6. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Yigal Allon, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister
  • Abba Eban, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense
  • Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Lt. Gen. David Elazar, Chief of Staff
  • Abraham Kidron, Director General, MFA
  • Ephraim Evron, Dep. Director General, MFA
  • Mordechai Gazit, Director General of Prime Minister’s Office
  • Colonel Bar-On, Aide to Dayan
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Joseph J. Sisco, Asst. Secretary of State for Near Eastern and S. Asian Affairs
  • Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador-at-Large
  • Kenneth Keating, Ambassador to Israel
  • Carlyle E. Maw, Legal Advisor, Dept. of State
  • Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Dep. Asst Secretary for Near Eastern & S. Asian Affairs
  • Harold H. Saunders, NSC Senior Staff
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Gentlemen, since the soup is very hot, we can start business.

We had time to see the Prime Minister and showed her the documents and the draft.2

She agreed to participate in the Cabinet meeting, which will be at her home. And she wants to see you before the Cabinet meeting.3 She is not too well, so don’t exhaust her.

Secretary Kissinger: There is no evidence I can do that. [Laughter]

Every time you give me proposals which I consider totally outrageous, they accept them. [Laughter]

[Page 39]

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: We should continue that way.

Secretary Kissinger: So my standing as an expert is declining.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Mr. Gazit is still working on changes [laughter]—minor ones, ones which the Prime Minister is concerned about.

Secretary Kissinger: Now for the good news.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: By and large we must say you achieved great progress in your visits in Jerusalem and Aswan. We will give you some changes which we think you will consider logical. And we see no reason why there cannot be a signing at Kilometer 101 Friday.4

What we accept is, we accept the geographic concept. [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: It is a great victory, to get Israel to accept its own proposal. [Laughter]

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: But on the southern zone, our Chief of Staff is considering, and we will try to be forthcoming.

Secretary Kissinger: Good.

Ambassador Dinitz: But not southcoming. [Laughter]

Minister Dayan: Suppose we do move on the main line southward—which I think we will do—but the area evacuated by us should be kept by the UN, not by them, and they will maintain all the area they have.

Ambassador Dinitz: They will also move.

Secretary Kissinger: No.

Minister Dayan: They will stay where they are—which is the change in our map. If we didn’t move back, there would be no room for the UN.

Secretary Kissinger: Given their mentality, first of all, this will help. Psychologically, if there is one kilometer you can give them, it will help.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Our General Elazar went to headquarters and he is studying it.

Secretary Kissinger: Good.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: In most drafts there are references to “weapons and armaments,” not forces. So Gazit will change the wording.

Secretary Kissinger: They are extremely allergic to it for political reasons, not as substance.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Can you say “armed forces,” or “forces and armaments”?

[Page 40]

Secretary Kissinger: If you give me that choice.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: On the number of battalions, we had an argument among ourselves, because when we said two–three battalions, we meant it. If you can settle it on 5 or 6, you will be awarded the Ben-Gurion prize.5

Secretary Kissinger: Six is impossible.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: If they stick to 10 and we stick to six, maybe 8.

Secretary Kissinger: Maybe. Well, maybe 9.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon. No.

Ambassador Dinitz: Yigal was not supposed to say that.

Secretary Kissinger: We can’t do it, because if it takes too long, his advisers will turn against it.

Minister Dayan: Battalions have 900.

Ambassador Bunker: Gamasy told me 600.

Secretary Kissinger: We can get a definition.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: So, officially six, unofficially seven to eight. The word “reinforced” worries us a little bit; it needs clarification. It can mean anything.

Minister Eban: Tanks.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: No, not tanks because they are covered.

Secretary Kissinger: His argument was, if you don’t put it in, it will be said that it is only the men and not the support units.

Minister Eban: If it means engineers, let’s be specific.

Secretary Kissinger: So we don’t waste time, have your Chief of Staff come up with a definition of “reinforced” as “such organic units,” etc. He said it would be infantry battalions. But I said he could have APC’s. You never told me . . .

Minister Dayan: I would rather have them define it as not exceeding a certain number of men and not exceeding light arms, or something like that. Not whether or not they have medical corps, etc.

Secretary Kissinger: We have to have precise procedures.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Now we accept the number of thirty tanks, and not one more.

Secretary Kissinger: You think you can handle that?

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It will be public in the Cabinet. And not concentrated. Only for support.

