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FOREIGN 
RELATIONS 


OF THE 


UNITED 
STATES 


1969-1976 


VOLUME XxXxVI 


ARAB-ISRAELI 
DISPUTE, 
1974-1976 





DEPARTMENT 
OF 
STATE 


Washington 





Foreign Relations of the 
United States, 1969-1976 





Volume XXVI 


Arab-Israeli 
Dispute, 
1974-1976 


Editor Adam M. Howard 
General Editor Edward C. Keefer 


United States Government Printing Office 
Washington 
2012 


DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
OFFICE OF THE HISTORIAN 


BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS 





For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800 
Fax: (202) 512-2250 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402-0001 


Preface 


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, com- 
piles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. 
Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific stand- 
ards 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, es- 
tablished a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which 
was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Sec- 
tion 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 re- 
liable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and signifi- 
cant 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 Gov- 
ernment. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by 
Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the prin- 
ciples of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be al- 
tered 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 se- 
lection and editing. 


Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series 


This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Rela- 
tions 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, 


I 


IV Preface 


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 disengage- 
ment 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 dis- 
engagement agreements between Egypt and Israel and the one disen- 
gagement 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 agree- 
ments between Israel and two of its Arab neighbors in the months fol- 
lowing 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 culmi- 
nated in formal disengagement agreements beginning in 1974. Kissin- 
ger preferred these disengagement agreements instead of a compre- 
hensive 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 be- 
ginning with the first disengagement agreement between the Israelis 
and Egyptians in January 1974, the only disengagement agreement be- 
tween the Israelis and Syrians in May 1974, and the second disengage- 
ment 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. Govern- 
ment’s observation of the war in the fall of 1975, but focuses primarily 


Preface V 


on the period after the disintegration of the Lebanese army in March 
1976, followed by the evacuation of U.S. embassy personnel, and con- 
cludes 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 in- 
centive 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 Oc- 
tober 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 conversa- 
tion between King Hussein of Jordan and Kissinger, all of which are lo- 
cated in the Records of Henry Kissinger at the National Archives in 
College Park, Maryland. They provide insight into the Jordanian gov- 
ernment’s desire to negotiate with the Israelis, observations of the 
Egyptian and Syrian engagement with Israel, and discussion of bilater- 
al relations between the United States and Jordan. 

Due to the intensive negotiations documented in this volume, 
memoranda of conversation and summaries of meetings between Kiss- 
inger and Arab and Israeli leaders dominate the documentation se- 
lected 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 sum- 
maries were used instead of memoranda of conversation, the memo- 
randa of conversation have been cited to provide readers with the loca- 
tion 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 memo- 
randa of conversation of congressmen meeting with Kissinger, Nixon, 
and Ford. The American Jewish community also expressed a strong in- 
terest in U.S. policy towards Israel during this period. Leaders of the 
American Jewish community met with Kissinger on numerous occa- 
sions 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 Wash- 
ington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the 


VI Preface 


time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memoran- 
dum was drafted. 


Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Rela- 
tions 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 no- 
tations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and 
printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of histor- 
ical 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 (in- 
cluding 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 classi- 
fied 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 omit- 
ted. 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 doc- 
ument, 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 ad- 
visers 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 docu- 
ments printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide sum- 
maries of and citations to public statements that supplement and eluci- 
date the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and 
other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supple- 
ment or explicate the official record. 


Preface VII 


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 Documenta- 
tion, 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 prepara- 
tion 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 statu- 
tory obligations. 


Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review 


Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Pres- 
ervation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the Nixon Presiden- 
tial Library in Yorba Linda, California has custody of the Nixon Presi- 
dential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and 
implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential his- 
torical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regula- 
tions 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 opportu- 
nity 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 men- 
tioned. 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 pro- 
cessed and released in accordance with the PRMPA. 


Declassification Review 


The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Ad- 
ministration, 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. 


VII. Preface 


The principle guiding declassification review is to release all infor- 
mation, 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. Govern- 
ment, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific doc- 
uments of those governments. The declassification review of this vol- 
ume, 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 declassifica- 
tion 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. 


Acknowledgments 


The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the 
Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Rec- 
ords Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. Addi- 
tionally, 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 particu- 
lar 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. 


Bureau of Public Affairs Dr. Stephen Randolph 
August 2012 The Historian 


Contents 


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SOULCES Hn ss Fice cache see wae tatlecarchenere crest aensaly Dadieke Gindate wadinctiox tens 


Abbreviations and Terms .............ccccc ccc ceececeeseeeeseeseeuees 


POLSONS isceenciedasies tate iste Ca blstousc ba sabenueied etiassies ban divdabbs bake sakes 


Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974-1976 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, 
Jarillaty? 1974s. cp acintcththais ahisa ya maliiitedutdlelahidnainehies ainsi abies 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, 
January—May 1974 ...........cccc cece ccc e ee ences 


Negotiations and Reassessment, June 1974-June 1975 ..... 


Second Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, 
June 1975—March 1976 wc.cccccccsccuneeetsenecvecssceetensnevees 


I 
XI 
XVI 
XXI 


105 
381 


690 
930 
1067 
1071 
1075 


Ix 


Sources 


Sources for the Foreign Relations Series 


The 1991 Foreign Relations statute requires that the published rec- 
ord in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide 
comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy decisions 
and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. It further requires that gov- 
ernment agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Govern- 
ment engaged in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support 
cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and 
complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and ac- 
tions and by providing copies of selected records. Most of the sources 
consulted in the preparation of this volume have been declassified and 
are available for review at the National Archives and Records 
Administration. 

The editors of the Foreign Relations series have complete access to 
all the retired records and papers of the Department of State: the central 
files of the Department; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the 
Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the De- 
partment’s Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of interna- 
tional conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with 
foreign leaders by the President and Secretary of State, and memoranda 
of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and for- 
eign officials; and the files of overseas diplomatic posts. All the Depart- 
ment’s indexed central files through July 1973 have been permanently 
transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at 
College Park, Maryland (Archives II). Many of the Department’s de- 
centralized office files covering the 1969-1976 period, which the Na- 
tional Archives deems worthy of permanent retention, have been trans- 
ferred or are in the process of being transferred from the Department's 
custody to Archives II. 


The editors of the Foreign Relations series also have full access to the 
papers of Presidents Nixon and Ford as well as other White House for- 
eign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at 
the Presidential libraries include some of the most significant foreign 
affairs-related documentation from the Department of State and other 
Federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central 
Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff. Dr. Henry Kissinger has approved access to his papers at the Li- 
brary of Congress. These papers are a key source for the Nixon-Ford 
subseries of the Foreign Relations series. 


XI 


XII Sources 


Research for this volume was completed through special access to 
restricted documents at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, the 
Ford Presidential Library, the Library of Congress, and other agencies. 
While all the material printed in this volume has been declassified, 
some of it is extracted from still classified documents. In the time since 
the research for this volume was completed, the Nixon Presidential 
Materials have been transferred to the Nixon Presidential Library and 
Museum in Yorba Linda, California. The Nixon Presidential Library 
staff is processing and declassifying many of the documents used in 
this volume, but they may not be available in their entirety at the time 
of publication. 


Sources for Foreign Relations, 1974-1976, Volume XXVI 


The holdings of the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff at the Na- 
tional Archives and Records Administration (NARA), specifically the 
National Security Council (NSC) Files are the most valuable resources 
for Nixon administration foreign policy at the highest level. Within the 
NSC Files, the NSC Institutional Files or (H-Files), are of particular im- 
portance. These contain the relevant National Security Study Memo- 
randa, the resulting National Security Decision Memoranda, sup- 
porting study and policy papers, other background material, and 
memoranda of note. They contain documents prepared for the Na- 
tional Security Council, Senior Review Group meetings, and Wash- 
ington Special Action Group meetings, and the minutes of those 
meetings. 

Also held by the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff as part of the 
NSC Files, are the Agency Files, the Country Files, the Saunders Files, 
Kissinger’s Office Files, Presidential/ HAK Memcons, and Subject Files. 
For this volume, the Presidential/HAK Memcons provided crucial 
memoranda of conversation that included many verbatim discussions 
between Kissinger and leaders of the countries involved in shuttle di- 
plomacy, especially Israel, Egypt, and Syria, but also including Jordan, 
Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. The Country Files hold valuable material 
for researching bilateral relations. Although much of the material in the 
Country Files can be found in Record Group 59, the Department of 
State Central Files, the Country Files contain cable traffic on topics 
deemed most significant by the White House. The Country Files also 
include memoranda of conversation involving various Middle Eastern 
leaders, and White House, State Department, and NSC assessments of 
each country’s importance to the United States in terms of Middle East 
negotiations. The Country Files, the Presidential Trip Files, and VIP 
Visits Files (which include important briefing material) provide com- 
prehensive documentation on high-level meetings, which are crucial to 
the makeup of this volume. The most critical Country Files for this vol- 
ume include Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Kissinger’s 


Sources XIII 


Office Files, particularly his Country Files on Egypt, and the Middle 
East, are an important source of material. Although significant for re- 
searching Middle East issues during this period, the Harold H. 
Saunders Files include lower level material during this era of U.S. di- 
plomacy in the Arab-Israeli dispute. Saunders regularly maintained 
copies of critical cable traffic, most NSC internal memoranda, study 
papers, background and briefing material prepared for Kissinger, and 
letters to Kissinger for Nixon. 


The most significant material for this volume found in the Ford Li- 
brary derived from the National Security Adviser file. Since this vol- 
ume includes a large number of memoranda of conversation relating to 
the various negotiations during Ford’s presidency, the Memoranda of 
Conversation section of this file proved especially rich with verbatim 
memoranda of conversation between Kissinger and various foreign 
and domestic leaders. Also within the National Security Adviser file, 
the Trip Briefing Books for Henry Kissinger held helpful documenta- 
tion for Kissinger’s shuttles that took place in the Middle East from 
1974 to 1975. 


For the chapter on Lebanon, the Record Group 59 Lot Files, held at 
NARA, were of primary importance for Secretary of State Kissinger’s 
Staff Meetings, which included memoranda of conversation between 
Kissinger and high level officers within the Department. At these 
meetings Kissinger and his staff observed the situation in Lebanon be- 
tween 1975 and 1976 and debated what U.S. actions needed to be im- 
plemented. Many of these conversations include Kissinger’s take not 
only on Lebanon but also asides about his views regarding the Depart- 
ment of State’s bureaucracy and general current affairs of that time. 
Additionally, the Country Files for Lebanon provide some relevant 
cable traffic between the Department of State and the U.S. embassy in 
Lebanon. 

The Henry A. Kissinger Papers at the Library of Congress were es- 
sential for this volume although these papers are closed to the public. 
The Kissinger Papers contain copies of telegrams and memoranda of 
conversation not available in any other repositories. The Geopolitical 
Files and Subject Files proved most helpful in finding telegrams and 
memoranda of conversation that were not available elsewhere. Addi- 
tionally, within the Geopolitical Files and the Chronological Files for 
Egypt, Israel, Syria, and the Middle East, there are many documents 
either not found in other repositories or found in more complete form. 

Documentation from Record Group 330, Records of the Office of 
the Secretary of Defense at the Washington National Records Center in 
Suitland, Maryland, which are also closed to the general public, proved 
of minimal use as the Department of Defense played no significant role 
in diplomatic negotiations. However, material relating to arms sales are 


XIV Sources 


plentiful there, especially memoranda of conversation between Israeli 
leaders and the Secretary of Defense as well as some Arab leaders and 
DOD officials. 

For those who wish to see conversations between King Hussein 
and Kissinger as well as a meeting between King Hussein and Presi- 
dent Ford, several memoranda of conversation are listed below. They 
provide insight into various subjects of interest to both sides during 
this period. For 1974, there are memoranda of conversation for January 
19 (National Archives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 3, Folder—Nodis 
Memcons September—December Folder 7 cont’d), March 3 (National 
Archives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 7, Folder-Nodis Memcons March 
1974 Folder 6), March 15 (National Archives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 
7, Folder-Nodis Memcons March 1974 Folder 7), May 5 (National Ar- 
chives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 8, Folder-Nodis Memcons May 1974 
Folder 3), August 16 (National Archives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 9, 
Folder-Nodis Memcons August 1974 Folder 4), and October 12 (Na- 
tional Archives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 25, Folder-CATC Nodis 
Memcons). On April 29, 1975, King Hussein met with President Ford 
for the first time and discussed the Egyptian-Israeli negotiations as well 
as bilateral relations between Jordan and the United States (National 
Archives, S/S Files, Lot 91D414, Box 22, Folder—Classified External 
Memcons, December 1974—April 1975 Folder 7). 

Almost all of this documentation has been made available for use 
in the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent of the agencies men- 
tioned, the assistance of their staffs, and especially the cooperation and 
support of the National Archives and Records Administration. 

The following list identifies the particular files and collections 
used in the preparation of this volume. In addition to the paper files 
cited below, a growing number of documents are available on the In- 
ternet. The Office of the Historian maintains a list of these Internet re- 
sources on its website and suggests that readers refer to that site on a 
regular basis. 


