203. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Secretary of State Kissinger
  • Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz
  • Deputy Under Secretary Eagleburger

(Conversation was already in progress when notes began)

Secretary: In the south I told Sadat that the best attainable would be a narrow corridor. He didn’t say Yes.

It’s not clear to us that at the point where a warning station would be, a road is possible There’s almost a sheer drop.

Dinitz: I understood the following on the south: you accept the idea of two roads but the Egyptians don’t like the idea of parallel roads at certain places close together.

Secretary: Precisely. The formal explanation is that they do not like the idea of parallelism. And the second thing is, that they don’t like the idea of having to build their own road.

Dinitz: I’m trying to sum up our joint understandings. You accept the necessity of two roads?

Secretary: That’s right.

Dinitz: The difference is that there are parallel roads close to each other.

Another point is that at the point where the station is at Haman Faroon, you think a road can’t be built on the coast so we will check to see if a road can be built further east.

Secretary: If you give up the mountain, then conceivably a road could go on the other side of it.

Dinitz: A road exists. We want to construct a road here (points to map).

Secretary: The question is can a road be built on the other side.

Dinitz: We would use the existing road; they would build another road.

Secretary: If it’s not impossible to construct it—the ridge lines here are sharply down.

[Page 766]

Dinitz: So you are asking if the Egyptian road can be built here (points to map) but then, again, there is a question of the nearness of the roads.

Secretary: Rabin was there. What does he think?

Dinitz: That it would be difficult, but perhaps it can be done.

Secretary: We haven’t been told that it can’t be done.

Dinitz: There may be space.

I know that the problems in the south can’t be solved here. Maybe the Americans have some engineering ideas though.

Secretary: Eilts thinks the Army will prevent Sadat from accepting the offer from Israel as it now stands.

This is not necessarily a soluable problem. Once you say there is a need for a road, the maximum you can do would be helpful.

Dinitz: In those places where the U.N. zone would be widened.

Secretary: I am looking for visual things. For example, here it’s flat. It looks like there’s about 8 kilometers of flat area here. Near Ras el Suda you could take out that bulge, for example.

In your next proposal you should show as much movement as possible.

Larry, you should tell Sisco when you get back all the questions that were asked.

Dinitz: Now let me go over the timetable. 1) This afternoon when I get back, I will repeat the essence of our conversations to the Prime Minister. 2) I will meet with Sisco tomorrow morning. 3) I will leave Thursday afternoon2 for Israel. 4) The State Spokesman will say on Thursday that in the course of the clarifications Dinitz came at his request to Caneel Bay for a meeting with the Secretary.

You want an idea of the eastern line, plus more on the south.

Secretary: Yes. I’m trying to tell you that the minimum the Egyptians might accept is the eastern slopes.

Dinitz: I understand.

I’ll have to check with the Prime Minister. If we are going to pass an Israeli line to the Egyptians, then maybe we will have to clear it with the Cabinet first. You see, the Prime Minister will say either I am willing to give the Secretary a line and have him tell me whether it is worthwhile to put out in the Cabinet. Or that it won’t satisfy the U.S. That’s the problem as I see it. You want a final, not a bargaining line. Is that right?

[Page 767]

Secretary: Yes. There is no sense in being driven back kilometer by kilometer.

Dinitz: Basically the question is one of principle rather than the line.

Secretary: In the event that you are prepared to get off the summit, then the specific line is not necessary for discussion right now.

It will be very tough for me with Gromyko. I don’t look forward to stalling him for so long. I can’t refuse to see him and I can’t say yes.

Dinitz: You could say you’re still in negotiations.

Secretary: I can’t do that. I must keep them confused. He has no interest in a solution.

I don’t want him to be able to go to the Arabs and say everything else has failed, now it’s up to us.3

Dinitz: I think you overestimate the problem on the international level.

Secretary: And July 24 is the UNEF deadline.

My idea now is to send Atherton to Cairo—or Saunders. I don’t want too high a profile.

Dinitz: Whatever you decide. When will you send him?

Secretary: As early as possible, perhaps Tuesday night. He could be there on Wednesday night, or, well, Wednesday afternoon. But then he would have to go to Alexandria or wherever Sadat is.

He could then meet me in Germany.

I’ll be home on Saturday evening4 or Sunday noon, in any event.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 23, Classified External Memcons, May–December 1975, Folder 3. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place at Caneel Bay in the Virgin Islands.
  2. July 3.
  3. Kissinger sent a message to Fahmy in telegram Secto 6056 from Bonn, July 12, which described his discussion of the Middle East with Gromyko. Gromyko continued to favor conducting negotiations in the framework of the Geneva conference but would not obstruct the current talks. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  4. July 5.