[Page 41]

On artillery: the guiding principle is that we would like their artillery to confine itself to covering and support of their own units but not to be able to hit either the UN or Israeli area. I think it should include also the UN zone.

Secretary Kissinger: It is difficult for them because it means they can’t have it on the East Bank.

My view is they will find it extremely difficult to move back more than thirty kilometers.

Ambassador Dinitz: There are different types of artillery ranges and missiles. Each has its own range. We would like to talk about the principle.

Secretary Kissinger: If you get into that, you would have to inspect every piece. It is an almost hopeless exercise. Gamasy will be delighted with it.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: But the principle is important.

Secretary Kissinger: You will get the principle but no substance.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: With regard to surface-to-air missiles, the principle is they can protect the Egyptian-held areas, but neither the UN zone nor the Israel area should be covered. By the same logic.

Secretary Kissinger: They won’t do it.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: But add . . . We say thirty, you say twenty-five.

Secretary Kissinger: I will try it.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Since we have great faith in you, you will get it.

Secretary Kissinger: No. I will raise anything you want. But I would counsel you as a friend—right now if I get into a negotiation that gets into the artillery and missile situation, it reopens it. Now I can tell him he already accepted it. He will be in the grip of his advisers. Gamasy was furious.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It makes no difference for the protection of his own forces. It makes a lot of difference for us.

Secretary Kissinger: Why?

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: With the new type of missiles they will hit the new types of aircraft flying over our own zone.

Secretary Kissinger: On surface-to-air missiles there is a chance. Because it is not so reciprocal. With the artillery, once you start specifying distances, you are on Gamasy’s territory.

I think there is a thirty percent chance of getting five kilometers more on surface-to-air missiles.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: He won’t retreat from the whole idea because of five kilometers.

[Page 42]

Secretary Kissinger: Well, there is always a point when . . .

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: He didn’t concede an inch.

Secretary Kissinger: Yigal, if you stay on the West Bank and the embargo stays and while the whole world starts up again, you are in an impossible position. Even if you win, which I am sure you will win.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Of course. It will be useful for both.

Secretary Kissinger: Of course. Even if it goes badly, you are not risking much.

Gamasy, when he saw it, was outraged. He says, “That means all my artillery has to go back.”

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It is safer for his artillery!

Secretary Kissinger: He said the President agreed only on the basis of his own map.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: The UN line should be covered.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think I can do that.

Minister Dayan: The key is the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons. If they say, “We want the artillery to take care of our own people,” it is one thing. But if they say they want to cover a further kilometer . . .

Secretary Kissinger: They say you will attack.

Minister Dayan: Then there will be a buffer zone or not? If so, it means the no-man’s land in between will not be covered by the other party. I am not worried for protecting the UN but it means advancing our artillery, and no buffer zone.

Mr. Sisco: But it doesn’t reach the other . . .

Minister Dayan: But he will ask the Finns out.6

Secretary Kissinger: But if he is going to do that, he will move his artillery up.

Minister Dayan: A buffer means they are out of range of the artillery.

Secretary Kissinger: My problem is I have to raise a whole new concept. Given the attitude of Gamasy and Fahmi to this whole limitation scheme, we run a major risk of losing what you have got. I am scared of this artillery problem.

There is no risk in asking for fewer battalions, or a wider zone for SAM’s, but to change the whole concept of the artillery may lose the whole thing.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Whatever limits we ask, we accept for ourselves.

[Page 43]

Secretary Kissinger: But they don’t accept symmetry.

Ambassador Dinitz: It is not a new concept really, because it was in our original position.

Secretary Kissinger: It is not new for you!

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: The next problem is the composition of the UN Security Force. Against our wish, this includes many who don’t have relations with Israel, not to mention those who are hostile. So we want that the elements of the force observing our positions should be composed only of those who have relations.

I am consulting with you. Can we change the composition?

Secretary Kissinger: No. The UN would never do it, and you can’t do it without getting into a brawl in the UN and not getting it anyway. The best way is to let us work with Waldheim.

Mr. Sisco: We have done well this way.

Secretary Kissinger: True, he did well in the Geneva meetings.

I sent him a report.

Ambassador Dinitz: We have a practical problem. The inspection will be as it is now, with the UN and liaison officers; then we can face a situation in which we can be inspected by a country that does not have relations with us.