Unpublished Sources 
Department of State 


Central Files. See Record Group 59 under National Archives and Records Administration 
below 

Lot Files. See Record Group 59 under National Archives and Records Administration 
Below 

National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland 

Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State 


Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-1976 


Part of the online Access to Archival Databases; Electronic Telegrams, P-Reel Index, 
P-Reel microfilm 


Sources XV 


Lot Files 
S/S Files, Lot 78D443 
Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973-1977 


S/S Files, Lot 91D414 
Records of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 1973-1977 


S/S Files, Lot 74D131 
Records of Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco, 1973-77 


Nixon Presidential Materials Project, National Archives and Records 
Administration, College Park, Maryland (now at the Nixon Presidential 
Library and Museum, Yorba Linda, California) 


National Security Council (NSC) Files 
Agency Files 
Backchannel Files 
Country Files 
Europe 
Kissinger Office Files 
Country Files 
Middle East 
HAK Trip Files 
Name Files 
NSC Institutional Materials (H-Files) 
Meeting Files, Senior Review Group Meetings 
Minutes of Meetings, NSC Meeting Minutes 
Minutes of Meetings, Senior Review Group 
Miscellaneous Institutional Files of the Nixon Administration 
Policy Papers, National Security Decision Memorandums 
Study Memorandums, National Security Study Memorandums 
NSC Unfiled Material 
Presidential Correspondence 
Presidential/ HAK Memcons 
Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files Subject Files 
VIP Visits 


White House Central Files 
President’s Daily Diary 


Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan 


National Security Adviser Files 
Backchannel Messages 
Kissinger Reports on the USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions 
Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files 
Memoranda of Conversations 


National Security Decision Memoranda and National Security Study 
Memoranda 


XVI Sources 


NSC Staff for Middle East and South Asia, Convenience Files 
NSC Meeting Minutes 
Presidential Country Files for the Middle East and South Asia 
Presidential Name File 
Presidential Subject File 
Scowcroft Daily Work Files 

National Security Council Institutional Files 

President’s Daily Diary 


Library of Congress, Washington, DC 


Papers of Henry A. Kissinger 
Cables 
Chronological File 
Department of State 
Geopolitical File 
Memoranda of Conversations 
National Security Council 


Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland 


RG 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense 
OSD Files: FRC 330-79-0050 


Top Secret Records of the Secretary of Defense and the Special Assistant to 
the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense 


OSD Files: FRC 330-79-0058 


Secret Records of the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, 
and the Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense 


Published Sources 


Kissinger, Henry. Years of Upheaval. Boston: Little, Brown, 1982. 

. Years of Renewal. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. 

United Nations. Yearbook of the United Nations, 1973. New York: Office of Public Informa- 
tion, United Nations, 1976. 

United States. Department of State. Bulletin. 1973-1976. 

. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of 

the United States: Richard M. Nixon, 1971, 1972, 1973. Washington: Government 

Printing Office, 1972, 1974, 1975. 

. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of 

the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1974, 1975, 1976-1977. Washington: Government 

Printing Office, 1975, 1977, 1979. 











Abbreviations and Terms 


addee, addressee 

AF, Bureau of African Affairs, Department of State 
AID, Agency for International Development 
Amb, Ambassador 

APC, Armored Personnel Carrier 


backchannel, a method of communication outside normal bureaucratic procedure; the 
Nixon White House, for instance, used backchannel messages to bypass the Depart- 
ment of State 

BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation 


C-5A, military transport aircraft designed to carry troops and heavy cargo 
CA, circular airgram 

CBU, Cluster Bomb Unit 

CENTO, Central Treaty Organization 

CIA, Central Intelligence Agency 

COMINT, Communications Intelligence 

COMSEC, Communications Security 

CRA, Continuing Resolution Authority 

CSCE, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe 


Del, Delegation 

DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency 
Dissem, dissemination 

DOD, Department of Defense 


E and E, emergency and evacuation 

ECM, electronic countermeasures 

EEC, European Economic Community 

ELINT, Electronic Signals Intelligence 

EOB, Executive Office Building 

ERDA, Energy Research and Development Administration 
EXCOM, Executive Committee 

Exdis, Exclusive Distribution (extremely limited distribution) 


F-4, Phantom II Fighter Bomber 

FLIR, Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer 

Foxbat, NATO codename for the Soviet MIG-25 fighter jet 
FROG, Free Rocket over Ground, Soviet artillery rocket 
FMS, Foreign Military Sales 


GNP, Gross National Product 
GOE, Government of Egypt 
GOI, Government of Israel 
GOJ, Government of Jordan 
GOL, Government of Lebanon 
GOS, Government of Syria 


XVI 


XVIII Abbreviations and Terms 


Hakto, series indicator for telegrams sent by Henry Kissinger 
Hawk, surface-to-air missile 


ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization 

ICRC, International Committee of the Red Cross 

IDF, Israel Defense Force 

IMF, International Monetary Fund 

INR, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State 

INR/RNA/NE, Office of Research and Analysis for Near East and South Asia, Near East 
Division, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State 


J, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 
JCS, Joint Chiefs of Staff 


Lance, mobile field artillery tactical missile 

Limdis, Limited Distribution 

LGB, laser guided bomb 

LOU, Limited Official Use 

LST, Tank Landing Ship (formally defined as Landing Ship, Tank) 


M-48, U.S. Army tank used extensively in Vietnam 
M-60, machine gun 

MEPC, Middle East Peace Conference 

MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

MEN, Most Favored Nation 

ME, Middle East 

MEPC, Middle East Peace Conference 

MIG-23, Soviet fighter jet 


NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization 

NEA, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Department of State; after April 
27,1974, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 

NEA/ARN, Country Director for Lebanon, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, and Iraq Af- 
fairs, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Department of State 

NEA/ARP, Country Director for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, and Aden Affairs, Bu- 
reau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Department of State 

NEA/EGY, Country Director for Egyptian Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern and South 
Asian Affairs, Department of State 

NEA/IAI, Country Director for Israel and Arab-Israeli Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern 
and South Asian Affairs, Department of State 

NEA/RA, Office of Regional Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, De- 
partment of State 

NEA/SYR, Country Director for Syian Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian 
Affairs, Department of State 

NIE, National Intelligence Estimate 

Nodis, no distribution (other than to persons indicated) 

Noforn, no foreign dissemination 

NSA, National Security Agency 

NSC, National Security Council 

NSDM, National Security Decision Memorandum 

NSSM, National Security Study Memorandum 


OAPEC, Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries 
OAU, Organization of African Unity 


Abbreviations and Terms XIX 


OPEC, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries 
OV-1D, surveillance airplane 


PFLP, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 
PL-480, Public Law 480 

PLA, Palestine Liberation Army 

PLO, Palestine Liberation Organization 

PM, Prime Minister 

PNG, persona non grata 

POW, prisoner of war 

PRC, People’s Republic of China 


reftel, reference telegram 
Rep(s), Representative(s) 
Res, Resolution 

RG, Record Group 

RN, Richard Nixon 

rpt, repeat 


S, Office of the Secretary of State 

SA-7, Soviet portable and shoulder-fired surface to air missile 

SALT, Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty 

SAM, surface-to-air missile 

SCUD, surface-to-surface missile system 

SG, Secretary General 

Secto, series indicator for telegrams sent by the Secretary of State 

septel, separate telegram 

SFRC, Senate Foreign Relations Committee 

SIGINT, Signals Intelligence 

SNIE, Special National Intelligence Estimate 

SR-71, U.S. Air Force jet known as the Blackbird; a successor to the U-2, gathering intelli- 
gence at high altitude 

SRG, Senior Review Group; Special Review Group 

S/S, Executive Secretariat, Department of State 

S/S-O, Operations Center, Executive Secretariat, Department of State 


TASS, Soviet news agency 

Tohak, series indicator for telegrams to Henry Kissinger 

Tosec, series indicator for telegrams to the Secretary of State 

TOW, Tube-launched, Optically Tracked, Wire Guided (Anti-Tank Missile System) 


, Office of the Under Secretary of State 

JA, United Jewish Appeal 

K, United Kingdom 

N, United Nations 

NDOF, United Nations Disengagement Observer Force 

NEF, United Nations Emergency Force 

NESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization 

NGA, United Nations General Assembly 

NRWA, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near 
East 

NTSO, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization 

SIS, United States Information Service 

SNATO, United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 


Gee ca eae qe 





evVere 


XX Abbreviations and Terms 


USSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 
USUN, United States Mission to the United Nations 


VOA, Voice of America 


WH, White House 
WSAG, Washington Special Actions Group 


Persons 


Albert, Carl, member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Oklahoma); Speaker of the 
House of Representatives 

Alireza, H.E. Ali, Saudi Ambassador to the United States from 1975 

Allon, Yigal, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister until March 1974; Israeli Foreign Minister 
from June 1974 

Anderson, John B., member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-ILinois) 

Anderson, Glenn M., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-California) 

Anderson, Robert, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Press Relations 

Arafat, Yassir, Chairman, Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Committee 

al-Asad (Assad), Hafez, President of Syria 

Atherton, Alfred L., Jr. “Roy,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and 
South Asian Affairs until April 27, 1974; thereafter Assistant Secretary of State for 
Near Eastern Affairs 


Ball, George, Under Secretary of State from January 1962 until September 1966; Repre- 
sentative to the United Nations from June 1968 until September 1968 

Bar-On, Aryeh, Colonel, aide to General Dayan 

Begin, Menachem, leader, Likud party of Israel 

Bentsen, Lloyd, Senator (D-Texas) 

Bhutto, Zulfika Ali, Pakistani Prime Minister 

Bitsios, Dimitrios, Greek Foreign Minister from October 1974 

Boumediene, Houari, President of Algeria 

Bouteflika, Abdelaziz, Algerian Foreign Minister 

Bremer, L. Paul “Jerry,” Special Assistant to the Secretary of State from May 1973 

Brezhnev, Leonid, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 

Brooke, Edward W., Senator (R-Massachusetts) 

Brown, George S., General, USAF, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from July 1, 1974 

Brown, L. Dean, Ambassador to Jordan until November 1973; Deputy Under Secretary of 
State for Management until February 1975; Special Envoy to Lebanon from April 
1976 until May 1976 

Brzezinski, Zbigniew, Director of the Trilateral Commission 

Buffum, William B., Ambassador to Lebanon until January 17, 1974; Assistant Secretary 
of State for International Organizations from February 4, 1975, until December 18, 
1975 

Bunker, Ellsworth, Ambassador at Large; chief of the U.S. delegation to the Geneva 
Middle East Peace Conference 

Burton, Phillip, member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-California) 

Bush, George H.W., Director of Central Intelligence from January 30, 1976 

Butz, Earl, Secretary of Agriculture until October 4, 1976 


Callaghan, James, British Foreign Minister from March 5, 1974, until April 8, 1976 

Carter, Jimmy, Governor of Georgia; Democratic Presidential candidate in 1976 

Case, Clifford P., II, Senator (R-New Jersey) 

Chamoun, Camille, President of Lebanon from 1952 until 1958; leader, Lebanese Na- 
tional Liberal Party, which joined the Lebanese Front in 1976 

Cheney, Richard, White House Chief of Staff from November 21, 1975 

Clark, Richard, Senator (D-Iowa) 


XXI 


XXII Persons 


Clements, William P., Jr., Deputy Secretary of Defense 
Colby, William E., Director of Central Intelligence until January 30, 1976 


Daoudi, Riad, legal adviser to Syrian President Hafez al-Asad 

Davis, Jeanne W., member, National Security Council staff 

Day, Arthur R., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Af- 
fairs from 1975 

Dayan, Moshe, Israeli Defense Minister until June 1974; Knesset member from 1959 

Dinitz, Simcha, Israeli Ambassador to the United States 

Dobrynin, Anatoliy, Soviet Ambassador to the United States 

Dominick, Peter, Senator (R-Colorado) 

Draper, Morris, Country Director, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Bureau of Near Eastern 
and South Asian Affairs, Department of State 


Eagleburger, Lawrence S., Executive Assistant to the Secretary of State until February 
1975; thereafter Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management 

Eban, Abba, Israeli Foreign Minister until June 1974 

Eilts, Hermann F., Ambassador to Egypt from March 1974 

Elazar, David, General, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces until April 1974 

Elias, Asad, Syrian Press Secretary 

Ellsworth, Robert F., Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs 
from June 1974 until December 1975; Deputy Secretary of Defense from December 
1975 

Evron, Ephraim, Deputy Director General, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 


Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, Prince, Saudi Minister of the Interior; Second Deputy 
Prime Minister 

Fahmy (Fahmi), Ismail, Egyptian Foreign Minister; Deputy Prime Minister from April 
1975 

Faisal ibn Abd al-Aziz al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia until his death on March 25, 1975 

Fisher, Max, Special Adviser to President Ford 

Ford, Gerald R., Vice President of the United States until August 8, 1974; President of the 
United States from August 9, 1974 

Frangieh, Suleiman, Lebanese President until September 1976 

Frelinghuysen, Peter, Jr., member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-New Jersey) 

Fulbright, J. William, Senator (D-Arkansas) until 1974; Chairman of the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee until 1974 


al-Gamasy, Mohammed Abdel Ghani, General, Egyptian Chief of Staff; Deputy Prime 
Minister from April 1975 

