The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State′s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.). The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editor is convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. Three volumes in this subseries, volume XXIII, [Page IV] Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1969–1972, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, and volume XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976, cover U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the Arab-Israeli dispute. This volume begins at the start of 1974, during the aftermath of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the final months of Richard Nixon′s presidency. The first chapter focuses on U.S.-led negotiations between Egypt and Israel that culminated in a historic disengagement agreement between the two countries. The second chapter focuses on U.S.-led negotiations between Syria and Israel, which also resulted in a historic disengagement agreement between those two countries. The third and fourth chapters cover the U.S.-led negotiations between Egypt and Israel after Gerald Ford became president in August 1974, which ultimately led to a second disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel. The fifth chapter concentrates on the U.S. reaction to the outbreak of Lebanon′s civil war beginning in 1975.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXVI

The focus of this volume is the negotiations leading to the two disengagement agreements between Egypt and Israel and the one disengagement agreement between Syria and Israel. The end of the October 1973 War left the Egyptian and Israeli armies interlocked in the Sinai and Israeli and Syrian armies interlocked in the Golan Heights. This stalemate provided Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who had taken the lead role in negotiations concerning the Arab-Israeli dispute after the October 1973 War, the opportunity to negotiate landmark agreements between Israel and two of its Arab neighbors in the months following the war. Initial discussions between Kissinger and Arab leaders began in November 1973 (coverage of this is found in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973) and culminated in formal disengagement agreements beginning in 1974. Kissinger preferred these disengagement agreements instead of a comprehensive agreement as a way to create a relationship between the Israelis and Egyptians and Syrians that could lead to a future comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute. Additionally, he argued that this more modest step-by-step approach would prevent individual crises, such as terrorist attacks, to sidetrack negotiations. Accordingly, this volume documents the development of this step-by-step approach beginning with the first disengagement agreement between the Israelis and Egyptians in January 1974, the only disengagement agreement between the Israelis and Syrians in May 1974, and the second disengagement agreement between the Israelis and Egyptians in September 1975.

This volume also documents the U.S. response to the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon. This final chapter begins with the U.S. Government′s observation of the war in the fall of 1975, but focuses primarily [Page V] on the period after the disintegration of the Lebanese army in March 1976, followed by the evacuation of U.S. embassy personnel, and concludes in August 1976 with a strategy session between Kissinger and U.S. ambassadors to the Middle East.

Since Jordan had not fought in the October 1973 War, it had no armies interlocked with the Israelis, thus leaving the Israelis little incentive to negotiate an agreement with Jordan. Due to page limitations, therefore, this volume does not cover the attempts by Jordan to engage the Israelis through U.S. mediation efforts. Additionally, this volume includes coverage of the U.S. response to the Rabat Conference in October 1974 at which the Arab League named the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. This replaced Jordan as the representative entity to negotiate any agreements relating to the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

It is worth noting that there are several memoranda of conversation between King Hussein of Jordan and Kissinger, all of which are located in the Records of Henry Kissinger at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. They provide insight into the Jordanian government′s desire to negotiate with the Israelis, observations of the Egyptian and Syrian engagement with Israel, and discussion of bilateral relations between the United States and Jordan.

Due to the intensive negotiations documented in this volume, memoranda of conversation and summaries of meetings between Kissinger and Arab and Israeli leaders dominate the documentation selected for this volume. The large number of verbatim memoranda of conversation made it necessary to use summaries from Kissinger to Nixon or Ford at different points throughout the volume. When summaries were used instead of memoranda of conversation, the memoranda of conversation have been cited to provide readers with the location of the original conversations in the archives.

In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Congress played a growing role in U.S. foreign policy and this volume includes several memoranda of conversation of congressmen meeting with Kissinger, Nixon, and Ford. The American Jewish community also expressed a strong interest in U.S. policy towards Israel during this period. Leaders of the American Jewish community met with Kissinger on numerous occasions and this volume includes a few memoranda of conversation of those meetings. Among these American Jewish leaders, Max Fisher had unique access to both Kissinger and Ford, and several of his meetings with them are documented in this volume.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the [Page VI] time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editor for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume. In telegrams, the telegram number (including special designators such as Secto) is printed at the start of the text of the telegram.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

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The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require the Nixon Library to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require the Nixon Library formally to notify the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require the Nixon Library to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from the Nixon Library′s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information, as amended, and applicable laws.

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The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2007 and was completed in 2010, resulted in the decision to withhold no documents in full, excisions of a paragraph or more in 5 documents, and minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 9 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the record presented in this volume here provides an accurate and comprehensive account of U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the Arab-Israeli dispute and Lebanon from 1974 to 1976.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. Additionally, the editor wishes to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access. The editor also wishes to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the archivists at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in particular Donna Lehman, Helmi Raaska, and Geir Gundersen. John Haynes of the Library of Congress was responsible for expediting access to the Kissinger Papers. The editor was able to use the Kissinger Papers with the kind permission of Henry Kissinger. The editor would also like to thank Sandra Meagher at the Department of Defense.

Adam M. Howard collected the documentation for this volume and selected and edited it under the supervision of Edward C. Keefer, the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series. Dean Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Mandy A. Chalou did the copy editing. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.

Dr. Stephen Randolph
The Historian

Bureau of Public Affairs
August 2012