16. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the Department of State1

Secto 115. Subj: KM 101 Signing of Egypt-Israel Disengagement Agreement.

1. Egyptian-Israeli Agreement on Disengagement of Forces was signed at Kilometer 101 at 12:25 p.m. January 18 by Chiefs of Staff Gamasy for Egypt and Elazar for Israel. UNEF Commander Siilasvuo signed as witness. Maw of State Department and Saunders of NSC staff were present in capacity of turning over to UNEF Commander four copies of agreement to be signed, one each for Egypt, Israel, UN and U.S. Others present in tent at table were: for UN, Political Adviser Gorge, Chief of Staff Col. Hogansk, Capt. Fallon; for Egypt, Gen. Magodub and Col. Howaidy, who represented Egypt at Geneva Military Working Group and Fawzy el Ibrashi of MFA who had attended earlier Kilometer 101 talks; for Israel, Gen. Adan, new Southern Front Commander, Col. Sion from Geneva Working Group, Col. Levran and Meir Rosenne, MFA Legal Adviser.

2. In twenty minutes before delegates entered tent, Gorge shuttled back and forth between Egyptian and Israeli tents which flanked meeting tent confirming arrangements for size of each group at table and procedures for signing. Israel wanted a larger group. Both sides also agreed that substance should be discussed after signing and that the U.S. representatives should remain through whole meeting. Neither side wanted to be difficult and problems were settled quickly. Egyptian side entered tent first. Salutes and simple greetings were exchanged when the Israelis entered. Atmosphere at this point was correct and polite, but no more.

3. Siilasvou welcomed those present in one sentence and suggested proceeding immediately to signing. Each of four copies was signed by each of the three signers and initialed on each page, including map attached.2

4. When signing was completed and each copy checked by Siilasvuo and Maw, signed copies were distributed among four groups at table. Signed copies, each in red binder, had been brought by Maw from Jerusalem to Cairo night before. Copies had been verified by Evron for Israel in Jerusalem. Maw and Saunders took copies to Ga[Page 94]masy’s office in Cairo for verification before driving to Kilometer 101. Following signing, Siilasvuo suggested that next item on agenda be setting a date for the next meeting. Gamasy said he was prepared to meet at any time. Elazar suggested 11:00 a.m. January 20, and it was agreed.

6. Siilasvuo asked whether other questions should be discussed such as procedures for the next meeting. Gamasy said he would like to discuss principles which might guide the technical discussions, and Elazar agreed this would be helpful.

7. Gamasy then laid out following five principles, speaking briefly and precisely from notes scribbled in what seemed to be some sort of daily diary:

A. Each side would agree strictly to observe ceasefire on land, sea, and air. He had given order to start at 6:00 a.m. and so far, for first time, there had been no violations. Siilasvuo interjected that Elazar had given similar order and no violations had been reported.

B. Disengagement would be carried out in three phases: (1) In first 15 days, redeployment of Israeli forces from West to East Bank and redeployment over area between two sides. (2) In next 15 days, Israeli forces would be redeployed to lines on map attached to the agreement. Second Egyptian Army would be redeployed. (3) Final 10 days would be used to check positions and armaments on ground and establish procedures for UNEF.

C. Evacuation of Israeli troops from West Bank will start from south and move north so as to hand over Suez–Cairo road during first three days. Gamasy explained that sooner road was free, sooner redeployment of Third Army could begin. It would be difficult for Egypt to begin redeployment of Second Army before Third was taken care of.

D. UNEF should operate between two sides through all phases of disengagement with five kilometers between.

E. There should be no destruction of factories or other installations in the Suez area. It would improve the atmosphere for both sides if Egypt found no such destruction.

8. Gamasy concluded that he was prepared to continue meeting at the Chief of Staff level or at any other level Elazar preferred. He thought it might be useful if he and Elazar attended next meeting to assure that decisions could be taken on spot.

9. Elazar began his response by saying with a smile that maybe it was a good omen that the two sides had very similar ideas about implementing agreement. Generally, he said, Israel accepted the principles Gamasy outlined. Specifically:

A. Israel is prepared for implementation in three stages. He had in mind 14, 14, and 12 days in order to evacuate Western Bank within 28 days.