Gazit, Mordechai, Director General, Israeli Prime Minister’s Office 

Giscard d’Estaing, Valéry, President of France from May 1974 

Godley, G. McMurtrie, Ambassador to Lebanon from February 1974 until January 1976 

Goldmann, Nahum, Zionist and President of the World Jewish Congress 

Goldwater, Barry S., Senator (R-Arizona) 

Greenspan, Alan, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers 

Gromyko, Andrei, Soviet Foreign Minister 

Gur, Mordechai, Lieutenant General, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Force from 1974 


Haig, Alexander M., Jr., Brigadier General, USA, White House Chief of Staff until Sep- 
tember 1974; Supreme Allied Commander Europe from December 1974 

Hamilton, Lee H., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Indiana) 

Hassan II, King of Morocco 


Persons XXIII 


Hays, Wayne, member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Ohio); Chairman of the House 
Administration Committee 

Hébert, Felix E., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Louisiana) 

Humphrey, Hubert H., Senator (D-Minnesota) 

Hussein bin Talal, King of Jordan 

Hyland, William G., Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, 
from January 1974 until November 1975; Deputy Assistant to the President for Na- 
tional Security Affairs from 1975 


Iklé, Fred, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency 

Ingersoll, Robert S., Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs until 
July 1974; Deputy Secretary of State from July 1974 until March 1976 

Inouye, Daniel, Senator (D-Hawaii) 


Jackson, Henry “Scoop,” Senator (D-Washington) 
Javits, Jacob K., Senator (R-New York) 
Jumblatt, Kamal, leader of anti-government forces in Lebanon 


Karame (Karami), Rashid, Lebanese Prime Minister from July 1, 1975, until December 8, 
1976 

Katzir, Ephraim, President of Israel 

Keating, Kenneth B., Ambassador to Israel from August 1973 until May 1975 

Kennedy, Edward M., Senator (D-Massachusetts) 

Khaddam, Abdul Halim, Syrian Foreign Minister 

Khalid bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia from March 25, 1975 

Kidron, Avraham, Director, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Kissinger, Henry A., Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs until Oc- 
tober 1975; Secretary of State from September 1973 

Koch, Edward, member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-New York) 

Kollek, Teddy, Mayor of Jerusalem 

Korologos, Tom C., Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs (Senate) 
until 1974 

Kosygin, Aleksei, Soviet Premier 


Lambrakis, George B., Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy in Beirut 

Leor, David, Brigadier General, Military Assistant to Prime Minister Meir 
Lord, Winston, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State 

Lynn, James T., Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1975 


Mahon, George H., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Texas) 

Malik, Charles H., former Lebanese Foreign Minister; former President of the U.N. Gen- 
eral Assembly 

Malik, Yakov A., Soviet Representative to the United Nations 

Mansfield, Michael, Senator (D-Montana) 

Mathias, Charles, Senator (R-Maryland) 

Maw, Carlyle E., Department of State Legal Adviser until July 1974 

McClellan, John, Senator (R-Arkansas) 

McCloskey, Robert J., Ambassador at Large until February 1975; Assistant Secretary of 
State for Congressional Relations from February 1975 until September 1976; there- 
after Ambassador to the Netherlands 

McCloy, John J., adviser to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard 
Nixon 

McFall, John J., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-California) 

McGovern, George S., Senator (D-South Dakota) 


XXIV Persons 


McNamara, Robert S., President of the World Bank 

Meir, Golda, Israeli Prime Minister until April 11, 1974 

Meloy, Francis E., Jr., Ambassador to Lebanon from May 1, 1976, until his assassination 
in Beirut on June 16, 1976 

Moorer, Thomas H., Admiral, USN, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until July 1974 

Morgan, Thomas E., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Pennsylvania) 

Morton, Rogers B., Secretary of Commerce 

Moynihan, Daniel P., Representative to the United Nations from June 1975 until Febru- 
ary 1976 

Mubarak, Hosni, Major General; Egyptian Vice President 

Mulcahy, Edward W., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1974 

Murphy, Richard W., Ambassador to Syria from September 1974 

Muskie, Edmund S., Senator (D-Maine) 


Nasser, Gamal Abdel, President of Egypt from June 1956 until September 1970 
Nessen, Ronald H. “Ron,” Press Secretary for President Ford 
Nixon, Richard M., President of the United States until August 9, 1974 


Oakley, Robert B., Area Director for Middle East and South Asian Affairs, National Se- 
curity Council staff 

O'Neill, Thomas P. “Tip,” member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Massachusetts); 
House Majority Leader 


Pahlavi, Mohammed Reza, Shah of Iran 

Passman, Otto, member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Louisiana) 
Pell, Claiborne, Senator (D-Rhode Island) 

Percy, Charles H., Senator (R-Illinois) 

Peres, Shimon, Israeli Defense Minister from June 3, 1974 

Pickering, Thomas R., Ambassador to Jordan from February 1974 
Porter, William J., Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from December 1975 


al-Qadhafi, Mu’ammar, Chairman of the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council and 
Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan Armed Forces 


Rabin, Yitzhak, Israeli Minister of Labor from March 10 until June 3, 1974; thereafter 
Prime Minister 

Ramsbotham, Peter, British Ambassador to the United States 

Reagan, Ronald, Governor of California; Republican Presidential candidate in 1976 

Rhodes, John, member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Arizona) 

Ribicoff, Abraham A., Senator (D-Connecticut) 

Richardson, Elliot L., Ambassador to the United Kingdom from February 1975 until Jan- 
uary 1976; Secretary of Commerce from February 1976 

Rifai, Zaid, Jordanian Prime Minister until July 1976 

Robinson, Charles W., Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural 
Affairs from December 1974 until April 1976; thereafter Deputy Secretary of State 

Rockefeller, Nelson, Vice President of the United States from December 19, 1974 

Rodman, Peter W., member, National Security Council staff; Special Assistant to Henry 
Kissinger 

Rosenthal, Benjamin S., member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-New York) 

Rumsfeld, Donald H., Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- 
tion until August 1974; Assistant to President Ford until September 1974; White 
House Chief of Staff until October 1975; thereafter Secretary of Defense 

Rush, Kenneth, Deputy Secretary of State from February 1973 to May 1974; Ambassador 
to France from September 1974 


Persons XXV 


al-Sadat, Anwar, Egyptian President 

Salim, Mamdouh, Egyptian Prime Minister from April 1975 

Sapir, Pinchas, Israeli Finance Minister 

Saqqaf, Omar, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister 

Sarkis, Elias, Lebanese President from May 1976 

Saunders, Harold H., member, National Security Council staff until 1974; Deputy Assist- 
ant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs from 1974 to De- 
cember 1975; thereafter Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department 
of State 

Scali, John, Representative to the United Nations from February 1973 until June 1975 

Schlesinger, James R., Secretary of Defense until October 1975 

Schmidt, Helmut, German Minister of Finance until May 1974; German Chancellor from 
May 1974 

Schweid, Barry, Associated Press reporter 

Scotes, Thomas J., Principal Officer, U.S. Interests Section in Syria from February 1974; 
Charge d’Affaires ad interim from June 1974 until August 1974 

Scott, Hugh D., Jr., Senator (R-Pennsylvania); Senate Minority Leader 

Scowcroft, Brent, General, USAF, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Se- 
curity Affairs until October 1975; Assistant to the President for National Security Af- 
fairs from October 1975 

Scranton, William W., Representative to the United Nations from March 1976 

Seelye, Talcott W., Special Representative to Lebanon after Ambassador Meloy’s 
assassination 

Shalev, Mordechai, Chargé d’Affaires of the Israeli Embassy in the United States 

al-Shihabi, Hikmat, Brigadier General, Syrian Chief of Intelligence and Reconnaissance 

Siilasvuo, Ensio, General, Finnish Commander of the UN Emergency Force until August 
1975 

Simon, William E., Secretary of the Treasury 

Sisco, Joseph J., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs 
until February 1974; Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from February 1974 
until July 1976 

Sparkman, John J., Senator (D-Alabama); Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee from 1975 

Stennis, John C., Senator (D-Mississippi); Chairman of the Senate Armed Services 
Committee 

Stevenson, Adlai, III, Senator (D-Illinois) 


Takla, Philippe, Lebanese Foreign Minister from 1974 until 1975 and from 1975 until 
1976 

Timmons, William, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs until 1974 

Toon, Malcolm “Mac,” Ambassador to Israel from June 1975 until December 1976 

Tower, John, Senator (D-Texas) 


Vest, George, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Press Relations until April 
1974; thereafter Director, Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, Department of State 

Vinogradov, Sergei, Soviet Ambassador to Egypt; Soviet Representative to the Geneva 
Middle East Peace Conference from December 1973 until January 1974 


Waldheim, Kurt, Secretary General of the United Nations 
Wiesel, Elie, Author; Distinguished Professor at City University of New York 
Winter, Elmer L., President, American Jewish Committee 


Yamani, Ahmed Z., Saudi Oil Minister 
Yariv, Aharon, Major General, Israeli Transport Minister and Information Minister 


XXVI_ Persons 


Yost, Charles W., Representative to the United Nations from January 1969 until February 
1971 


Zablocki, Clement, member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Wisconsin) 
Ziegler, Ron, White House Press Secretary 


Arab-Israeli Dispute, 
1974-1976 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, 
January 1974 


1. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National 
Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon! 


Washington, January 6, 1974. 


Following seven hours of discussions with Defense Minister 
Dayan,’ focused principally on the question of disengagement of forces 
along the Egyptian-Israeli front, I can report good progress and a sub- 
stantial evolution in Israeli thinking. I want to give you the essence of 
these talks and describe as well the potential pitfalls ahead. 


You will recall that when Prime Minister Meir was here in No- 
vember, the word “withdrawal” was, in effect, taboo. Over the last two 
days, however, Dayan, backed by a Cabinet decision, outlined a pull- 
back plan designed to reduce the likelihood of renewed war and to re- 
turn a part of the Sinai to normal Egyptian peace-time activity, in- 
cluding the opening of the Suez Canal. Dayan is reporting to the 
Cabinet today, and I expect to hear from him tomorrow. They have 
urged me to take the plan to Cairo immediately. 


The principal features of the plan, many details of which, on your 
instructions, I had discussed or suggested to Mrs. Meir in our De- 
cember talks,* are as follows: Israel would withdraw all of its forces 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, 1/1-7/1, 1974, (2). Secret; Nodis. 

2On January 4, Kissinger met with Dayan and others between 12:20 and 2:40 p.m., 
and on January 5, Kissinger met again with Dayan and other U.S. and Israeli officials be- 
tween 10:30 a.m. and 1:40 p.m. Both meetings were held at the Department of State. 
(Memoranda of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 6, 
Nodis Memcons, August 1974) 

3 See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, 
Documents 305, 306, and 312. 

“ For documentation on Kissinger’s December 1973 trip to Jerusalem, see ibid., Doc- 
uments 398-401. 


2 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


presently west of the Suez Canal behind a main Israeli defense line 
which would be about 30 kilometers east of the Canal approximately at 
the western end of the Mitla and Gidi Passes; the Egyptian second and 
third armies would retain, with slight modification, the line they pres- 
ently hold, which runs about 8 to 10 kilometers east of the Canal; the 
armies would be substantially thinned out east of the Canal to create an 
additional 6-10 kilometer wide forward zone containing only light 
Egyptian weapons; moving eastward, there would be about a 10 kilo- 
meter demilitarized buffer zone supervised by the UN force; next, there 
would be a comparably lightly armed 6-10 kilometer Israeli forward 
zone up to the main Israeli defense line. In addition, the Israelis would 
be willing to move their artillery and anti-aircraft weapons far enough 
eastward so that only their own forces are covered, provided the Egyp- 
tians are willing to move their own artillery and anti-aircraft back far 
enough west of the Canal to accomplish the same purpose. 


The fact that the Israelis have been willing to put forward such a 
plan means that they have now come 85 percent of the way to the Egyp- 
tian position on disengagement, and this without any demands for reci- 
procity. Nevertheless, while the plan has a sensible inner logic and is a 
major step forward, there is hard bargaining ahead which could lead to 
a very serious delay. The principal points at issue are likely to be: 


(a) Dayan was firm that the main defense line must be no more 
than 30 kilometers east of the Canal so that the Israelis retain full con- 
trol of the two strategic passes, this despite the fact their representative 
at Geneva pulled a major blunder yesterday when he spoke of a 
“model” plan envisioning a line 35 kilometers east of the Canal and in 
the passes themselves. Sadat will be very tough on this since he wants 
the main Israeli defense line to be east of the passes. 


(b) A second serious point relates to the number and types of arms 
Egypt would retain in its forward zone east of the Canal. Dayan has 
said no more than 2 or 3 battalions could be allowed and no tanks. In 
my last talk with Sadat,’ I was able to get him down from the present 5 
divisions to 2 divisions and a minimum of 200 tanks. 

(c) A third concern relates to the positioning of the main artillery 
and anti-aircraft weapons in the rear security zones. Because the disen- 
gagement, in Sadat’s eyes, is all taking place on Egyptian sovereign ter- 
ritory, he will find it very difficult to accept any limitations in the terri- 
tory west of the Suez Canal and he will want to keep his artillery and 
anti-aircraft close to the Canal. 


