9. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister
  • Abba Eban, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense
  • Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Mordechai Gazit, Prime Minister’s Office
  • Avraham Kidron, Director General, MFA
  • Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, MFA
  • Lt. General David Elazar, Chief of Staff
  • Colonel Bar-On, Aide to Dayan
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large
  • Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
  • Carlyle Maw, Legal Adviser, Department of State
  • Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff

Secretary Kissinger: I promised Sadat I would let him know by two or three o’clock where we stand.2

Deputy P.M. Allon: There will be a Cabinet meeting today.

Secretary Kissinger: I went over the list of your concerns, which I will go over.

He suggests the best way to deal with the pressures is to adjourn the Geneva Conference until April. Then the Russians can’t do anything and the other Arabs can’t do anything.

I won’t go to Kilometer 101.

Deputy P.M. Allon: You will be flying over Kilometer 101.

Secretary Kissinger: And shot at by both sides.

Minister Dayan: One side hitting and the other side missing. American weapons are superior! [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: His Chief of Staff said the Hawk’s are better than SAM’s except for the altitude.

[Page 71]

Minister Dayan: Have they placed their orders yet?

Secretary Kissinger: It could be arranged.

It was an emotional meeting. Gamasy walked out.

Sadat will go to Syria, so (1) it is his agreement, not an American agreement. Second, he said it is essential to see him without Khaddam, and (3), he said he will raise the matter of the lists of your prisoners.

Deputy P.M. Allon: We want Red Cross visits, too.

Secretary Kissinger: I know. You are getting it for nothing.

He showed me a message which Asad sent to him yesterday which said he could conduct disengagement talks with Israel. The question cannot be raised without the lists. He said he had tried, but Asad would not promise the lists. But the combination of him and me was the best chance of getting them.

He is going to leave Damascus by 10:00; I will arrive by 11:00.

Should we wait for your Chief of Staff?

I told Keating that if he cannot plan a military coup secretly, he can’t do the job. [Referring to a report in this morning’s Israeli press that the U.S. Embassy was plotting with the Israeli military against the Government.]

Deputy P.M. Allon: Our press, until now, has been very good. Moshe will see the editors today to warn them about tomorrow.

Secretary Kissinger: One thing you should watch for is, I saw in the Jerusalem Post that this is the same as the interim agreement you offered in 1971.3 This you have to watch.

I went through the agreement and the military provisions with him, and he accepted 90 percent again. He said, “There is only one issue: Do we want to make peace or not? If we want war, we can get 1,000 tanks across in two days.” He said you both should begin with the attitude that both sides want peace.

He said, “Tell the Israelis that as a sign of my good faith I will keep no tanks on the East Bank. If they say anything about it I will send them across. I will keep thirty there until the disengagement is completed, then remove them.”

He said he had to take a trip through the Arab world because he has certain necessities.

Then I had a meeting with Gamasy and Fahmi. Gamasy was furious; he said he would not sign. He said you can fool the people but not the army; the army knows what it means.

[Page 72]

He said now he has five divisions, 800 tanks, and 700 artillery pieces there, which he now has to remove. “The Army will know what we are doing.”

So I went back to Sadat. There are two points he wants, which I will mention. I said, “Are we hurting you?” He said, “Yes, but the army first did not want to go to war, and now they don’t want peace. I will take the responsibility.”

Let me take care of the collateral things. [He looks over Israeli checklist from the previous day, Tab A.]4

—“The Canal cleared and open within a specific period.”

He told me it would start on the day disengagement is completed from the West Bank. He will deny it if you speak of it. He says he will begin at the southern end, where he doesn’t need so much equipment. And will clear the Bitter Lakes. As for the opening, he could do it in four to six months, but he could stretch it out, if we wanted, from the American point of view vis-à-vis the Russians.

He also wants to build another Canal.

Minister Dayan: A practical project, or a scheme?

Secretary Kissinger: He will give me the papers tomorrow. He says a Peruvian firm gave it to him.

Deputy P.M. Allon: East or west of the Canal?

Secretary Kissinger: East of the Canal.

Deputy P.M. Allon: At the expense of the UN zone or the Israeli zone?