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B. Starting Israeli evacuation in south and moving north is accepted. Israel understands Egyptian interest in problems of the Third Army and is prepared to cooperate.

C. Israel has similar idea on UN forces, though different in detail. Israel would like to have UNEF move in behind Israeli forces so evacuation areas could be turned over to UNEF and then be transferred to Egypt. Israel had thought of more than five kilometers between the two forces, but this could be discussed.

D. With regard to installations and other property in Suez, Elazar said he would give very strict orders not to change anything from this moment on. But he pointed out that unfortunately war had been fought over this area and there had been a great deal of damage.

10. Elazar concluded by agreeing that the Chiefs of Staff both attend the next meeting and decide there on attendance at future meetings. He agreed that it was important to start the talks well and said Israel has no other interest than to honor the agreement in spirit and letter in order to improve atmosphere for future agreements.

11. Gamasy thanked Elazar for his comments and asked whether he saw the first 28 days as divided into two phases. At this point, Elazar produced map with overlay indicating steps in which evacuation might proceed, emphasizing that map had been prepared only as a basis for discussion, not as a final solution. Elazar said if Gamasy had initial comments Israel would try to adapt its proposal before Sunday.3

12. Gamasy suggested that perhaps Israeli evacuation of the West Bank could be completed in less than 28 days. Elazar said he had no objection in principle and only problem was whether it was logistically possible to finish in a shorter time. He would look at it.

13. Gamasy said he hoped that road to Suez City might be opened even before disengagement began. Elazar said he would not suggest opening the road until after the Israelis had withdrawn north of it so as to avoid both forces on the road at the same time. Gamasy accepted point with regard to military traffic, but said he was talking only at this stage about civilian traffic moving in convoys under UNEF supervision. Elazar said he would come Sunday with an answer.

14. Elazar said he would like arrangements as soon as possible for collecting bodies of dead Israeli soldiers and for trying to locate missing. Gamassy said he was ready to discuss this. Gamasy said he would not raise the question of Egyptian prisoners because he already had answer. With regard to Kabrit, Egypt would like to treat it as part of Third Army for food and supply if Israel did not object. Elazar said [Page 96] there would be no objection. He said Israel would like a map of sea mines in the Gulf of Suez.

15. Siilasvuo asked desires of the parties on briefing the press. Elazar said he would say simply that agreement has benefits for both sides and represents a first step toward a better future. Gamasy indicated he would not comment. Both sides indicated they would leave release of agreement to political levels of their governments.

16. In closing, Siilasvuo indicated an interest in how mine fields would be cleared since UNEF taking over evacuated areas. Elazar said mines would be left, but Israel would provide maps. Gamasy said if Egypt had maps it would concentrate all its engineer efforts on clearing the fields.

17. Siilasvuo askied whether photographers should be invited in. Gamasy preferred photos be limited to delegations leaving tent. Coffee was served, and there was small talk. The meeting ended at 1:15 pm.

18. After the signing, the atmosphere relaxed from correct to cooperative and even cordial as Generals began discussing their business. Setting was combination of desert simplicity and efforts to recognize what everyone present felt to be historic moment. UNEF Honor Guard in field uniforms lined two paths leading from Egyptian and Israeli tents to signing tent. About 150 members of press stationed 150 feet away. Inside dirt-floored signing tent was battered U-shaped table covered with old gray felt and surrounded by slatted wood folding chairs of some other era.

19. Readiness on both sides to get on with implementation quickly and to deal with disagreements as practical problems to be solved characterized approach of both sides. Siilasvuo and Gorge were quick to recognize obvious preparatory work done by Secretary Kissinger to assure parallel thinking on both sides about mechanics of implementation. Both expressed deep gratitude for U.S. contribution, and Siilasvuo asked that his congratulations and thanks be extended to the Secretary.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974. Secret; Nodis; Immediate. Repeated to Cairo, Tel Aviv, and USUN.
  2. Map is not attached, but see the final disengagement map, Appendix B, Map 1.
  3. January 20, the date of the next meeting.