In addition, the Israelis lay considerable stress on certain bilateral 
assurances from us which, on the whole, should not prove insurmount- 


5 See ibid., Document 390. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 3 


able. In particular, they want: (a) assurance from the U.S. that free pas- 
sage through the Red Sea at Bab Al Mandeb will be assured; and (b) 
that the U.S. would veto any unilateral withdrawal of the UN force that 
might be attempted in the UN Security Council. They also stressed 
heavily that the ceasefire must be of a permanent character and that ev- 
erything possible should be done to build up peaceful activities in the 
Canal area as a further psychological deterrent to a renewal of war. 


In addition to the above main substantive issues, we have a critical 
timing problem. My judgment is that unless we can avoid an impasse 
resulting from the substantive differences and break the back of this 
thing in the next ten days, matters could get out of control. Any of a 
number of unfortunate developments could take place. For example, if 
resolution of the differences is put into the Geneva forum,° the Egyp- 
tians are likely to have to prove their manhood, regardless of the prox- 
imity of the Israeli plan to their own proposals. This could result in the 
prestige of both sides becoming involved, with consequent deadlock or 
at best substantial delay. Another possibility is that if there is no rapid 
movement, the Soviets may decide to run with the ball. Other Arab na- 
tions, such as Syria and Libya, could try to inject themselves into the 
issue, creating further delay and confusion. Conversely, if we do not 
move very quickly and the radical Arabs perceive that an agreement is 
shaping up, they could go to war to prevent its consummation. Finally, 
of course, a quick agreement is essential to get the oil embargo and pro- 
duction restrictions lifted.’ 


The need for speed to avert these pitfalls is apparent and I am 
giving urgent consideration to the best means for bringing these 
matters to a rapid conclusion. 


6 A reference to the Middle East Peace Conference, which began on December 21, 
1973, in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of the United States and Soviet Union. 
Foreign Ministers from Israel, Egypt, and Jordan attended the conference to negotiate a 
settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute, but Syria refused to send a representative. See 
ibid., Document 408. 

7 In October 1973, the Arab members of OPEC cut the production of oil and embar- 
goed the sale of oil to the United States and Western Europe in response to their support 
of Israel in the October war. See ibid., volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974, Docu- 
ment 223. 


2. Editorial Note 


According to his memoirs, in early January 1974, the President’s 
Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry A. Kissinger sent a mes- 


4 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


sage to Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat offering to visit Egypt and 
discuss what Sadat considered the appropriate approach to the disen- 
gagement process with Israel. Concurrently, Israeli Defense Minister 
Moshe Dayan would discuss Kissinger’s views on Dayan’s proposal 
with the Israeli Cabinet. On January 8, Sadat contacted Kissinger and 
implored him to visit Egypt immediately. (Years of Upheaval, page 804) 
Kissinger replied on January 9 in a message transmitted in telegram 
4086 to Cairo that he would fly to Egypt on January 11 with the inten- 
tion of then visiting Israel and getting a concrete proposal from the Is- 
raelis that he was “confident will contain the basic principles and con- 
cepts previously discussed between us, though not necessarily in 
conformity with every detail.” He also noted that he believed “an 
agreement should be attainable during the course of this trip.” (Na- 
tional Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt/Ismail, Volume 9, 
January 1974) According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, Kissinger 
first flew to Spain on the afternoon of January 11, meeting with Spanish 
Foreign Minister Pedro Cortona for approximately two hours. He then 
departed Spain at 2:25 p.m. and arrived in Aswan, Egypt at 8:30 p.m., 
heading immediately to President Sadat’s rest house for a meeting. The 
next day, January 12, he traveled to Jerusalem. (Library of Congress, 
Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) 


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


Washington, January 13, 1974. 


Dr. Kissinger has sent you the following report on his conversa- 
tions in Egypt and his initial talks in Israel. 


“T met with President Sadat for two hours on Friday night and an 
additional four hours on Saturday.” He asked that I convey to you his 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 140, Country Files, Middle East, Secretary Kissinger’s Middle East Trip, 
January 11-20, 1974, Memcons and Reports. Top Secret. Sent for information. A hand- 
written notation reads: “President has seen.” 


?No other record of these January 11 and 12 conversations has been found. Ac- 
cording to Kissinger’s memoirs, Sadat called in his associates to join him and Kissinger 
only once during the shuttle for a meeting on Monday, January 14, and it was the only 
time Kissinger’s notetaker, Peter Rodman, was in attendance. (Years of Upheaval, p. 822) 
This is the only meeting that an actual memorandum of conversation between Sadat and 
Kissinger has been found for the entire first shuttle, which took place between January 11 
and January 19. See Document 5. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 5 


warm regards, and talked at length about his desire to normalize 
Egyptian-U.S. relations. 


“Sadat made it clear that he is anxious that an agreement on disen- 
gagement be accomplished within one week, and urged that I person- 
ally engage myself in developing an agreement that can be signed at ki- 
lometer 101, rather than sending the negotiations back to Geneva, with 
the inevitable delays that would entail. 


“We had a long discussion on oil. Sadat told me that if a disengage- 
ment agreement can be reached this week he will use his personal influ- 
ence—particularly with King Faisal and President Boumediene—to see 
that the oil embargo is brought to an end shortly after agreement is 
reached. He also said that while it would be necessary publicly to main- 
tain the fifteen percent production cut, he is prepared to see that total 
production is restored for the U.S. through the Bahrain refineries once 
we have a disengagement agreement. Thus, we would receive fifteen 
percent more oil than anyone else. He emphasized, however, that if any 
word of this concession should leak the Arabs will be forced to disavow 
it. 

“On disengagement Sadat added little new on Egypt’s substantive 
position. He wants a detailed agreement, leaving as little to the military 
representatives to work out later as possible. He agreed to some form of 
undertaking (not yet specified) on free transit through the straits south 
of Israel, but is standing firm in opposition to agreeing to any limita- 
tions on the size of Egyptian forces on the eastern side of the Suez 
Canal. 


“Following my talks with Sadat I flew to Jerusalem where I met 
briefly with Mrs. Meir? (who is ill) and then had a long business dinner 
with Deputy Prime Minister Allon, Dayan, and Eban.* I reported on 
Sadat’s views, and discussed in detail an Israeli plan for disengagement 
which Dayan had foreshadowed in his talks in Washington on Friday 
and Saturday of last week.° 


“The Israelis find themselves ham-strung by the lack of a new gov- 
ernment, but indicated they were prepared to sign an agreement this 
week if outstanding issues can be compromised—subject to ratification 


3 The conversation between Meir and Kissinger took place on January 12 between 
8:15 and 9 a.m. at Meir’s residence in Jerusalem. A memorandum of conversation is in the 
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. 

* According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, Kissinger met with these Israeli Cab- 
inet members on January 12 at 9:30 p.m. for 2% hours. (Library of Congress, Manuscript 
Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) No other record has been 
found. 

5 See footnote 2, Document 1. 


6 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


by their parliament (which they expect could be achieved without diffi- 
culty) when it meets next week. 


“We meet again on Sunday,° when we will continue discussions of 
the Israeli plan. At the moment I am hopeful that reasonable accommo- 
dations can be reached; the two most difficult outstanding areas seem 
to be: 


—tThe distance eastward the Israelis will withdraw their forces. 
The Israelis want to keep their forces along a line just west of the moun- 
tain passes, and Sadat is talking about leaving Israel in control only of 
the eastern end of the passes. 


—The number and character of Egyptian troops on the east side of 
the Canal. Sadat is talking about two divisions while Dayan is talking 
about two to three battalions. 


“T will report to you Sunday evening on the outcome of the second 
round of talks with the Israelis. I plan to return to Egypt late in the eve- 
ning to present the Israeli plan to Sadat Monday. When I have an Egyp- 
tian proposal in writing, which I should now be ina position to shape, I 
will bring it back to Jerusalem.” 


o Janaury 13. 


4, Memorandum of Conversation! 


Jerusalem, January 13, 1974, noon-1:15 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister 

Abba Eban, Minister for Foreign Affairs 

Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to U.S. 

General David Elazar, Chief of Staff 

Mordechai Gazit, Prime Minister’s Office 
Avraham Kidron, Director General, MFA 
Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, MFA 
General Eliahu Zaira, Chief of Intelligence 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 140, Country Files, Middle East, Secretary Kissinger’s Middle East Trip, 
January 11-20, 1974, Memcons and Reports. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the 
Prime Minister’s office. Brackets are in the original. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 7 


General Leor, Military Adviser to Prime Minister 
Eytan Bentsur, Aide to Eban 
Col. Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State 

Ambassador Kenneth Keating 

Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large 

Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs 
Carlyle Maw, Legal Advisor, Department of State 

Alfred L. Atherton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State 

George Vest, Special Assistant to the Secretary for Press Relations 

Harold Saunders, Senior NSC Staff 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Dayan: Eli will start. Inform the Secretary about the Egyptians. 

Zaira: [Standing at map easel] I will begin with the Egyptian de- 
ployment. The total strength from Cairo to the front line is about 2,200 
tanks, 1,700 artillery pieces and 1,300 APCs. They are deployed with 
three main forces: the Second Army from here up [indicating on map], 
the Third Army from here down, a special force which is called the 
“Badr” force composed of two divisions is here, on the East side of the 
Canal, and a certain force which defends Cairo. 

The total order of battle is, in three numbers: On the 5th of October, 
the Egyptians had 2,650 tanks; they lost during the war 1,100; now the 
order of battle is again 2,650. They received 750 tanks from Russia, 200 
from Libya, and the rest is composed of Algerian forces. So basically 
they are back to the same order of battle. 

In aircraft, they began the war with about 600 airplanes. They lost 
220, and have received about 115. So they are a little bit below the 
prewar order of battle. 

The important point is the additional SCUD missile launchers. Be- 
fore the war they had 10 SCUD launchers and now they have 20. 

This is in rough numbers the order of battle. I have more details if 
they are needed. 

Kissinger: I would like to know where their artillery and SAMs are 
deployed specifically. 

Zaira: I will begin with artillery. Artillery pieces from here down to 
here, they have 994 artillery pieces and 720 tanks and 325 APCs. From 
here down. 

Kissinger: That is on all the East Bank? 

Zaira: Yes. 

Kissinger: [to General Dayan] Does everyone here know the plan? 

Dayan: Yes. 

Kissinger: So, just to translate it into what we are talking about: 
They would have to withdraw all their artillery and tanks on the East 
Bank. 


8 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dayan: Yes. 


Kissinger: That includes the Third Army. The tanks would have to 
go to the West Bank. 


Elazar: That is what we estimate. It might not be accurate because 
that is from air photos, etc. That is approximate. 


Kissinger: But still it’s in the hundreds in each case. So what we are 
asking of them is not a minor move. 

Dayan: What we move is not a minor move either. You will hear in 
a minute about the number of tanks we have on the Western side. 

Kissinger: Have they any artillery on the West Bank? 


Zaira: Yes, a lot. Now, here on this side of the Canal, totally on the 
West side, they have about 1,100 tanks and 384 artillery pieces. About 
half as much as they have here. Because most of the artillery is de- 
ployed with the infantry divisions which they have here, five of which 
are on the East side. And here we have mostly tanks and mechanized 
divisions. So totally on the West side, they have more than 1,000 tanks, 
nearly 400 artillery pieces and about 600 APCs. 


Kissinger: How many artillery pieces would they have to move on 
the West bank? 


Zaira: [pointing to northern part of West side] Only from here up, 
which is about 112. 


Kissinger: 112 artillery pieces within the zone, in that 30-kilometer 
zone? 


Zaira: Yes. 

Kissinger: How many SAMs? 

Zaira: Generally in this area they have 15 battalions. 

Kissinger: Within the 30 kilometers? 

Zaira: Yes. 

Kissinger: And they are located specifically where? 

Elazar: Only here [pointing to northern part of West side]. 

Zaira: This I can show you here [hands Dr. Kissinger a paper]. 

Kissinger: Does one of you want to come with me to Aswan and 
see how easy it will be to tell them they have to move a thousand tanks 
and 700 artillery pieces across the Canal? 

Dayan: Can you say something about the number of tanks we have 
to move? 

Kissinger: We will get to that. Can I keep this? 

Zaira: [hesitates] Yes. [he hands it over] For you! [Zaira’s map at 
Tab A.’ 


? Tab A attached but not printed. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 9 


Kissinger: I don’t think it will improve my standing there to hand 
over a map written in Hebrew. 

Zaira: They can translate it. 

Kissinger: Let me get it straight again: There are about 900 tanks 
and 720 artillery pieces that have to be moved? 

Zaira: Just the opposite—720 tanks and 994 artillery pieces from 
here to here. 

Kissinger: On the East Bank. Then on the West Bank they would 
have to move an additional 100-plus artillery pieces. 

Elazar: I am not sure if they have to move all these. Because of the 
112 pieces that are in the area, some of them I suppose will not be in the 
30-kilometer area. So I don’t know if it is 50% or 60% but some of that 
artillery they will have to move. 