Secretary Kissinger: Wait a minute. I haven’t raised it with him, but I am not sure he doesn’t think it will be done by aerial photography.

Minister Dayan: I think now it is only by the friendly countries. They inspect the posts, etc. The document says the same procedure.

Mr. Sisco: We can work this out with Waldheim, I am sure.

Minister Eban: It can only be done empirically—but it can be done empirically because he is a pragmatist. In fact, the Security Council does not take any interest in it. It is mostly done by the Secretary-General.

Secretary Kissinger: I am 99 percent certain we can handle it.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: On inspection, we do accept that direct photography will be done by the United States Air Force. They suggest once in a fortnight, you say. We will accept more often.

Secretary Kissinger: Particularly if it is done at irregular intervals.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: And the photographs are given to each side. But each side should be entitled to have flights on its own side.

Secretary Kissinger: It is in the agreement.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: You say the Egyptians didn’t know what we meant by interference with civilian flights. I can tell you what this means. Our regular flights from Ben-Gurion at Lod to Capetown, Nairobi, Johannesburg, go down the Red Sea. We must be assured—or [Page 44] you must be assured by them—that they will never interfere with this. It is important that they know you know this.

Mr. Sisco: Have they ever been interrupted?

Dep. Director General Evron: There is ever the permanent threat of forbidden “defense zones”, and more importantly, of getting the ICAO and its bodies to cancel flight routes along these lines. They are using these threats. So when we fly there we are doing so “illegally.” We are asking that they desist from that practice too.

Secretary Kissinger: They will take the position that this is a disengagement agreement and not a settlement of all outstanding issues. Fahmi will reject it. Sadat may do something. Now I understand your position and can raise it. I will raise it seriously.

Mr. Sisco: When was the last time you have evidence that such a thing happened?

Dep. Director General Evron: Six months ago.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Now a serious problem—the Egyptian prisoners. How many are there? Seventy?

Minister Dayan: Eighty by now. There are new ones every day.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Now we are facing a most complicated internal problem, which you can sense when you met the families Sunday.7 I hate to say it, but it is almost inconceivable that we let the Egyptians go back before we get our prisoners from Syria.

Secretary Kissinger: Then you won’t get an agreement.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It is not that we want to link them, but we need the lists.

Secretary Kissinger: Look, he wrote a letter to Asad, and failed, and he said, you do it. To ask him to raise it is easy. But he cannot agree to leave his here. To link his with Syria I think is a massive mistake.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: The problem is we misled our people, saying Brezhnev gave his word of honor.

Secretary Kissinger: Which is true.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: We said we had an assurance from you.

Secretary Kissinger: If he can’t get the prisoners because it is linked with Syria, he might as well pursue Syrian policy.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: If we could do something in our memorandum of understanding.

Secretary Kissinger: Maybe.

[Page 45]

Minister Dayan: The one thing is that we are responsible for eighty Egyptian prisoners. Such as the mood in the country is, we can’t explain to our people why there is no progress with Syria. Nobody believes us when we say Soviet Russia tried. We did sign an agreement on the exchange of prisoners before, so we fulfill it. This isn’t an exchange but one-sided. In this agreement there is no clause about release.

Secretary Kissinger: We can do it as an understanding. I don’t see how it is in your interest to link them, when the advantage is to split Egypt and Syria, and the result is to break off the agreement. Then he might as well pursue Syrian policy.

Minister Dayan: We do want to release them but we can’t do it now in the agreement on disengagement. That is our situation, not our stand.

Secretary Kissinger: If you give me your assurance you will do it—in March, when disengagement is completed—I can explain it to him. It is not mentioned in the agreement.

Minister Dayan: We don’t want to keep them or feed them. But we can’t commit ourselves now to a blank date.

Secretary Kissinger: He can’t commit himself to this unless I can assure him he will get them at the end of the process. He will say he wants them now, and then I will explain your position to him. For years you have complained that the Egyptians don’t care about prisoners; now you get an Egyptian leader who does care, and you won’t do it.

He won’t sign the agreement without it.

Minister Dayan: Parliament won’t accept it.

Secretary Kissinger: Then it will fail. For two months he has been harassing me and I have transmitted them to you. I believe he has written to Asad because he has got an answer that is consistent with what I have seen elsewhere.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: All we need is the lists.

Secretary Kissinger: But I have to explain it will be done de facto.

