211. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The Middle East


  • The Secretary
  • Under Secretary Sisco
  • Assistant Secretary Atherton
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Saunders
  • Jerry Bremer, Notetaker

The Secretary: Actually didn’t you think Dinitz’s behavior was poor?2

Sisco: It was a very bad show. He got very emotional and played the Mr. Negative role.

The Secretary: His attitude was that this is an outrage, that there are no Egyptian concessions at all.

Sisco: It’s partly posturing but I must say it was unattractive.

The Secretary: No, I wish it were posturing and didn’t reflect their inability to understand the problem.

(Secretary’s interrupted for a phone call.)

I thought it was a really revolting performance. To say that the Egyptians didn’t do anything.

[Page 790]

Sisco: Did he ease off at all with you when you were alone?

The Secretary: He wanted an assurance before he gave the fallback that that’s all they wanted. He did say he thought the forward line could go forward a couple of kilometers beyond the UNEF line. Sadat has already accepted their eastern line and the fallback forward line. If they just put it forward.

I’ll advise Sadat to move his line halfway towards the UNEF line. That gives him five kilometers and he’ll settle for two. Tell him not to propose moving his troops across the canal. I can see it working except for the six stations. We know from the Fahmy cable3 that they will yield. It is only reasonable that the Egyptians get two stations in the north. What’s in the way now is the six U.S. stations. I think they’ll sell them for cash. They’ll demand military equipment in return. The stations are not in their interest anyway. The only thing I saw in the stations was that they’d force them to go to the Congress. I’m optimistic. I think it may work.

Atherton: If we can work out the memorandum of understanding.

Sisco: We’ll buy ourselves to mid-’77 with it.

The Secretary: You buy yourself to mid-’77. I’ll be making $300,000 a year by then.

Sisco: I don’t know. Ford will be re-elected and you’ll have to reassess your determination by then. He did a good job at breakfast. I don’t mind his over-promising.

The Secretary: I’m furious with the Greeks and I think he should raise hell.

Now we must keep the Egyptians calm. Explain to Fahmy that now that I know his fallback, which the Israelis don’t, we can move much faster. My tentative idea is to move to the shuttle about August 18 and I have asked Rabin to cancel his trip to Austria. That way we can get it done by the end of August. On the political conditions, my impression is the Israelis won’t go beyond what we have said in Salzburg.4

Sisco: Say, “I think that they will ask, but we’ve made clear that the Egyptians cannot go beyond what was discussed in Salzburg.” I think we should say also that we are making progress.

The Secretary: I think I can now see a way this can go to a conclusion. Only the six stations are standing between us plus some of that stuff in the south. But if the Israelis agree to that road, the Egyptians [Page 791] will let them use the road and the new one will never get built. (Secretary is interrupted for a phone call to Senator Case.)

Sisco: He (Senator Case) has been just awful. I don’t know what’s wrong with him.

Atherton: Every conversation we’ve had with him has been accusatory.

The Secretary: He accused me of misleading the committee, what was it about?

Bremer: On the oil sharing.

The Secretary: That’s right. When I testified he accused me of misleading them on the fact that we would under certain almost inconceivable circumstances have to share our domestic oil. Anyway, is Pickering on the way up there?

Atherton: He will go as soon as he gets an appointment. I think it will clear the air a bit.

The Secretary: I think Pickering should take this to the others also.

Sisco: Not a bad idea. (Secretary is interrupted for a phone call.)

The Secretary: Rabin wants to meet the President in Europe. I think the President has to tell him he won’t take no for an answer.

Atherton: Undoubtedly he wants to talk about the bilateral commitments.

Saunders: We just got through telling Asad there was no time.

The Secretary: But where would it take place?

Atherton: In Bonn.

The Secretary: It would have to be Bonn.

Saunders: And it is the same weekend that Asad couldn’t come.

Atherton: It would certainly not help our credibility with Asad.

The Secretary: The other thought I had was that I might cut out of the trip in Romania and Yugoslavia and drop down to Egypt and Jerusalem for a few days. There would be no shuttle. Just to get the framework established.

Atherton: It would certainly help with the Egyptians. There will be lots of loose ends.

The Secretary: Which is better? (Secretary is interrupted for a phone call.)

I’m a little worried about Rabin meeting the President in Europe. I don’t know when or how to get the President ready and how to have the talks without everyone in Europe listening. You might be able to do it in Helsinki. But that’s really rubbing the Russians’ noses in it. Also, it leaves the Egyptians out. I think it’s better if I go to Egypt and Israel for one day each and get the line settled.

[Page 792]

Sisco: The objection may be that if the Israelis have a meeting with the President, Sadat won’t like the beginning of the shuttle to begin without having it finished.

The Secretary: How about asking Fahmy? Say, to speed up the progress, I could peel off and spend a day in each place.

If this is another Israeli trick, I will be furious. You know Simcha said is it possible for you and Rabin to talk in Europe. I said I’m free on the 30th. If the President sees him, it cannot be until August 8. Then there’s no Cabinet meeting before the 12th.

Sisco: That’s right and whatever he gives he will give in exchange for the meeting with the President. The President will not be able to give that kind of categoric assurance.

The Secretary: I think we can settle the lines with what we have. The warning stations worry me. He must move the forward line back too.

Sisco: Maybe Sadat can buy two stations. Six is a lot.

The Secretary: He can’t buy any.

Sisco: He’s worried about the Russian angle perhaps.

Atherton: The Israelis made it clear they want the bilateral assurances pinned down first.

The Secretary: When the President sees Rabin, there will be 500 more newsmen. Any country where he does it will feel he’s taking away from his visit there. Therefore, it can only be at the end of the trip which is another ten days.

Atherton: He doesn’t need that much time. They could just do an airport meeting.

The Secretary: Oh, come on! He’s leaving Belgrade at 6:00 p.m. He has Miki at 10:30 the next morning at the end of an 11-day trip and after 14 hours of flying. You guys have got to be kidding.

Saunders: Can you just say it’s physically impossible?

The Secretary: I think I have to say it’s out of the question and I’ll check with the President on the idea of my going. And anyway, there’s no excuse for not putting forward their position. I’ll say we want their position.

Sisco: I think you should go easy on your peeling off from the trip.

Atherton: I’d suggest not putting it in a message.

Sisco: I agree. We’re basically on course.

The Secretary: If the Israelis will put forward their fallback, we’re on course.

Atherton: How was it with Dinitz this morning?

The Secretary: He doubted they could forward anything.

[Page 793]

Sisco: He was snotty.

The Secretary: And disrespectful.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 346, State Department Memorandum of Conversations, Internal, July 1975. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Department of State. Brackets are in the original.
  2. Kissinger met with Dinitz earlier that day from 11:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. to present the Egyptian counterproposal. (Memorandum of conversation, July 23; ibid., CL 158 Geopolitical File, Israel, July 23–31, 1975) On July 20, after his return to Cairo, Eilts met with Sadat, Fahmy, and Gamasy to give them the latest Israeli proposal. In another meeting the next day, Sadat gave Eilts a counterproposal and a second “fallback” proposal. (Telegrams 7122, July 21, and 7171, July 22, from Cairo; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. The cable is not further identified. Possibly a reference to telegram 7226 from Cairo, July 23. (Ibid.)
  4. See Documents 177 and 178.