Kissinger: Unless they don’t want the 30 kilometers zone behind 
your line. But we will have to see. 

Elazar: That depends on the artillery line, if there is another artil- 
lery line. 

Keating: Do they know what you have on the West Bank? 

Zaira: Well, they take photos of our dispositions and also the Rus- 
sian Foxbats which take off from Cairo West fly over our area and take 
pictures. They look at our pictures and we look at theirs. So I believe 
they know. 

Keating: My point, Mr. Secretary, was that perhaps for your argu- 
ment purposes you would like to know what Israel would have to 
move. 

Kissinger: But they don’t accept the symmetry anyway, so... 

Keating: I know they don’t. 

Kissinger: This is not a negotiation we can settle by symmetrical 
withdrawal. 

Keating: I realize that. 

Kissinger: Alright. I understand. I just wanted you to understand 
what will be in their minds when we discuss it. It’s not going to be 
trivial. I was hoping their artillery would be on the West Bank. I didn’t 
realize they had most of it on the East Bank. 

Dayan: As far as the artillery is concerned, I still believe this is in 
their interest. If they say they want each party to keep its artillery in po- 
sition, which I doubt—of course if they always want only us to with- 
draw I can see their point. 

Kissinger: But if they want to keep their artillery on the East 
Bank... 


Dayan: And if we keep ours where it is, there won’t be any cease- 
fire, there won’t be any opening of the Canal or anything. The artillery 


10 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


is close to one another, so if someone opens fire and the other replies, 
before you know it the whole area is on fire. You can see what is going 
on now. I cannot imagine that they will start working on the Suez Canal 
or anything else if our artillery is not withdrawn, and to ask us to do it 
as a one-sided move, this I can imagine, but it is unacceptable to us. 
Well, anyway, this is the picture. 

Allon: I would like only to inform you that the Cabinet was very 
tough on this matter, heavy equipment and tanks as far as the East zone 
is concerned. 

Kissinger: They can be tough, but at some point they have to face 
their real alternatives. 


Allon: Of course. But the same applies to the other side. 

Kissinger: The tanks I think is a manageable problem. I think, I 
hope; I don’t know. 

Allon: What is the difficulty with the artillery? 

Kissinger: The difficulty is the psychological problem of his having 
to move major forces from territory he considers his own. There is no 
sense arguing it now because this is not the time. 

Allon: I am asking what is the difference between tanks and artil- 
lery from this point of view. 

Kissinger: Iam giving you my assessment, based on many conver- 
sations, of his probable reaction. He has to consider what orders he has 
to give to his military, and how he will look to his military, if he makes 
certain types of agreements. And I am concerned. We will see. 

Allon: Any more questions about Egypt, or can we move to Syria? 

Kissinger: Just a minute. Could I hear what you have on the West 
Bank? 

Elazar: By the way, I would like to mention that they have about 
50% of their artillery on the Eastern Bank. Because 900 is out of 1,900 ar- 
tillery pieces. 

Kissinger: But that means it is a massive artillery deployment on 
the East Bank. 

Elazar: Yes, 50%. 

Kissinger: I just hadn’t realized. I somehow thought they had it on 
the West Bank. I am just thinking about the orders that have to be 
given. It is a massive movement, and hard to justify as a unilateral deci- 
sion. Once you have put 50% of your forces on the East Bank it is hard 
to say that you came to the conclusion unilaterally that you are better 
off having them on the West Bank. But let’s see what his reactions are. 

Elazar: Well, we have now on the West Bank 3 armored divi- 
sions—actually two armored divisions and one is a mechanized divi- 
sion. That is to say, about 600 tanks, a little more, about 630. We have 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 11 


about 15 battalions of artillery, that is to say in pieces, about 200 artil- 
lery pieces. We have on the Eastern Bank another 3 divisions. That is to 
say, we have now 50% of our troops on the Egyptian front on the 
Western Bank. 

Actually we managed during the last months to make some fortifi- 
cations there in spite of the constant fire on our fortification works. And 
we feel that this force on the Western Bank is quite sufficient if there are 
some hostilities. What I mean is that we don’t feel we are trapped on 
the West Bank. That is what we have there. 

Dayan: Perhaps there is one more point that should be made, that 
is about the mountain there. We think that there is a dominating high 
ground there, Jebel Ataka, in the South, which cannot be appreciated 
just by number of tanks or artillery, but by the fact that our forces that 
are holding it are only infantry troops there, with light weapons. But I 
think if they get back that mountain, although it will not be calculated 
by artillery or tank pieces, it is a very important strong point. And I 
think they should appreciate it. 

Kissinger: But why is it that you feel you are not in a trap there 
when you have only 200 artillery pieces against about 1,000 and 600 
tanks against so many more? 

Elazar: That results from the ratio of forces between us and all the 
Arab armies. That is the normal ratio. And we don’t feel trapped in the 
Middle East in spite of this ratio of forces. We have the same ratio of 
forces on the West Bank. 

Kissinger: What is facing you on the West Bank? How many tanks? 

Dayan: If I may say one thing [gets up and goes over to map]. The 
only way they can really try to put us in a trap is by cutting from here, 
cutting the bridgehead we have there. Let’s say in this area, not across 
the lake, but here. They cannot do it with their forces on the Western 
side. They can press with those forces but we can fight it out. It is only 
pressure but it will not cut us off. To cut us off they have to link their 
Second and Third Armies. Then they will come against the forces that 
we have here, not inside the trap. In order to link the Second Army with 
the Third Army and to cut our bridge, they have to come against the 
forces that we have here. And I think they absolutely cannot do it. 

There is another thing. The Third Army, which should do part of 
the job, hasn’t got a missile umbrella, because this is out of range be- 
cause we are sitting here [on the West Bank]. This area is under our con- 
trol, and their missiles are here. That is to say, our Air Force is free to act 
against the Third Army. 

Now, I mentioned the mountain that we have here which domi- 
nates all the area around here. It is very important, not only topograph- 
ically but as a military position. So I cannot see how they can cut us off 


12 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


and put us in a trap. I should say that if war starts they will find the 
weakness of their Third Army earlier than we would feel some diffi- 
culties in our position here. They have a lot of forces here. They can 
press on us, but... 


Kissinger: Sadat said to me that his estimate is that you could de- 
stroy his Third Army if a war started, but you would take very heavy 
casualties doing it. 

Dayan: Well, let’s say that if something like that will take place, 
once we destroy the whole or even part of the Third Army, then our 
bridgehead will not be only here but will be extended here too, so there 
won't be any question of being trapped. Besides that we have the Navy 
here, with the LSTs. So I think the general idea that we are trapped is 
just because of misinformation or people do not realize the position of 
the Third Army, and the Navy possibility. And it is almost impossible 
for them now to link the Third Army and the Second Army. 

Keating: They will also drive in force near Cairo. 

Dayan: They will press us but they will not cut. 

Allon: Maybe the Egyptians underestimate our strength on the 
West Bank of the Suez Canal, but I don’t want you to be a victim of their 
trap about the assessment of our strength. I am not boasting too much; 
we know our weaknesses as well. To my judgment they cannot push us 
back. We may suffer casualties, of course, but we are not trapped. 

Kissinger: That is my judgment, but... 

Allon: We shall suffer casualties but we shall destroy a great deal 
of their army, more than he can afford politically. 

Kissinger: My estimate is that even if you win, the political world 
pressures would become such that ... 

Allon: [interrupts] This is a different problem. 

Kissinger: From the military aspect, I grant you that you would 
probably win; the cost you can assess better than I can. 

Allon: The battle cannot be decided by artillery. That is very 
helpful and very important, but it will be decided by tank warfare, 
armor, and the Air Force. In these two cases I think he may be 
surprised. 

Kissinger: My assessment is—and we have talked about it on other 
occasions and again yesterday*—that Israel is diplomatically and inter- 
nationally very badly placed for a resumption of the war on the West 
Bank. And that is not based on my assessment of the strategic situation. 
I would assume that if you tell me you will win, as the Defense Minister 


3 See footnote 4, Document 3. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 13 


has said yesterday,‘ I believe that. In any event, you would be a much 
better judge of that, but we went over that yesterday. 


Allon: We would like to avert a war, no question about that. Even 
if the diplomatic situation would be better. 

Kissinger: The major information I wanted was what he would 
have to remove if he accepts your plan, so I can understand what is in 
his mind when I am talking to him. Let me understand: The APCs can 
stay, if I understand correctly. I thought that was what you said to me 
in Washington. 

Dayan: I think those attached to the battalions, to the infantry bat- 
talions, can. The way I see it is all defensive weapons, if they go on 
mining the area, anti-tank guns and APCs and armored cars—but those 
that belong to the respective units, not just if they artificially stuck in 
hundreds of thousands of them. But when we speak about policing bat- 
talions, or they can do it with APCs, from my point of view it is all right. 

Kissinger: I understand. I think I have a sufficient idea of your plan 
now so we don’t have to go over it. Because the tough part of it will 
come when we get a reaction. For presentation purposes I understand it 
well enough. If they accept it, the tough part will come in spelling out 
all the details. 

Atherton: Could we have the number of personnel they have? 

Kissinger: Five divisions is how much? 

Zaira: About 60—70,000. 

Allon: You mean the two armies East of the Suez Canal? 

Alazar: Yes. 

Kissinger: You drive a hard bargain. 

Dayan: Either he wants to fight or he wants peace. 

Elazar: We have about 50,000 men on the West Bank. 


Dayan: I suppose the best thing to convince somebody from Egypt 
is to take him for a guided tour along our forces there and to tell him the 
number of people we have there and the fortifications and this business 
of the mountain—I really don’t know whether Sadat is acquainted with 
the area and knows the meaning of that mountain—and the naval 
business and all these things. 

Kissinger: That is not his problem. His problem is what orders he 
has to give to his military and how he will look to his military. And that 
is going to be quite a problem. 


* According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, Kissinger met with Dayan on Jan- 
uary 12 around midnight for approximately one hour. (Library of Congress, Manuscript 
Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) No other record has been 
found. 


14 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dayan: To get us out of there is also a problem. 

Kissinger: He may think world pressure will get you out. There is 
no sense discussing the plan any further. Let’s see what his reaction is; 
then we have something to discuss. If he accepts it. If he rejects it, we 
will see again. Okay, let’s see the Syrian front. 

Zaira: The Syrians had 2,100 tanks on October 5th; they lost about 
1,100, then got from Russia 800. Today they have about 1,800 tanks, out 
of which they have between Damascus and the front line about 1,360. 
They do not include the Jordanian forces. 

Kissinger: They just evacuated. 

Allon: Nor the Iraqis. 

Zaira: They have here four divisions on the front line—the 5th, 8th, 
7th and 3rd. And they have the First Division behind the lines. They 
have a lot of artillery, about more than 900, and all of them along the 
front line; about 1,300 APCs, all of them along the front line; some Mor- 
occan forces here, Iraqis, some Saudis here and some Kuwaitis proba- 
bly somewhere here. We don’t count them yet. They also have missiles. 

Dayan: We're very popular. 


Kissinger: Are the Saudis finally there? It took them about three 
weeks to get there. 

Zaira: But we have patience. [laughter] 

Kissinger: Once during the war their unit was lost somewhere in 
Jordan. 

Zaira: Purposely. 

Now, I have to add that there is a difference in the capability of 
using surface-to-surface missiles by the Syrians. They used the FROGs 
during the war; we understand that now they have the SCUDs. 

Kissinger: Did the Egyptians have FROGs? 

Zaira: Yes, a lot. They used a lot and they also used SCUDs. We 
found some fragments of SCUDs which were sent to the Pentagon al- 
ready, I believe. But if the Syrians have the SCUDs, they can cover even 
Pafah and El Arish, can even destroy Gaza if they want to. I believe the 
Syrians having SCUDs is something different, because they will not be 
very scrupulous about using them. And I believe the fact that the Syri- 
ans and the Egyptians have the SCUDs and the FROGs will bring a new 
dimension to the war here if it resumes, and I speak about using 
surface-to-surface missiles against cities. 

Kissinger: Why didn’t they use them in the war? 

Zaira: They used what they had. They only had the FROGs; the 
Syrians did not have the SCUD. 

Kissinger: Why not the Egyptians? 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 15 


Zaira: The Egyptians I believe had the SCUDs to be used only if we 
attacked cities in Egypt. At the same time also the only people who 
could really fire the SCUDs were the Russians; now I believe that the 
Egyptians can use them. But during the war only the Russians could 
fire them, and according to our information it was the Russians who 
fired the missiles that were fired. 

Kissinger: But at what were they fired? 

Zaira: At the Fayid area, not at cities. 

Elazar: In the bridgehead area. 

Zaira: A few minutes before five o’clock on the 22nd of October on 
the West side of the Canal. 

As to airplanes, the Syrians lost about 200 airplanes. They have re- 
ceived back by airlift about 140, all of them from either Russia or the 
satellites. They were all assembled and tested by Russians or East 
Germans. 

Kissinger: Do you think the Russians delivered such massive 
numbers of tanks from existing units? They couldn’t have had them in 
store. 

Zaira: Hither existing units or reserve units. I tend to think they 
were taken out of reserve units. 

Kissinger: But certainly not out of current production? 

