218. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1

Secretary Kissinger asked that the following report of his meeting with President Sadat be passed to you.

[Page 809]

“Four hours of discussion on Friday evening with President Sadat,2 joined by Vice President Murabak, Foreign Minister Fahmy and Defense Minister Gamasy, leads me to the judgment that while Sadat feels the Israelis are being ungenerous, he nevertheless is ready to settle—and to settle expeditiously—on the best deal which proves attainable. He took a realistic approach, discussed the principal issues within the present limits of the negotiations, and distinguished between what he wants and what might prove achievable.

“The atmosphere was warm and cordial, Sadat was relaxed, looked well, and he displayed keen appreciation of the domestic pressures on all parties including Israel.

“His principal focus was getting the Israelis clearly out of the Giddi Pass. He accepted the present Israeli line in the Mitla as one which can plausibly be justified as ‛out of the pass.’ In order to get the Israelis out of Giddi, he has agreed not to insist on moving Egyptian forces forward beyond the present UN zone. He also asks that this concession will also get him a bit more territory along the proposed Israeli forward line.

Sadat has accepted two American early tactical warning posts and the concept of American managed strategic warning stations operated by Israel and Egypt respectively. He wants his strategic warning station in the north rather than in the passes where General Gamasy feels it would be too vulnerable to the Israelis. Sadat expects, and I agreed in principle, that we will provide some sophisticated equipment and technical advice.

“There are two significant problem areas that will require concentrated effort in the next few days in addition to the territorial aspects described above.

“First, is the corridor area in the south of the Sinai which makes possible direct Egyptian access to the oil fields. Fahmy in particular insisted that this area should be Egyptian territory free of military forces rather than a UN zone under Egyptian civil administration. This is a different concept than one previously indicated by the Egyptians, and it will give the Israelis problems. I will know more clearly how best to deal with this new complication after I have explored Israeli thinking in more detail, and once we know the Egyptian thinking in more detail.

“Another area of concern is that the Israelis feel strongly they need to show more political concessions from Egypt in return for giving up tangibles such as the passes and oil fields. We will make a major effort [Page 810] to use what more we can get from the Egyptians on the question of the boycott, political warfare, and reduction of propaganda on Cairo radio, but my impression is that Sadat’s sensitivity and vulnerability to attacks from other parts of the Arab world sharply limit his capacity for further significant concessions.

“Finally, Israel pressed me to seek—and Sadat has agreed—to let an Israeli cargo through the Suez Canal sometime near the end of next week. This will have a very favorable psychological impact in Israel and an equally unfavorable one in various parts of the Arab world.

“I renewed your invitation to Sadat to visit the U.S., and it was obvious from his response that he will be very anxious to do this once and if the agreement has been concluded.

“In short, the negotiations have moved somewhat due to Sadat’s position, a bit slowly. Tomorrow I will make a short stop in Damascus to keep Asad calm before returning to Jerusalem in the evening to convey Sadat’s latest thought.”

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East, Box 4, August 21–September 1, 1975, Volume I (3), Sinai Disengagement Agreement. Secret. Sent for information. Initialed by Ford.
  2. The memorandum of conversation of the meeting between Sadat and Kissinger, which took place on August 22 at 6:30 p.m. at President Sadat’s Guest House in Mamura, Alexandria, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 23, Classified External Memcons, May to December 1975, Folder 3.