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

Secretary Kissinger has asked that I provide you with the following report.

“I have just completed over four hours of intensive discussions with Mrs. Meir, alone in the first instance, and subsequently with her key Cabinet colleagues.2 I appreciate your telegram of support for the line I intended to take with the Israelis and which, I believe, has now produced some positive results.3

“The Israelis have agreed to drawing a new map which reflects two major improvements over their past position:

a) They have agreed to draw their defensive line west of the entire city of Quneitra; and

b) They have agreed to make certain minor modifications in other parts of the line which would have them withdrawing at certain points a small symbolic distance west of the October 6 line.

“There are a number of other serious problems which remain, such as whether there is a zone of limitation; a buffer zone, and to what point Syrian civil administration will extend. Nevertheless, Israeli willingness to withdraw to a line west of Quneitra and the October 6 line is a step forward. I can represent it with Sadat, Faisal, the Amir of Kuwait and Boumedienne as a line meritorious of their support. We are by no means out of the woods because Asad will almost certainly reject this proposal. It then depends on Arab pressures on him. It ought to be possible to get some or all of the above four to weigh in with Asad. Even though it is probably a less than 50–50 chance that the Syrians will accept this line, we will have made important gains with key Arabs which should help reduce the adverse impact should the negotiations reach an impasse.

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“I will meet with Gromyko tomorrow,4 and I plan to say as little as possible to him regarding where matters stand on the Middle East in order to reduce the possibility that he can involve himself directly in the negotiations in an unhelpful manner. After returning to Israel tomorrow night, at which I hope to receive the new map as described above, with the support of the Cabinet, I will proceed to Damascus on Wednesday morning to make a major effort with Asad.”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1–July 1, 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. Nixon wrote at the bottom of the first page, “Personal Message to H from RN—‛You are doing a superb job against great odds—regardless of the outcome. But let us hope and work for the best.’”
  2. No record of Kissinger’s private discussion with Meir has been found. The subsequent conversation took place on May 5 from 10:15 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 2)
  3. See Documents 40 and 41.
  4. The report of the meeting between Kissinger and Gromyko in Nicosia on May 7 printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974, Document 179.