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

Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass you the following report . . .

“I met for three hours with Rabin and his negotiating team this evening,2 presenting in detail the position conveyed to me by Sadat which I described in my last message to you.3 I gave them my judgment that while some drafting modifications are possible, what Sadat has now offered is the maximum he will be able to do. I also reviewed at some length the reasons why I thought Israel would face a much more dangerous situation if it did not reach an agreement along the lines of the present position, unsatisfactory as it is from Israel’s point of view, than if it made an agreement now. I also reminded the Israelis that I have told them consistently since last July that an Egyptian renunciation of belligerency was unachievable in the context of the kind of Israeli withdrawal we are talking about.

“The Israeli team was clearly both disappointed and sobered by what I had to tell them. The most critical was Peres, who pressed very hard the view that, if Israel accepted what Sadat has offered as a basis [Page 549] for an agreement, it would be very shortly faced with renewed pressures on all fronts in a less favorable strategic position than it enjoys today. I acknowledged that, with such an agreement, Israel’s problems would not be over but gave my judgment that both Israel and the United States would face those problems from a much stronger position than would be the case if the present negotiations failed.

“Following this group meeting, I met alone with Rabin.4 He is disposed to try to bring the government around to negotiating on the basis of the position I presented tonight, although at the moment he seems to be the only member of the Israeli team prepared to do so. In the circumstances, I concluded that the strong language you authorized me to use was not at this time necessary. Rabin and his colleagues will consider tonight what they can do, and we have agreed to meet early tomorrow morning and again tomorrow evening. In between, I will go to Riyadh for an audience with King Faysal.”

Warm Regards

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East, Box 4, March 7–March 22, 1975, Volume II (5), Kissinger’s Trip. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information.
  2. A memorandum of conversation of the meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger, which took place on March 18 from 7:10 until 9:45 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, is ibid., Box 3, March 7–22, 1975, Volume II (4), Kissinger’s Trip.
  3. See Document 151.
  4. No memorandum of conversation has been found.