Secretary Kissinger: That will be an argument, I am sure. And whether he can dump the dirt on your side.

He will declare Port Said a free port.

“Substantial demobilization”—He will do it if you do it. Again, with respect to the other Arabs, he won’t do it if you talk about it.

Minister Dayan: Can we interpret “significant” into something practical? Say, half?

Deputy P.M. Allon: Can he be more specific?

Secretary Kissinger: I can try it tomorrow.

It is not an exact comparison, because you can mobilize faster.

Minister Dayan: It is not symmetric, because half for us is 70,000 and for him 400,000.

What will be the ratio of regulars as opposed to reserves to be demobilized?

[Page 73]

Secretary Kissinger: He didn’t say.

Minister Dayan: I ask, more for curiosity.

Secretary Kissinger: If you tell me what you intend, I can—if I have a social conversation—mention it to him and see what he says.

“Information on missing Israeli soldiers.”—He said he didn’t understand the question; he had no Israeli prisoners left, but if you addressed specific questions he would see what he could do.

Minister Dayan: We could give a list of the missing, mostly pilots.

Secretary Kissinger: He assures me he has no prisoners. He said in an earlier period they held some.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Maybe they are held in the hands of other units—Iraqis, Palestinians.

Secretary Kissinger: I didn’t ask. I will try that.

Minister Dayan: The Iraqis asked for some prisoners from the Syrians so that the Iraqis could ask for an exchange for Israeli pilots: Maybe Egypt did the same.

Secretary Kissinger: I will raise that.

[Elazar comes in]

UNEF composition.”—This is taken care of by the Agreement.

Oh, Mizrachi and Levy.—Levy he says he has not yet found the facts on, but he is looking. Mizrachi will be released when you are back on the line. But he absolutely insists his prisoners must be released at the end of the process. I explained your Parliamentary process; I said it couldn’t be this week. He said okay, but it had to be done.

Gamasy later said that if this keeps up they will kidnap some Israelis. You will force him. He raised it several times. There was a debate on how many it had to be. Gamasy said thirty; Fahmi said five would do.

Minister Dayan: When we get the lists from Syria, we would release his right away, and it would be linked with Mizrachi in the package.

Secretary Kissinger: If you don’t get the lists, you still have to release them.

Even if you make the most treacherous interpretation, it will be hard for him to explain why you get your prisoners and he doesn’t.

Deputy P.M. Allon: It has to be simultaneous.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, it will be. I more or less determine when Mizrachi gets released because I have to request it.

Deputy P.M. Allon: And Levy?

Secretary Kissinger: Levy couldn’t be a problem, Sadat said. He didn’t know he had him.

[Page 74]

They will be released no later than when the forces are back at the disengagement line.

Minister Dayan: We will give the Egyptian prisoners as part of the disengagement agreement, so it is simple. But if we can get a list earlier, it would make it much easier for us to release them earlier.

Secretary Kissinger: That is a good argument. I will make that argument in Damascus.

Deputy P.M. Allon: I have got a point about opening access between Suez and Cairo. Maybe connect this with Mizrachi.

Secretary Kissinger: No, I will explain that.

“Aerial reconnaissance”—he again confirmed. I said it would be at irregular intervals, so he couldn’t move it all in one day!

UNEF composition.”—I explained your position, and he said that would be no problem. That is the way it is now. On liaison officers, their concern was that Israelis didn’t inspect their positions. It is the same as yours.

On “UNEF withdrawal”—they said it won’t arise.

On Bab El-Mandeb, there was a tremendous fight with Fahmi who wanted not to mention Israeli ships but only free passage.

Minister Eban: They have said that for twenty years.

Secretary Kissinger: On the Canal, we had [omission in the original] allowing ships at the end of the state of belligerency. Fahmi said it was intolerable, that it had to be in the final peace agreement. When I said this to Sadat, he said “Tell the Israelis I mean what I said—at the end of belligerency.”

Ambassador Dinitz: We received a cable from Washington about notifying them in advance of ships coming through.

Secretary Kissinger: That will end. He knows it. I will raise it again. He told me his military wanted them to stop every tenth ship; he rejected it because he would go through hell over every ship. We’ll put it in the memorandum of understanding.