Zaira: Because we know some of the tanks that were shipped to 
Syria were used tanks, so they just took out the tanks from the stores of 
reserve units or maybe even active units. 

Kissinger: Our intelligence had the impression that some were 
taken from active units. 

Maw: How many aircraft do they have now? 

Zaira: Today about 300. 

Kissinger: How many do you have there? What was the old line? 

Elazar: [referring to map] Here is the 1967 line. There is a no-man’s 
land of about two kilometers. Here is the new line. 

Kissinger: I see. No, I mean the line on the day the 1967 war broke 
out, the June 5th line. 

Dinitz: It doesn’t exist on our map! 

Elazar: Oh, you mean the 1949 line. It is somewhere here. 

Allon: It is too close to my kibbutz. 

Elazar: Here is the Jordan River, so it was approximately here. 

Kissinger: What is the deepest point of your penetration from the 
pre-1967 war line? What is the deepest penetration on the Golan 
Heights? Altogether, from what you call the 1949 line to the deepest 
penetration you have now. 


16 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Zaira: It depends on where you take the axis. From here to here 
along the road [pointing], it is about 60 kilometers. From here to here 
[pointing] about 40. 


Kissinger: And what is the deepest point of your penetration in the 
last war? 


Elazar: About 30 kilometers. 

Allon: About 30 kilometers each war. 

Kissinger: One more war for Damascus [laughter]. Your Defense 
Minister said during the war, “We are on the road to Damascus.” The 
Russians went crazy and I complained. So your Defense Minister very 
helpfully pointed out in his next public statement that the road from 
Tel Aviv to Damascus is also the road from Damascus to Tel Aviv. 
[laughter] 

Elazar: What we have here now is about two armored divisions, 
approximately 500 tanks. 

Kissinger: You think you can hold this line now? 

Elazar: Yes. 

Kissinger: Easily? 

Elazar: Easily. It is much better because of the topographical 
advantages. 

Kissinger: They can’t pinch off the salient? 


Elazar: I would say that as a main line of defense it is much better. 
This area here is a great advantage. I have no doubt that we can defend 
it with two divisions, two armored divisions, 500 tanks. 


Kissinger: Can you defend it without mobilization? 

Elazar: No, we have to mobilize. 

Allon: It depends on how many fronts we have. 

Elazar: We can have altogether a little more than two armored di- 
visions unmobilized. But usually even in peacetime we always have a 
certain part of our reserves mobilized in training periods and so on. So 
to have an additional armored division as a reserve armored division 
which is on training, that is quite a normal procedure. 

Kissinger: What is the length of military service here? 

Elazar: Three years compulsory service and 30 days for reserve 
units every year, and three days every two months. For commanders it 
is 40 days. 

Kissinger: So it is 48 days. Six times three plus 30. 

Elazar: Sometimes more. For officers it is 42, plus 12 days, so it is 
almost two months every year. 

Keating: And for women? 

Elazar: 20 months compulsory service. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 17 


Kissinger: And then reserve service. 

Elazar: They have reserve service of 30 days. 

Kissinger: It is a big chunk out of people’s lives. 

Elazar: We used to say they are soldiers on 11 months leave every 
year. 


Allon: It is more a citizens’ army than it is a people. But it is a 
burden, no question about it. 


Kissinger: Jordan. The Jordanians were about two weeks ago 
telling us you had two and a half armored divisions concentrated 
against them and you were getting ready to start against Saudi Arabia. 
Fortunately they also told this to Saudi Arabia. 

Elazar: We didn’t have actually armored divisions but we had sev- 
eral infantry brigades. 

Kissinger: Why? 

Elazar: Well, in any case, to give him an excuse at least. 

Kissinger: So he could pull out his armored divisions. Oh, I see. 

Allon: I understand he is improving his forces now, thanks to two 
American shipments of arms. 

Kissinger: I know of only one shipment. What are you talking 
about? 

Allon: A new deal for supplies. 

Kissinger: I will tell you, we are sending some TOW missiles, but 
except for that I don’t know of anything now. They have asked for a lot 
more, but nothing was agreed to. 

Allon: This is out of context now, but during the war he did his 
best to avoid direct confrontation on the Eastern front. 

Kissinger: We know. 

Allon: But in certain hours he was on the edge of intervening di- 
rectly because he was under great pressure from other Arab countries, 
and I don’t know how much he can resist in case of another war. 

Kissinger: There is no question that that is true, and we were in 
daily contact with him and daily asked him not to do anything. And he 
is paying a price for it, because his present position in the peace negoti- 
ations is weak because he did not enter the war. 

Eban: At Algiers, when they said they took part in the war, the 
Egyptians smiled derisively.° 

Kissinger: We made a major effort to keep him out of the war. He 
sent us messages twice a day. He is under great pressure. 

Shall we talk about Syrian disengagement? 


5 The Arab League Summit was held in Algiers November 26-28, 1973. 


18 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Allon: The only thing I am authorized to say today as a result of the 
Cabinet meeting is that we are ready in principle to enter negotiations 
with the Syrians about a disengagement or separation of forces agree- 
ment, provided that they will hand over first the list of the prisoners of 
war to the Red Cross and permit the Red Cross personnel to visit the 
prisoners and report on their conditions. Once we start, of course, we 
will get moving. 

Kissinger: I understand. Let me say this. If the Egyptians are recep- 
tive to your proposal, then Sadat wants me to go to Damascus—for his 
reasons. If I go to Damascus, Asad will undoubtedly raise this issue. I 
don’t have to have a plan approved by the Cabinet; in fact, I would 
rather not have a plan. But I would like to have something to talk about. 
Now I understand your original proposition that they must give the list 
of prisoners and Red Cross visits. I have already said this to Sadat and 
he said he would write a letter to Asad to urge him to make this 
concession. 

Allon: It is very important, emotionally and humanly. 

Kissinger: You have no problem with us on this point. There are 
two issues, one procedural and one substantive. Procedurally, Sadat 
has suggested that one way of breaking the log-jam on Syrian participa- 
tion in the Conference would be that if they were willing to give lists 
and permit Red Cross visits that they join the Egyptian delegation to 
discuss disengagement with you. I have told him, (a), I don’t know 
whether it would be acceptable to you, and secondly ... 

Allon: It is not good for him either. 

Kissinger: You can’t tell him what is good for him when he is pro- 
posing it. On the condition that they give the lists and permit Red Cross 
visits, would you then talk to them in the framework of the Egyptian- 
Israeli discussions on disengagement? The lists are the sine qua non. 

Allon: I would prefer not. I don’t know what would be the last an- 
swer, but as far as my first reaction is concerned, it isn’t good to link to- 
gether the Egyptians and the Syrians. It will start by having joint talks; 
it will end up by an Egyptian refusal to reach an agreement over disen- 
gagement unless and until we reach a similar agreement with the 
Syrians. We will have more difficulties with the Syrians than the 
Egyptians. 

Kissinger: That is an incorrect analysis. What will block an agree- 
ment with the Egyptians may be your plan, but there is no doubt in my 
mind that Sadat will not wait for the Syrians to accept a plan he con- 
siders domestically bearable for himself. And my recommendation to 
Sadat would be that this issue would not be raised until the agreement 
with you is already signed and in the process of being implemented. 
They made the proposal to me three weeks ago that Syrian officers join 
the Egyptian delegation in Geneva. I mentioned it to you, or maybe I 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 19 


didn’t even mention it, because I told Fahmi. He called me from Ge- 
neva, and I told him this would so totally confuse the issue that no 
progress would be made and I didn’t even bother to pass it on because I 
thought I knew what your answer would be. But now he has resur- 
rected it. It will come up only in the context of an already-signed agree- 
ment which has begun to be implemented. And it is his way of getting 
them pregnant so that they cannot attack his disengagement agree- 
ment. And it is in that context that you should consider it. 

Allon: You mean that the negotiations with the Syrians would take 
place in Geneva? 

Dinitz: I think the confusing sentence was your phrase, “within the 
framework of the Egyptian negotiations.” 

Kissinger: What he has in mind, in order to avoid a Syrian Central 
Committee argument, is that Asad can send officers to sit with the 
Egyptians in Geneva on his own, but he cannot take a formal decision 
to join the Geneva peace talks. So he thought that we’d say the disen- 
gagement group which is now discussing Egyptian disengagement will 
then discuss Syrian disengagement, without an additional decision of 
Syria about joining the peace talks. It is, however, clearly understood 
that they must give the prisoner lists and Red Cross visits before that 
can take place, even as part of the Egyptian group. And I would not rec- 
ommend it unless the disengagement plan with Egypt were already 
signed and in the process of implementation. The advantage of this tac- 
tically, frankly, is that it would avoid a consideration of the second 
phase of the Geneva Conference, since the second phase would then be 
Syrian disengagement and it would give Syria a vested interest not to 
raise the ultimate issues because its own disengagement scheme would 
be considered. In that framework I would frankly recommend it. 

Allon: Just to find out whether I understood correctly; Sadat thinks 
that it is too difficult for the Syrian regime to adopt a resolution in the 
Central Committee to start direct negotiations with us over the disen- 
gagement, and it would be easier ... 

Kissinger: Or to join formally the Geneva Conference. 

Allon: And they think it would be easier for them to join the Egyp- 
tian team and to negotiate together the Syrian points after we conclude 
the agreement with Egypt? 

Kissinger: And the implementation had started. 

Allon: And they don’t want to have it somewhere in the field be- 
tween the two fronts? 

Kissinger: No. 

[Mr. Saunders and Mr. Sisco join the group.] 

Allon: I personally would recommend the Cabinet accept it. If you 
come back from Egypt and say this is the only way to meet with the 


20 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Syrians. But I will recommend, if possible, that we should discuss the 
Syrian problem when you come back from Egypt again. 

Kissinger: I agree with you. 

Allon: You will know better and we shall know more. We didn’t go 
into details on this in the Cabinet. There is a great sensitiveness on 
Syria. 

Kissinger: If I go to Syria it will probably be Wednesday.® I would 
have been here once again. And it would be a day, if things go well, in 
which drafting would be going on. It would help me. With Sadat, you 
have given me a bit that will help me. By the time I go to Syria it would 
help me, not to know what your plan is, but the way the Defense Min- 
ister talked, which gave me a sense of what is inadmissible and what is 
possible to think about. The last time he [Asad] pulled out a map and 
said, “If we do disengagement with the Israelis, what are you talking 
about?” And I frankly didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about 
and I didn’t dare say anything. And at least I want to know, not a plan, 
but what is totally inadmissible, so I can narrow the area of 
consideration. 

Allon: Frankly speaking, I don’t think that any one of us is author- 
ized to commit ourselves. 


Kissinger: Not to commit yourselves, but can we think out loud? 


Allon: What is inadmissible—I would say that no retreat will take 
place from any of the old demarcation lines, under any circumstances. 

Kissinger: Alright. That is helpful to know. 

Allon: And of course we could also not give up the entire new ter- 
ritory. But this is really my very personal view. I can hardly commit 
myself, let alone the Prime Minister or the Cabinet. 

Kissinger: Asad has said, incidentally—he volunteered this—the 
one thing he said about disengagement was that he recognized that no 
Syrian forces could move into areas from which the Israelis withdrew. 
So you have no problem of thinning of forces or anything, if he still 
maintains that. We are not talking about any particular territory. Be- 
cause on the Sinai, when Sadat talked to me in November,’ I had a 
sense of what was feasible from our many discussions on the interim 
agreement and my discussions with the Foreign Minister and the Prime 
Minister. On the Golan Heights, I had no sense at all. So when I come 
here on Tuesday—you don’t have to settle it now—if we could just sit 
together privately and give me the thinking out loud. I would give him 
nothing. 


6 Wednesday, January 16. 


7 See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, 
Document 324. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 21 


Allon: I understand. 

Kissinger: But at least in giving him nothing I won’t be sitting there 
like an idiot. What you said now is already very helpful. If you say you 
could give up nothing of the old territories, that is one limitation that is 
useful for me to have. 

Allon: I prefer that we discuss Syria when you come back, but we 
did adopt a decision that... 

Kissinger: I saw that; that is very useful. 

Eban: One difference between their joining the Egyptian delega- 
tion or coming themselves in their own capacity to Geneva—it might 
not make a practical difference but there is a political difference. I think 
it should be sold as a concession. By coming to the Conference, they ac- 
cept a certain ideology of recognition. 

Kissinger: I think Sadat thinks—it is obviously helpful to Sadat 
that he is not the only Arab who makes a disengagement plan. 

Allon: May I go back to Egypt for a minute? It has been mentioned 
last night about the frequent violations of the ceasefire—on both fronts, 
but I am speaking about Egypt now because you are going to Egypt. 
From midnight to this hour there have been already ten incidents, and 
two casualties, wounded, one officer and one soldier. This can’t go on. 
We shall give them hell, but ... And this is one of the signs of goodwill 
from tonight on. 

Kissinger: Just a minute, from tonight on nothing will happen, 
Yigal. Let’s be realistic. Tonight I am not going to see Sadat. I want to 
start early in the morning. If he accepts your plan in principle, then I 
can insist that he stop the ceasefire violations as a sign of good faith. If 
he rejects your plan in principle, I guarantee you the number of viola- 
tions will increase. So I cannot very well tell him ... 

