199. Backchannel Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the Ambassador to Egypt (Eilts)1

8. 1. You should pass through Fahmy following response from President Ford to President Sadat’s latest letter, emphasizing that it [Page 744] was sent through same privacy channel you used in transmitting Sadat letter.2

2. Begin text:

Dear Mr. President:

Ambassador Eilts has conveyed your private letter to me, and I want to respond in the same spirit of personal trust and complete candor.

You know from the Ambassador of my disappointment with the Israeli position, which I nevertheless felt we had to relay to you in order to give you the opportunity to form your own judgment.

After reviewing carefully the conterproposal which Deputy Prime Ministers Fahmy and Gamasy outlined on your behalf to Ambassador Eilts,3 I have come to the judgment that the best way to proceed is as follows.

I believe that to pass your proposal formally to Israel at this time would in all probability lead to a termination of negotiations. As a next step, I am therefore sending a formal message to Prime Minister Rabin requesting Israel to reconsider its position.4 I will inform you as soon as I have received Israel’s reply, and we can then determine together how best to proceed.

Meanwhile, I am proceeding on your assurance that your Salzburg formulations stand,5 provided your fundamental requirements of Israeli withdrawal from the passes and the oil fields are met. I appreciate your expressions of confidence, Mr. President, and want to reiterate my determination to achieve early progress, in whatever way proves most feasible, toward peace in your area.

With warm regards and personal good wishes, Gerald R. Ford. End text.

3. FYI: In conveying foregoing, if you believe it would be helpful, you may make the point as your personal view that there is a high probability that Egyptian map would be leaked once it was given to Is[Page 745]raelis. Given leaks that have already occurred from Israel with respect to the Israeli proposal, this would reveal graphically the present irreconcilability of Israeli and Egyptian positions and make matters much more difficult should we subsequently put forward our own proposal based on what we know the Egyptian position is from Salzburg talks and Sadat’s latest letter. End FYI.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Backchannel Messages, Box 5, Sandy Circuit, June 1975, Incoming. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Immediate. Sent with the instruction to deliver at the opening of business.
  2. The letter was sent in a backchannel message from Eilts to Kissinger, June 25. In the letter to Ford, Sadat complained “that the Israelis are neither willing nor capable, for one reason or another, to move along the long and arduous road to peace.” Sadat expressed his belief in Ford’s “sincerity and determination” to prevent stagnation in the disengagement negotiations, but he insisted that “the present Israeli attitude is an obvious result of the continuous United States pampering to Israel.” Without movement, Sadat would call for the convening of the Geneva Conference “to which all the parties should be invited, including the P.L.O.” He concluded that it was “high time for the United States, as a way out, to propose an American map reflecting its proposals in order to avoid a complete and drastic deterioration of the situation.” (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 6, Document 197.
  4. See Tab A, Document 200.
  5. See Documents 177 and 178.