—On civil air flights to Africa: He promises if you don’t fly over Egyptian territory, and stay over the Red Sea, he won’t interfere. He promises you no Egyptian interference.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Good.

Secretary Kissinger: On the specifics of the U.S. proposal you both sign, he says we can say tonight that the U.S. has made a proposal on limitations which has been agreed to by both sides. So we don’t have to keep it secret. He says it would be an extraordinary sign of good faith on your side if you have a secret session of the Knesset from which it would leak. I have convinced him it will leak.

Deputy P.M. Allon: There are no secret sessions.

[Page 75]

Secretary Kissinger: He is going through the Arab world and wants this help.

Minister Dayan: We can meet him half way. We will inform the Knesset that the details will go to the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Deputy P.M. Allon: What would you prefer to have, a good press or a bad press? [Laughter]

Secretary Kissinger: A moderately good press.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Whichever would help you in America.

Secretary Kissinger: As long as you don’t say I got a tremendous victory.

Deputy P.M. Allon: We couldn’t get that if we tried.

Secretary Kissinger: This is a good agreement.

Deputy P.M. Allon: It is not a bad agreement. [Laughter]

Minister Eban: “Good agreement” in Israeli translates into “not a bad agreement.”

Secretary Kissinger: On the schedule, he agreed to 28 days. You told me thirty, and I took the liberty of saying 28.

General Elazar: Fourteen days for the first phase and fourteen for the second.

Secretary Kissinger: Gamasy—unless he is an extraordinarily good actor—I had several meetings with them—his problem is what orders he has to give. On SAM’s he said he will have to go through weeks of complicated maneuvers around and then stop them at some point. I believe this.

Minister Dayan: He will have tanks on the East side and we will have no forces on the west.

Secretary Kissinger: The tanks won’t be a problem. Gamasy has the opposite argument. He wants you to let him move the Third Army—he thinks you will either force him where to move because your forces still are there, or you will keep them trapped until the last phase. It is not enough to open the roads, he says, but there has to be some territory where he can put them. You know what he means.

General Elazar: Yes.

Minister Dayan: That we will not quarrel with, if he means it.

Secretary Kissinger: He says he wants to thin out the Second and Third Army symmetrically. He doesn’t want the Third Army kept bottled up until the last phase.

General Elazar: That is not a problem.

Secretary Kissinger: And he wants to be able to move to his territory. He gave us a description. I cannot judge it, but you could do a different description which achieves the same objective.

[Page 76]

Assistant Secretary Sisco: May I say I think how you enter this in the next ten days, your attitude, will make a tremendous difference.

Secretary Kissinger: I agree.

General Elazar: Symmetrical thinning of the Second and Third Armies I can accept, provided it is symmetrical to ours.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. I will do it. Can I tell them today that you agree in principle that the Second and Third Armies could be thinned out symmetrically, and you will give him the room he needs behind him? And that you will go into details at Kilometer 101? He did not want me to confirm the details, but the principle.

[Dr. Kissinger gives Elazar Tab B, the Gamasy proposal.]5

The “first seven days” I wouldn’t pay any attention to.

He says by Thursday6 the two roads to Suez should be open; he will on that day give you the dead bodies.

General Elazar: [Reads the Gamasy proposal] It is exaggerated.

Secretary Kissinger: I am sure it is negotiable. His concern is not to have the Third Army trapped until the last day.

General Elazar: We agree to it in principle.

Secretary Kissinger: I am sure it can be worked out if you are reasonable.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Can you be reasonable, Dado?

General Elazar: Yes.

Secretary Kissinger: He [Sadat] will give back the dead bodies by then, and he also said—this is sentimental—it is the wedding day of his daughter and it would make a terrific impact.

Deputy P.M. Allon: We are not invited?

Secretary Kissinger: I knew you would make a cynical comment.

Thirdly, I said if we didn’t get the oil embargo lifted we would not encourage you to withdraw. He needs some act to justify it—a signature is not enough. But the opening of the two roads would be enough.

Minister Dayan: I think soon after the meeting of the Knesset we can do it.

Secretary Kissinger: That is why he said Thursday.

Minister Dayan: And at the same time we get the bodies.

