in the long run possibly make him more favorably disposed to meet Israel’s principal needs. I am trying to get the Israelis to adopt a strategy which is entirely different and new for them: rather than stick rigidly to point after point, that they make a generous counterproposal which could convince Sadat of their seriousness. It will be interesting to see what they come up with for us to consider on Tuesday evening.

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“In short, I think the process is going just about as one might expect at this stage.

“I now take a 24-hour break from the Arab-Israeli dispute to see whether I can encourage the Turks to take some step that will help get a meaningful negotiation restarted.”

  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 (4), Kissinger’s Trip. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Ford initialed the memorandum.
  2. A memorandum of conversation of the meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger, which took place on March 9 from 10:30 until 11:55 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, is ibid. A memorandum of conversation of a subsequent meeting, which took place on March 10 from 10:02 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, is ibid., Volume 1.1 (4), Kissinger’s Trip.
  3. See Document 140.
  4. March 11.