Minister Dayan: Explain it to the Prime Minister, because she will have to defend it to Parliament.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: On length, we think 45 days is enough.

Secretary Kissinger: He says 23.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: He doesn’t have to move as far as we do. We need six weeks. It is a big army there.

Secretary Kissinger: All right. It is like the five kilometers. I will do my damnedest. I think I can probably get very close to 45 days if not 45.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: In the paper there is always reference to what we have to do, not what he has to do. You explained his problem. Can we have it rewritten “it should be implemented”?

[Page 46]

Secretary Kissinger: All right, we will look at this.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Gazit will look at it.

Minister Dayan: On the schedule, Gamasy’s proposal is unaccepted. Only the maximum time should be in there. In 48 hours the roads to Suez will be open, and the same time for getting the bodies of the soldiers.

Secretary Kissinger: You want that in the document?

Minister Dayan: I don’t care about the document, but it should be done.

And the third point I want you to know—we allow you to tell Sadat—that we will not remove any civilian installations because most are already removed. [Laughter] Like the port there, the cranes. We were there for two months, bombing and shelling already.

Minister Eban: The scorched earth will be scorched no further!

Minister Dayan: A UN observer can see that after signing, there is nothing else that will be done.

Secretary Kissinger: Let me see if I can delete that paragraph, because it will be more trouble than it is worth. If I say this to Sadat, it will be better to remove the whole paragraph.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Yes.

Secretary Kissinger: I will do my best.

Minister Dayan: The problem is the way the situation is, not the way the paragraph is. The paragraph is no problem.

Secretary Kissinger: If there is any crane left, someone will get courtmartialed. [Laughter]

Minister Dayan: The 48 hours for Suez City is 48 hours after the beginning of evacuation, not after the signing.

Secretary Kissinger: You meet 48 hours after signature, probably at Kilometer 101, to work out the technical means. This is done within five days after that. Then withdrawal starts 48 hours after that. Forty-eight hours after that, the roads will be open. So eleven days after Friday.

The Egyptians will interpret this as a formal obligation to complete the technical negotiations.

Minister Dayan: No, you can give them our word we won’t drag it on.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It should be understood, in case you forget, [to mean] after the Cabinet approves after you come back with the final clarification. We have to get the Cabinet approval and get it ratified in the Knesset next week.

Secretary Kissinger: I am guiding myself by you gentlemen’s assumption that the Knesset will approve it.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: I hope so.

[Page 47]

Secretary Kissinger: No time is lost by the ratification process because the talks will be going on.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Now we have the problem of how to notify our people, and the Knesset. Including the Committee which meets today. We will do our best to hold back the substantive information before the agreement is signed. If you don’t take the New York Times man on the plane.

Secretary Kissinger: Who?

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Terrence Smith said it had to be a massive Egyptian force.

Mr. Sisco: He is the one in Jerusalem.

Secretary Kissinger: Our press complain that I am giving them nothing.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Most of the stories are not true.

We must explain to the Knesset as soon as possible, not earlier than the signing of the agreement.

Minister Dayan: You are too optimistic. I go to the Foreign Affairs Committee tonight. If I tell them, it will be in the press tomorrow. What is more, once we tell the Cabinet today, it is the same thing. Because it is a new proposal, not the same as before. Each one has to go to his own party and tell it to the entire party.

I don’t see how we can get the support of our people without telling them, and it will be leaked.

Secretary Kissinger: It will blow up.

Mr. Sisco: It will be a disaster, I tell you.

Minister Eban: We can’t do it without telling them the advantages for Israel.

Minister Dayan: The critics are saying there are no limitations, that it is one-sided.

Secretary Kissinger: Sadat says that disclosure before the signature is a disaster; and after the signing it is only an embarrassment.

Mr. Sisco: Can you give the general principles without mentioning the figures at all?

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Yes. I am just warning ourselves.

Minister Dayan: The papers say it is a one-sided withdrawal.

It is not a question of dragging it out. We have to have the approval of our Cabinet.

Secretary Kissinger: But it is a fact. If it now blows up so close to success and if your people don’t understand this . . . As far as this group is concerned, it has been an enterprise among friends. Our problem now is the maddening domestic situation you have. It must be more maddening for you than for us. But I am convinced that Sadat has gone [Page 48] beyond the outer edge of what he feels is safe. He has gone further towards us and you. He has got a long trip planned, which he wants to do as an Arab leader, one way or the other.