Secretary Kissinger: He says he has quite a few. I spoke of the bodies in the Third Army area; he corrected me and said the Second Army, too. He said you would get all of them in the same time frame.

General Elazar: When?

[Page 77]

Secretary Kissinger: Thursday, I don’t know whether it is possible in one day. But he said so.

Deputy Director General Evron: Can you ask him tomorrow morning?7

Minister Dayan: Suppose we get the bodies. We shall take off the check posts.

Secretary Kissinger: That is his definition of opening the roads.

Minister Dayan: Every population can go in or go out. The same thing with supply, it is all right. But let them not bring in any military supply. Suez City is theoretically a city.

Secretary Kissinger: Let’s get that clear. You don’t mind convoys of trucks, but not artillery, and tanks.

Minister Dayan: And ammunition, and shells.

Secretary Kissinger: I am confident that he wanted the road open in order to get his troops back.

Deputy P.M. Allon: And some guests to the wedding will be coming from Suez. It will be symbolic.

Minister Dayan: We have thousands of troops and equipment there on the roads, and need it to move ourselves.

Secretary Kissinger: Good point. But as long as you don’t block the roads.

Minister Dayan: No, we will be straightforward.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Is there any hint about the number of dead soldiers?

Secretary Kissinger: No, but I got the impression it was larger than I thought.

Deputy P.M. Allon: It is not small.

Minister Dayan: We don’t object to vacating the Second and Third Army areas simultaneously but his proposal is unacceptable.

Secretary Kissinger: But if I can tell him you accept in principle and will work it out. I don’t want to get into details.

Assistant Secretary Sisco: Could we understand what your problem is?

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t want to get into it.

General Elazar: They want us to leave 60 to 70 percent of the West Bank in the first seven days.

Minister Dayan: You can assure President Sadat that even though we don’t accept Gamasy’s specific details, we accept the principle. There is no problem.

[Page 78]

Secretary Kissinger: The Israeli forces would be across the Canal in 28 days instead of 30 days.

Now, the Agreement. They want to call it “The Egyptian-Israeli Agreement in Pursuance of the Geneva Conference.”

Deputy P.M. Allon: We have no objection to it.

General Elazar: It is a strange, “in pursuance of a conference.”

Secretary Kissinger: On paragraph A, they do not accept “hostile,” but they agree to all “military or paramilitary.”

Deputy P.M. Allon: There is no objection, gentlemen.

Minister Dayan: It is better than nothing.

Secretary Kissinger: On paragraph B, there was some heartache about the Egyptians being mentioned first, and some about the fact there is no way to tell what is going on. But they accepted. It stays as it is.

[He hands over copies of the Agreement at Tab C and the Proposal at Tab D.]8

On paragraph 2, they accept it but they wanted to delete the sentence about liaison officers and move it to paragraph 5 where it makes sense.

Minister Dayan: There is no problem. They are right.

Secretary Kissinger: Paragraph 3 they accept.

Paragraph 4 they accept.

We got them to drop the paragraph on no dismantling of installations.

Minister Dayan: You didn’t tell them what was happening?

Secretary Kissinger: No, I said it would avoid contention about what was destroyed in the war.

Minister Dayan: That is a good argument.

Secretary Kissinger: In this paragraph [5] they wanted to take out the sentence from paragraph 2 and put it here.

Paragraph 6 they accept.

Paragraph C they accept with 30 days and put in “aegis of the UN,” for the Kilometer 101 talks.

Deputy P.M. Allon: It is a military arm of the UN, not a civilian one.

Secretary Kissinger: The same procedure as now.

They have already got Siilasvuo in Cairo now.

[Page 79]

They took another run at putting in 2429 but we didn’t accept it.

Deputy P.M. Allon: What about B–7?

Secretary Kissinger: It is dropped.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Are there two lines for the signature?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, it is the same document.

Ambassador Keating: Speaking as a lawyer, may I suggest that we not have the last two lines on a separate page?

Secretary Kissinger: Very good point. We should have some text on the signature page.

On the Proposal [Tab D]: we settled on eight battalions and 7,000 men. This is what produced an absolute uproar from Gamasy. He says you are asking him to have the Egyptian infantry left there without any anti-aircraft, without tanks, and without artillery, in a way that is humiliating, in a way that is demoralizing for his soldiers who have never seen anything like this.

