25. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon1

Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass the following report to you:

“I met with President Assad for four hours last night;2 it was a long, complicated but basically friendly discussion which I think is moving us toward the successful initiation of Israeli-Syrian talks. At the conclusion of the discussion President Assad and I agreed on the following:

“1) The Syrians have authorized me to transmit a list of the total number of Israeli Prisoners of War now held by the Syrians to the Israelis. The list contains 65 names.

“2) Assad has also agreed that Red Cross visits to the Israeli POW’s held by Syria can begin on March 1.

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“3) The Israelis are expected to give me ideas on March 1 on Syrian disengagement for transmission to Syria. I will personally deliver those ideas to the Syrians in Damascus.

“I will be sending Brent Scowcroft a draft press release covering the three points above which I hope to be able to sell to the Israelis when I arrive in Jerusalem this afternoon. If I am successful with the Israelis, the press release can be issued by Ziegler at 2:30 p.m. today (February 27) Washington time. I will be in direct touch with Brent on this as soon as I have further word from the Israelis.”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 129, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East, Folder 1. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. Nixon wrote “good!” at the end of the memorandum.
  2. The conversation between Asad and Kissinger took place on February 26 from 12:10 to 3:25 a.m. at the Presidency in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Box 1028, Presidential/HAK Memcons, January 1–February 28, 1974, Folder 1)