Minister Dayan: Can you sign Thursday?

Secretary Kissinger: We could do it. I don’t want to go there and give him the sense that you are so eager for it.

Minister Dayan: The only way to handle it is we shall put censorship on it, and if anything is printed, it is not official and can be denied.

Dep. Director General Evron: But they can fly to Cyprus and print it.

Secretary Kissinger: He figures he can subsume the limitations in the glory of getting the territory back. If he has to defend the limitations before he gets the agreement, he is in trouble.

Minister Eban: What can we say to the Cabinet?

Secretary Kissinger: Not that parallel letter of the President’s, but that there are mutual limitations.

Minister Dayan: I won’t even mention that.

Secretary Kissinger: I asked how will you justify the thinning out? He said he will just say he needs to clear the Canal and needs room to put the people in.

Any Israeli crowing that this thing is a great victory . . . In a way you are better off if the press keeps saying you are betraying your country.

Minister Eban: That is normal.

Ambassador Dinitz: You won’t meet the same government here!

Secretary Kissinger: Avoid saying it is Dayan’s proposal, because that means it is all a game.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: Get us a list of the spies they want back.

Secretary Kissinger: I will try for that.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It would be beautiful if it could be done at the same time.

Ambassador Keating: At Kilometer 101 with Henry.

Mr. Sisco: We will bring them in the back of the plane with the press.

Secretary Kissinger: They won’t give Mizrachi unless you release the prisoners when the agreement is consummated. Even that is hard, but I can explain it.

Minister Dayan: Once we give a pledge, we might as well give them tomorrow. There is no point in keeping them.

Secretary Kissinger: If the Syrians and Egyptians get linked together by your action, there is no hope of getting the prisoners back. [Page 49] The only hope is if Sadat emerges with an agreement and enhances the Syrian covetousness for an agreement. If he fails, the Syrians will be vindicated. Then we will lose any possibility of influence and will never get the prisoners back. Maybe the families are not rational enough to understand this.

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: The last item is the Memorandum of Understanding.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think Thursday is possible. I want to leave with a document, of which you have approved every word. I want a map which we can use as an official map. I want a memorandum of understanding. I want to go over again what we have agreed. Then we have to agree what my authority is. Will I have to come back?

We must aim for Friday. There are just too many things to do.

Minister Eban: It would be better for you to come back.

Secretary Kissinger: I will come back.

Dep. Director General Evron: Since the Cabinet meeting is at 5:30, and before that the Secretary will meet with the Prime Minister, I suggest immediately after that, a working group should put into shape all the documents, with the changes.

Secretary Kissinger: Keeping your changes to a minimum. For example, “forces and armaments” may be attainable.

Dep. Director General Evron: We should get together at 9:00 or 9:30.

Minister Dayan: The Chief of Staff will be here at 5:30. I can call on him and tell him.

Secretary Kissinger: Do a map for me which we can append to this document which shows the zones and all the areas turned over to the UN. Adjust the UN zone so there will be some buffer in a few areas. And give us the best you can in the south.

Mr. Sisco: It will be an official map.

Minister Dayan: There will be three zones—the UN, Egyptian and Israeli.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

Minister Dayan: The Egyptian area will include the areas they now hold.

Secretary Kissinger: A kilometer for me here or there.

Minister Dayan: A kilometer for you on the Gulf of Suez will be a pleasure. Come with me, and I will show you Egypt!

Secretary Kissinger: On the Egyptian side, you can define it with the Suez Canal. On the Israeli side, you need a dotted line for your line [Page 50] 200 meters west of the road. Because the letter refers to the Israeli line and “a line as indicated on the attached map.”

So draw a dotted line and say the “zones of limited armaments” or “area.” You don’t mind “zone.”

Mr. Sisco: Don’t use the word “zones.”

Mr. Saunders: There is a partial description in the paper.

Secretary Kissinger: Call it the “line described in Paragraph X of the Agreement.” So it can be published.

Minister Dayan: We will be careful on the Egyptian side because it is defined by the Suez Canal and the Egyptian line.

Secretary Kissinger: Right.

Minister Dayan: “UN forces”?

Secretary Kissinger: Use the language of the agreement. “UNEF.”

Dayan: The map will be ready today.

Secretary Kissinger: Let’s agree on a schedule.