He wanted to drop 1 (b), because he said it was covered elsewhere. I rejected it. On (b) he said he had to have an exception for mortars or howitzers. He suggested “mortars and howitzers of a calibre up to 122mm (M–3).” Sadat said “howitzers of a calibre which cannot reach the opposing lines.”

Minister Dayan: The opposing line is the Israeli line? At twenty kilometers?

Secretary Kissinger: That depends on where you put them. Gamasy says if you have 6,000 men, with 30 tanks, that means four men in a tank and a Headquarters. Some are in engineering units. So how many batteries would he put in anywhere, protected by only 7,000 men and thirty tanks? He asked me to ask the Chief of Staff.

Minister Dayan: He speaks about eight battalions, and wants artillery.

Secretary Kissinger: Artillery he yielded on. “Antitank missiles” he wants too. He said they are on vehicles with rubber tires.

Minister Dayan: And are very good.

Secretary Kissinger: The M–3 he says has a range of 11.8 kilometers, and there is one model D–3, which has a range of 15 to 18 kilometers. I asked, “Can you tell from the air?” He said no. But he said the UN could inspect it.

Minister Dayan: Can I suggest something constructive? We agree to howitzers but specify a range of 11.8 kilometers.

[Page 80]

Secretary Kissinger: Let’s say a “range no more than 12 kilometers.” People would ask where we got 11.8; 12 we can justify by distance.

Minister Dayan: And secondly, there should be a limitation of numbers. He says he doesn’t want a number of supporting arms. But there can’t be an unlimited number. And mortars, there is a question of distance.

General Elazar: It is a question of the calibre.

Minister Dayan: In principle, if he speaks about supporting weapons, they must be limited by number. Mortars and howitzers.

Secretary Kissinger: They are very angry also about the anti-aircraft restrictions.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Which angered them more, the anti-aircraft or the artillery restrictions?

Secretary Kissinger: I think if they have to choose, they will take the SAM’s.

General Elazar: About the artillery, we are talking about forces defending the Canal. There is no possibility for defending forces by artillery there. They would have to place them across the Canal.

Secretary Kissinger: But it is a moral question.

General Elazar: They will be able to reach our forward line.

Secretary Kissinger: I said this, and they said you have few forces there.

Ambassador Keating: Why not the second alternative?

Secretary Kissinger: “No howitzers which can reach the other line.”

My theory is that it is better to give it to Gamasy than to Sadat. Keep it closer to what Gamasy wants.

Minister Dayan: There are parts there, near the lakes, where they can’t push the artillery back. About one-third or more of the area; they have to be on the other side of the lake.

Secretary Kissinger: Gamasy wanted all this out.

Incidentally, I didn’t tell them you would accept eight battalions and 7,000 men. I told them I would take it to you.

Deputy P.M. Allon: It doesn’t serve the Egyptian interest either, except for their morale.

Secretary Kissinger: Gamasy said he would be crazy to put anything across under these restrictions.

On air forces [paragraph 6], they wanted “up to their respective lines,” instead of “over their respective territory.”

[Page 81]

On “no permanent fixed installation for missile sites,” he said, “This I am accepting for Begin.”10 [Laughter]

On surface-to-air missiles, Gamasy says their experience with the SAM–2 is that at a low level, thirty kilometers is the effective range. Second, you don’t drop your bombs right over the line; you have airplanes drop your bombs about five kilometers back.

Deputy P.M. Allon: That depends on the supplies from America.

Secretary Kissinger: No, we are not talking about standoff, but you have to do it five kilometers back anyway. He says 25 kilometers is the effective range; he will give you 30.

General Elazar: The question is low-level, which is for attacking—but we are not attacking. We are worried about high-level reconnaissance.

Minister Dayan: We will consider the range, and howitzers.

It is a fact that there are parts there where they cannot keep artillery on the other side. Near the lakes.

Secretary Kissinger: One point Fahmi made is that if you are brutal about any point of this agreement, you give them the maximum incentive to break it. It is a lousy agreement for them.

Minister Dayan: There should be a limitation on howitzers.

