41. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir1

Dear Madame Prime Minister:

I am writing to you as I am flying in Air Force One to Spokane, Washington.2

I have read detailed reports from Secretary Kissinger on his talks with you and your colleagues. I understand from his reports that your discussions are continuing and that today he leaves for Damascus with your latest ideas.

I wish only to convey to you at this time a few brief observations. I believe that the arguments which Secretary Kissinger made regarding the consequences that would ensue if the negotiations failed as a result of the Israeli position on this matter were, if anything, understated. The present peace-making effort is crucial to Israel’s future and the ability of the United States to go on helping as it has.

There are positive trends in the area which we believe it is essential to encourage because they serve both the short and long range interests of Israel and the United States. You cannot take for granted that the patterns of the past will be automatically repeated. These patterns of the past, as you may recall, required a worldwide alert and a massive airlift which I personally ordered over strong objections from elements of the Congress.

Madame Prime Minister, I have been Israel’s friend for a long time. I understand the heavy responsibilities you and your colleagues bear for Israel’s present and future security, and I believe you know there are few others in the world who know as I do what responsibility is. It is in this spirit that I underscore how essential it is for Israel in its own interest to grasp the opportunity which exists in the present situation.


Richard Nixon3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1–July 1, 1974. No classification marking. A handwritten notation at the top of the first page reads, “Hand delivered to Min Shalev, 12:40, 5/4/74.”
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon departed Phoenix, Arizona, on May 4 at 8:03 a.m. Mountain Standard Time and arrived in Spokane, Washington, at 10:37 Pacific Daylight Time. (Ibid., White House Central Files)
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Nixon signed the original.