Minister Eban: We will have by now a formulation of the changes on which we would like you to do your utmost. It will be ready. Then there is the problem of the memorandum of understanding.

While the Cabinet meets, the working group will redraft the documents to take into account your comments. Then the documents will be presented again to this group after the Cabinet meeting.

Secretary Kissinger: Then we will do a list of all the things I am to take up and in what manner.

Mr. Sisco: A checklist.

Secretary Kissinger: That we will finish tonight. Notify the Egyptians that I will leave tomorrow at 11:00, and get in at 1:15. I will be back here Thursday.

How do we get all these documents typed? Who is going to bring them? Joe?

Next to no communication is possible. Once I leave Aswan, it will be almost impossible to communicate.

Dep. Director General Evron: I thought this working group would meet immediately following the Cabinet. Around 7:30. At 10:00, a plenary meeting. We will try to prepare all the documents in the meantime.

Mr. Sisco: There is no need to duplicate in the memorandum of understanding points covered in the agreement.

Ambassador Dinitz: Two points: One, the undertaking to reopen the Canal and rehabilitate the cities is between us in the memorandum of understanding. Second, there will be no further Israeli withdrawal until the opening of the Canal.

[Page 51]

Mr. Sisco: Impossible.

Ambassador Dinitz: The Prime Minister is convinced that two weeks later there will be massive pressure to go to the next phase. We have intelligence information that the Russians will be pressing immediately for the next step.

Secretary Kissinger: We will do our best on that.

Minister Eban: What we want is an American assurance.

Secretary Kissinger: We can discuss it in general terms of strategy, but a flat commitment, no. You couldn’t hold us to it anyway.

This is in too absolute terms. We will try to find what we can responsibly do. Certainly it is our intention to go at as leisurely a pace as possible until you can see whether there is an improvement in the situation on the ground.

I told you privately this morning: If you can get the Senators and those intellectuals to ease off on MFN8 so I can use it with Dobrynin . . . Because if they all gang up on Soviet tyranny, etc., and I am supposed to go to the Russians and say “Be moderate towards Israel . . .” So we can use MFN with Russia as we always intended—just to give them enough to keep their appetite whetted. If we can dangle it as a carrot, we have enough to moderate their conduct. If you can do it, this will do you more good than a clause in this memorandum.

If Gromyko reconvenes the Geneva Conference and makes a wild speech, and forces Fahmi and Rifai to imitate him, there is nothing we can do except not go along.

We will use MFN in a coldblooded way, but we need it to whet their appetite. I really want to tell you if we had MFN and the credits to play with, it would do you more good than a clause here.

We will give you some statement anyway.

We will add a sentence, not just communicate the Egyptian assurance [on the blockade].

The sentence [on the arms requests] we will delete. The memorandum of understanding won’t get you one rifle.

Ambassador Dinitz: We don’t mean a specific list of arms, but an understanding that we are undertaking a redeployment that puts us into certain positions, and the U.S. will take this into account in considering the arms requests.

Secretary Kissinger: That is fair enough. It will be helpful, in fact, with our bureaucracy.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 140, Country Files, Middle East, Secretary Kissinger’s Middle East Trip, January 11–20, 1974, Memcons and Reports. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The luncheon meeting was held in the Foreign Minister’s residence. Brackets are in the original. Kissinger and Allon and their parties met earlier in the day at 9:40 a.m. to review Kissinger’s meeting with Sadat on the previous day. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid.)
  2. Apparently a draft of the Egyptian-Israeli Agreement on the Disengagement of Forces attached to memorandum of conversation of the 9:40 a.m. meeting.
  3. Kissinger met with Meir later that day between 4 and 5:30 p.m. at her residence and discussed the Egyptian proposals. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 140, Country Files, Middle East, Secretary Kissinger’s Middle East Trip, January 11–20, 1974, Memcons and Reports)
  4. January 18.
  5. The Ben-Gurion Prize was awarded by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to those who had worked to help humanity.
  6. A reference to the Finnish soldiers who served with the United Nations Emergency Force in the Sinai.
  7. On January 13 in Jerusalem, Kissinger met with representatives of the relatives of Israelis captured or missing in Syria.
  8. A reference to Kissinger’s concern that Israeli officials were encouraging American intellectuals and Senators to delay Most-Favored-Nation status for the Soviet Union until it allowed more Soviet Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union.