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

Following is Secretary Kissinger’s report of his discussions this morning in Jerusalem.

“The Israeli negotiating group this morning rejected completely the latest Syrian proposal on thinning out of zones.2 The Syrians propose a 6–10 kilometer belt on each side with strictly limited forces. The Israelis insist that all artillery and surface to air missiles be moved back twenty-five kilometers out of range of Israeli forward positions. This would require a massive redeployment of Syrian forces which Asad feels he would not survive politically.

“My assessment is that the Israelis are asking the Syrians to protect Israeli settlements on the Golan Heights established in violation of existing resolutions and never recognized by the US. No Syrian president can accept this. The settlements under the Syrian scheme would be no [Page 294] more vulnerable than they were before October 6 or for that matter than they are today.

“Unless the Syrians cave today I shall therefore recess the talks tomorrow.

“There is a slight chance that the Israelis may reconsider but it would require a stiff Presidential message delivered in Washington before the end of business today in Washington.”

Dr. Kissinger thought you may wish to draft such a letter yourself.3 A letter could appropriately state that you have studied Kissinger’s reports of the remaining issues and that these do not seem to outweigh in importance the drastic consequences of a failure or a recess in his mission. You could outline those consequences in terms of our ability to play an active and constructive role in the Middle East and of our continuing ability to support Israel’s needs, concluding with a request to Mrs. Meir to make one more maximum effort to seek a compromise which would permit an agreement. Should you wish me to draft such a letter, I will be pleased to do so.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28–May 31, 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for action.
  2. The meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger took place on May 22 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:50 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 8)
  3. Document 69.