Allon: We shall not confine ourselves to hit back only in the place 
where we are being attacked. It is a wide front. I must convince him 
that we mean business. 

Kissinger: Yigal ... 

Allon: The war of attrition will not be renewed. With all my respect 
for Field Marshal Sadat and his victorious army, if the violations con- 
tinue, there might be a retaliation in a way that even you might not like. 

Kissinger: It depends entirely on the context in which it occurs. If 
he accepts it in principle, I can insist that there be an end to ceasefire vi- 
olations. If he does not accept it in principle, there will be increased 
ceasefire violations. This you will then have to consider, not on the 
basis of abstract rhetoric and toughness, but on the situation in which 
you will find yourselves if all hell breaks loose internationally, but 
there is no sense debating that now. 


22 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Allon: Henry, we are not going to pay the price that the interna- 
tional community is expecting of us. We learned something. Every- 
body will be happy at our expense. It won’t happen. 

Kissinger: The most important thing about history is to learn the 
right lessons. Usually people learn a lesson and then apply it in a dif- 
ferent period when it is no longer valid. You know my advice about 
1956. There it was not necessary. In 1973 it may have been necessary, 
but let’s not discuss it now because it is not the concrete issue. I would 
recommend strongly that before you take any retaliation, you wait 
until I get back here, which is, after all, hopefully within 24 hours of my 
leaving. 

Allon: You will be back tomorrow night? 


Kissinger: I hope I can get enough of a beginning reaction during 
the day tomorrow so I can leave Egypt late in the day and arrive here 
no later than during the night Monday, so we can work together 
starting Tuesday morning. So I hope that at 10 o’clock Tuesday 
morning we shall start working. But until then you should not do any 
drastic retaliation, because you have to hear what his reaction is. 

I'll see the museum Tuesday at 8:30. 

Allon: You didn’t see it today? 

Kissinger: No. 

Allon: You saw Teddy [Kollek]? 

Kissinger: Yes. For five minutes. 

Allon: So you know what he feels about Jerusalem. 

Kissinger: [pause] If he accepts it in principle, the first demand I 
will make is that he stop the pressure. If he accepts it in principle there 
will be no problem. The real problem we will have is if he rejects it in 
principle. Even then I will urge him to step down his activity to see 
what that news produces here. But let’s not get the situation out of 
hand while I am in the area here. I think that would be extremely dan- 
gerous and foolish. 

Allon: I want to make it clear, because you are going to see him, be- 
cause I won’t see him. He should understand that we shall not tolerate 
a war of attrition. We may regret it too, but we will retaliate. 

Kissinger: Yigal, please. 

Allon: If he wants a war then we have no alternative, and if he re- 
jects in principle our proposal it means he wants war. 

Kissinger: It may not mean this. We are running into the danger of 
talking slogans. If he rejects it, from my judgment of what I have seen, it 
is because of his own domestic position. Just as you have a domestic 
position, he has one. And you are asking him to give the army, which 
he has finally got under control, a lot of orders that will be extraordi- 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 23 


narily unpalatable to them. I do not know whether he can do it or not. I 
have no question in my mind, having spent these many hours with 
him, that he genuinely wants a settlement and that he almost certainly 
wants peace in the Canal zone. Whether his domestic situation permits 
him to do what you think you require for your domestic situation, that I 
don’t know, and we will now find out within the next 36 hours. No 
sense debating it. But it is not as simple as “does he want peace” or 
“does he not want peace.” 


Allon: Without using slogans, we are not asking you to help us in 
our domestic situation. We are undertaking all the calculated risks in- 
volved with open eyes because we believe this is a responsible decision 
we are taking, and you know how difficult it is to explain, because we 
can’t boast of an advantage of such an agreement until after it has been 
signed. 

Kissinger: Even then you can’t. 


Allon: I mean to say we lost nothing militarily if we are here or 
there. Some explanation will be given, not to boast, not to make it an Is- 
raeli victory. It is not a victory but it is not a defeat. Since I know this 
argument which goes on with us for 26 years about the domestic 
problems of each Arab country and the whole Arab world all together, 
so to some extent an enlightened people can take it into consideration. 
But we are not going to pay the price for his domestic affairs. If he can’t 
control the army for a disengagement agreement, then he can’t control 
the army but by going to war. So let him come. 

Kissinger: I have to explain to you what the realities are interna- 
tionally or domestically in America. Before you take drastic decisions 
you have to consider that this is a different world now from the late 
1950’s. I suggest, however, we do not debate it now. It is not a current 
issue. 

Allon: No, but deliver the message in the spirit and letter, because 
it is very serious. 

Kissinger: I will deliver it but you have to rely on me as to how to 
handle him. I do not happen to believe that your particular formulation 
is the exact way for me to deliver it to him, but I will get across to him 
that you are not to be played with. 

Allon: The second problem is the problem of the bodies of the dead 
soldiers. This is a thing which I can’t understand. 


Kissinger: Dayan has raised that and it is a reasonable demand. 


Allon: It is high time he let us search for the bodies and bring them 
for burial and inform the families, and this should be one of the signs of 
goodwill. 


Kissinger: No question. If he agrees to it in principle, there should 
be no problem. 


24 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dinitz: And this goes for Mizrachi.® 

Kissinger: He has also agreed to give back Mizrachi when you're 
on the final line. If you will keep quiet about it—and the Soviets too— 
and just let us ask for him, he will give him to us for you. If you and the 
others keep quiet about it, if we ask for him, we will get him back. He 
took it particularly ill that the Soviets raised it too. Levy’ I have never 
raised with him, because I understand he is crazy. 

Dinitz: That is a simple case of a human being who is sick, was in 
an asylum. 

Kissinger: Mizrachi I can assure you about, and he gave me the 
exact reason why he is not so interested to release him. Levy I have 
never raised with him, but if the facts are what you have described, I 
can’t imagine any problem. 

Allon: Now, we adopted a decision today about authorizing you to 
put forward a plan which we negotiated last night and this morning, 
and we shall make the announcement today as you asked it. 

Kissinger: But you will say that you adopted it “learning and 
taking into account the Egyptian position.” That makes it easier for him 
not to demand too much in return. 

Sisco: When will that be announced? 

Eban: Within a couple of hours. 

Kissinger: It is very helpful, extremely helpful. And I must say that 
the talks this morning, going over the map, brought very useful clarifi- 
cations. I do not just say this for the record, but I say it genuinely. 

Allon: And, just to give you my impression from the discussion we 
had at the Cabinet, as far as their forces or the presence of offensive 
type of weapons on the East bank would create a great problem in our 
parliament, and quite rightly so. This is not a matter of domestic 
problems. We can overcome all sorts of problems. Therefore, do not 
concede— 

Kissinger: Let me explain exactly what my position has to be, for 
the preservation of my own position. I cannot be in Egypt as Israel’s 
lawyer. I cannot be in Egypt to start with one position and then say to 
him, well, I will accept another one. The position that I will bring to him 
is the only position I will discuss. The only thing I can do is, acting as an 
interpreter of what I take to be your views, I can tell him if the line may 
be five kilometers more or less, or I can say to him it is a waste of time 
for me to bring it here. If he says, “I need two more battalions,” I cannot 
say I accept it. But I can say I will take it to Israel and see what they say. 


8 Baruch Mizrachi was an accused Israeli spy in Egyptian custody. 
° Levy was an accused Israeli spy in Egyptian custody. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 25 


lin no case will go further than telling him that I will take certain things 
to Israel for your consideration. You will have the perfect freedom 
when I arrive to reject what I bring to you. I must do that, for my own 
sake, because I do not want to be ina position where I have plenipoten- 
tiary powers from you and say I agree to four battalions rather than 
three battalions. That puts me into a bad position because it makes me 
look vis-a-vis him that I am trying to strike the best possible bargain for 
Israel. So it would destroy my usefulness even with Egypt. So the use I 
am as your intermediary is to give him my interpretation of your 
thinking and steer him away from some things altogether; others I 
bring here and you can still reject them. 

Allon: I understand, but I felt it my obligation to tell you what was 
the spirit of the discussion, because people take the problem of the limi- 
tation of forces in the security zones very seriously. 

Kissinger: But steer your press away from any discussion that I am 
going to Aswan and then I will return here with a finished product that 
I have agreed to with Sadat. Because if I could get away with that, it 
would destroy—strangely enough—my usefulness with Egypt. 

Allon: I think we have earned our lunch already. Have a good 
lunch. 


[The meeting adjourned at 1:15 p.m.] 


26 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


5. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Aswan, January 14, 1974, 10:30 a.m.—2 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Anwar al-Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt 
Ismail Fahmi, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Maj. General Mohammed Abdel Ghany el-Gamasy, Egyptian Chief of Staff 


Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State 

Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador-at-Large, Head of U.S. Delegation to 
Geneva Peace Conference 

Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


[Secretary Kissinger and President Sadat conferred privately from 
about 10:30 to 10:45 a.m., discussing a map which the Secretary had car- 
ried with him from Israel.? About 10:45, General Gamasy was sum- 
moned to join the discussion. At 11:15 a.m., Ambassador Bunker, As- 
sistant Secretary Sisco, and Peter Rodman were brought into the 
meeting.] 

Secretary Kissinger: Sisco was up until 4:00 a.m. Saturday night. 
We did it in turns. I started at 7:30. 

President Sadat: They said in the papers that a working committee 
was set up [between the U.S. and Israel]. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, working groups. 

[Photographers were admitted, for a brief photo opportunity.] 

Secretary Kissinger: I told the press that by tonight we would 
know whether it was a Kissinger plan or a Sisco plan. [Laughter] 

Minister Fahmi: It depends on its success. [Laughter] 

I told Joe that if it is a Joe plan, we’d send him to the Valley of the 
Queens. We’d preserve him. 

Secretary Kissinger: Why preserve him? [Laughter] 

I have presented to the President the evolution of my knowledge 
of Israeli thinking and also the political situation in Israel as we see it— 
which is a divided Cabinet trying to form a new Cabinet, in which fac- 
tions have this idea or that idea but it is difficult to get together. We in- 
sisted, on this visit, that there had to be a plan, and that they couldn’t 
play the game with us of offering models and then taking them back. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974. Top Secret; 
Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the President’s House. Brack- 
ets are in the original. 

? Presumably the map given to Kissinger by General Zaira. See footnote 2, Docu- 
ment 4. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 27 


First they suggested to replace Israeli forces with UN forces— 
which I rejected. Then I showed the President a map they gave us Sat- 
urday, which was official—they would leave the West Bank, you 
would stay in the Second and Third Army areas, and the UN takes this 
area, and there would be forward zones on both sides, and then the 
main lines. We rejected this, on the ground that the Egyptian presence 
on the Canal had to be unbroken and I couldn’t face President Sadat 
with this proposal. Also, I didn’t think it right that Egypt had to give up 
this territory. [See map at Tab A]? 

They wanted me to present this and come back to them. I said no. 

Now their proposal is this: that there would be an Egyptian line, a 
UN line, and the Israeli line. This they say—and I believe it—is abso- 
lutely their final main line. They will not go off this road. I told the Pres- 
ident, although I have no authority to do this, that I believe morally it is 
not possible or easy to ask Egypt to give up any territory they con- 
quered. So I told the President I would be prepared to go back to Israel 
to ask that it go to Egypt, not the UN. [See map at Tab B]* 

So it is an unbroken line to the furthest extent of your present line 
plus the unbroken line. 

I have no authority but I will strongly urge it. 

President Sadat: I told Dr. Kissinger to push the UN line forward 
in front of our line. 

Secretary Kissinger: Iam positive they won’t go back further here. 

President Sadat: The main line. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. Your President wanted me to discuss it. I 
think—and my associates were present at all my meetings—that their 
original idea was like the Yariv’ idea, ten to twelve kilometers and no 
more. But I think they will go as far as this road. In the south I haven’t 
discussed with them with the same intensity. 

Here [the artillery line further back] is another line I haven’t dis- 
cussed with the President. They are willing to withdraw their artillery 
to this line if you are willing to withdraw your artillery. 

President Sadat: From the East or West Bank? 

Secretary Kissinger: From the East Bank. 

Let’s go through it all. In their view, in the Egyptian area on the 
East Bank they say there should be in the whole area two to three bat- 
talions. I told them this is impossible. 


3 Tab A attached but not printed. 
“Tab B attached but not printed. 


5 A reference to Israeli General Aharon Yariv, the chief Israeli negotiator at Kilo- 
meter 101 on the Cairo-Suez Road, where Israeli and Egyptian military officials negoti- 
ated between October 28 and November 29, 1973. 


28 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


President Sadat: That’s right. 

Secretary Kissinger: I am a lousy negotiator on their behalf, but I 
want to tell you my idea of what is possible and what is not. The zone is 
with no tanks, no artillery; APC’s are possible, and anti-tank guns are 
possible. They want this whole withdrawal to take three months—then 
they said two months. I said it has to be shorter. 

They have agreed to open the two roads to Suez City and the road 
to Kabrit within 48 hours of the first withdrawal. I promised you this. 