Secretary Kissinger: You are better off giving them no artillery. He can’t accept so many restrictions by numbers. He says he wants artillery that is “organic.”

I frankly think that the humiliation already of 30 tanks is so great that he will say “forget the howitzers.”

Minister Dayan: Suppose they agree to eight battalions each that have four howitzers, that is 32. How it will appear in the agreement, that is another thing. You know part of the UN zone is only 4 kilometers wide.

Secretary Kissinger: Can we express it in a number other than a restrictive number of howitzers?

Deputy P.M. Allon: Dayan’s proposal, “on the coast of the lakes and not the Canal.”

Secretary Kissinger: That is worse. It tells them where they can put them.

Ambassador Bunker: There is a normal number.

General Elazar: No, there isn’t a normal number of artillery in an infantry battalion.

Usually it is six in a battery.

[Page 82]

Secretary Kissinger: Since there are eight battalions, we should say no more than X batteries of howitzers. I think 32 guns look pathetic. No one knows how many in a battery.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Four or five batteries?

Secretary Kissinger: That is twenty.

Minister Dayan: There are batteries of four and batteries of six.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Five batteries means 30 guns.

Secretary Kissinger: If there are eight battalions, could you have eight batteries?

General Elazar: Not necessarily, because the artillery have a bigger range and one battery can support two battalions.

Secretary Kissinger: Thirty guns won’t change the course of history.

Minister Dayan: But we can’t explain it to the Cabinet.

Deputy P.M. Allon: There are two problems—they may not be military but psychological—the distance for the anti-aircraft missiles, and . . .

Minister Dayan: You have to spell out the range, too.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think we should put into the agreement how many guns there are in a battery. We have to consider when it appears in the Beirut newspapers, how we will look.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Can you get them back to thirty kilometers? Maybe we could do a package deal.

Secretary Kissinger: If I am there, I can do things. But now we have to do it by cable. It is certainly easier to drop the howitzers if you give them the missiles. If you give them five kilometers on SAM’s, he will drop the howitzers.

Deputy P.M. Allon: He would prefer howitzers?

Secretary Kissinger: I think he would prefer the SAM’s. He says it required redeployment of the first line in any case, and if you made it thirty kilometers, it required a redeployment of the second line. He has the same problem with SAM’s as you do.

You are telling me your security depends on thirty howitzers.

Deputy P.M. Allon: I think the howitzer is more effective because of its ballistic effect.

Secretary Kissinger: If it were more effective, he would have more of them.

Minister Dayan: What I said was a good thing.

Deputy P.M. Allon: As usual.

Minister Dayan: On the lake, I don’t want them to be in the position that they think they are really out of danger.

[Page 83]

On howitzers, we should say a range of 12 kilometers.

Secretary Kissinger: That I can do.

Minister Dayan: That would go well together; eight battalions and six batteries of six guns—without specifying the number in a battery, or eight battalions and eight batteries, with a limit of four. Six batteries of guns with a range not more than 12 kilometers.

Secretary Kissinger: I will send it to our Ambassador.

If the number of individual howitzers is reduced, I will explain it to Sadat. I told him I would take it back to the Israelis.

I now can tell him you agree to eight battalions and 7,000 men.

Deputy P.M. Allon: We accept those certain number of batteries of howitzers, and he should accept the thirty kilometers with missiles. It is a package.

Secretary Kissinger: But you drop bombs from five kilometers away.

Deputy P.M. Allon: But we are not dropping bombs; we are worried about reconnaissance.

Secretary Kissinger: Your biggest problem is not Sadat. The experience they have with you is that you really try to squeeze everything out of them. Next week, I really think it makes a difference. Try giving them ten percent more than they ask for, on one occasion.

If this is a big con game, we will know by April. And then you will not have lost much, because he will have broken so many pledges to us that we will have an additional moral obligation to be on your side. I think he is genuinely interested in making peace. He never raised the question of the 1967 borders.

This is just a question of your attitude. I have nothing specific in mind.

Minister Dayan: You said about Port Said.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, he said you have a strong point built there. Under the agreement you have to pull back your artillery, etc. from there.

Deputy P.M. Allon: Inevitable.

