153. 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 latest meeting with Prime Minister Rabin:

Rabin communicated the result of ten hours of Cabinet deliberations yesterday2 and presented us with a position which in our judgment is substantially unchanged and would lead to a suspension of the negotiations tomorrow. The formulation on no resort to force is what Sadat has already rejected; the withdrawal line would be cut through the middle rather than out of the passes; and they are still insisting on a [Page 550] five-year commitment that they will not be pressed to make any further withdrawals. After I informed the Israeli negotiating team that it was certain to be unacceptable to the Egyptians, Rabin said that he, too, had informed the Cabinet that it was “98 percent certain that [Sadat would reject this latest proposal” and that the negotiations would be suspended.

“I then utilized the talking points that you authorized me to make two days ago,3 pointing out the serious consequences that would ensue. I underscored that we believe the Cabinet position constituted a strategic Israeli decision to go to war in 1975, and to confront the U.S. I said a reassessment of American policy was now inevitable.

Rabin had previously agreed to report my views to the Cabinet, and the Israeli Cabinet is now in an afternoon session. Rabin has acted extremely well, and he himself wants an agreement. He deeply appreciated the strong statement I made with your approval at this morning’s meeting, and will use it to press for reconsideration of the Cabinet decision. He is not sanguine—nor am I—that there will be sufficient change in the Israeli position, particularly on the question of the line, to come up with a position that Sadat will find acceptable. We expect to meet with the negotiating team again later in the day, and I have therefore delayed my departure for Aswan.”

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East, Box 4, March 7–March 22, 1975, Volume II (6), Kissinger’s Trip. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A handwritten notation at the top of the page reads, “Pres. has seen.”
  2. A memorandum of conversation of the meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger, which took place on March 19 from 8:45 until 10:20 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, is ibid., Volume II (5), Kissinger’s Trip.
  3. See Documents 149 and 150.