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

Secretary Kissinger asked me to provide you with the following report of his first meeting with Prime Minister Rabin upon arrival back in Jerusalem:

“Immediately after arriving in Jerusalem from Aswan, I met for almost three hours with Prime Minister Rabin and his colleagues2 to give them a detailed report on the latest elements of the Egyptian position, which I described in some detail in my report to you yesterday from Aswan.3 The Israelis raised a number of questions for clarification, but withheld any reaction to the Egyptian ideas until they can consult among themselves and report to the Cabinet during its regular meeting this Sunday.4 This is contrary to some press reports that will be ema[Page 538]nating from Israel, based on an obtuse backgrounder, by an Israeli spokesman indicating that Israel has rejected what I brought from Aswan.

“From the questions they raised, it is clear that they continue to attach great importance to getting from Sadat the maximum possible commitment to the non-use of force in the future, to specific evidences of movement toward non-belligerency, and to assurances that, once a new Sinai agreement is achieved, its duration will be open-ended and not linked to early movement toward further agreements on the Egyptian or other fronts.

“I gave them my impression that, if agreement can be reached on a new line and balance of forces in the Sinai which meets Egypt’s basic strategic requirements, Sadat would go very far in satisfying Israel’s concerns about the political content of the agreement. Rabin summed up the key issue succinctly by saying that there are two basic concepts now under consideration: (a) the Israeli concept of creating a large and effective buffer in the area from which Israel withdraws, and (b) the Egyptian concept of advancing its forces to the western entrance of the Sinai passes as Israel withdraws to the eastern entrance to the passes, with a small buffer zone in between and with each side relying for its strategic security on a balance of deterrent forces in the Sinai.

“It remains to be seen whether these concepts can be reconciled. We should have a better idea when we get the Israeli reaction following Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, although I may get some indications when I see Rabin at a small private dinner tonight.5 I gave the Israelis my judgment that it is important to achieve agreement on a strategic framework by the middle of next week and to go to Sadat with concrete proposals for an agreement that will be sufficiently forthcoming to make it possible to move quickly to conclude the negotiations before counter-pressures can build up from Syria and probably from Saudi Arabia as well.

“While awaiting the Israeli Cabinet reaction, I will go to Damascus tomorrow and continue my efforts to persuade the Syrians to keep their options open. From Damascus, I will go to Amman tomorrow night to bring Hussein up to date and discuss a number of bilateral and regional security concerns that are on his mind. I will also seek to enlist Hussein’s help with Syria, with whom the Jordanians have greatly improved their relations of late. Given King Faisal’s key role and the importance of keeping him from lining up with Syria against a Sinai agreement, I have also asked whether Faisal could see me Sunday afternoon before I return that evening to Jerusalem.”

  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 (8), Kissinger’s Trip. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.
  2. The memorandum of conversation of the meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger, which took place on March 14 from 1:10 until 3:45 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, is ibid.
  3. See Document 144.
  4. March 16.
  5. No memorandum of conversation has been found.