Secretary Kissinger: He would consider it a sign of good will if you did something with that strong point, like turn it over to the UN. You can’t do anything with it anyway.

Sadat hasn’t accepted it; it was Gamasy who raised it.

Minister Dayan: They can’t ask us not to put heavy howitzers in this strong point.

Secretary Kissinger: I would strongly urge you not to.

Minister Dayan: But we will have anti-tank guns.

[Page 84]

Secretary Kissinger: At a minimum he wants assurance that you are not going to shell Port Said. I gave them the assurance. He wants assurance that it is not an offensive post.

Minister Dayan: It is not an offensive post.

Deputy P.M. Allon: We can’t have artillery there.

General Elazar: We can, if it is symmetrical.

Minister Dayan: You can give him your word and my word that we won’t shell Port Said.

Deputy P.M. Allon: We won’t keep howitzers there.

Secretary Kissinger: When can I communicate with him?

Deputy P. M. Allon: Immediately after the Cabinet meeting. It will be over by 3:30.

Secretary Kissinger: Joe, get a message to Egypt that the Israelis feel they must have another Cabinet meeting—that makes it look tougher—and we can’t answer until about 5:00. But tell Fahmi I am reasonably optimistic, so he doesn’t panic.

Ambassador Dinitz: On the other documents.

Secretary Kissinger: He didn’t like your Memorandum of Understanding.11 [Laughter]

General Elazar: Who is in charge of the logistics of signing?

Minister Dayan: Who will be . . .

Deputy P.M. Allon: Would they consider, as a part of the agreement, an open bridge for foreign tourists between Israel and Egypt?

Secretary Kissinger: Now?

In the letter on waterways, [Tab E]12 the only thing they wanted is to take out “owned by Israel,” because they didn’t want to raise the question of ownership. It has “cargoes destined for and coming from Israel.”

Deputy P.M. Allon: It is better for us.

Secretary Kissinger: Do we have a text of the announcement? [Tab F].13

Deputy P.M. Allon: [reads it] Wonderful wording.

Minister Dayan: It should say, “signature is scheduled to be signed . . .” We are in the position now that it has not yet gone to the Cabinet.”

[Page 85]

Deputy P.M. Allon: You mean we need the approval of the Knesset?

Minister Dayan: It makes no difference, but it would be better to say “scheduled to be signed.”

Secretary Kissinger: Can I tell them that on your radio it will say “scheduled” and that they can say “will be signed.” [They nod]

Mr. Maw will take it to Cyprus. The Agreement is ready to be typed.

Minister Dayan: Will he sign in Arabic and English? The last time he signed in Arabic only.

Assistant Secretary Sisco: Why do you raise this? It is not important.

[The meeting ended at 12:30 p.m. Dr. Kissinger and Mr. Rodman then went to meet the Prime Minister at her residence.]14

  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, Folder 2. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in Secretary Kissinger’s suite at the King David Hotel. Brackets, with the exception of ones describing omitted material, are in the original.
  2. A reference to one of the January 16 meetings between Sadat, Fahmi, and Kissinger. See Document 8.
  3. Apparently a reference to a February 9, 1971, response by Prime Minister Meir to a February 4 proposal by President Sadat offering to open the Suez Canal in return for a partial withdrawal of Israeli forces from the East Bank of the Suez Canal. Documentation on this is scheduled to be published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1969–1972.
  4. Tab A has not been found. The checklist is presumably the one prepared the previous day and attached at Tab H to Document 7.
  5. Tab B has not been found.
  6. January 24.
  7. Kissinger was scheduled to meet with Sadat on January 18.
  8. Tabs C and D have not been found.
  9. A reference to UN Security Council Resolution 242; See footnote 6, Document 7.
  10. Menachem Begin, a leader of the Israeli Likud Party, founded in 1973.
  11. Apparently a reference to the draft of the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Government and the Government of Israel, attached at Tab G to Document 7.
  12. Tab E has not been found. The final text is Document 12.
  13. Tab F has not been found. The text is in telegram Secto 72/129 from Jerusalem, January 17. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  14. Kissinger met with Prime Minister Meir from 12:45–1:45 p.m. A memorandum of conversation is ibid., 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.