President Sadat: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: Their basic theory is that the artillery of each 
side should be such that it does not cover more than the forward zone. 
Theirs would be back here, thirty kilometers. 

They also are willing in this zone of thirty kilometers to have any 
limit of deployments that you are willing to have in your zone. 

President Sadat: In the Western Bank. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. So if you have, say, 300 tanks, they will do 
the same. They don’t insist on it. But if you are willing. 

They also want a line of 18 kilometers here with no artillery, then 
only 155 mm in the zone between 18-30 kilometers, and then 175 mm 
beyond the thirty kilometers. 

If you want this, it can be done. I personally think it will be impos- 
sible to distinguish by photography between 155 and 175 mm, and I be- 
lieve the practical consequence is that it means unrestricted artillery. 

General Gamasy: Impossible. 

Secretary Kissinger: In my judgment, yes. 

President Sadat: Quite right. 

Secretary Kissinger: They also want that anti-aircraft missiles be 
placed in such a way that they can’t reach beyond the forward edge of 
your forward zone. Again I had a long argument with them about this, 
and they are willing to do the following—which shows that the argu- 
ment is heavily political. They don’t mind that you can build emplace- 
ments for them as long as you don’t move missiles in. But they say you 
can do it in 24 hours. 

President Sadat: All our sites now are in this range on the West 
Bank. Beyond Qantara. 

Secretary Kissinger: Your range is about 40 kilometers. 

President Sadat: The maximum is 35 kilometers. 

Secretary Kissinger: Unless you have better ones than the North 
Vietnamese, they don’t hit much at the maximum range. Our experi- 
ence in Vietnam is they are easy to avoid at the maximum range. 

President Sadat: Quite right. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 29 


Secretary Kissinger: Now, I’ve presented to you their full plan, 
which caused us unbelievable anguish to produce—even though you 
won't like it. 

My judgment is this: I believe the number of battalions should be 
increased. I’ve already told them this is an unreasonable proposal. I 
don’t know what they are willing to accept. 

President Sadat: That depends on how many they put on the main 
line. I can’t do it unless they tell me what they will have. 

Secretary Kissinger: Their theory is your main line is the Canal and 
theirs is here. They will put symmetrical forces in their forward zones. I 
have told you there will be no tanks, no artillery in the forward zone. So 
this would be symmetrical. 

Behind this main line they are willing, if you have only, say, 300 
tanks between the main line and thirty kilometers, they'll do the same. 
We haven't discussed it all, but I believe it has to be a simple line. 

President Sadat: It must be simplified at this stage. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have given you the worst now. 

Let me now go through it. I’ll give you my assessment later. 

President Sadat: Please. 

Secretary Kissinger: There are seven essential conditions they said 
they had to have: [reads from memo at Tab C]° The first is that the 
Agreement must renew the commitment to the ceasefire. I see no 
problem here. 

President Sadat: No. 

Secretary Kissinger: The second is the blockade of Bab El-Mandeb. 
We have agreed on that. 

The third is that if Egypt opens the Canal, Israeli ships must go 
through. 

President Sadat: These are political issues! 

Secretary Kissinger: I’m just telling you. 

The fourth is that “all foreign troops and volunteers must be re- 
moved from Egypt.” 

President Sadat: Ridiculous. 

Secretary Kissinger: Then there are “provisions for supervision, 
control and verification.” That’s automatic. 

Then there are provisions I don’t understand: 

“The parties undertake not to interfere in any manner whatsoever, 
directly or indirectly, with scheduled or non-scheduled civil flights cur- 
rently operating to or from territory of the other party.” 


6 Tab C attached but not printed. Entitled “Points to be Included in the Agreement 
with Egypt on the Disengagement and Separation of Forces in Addition to the Technical 
Provisions,” it included seven points for inclusion in the agreement. 


30 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Sisco: They told me something about interference with 
their flights to Africa. 

Secretary Kissinger: My judgment is that these should be part of 
the peace negotiations. 

President Sadat: It has to do with the boycott. It is purely political.’ 

Secretary Kissinger: I’ll tell you what I think is attainable and what 
is not attainable. So we can use this week efficiently. 


If you agree, Mr. President. 


President Sadat: Certainly; certainly. [The Egyptian side confers.] 
Can we form a working committee from both sides here? 

Secretary Kissinger: Certainly. 

Would you like us to leave you alone now? 

President Sadat: No, because we first have to agree, you and I, on 
the principles on which they will work. 

Secretary Kissinger: I think we should form a working committee 
but we have to tell them what to do in this working committee. 

President Sadat: Exactly. 

[At 11:50 Kissinger and Sadat go out to discuss alone. While 
waiting, Gamasy, Fahmi, and Sisco go over the map:] 

General Gamasy: Here is our main line now. We can’t consider 
moving our main line here. 

Minister Fahmi: Reciprocity is illogical. If they want us to put only 
300 tanks here, it is defending the whole country. Their tanks aren’t de- 
fending anything, and they are on Egyptian territory. 

General Gamasy: [Opens up his own map] This is what we ex- 
pected you would bring. 

Minister Fahmi: We can’t keep only 300 tanks to defend against a 
shock attack. If they change their mind and try to kick us out of the East 
Bank. 


General Gamasy: We have our anti-aircraft on our main line. There 
are very few artillery pieces of ours that can hit their forces in their for- 
ward zone. We have very few 122 mm pieces. 

Ambassador Bunker: What about 130 mm? With 27-kilometer 
range? 

General Gamasy: We have very few. And they have very few 175 
mm that can hit our forces. The concept of their plan is to draw their 


” On December 2, 1945, the Arab League imposed a boycott prohibiting trade be- 
tween Arab countries and Israel. By 1948, the boycott had evolved into three components: 
a continuation of the primary boycott imposed in 1945, a secondary boycott against any 
companies that operated in Israel, and a tertiary boycott aimed at those companies that 
had relationahips with companies that operated in Israel. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 31 


forces back a little and behind this line to do whatever they like. And 
ask us to draw our main forces back. 

Minister Fahmi: To take our forces back from the East Bank. And 
all of this is on our own territory. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: I understand you reject symmetry. 

Minister Fahmi: Politically what they are doing is redeploying 
their own forces and diminishing our defensive forces on our own terri- 
tory, to guarantee their safety and diminish our safety. This is what 
they are doing. 

Before we crossed the Canal we were much stronger. If we remove 
the rockets and keep only 300 tanks ... We were much stronger even 
before October 6. We had 2,000 tanks. 

General Gamasy: This [the Egyptian artillery line] is a very impor- 
tant line. Why do they have this? 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: It’s the parallel of their line here. They’d 
accept whatever limits you would accept. 

Minister Fahmi: You see, they pick and choose. One time they ask 
for reciprocity and similarity; on other points they don’t. They give 
themselves a security zone but not one for us. And they keep the main 
[north-south] road. The UN zone has no road in it; it’s useless. 

General Gamasy: That means the UN has to work inside our 
troops. 

Then if we have two-three battalions, about 1,800 men, for the 180 
kilometers, that means we can do better with police than with these 
three battalions. 

Minister Fahmi: This shows what is in the back of their minds. This 
is meant to undo the effects of October 6, not only politically but 
militarily. 

We have a special corps, of Nubians, to control the frontiers. They 
would be better than the 1,500 men they would give us. They want to 
reduce the Second and Third Armies to 1,500 men. 

General Gamasy: We heard all this from Yariv. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: But we have Cabinet approval for this. 

General Gamasy: The Cabinet approved this? 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: Yes. There are many factions in Israel. 

General Gamasy: I think they proposed this just to have us reject it. 

Before the war, we had five infantry divisions on the West Bank. 
Now they are on the East Bank. They [the Israelis] know this. They [our 
troops] were working—and are—under the security of the air defense 
system we have. Now under this proposal we have to have these five 
divisions back on the West Bank, without the air defense system, and 
with only 300 tanks. 


32 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mr. Rodman: There was no figure for tanks. It was just a symmet- 
rical limit: whatever you have, they will have. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: It’s a mutual limitation. 

General Gamasy: With the permission of my Foreign Minister, we 
still have prisoners of war with Israel and they won’t hand them back. I 
think they should, and it would be a good attitude. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: I am sure if this is agreed on, something 
can be worked out. 

They expressed concern to us about the number of ceasefire viola- 
tions. This is what they say to us. They say: “Make it clear to the Egyp- 
tians that we have been very restrained and if these violations continue 
it will be very difficult to continue this restraint.” They say you’re 
shooting at their boys when they are improving their positions. They 
say there is no prohibition of improving positions and you are doing 
the same. 

I just feel under an obligation to convey what they said. 

Minister Fahmi: They say this in Geneva. If they continue, we may 
have to react. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: They say the violations are on your side. 
They say you're fortifying positions, too. 

Minister Fahmi: But it’s Egyptian territory. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: You can’t use that argument for every- 
thing, Ismail. 

Minister Fahmi: They want to link 60 prisoners to this agreement 
when it is part of the Six Points.® 

General Gamasy: I gave Yariv our word of honor that Mizrachi 
and Levi, the two spies, along with other agents, will be exchanged at a 
later date. There was one prisoner they were especially interested in, 
Dan Avidan, who was held for four years, whom I brought with me to 
101. This was a hint. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: They give you 100 percent credit for 
treatment of their prisoners. But they expressed the view to us about 
the pattern of ceasefire violations. 


General Gamasy: Siilasvuo mentioned that to us, but our Minister 
said one thing: If they stop the engineering works, we'll stop shooting. 


8 Reference to the Six-Point Agreement, signed on November 11, 1973, between Is- 
rael and Egypt and sponsored by the United States. The agreement secured a cease-fire 
that had been violated several times since the formal end of hostilities in October. See For- 
eign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 330. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 33 


We don’t mind their improving the works, but they are making a new 
Bar-Lev line.’ It means they are staying there forever. 


Assistant Secretary Sisco: That’s helpful to know. 

Minister Fahmi: They also have to respect the other points of the 
Six Point agreement. 

For example, there are sick people in the Suez City who are dying 
because the medical facilities there are inadequate. They are dying. If 
we did this to them, they would be crying and screaming. 

General Gamasy: We have an isolated position in Kabrit. They 
refuse to allow supplies to them. It’s only a company. They said, “Evac- 
uate them.” We said no. Siilasvuo raised this with Dayan and he said 
no. Not to allow supplies for 100 soldiers while allowing supplies for 
thousands makes no sense. 

We have three points: 


—the prisoners of war; 
—the wounded and sick civilians in Suez City; 
—the supply of Kabrit. 


Minister Fahmi: The Minister of War said it was so serious in Suez 
City that it was going to be an epidemic. He was going to make a 
speech and I told him not to. There were very few, now there are 200. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: They say to us: “Yes, we are building 
these positions, which is not prohibited. If they stop shooting at us we 
will allow convoys in.” They talk about dead bodies. What about this 
from your point of view? 

General Gamasy: The minute they made difficulties on these 
points—refusing to evacuate the sick and wounded and to allow us to 
supply Kabrit—we refused to give the dead bodies. We gave some but 
we stopped. I tell you this frankly. Especially when we came to a dead- 
lock at 101. 

I am sure if we announce that we have one prisoner of war, they 
will cry, and we will get our prisoners on the second day. 


We took some of their prisoners to visit Jewish families and a syna- 
gogue in Cairo. They were amazed to see they were well-treated. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: I know from the time of the Six-Day War 
you have never mistreated Jews in Egypt. 

General Gamasy: Another funny thing. We spent two weeks with 
Yariv to get him to allow newspapers into Suez. Then he agreed. We 


° The Bar-Lev line, named for Israeli Chief of Staff Chaim Bar-Lev, was created by 
Israel soon after it captured the Sinai in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The defensive line re- 
lied on a chain of fortifications along the East Bank of the Suez Canal to repel any at- 
tempts by Egyptian forces to cross the canal. 


34 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


sent in newspapers and magazines; they let in the newspapers but not 
the magazines. I don’t like to raise these minor points but it shows their 
attitude. 

Minister Fahmi: The Agreement Henry drafted says, for the Third 
Army, “non-military equipment” but for Suez City it says “food, medi- 
cine, and water.” 

General Gamasy: So they don’t allow razors for shaving. It’s not 
“food.” 

Minister Fahmi: They won’t allow the citizens, civilians, in Suez 
City to go to Cairo for registering, or for errands. You know in our 
country everything is centralized in Cairo. 

Weare ready to respect the Six Points in their entirety, every point. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: The danger is that once it breaks down, 
you may not be able to limit it to tit-for-tat. 

Minister Fahmi: They want us to influence the Syrians to do every- 
thing. But if you compare what they do to what the Syrians do, it is 
identical. 

[At 1:30 p.m., Dr. Kissinger and President Sadat returned.] 

Secretary Kissinger: [to General Gamasy] I have already told your 
President: We thought you would be defeated in 48 hours. On the 
Tuesday after the war started, the Israelis came to us and said they had 
lost 400 tanks. 

Should I sum up our understanding of our conversation? 

President Sadat: Please. You’re much cleverer. 

Secretary Kissinger: But not as wise. 

The President and I had discussions not only of the technical pro- 
visions but also of the pros and cons of moving quickly against moving 
slowly at Geneva. The technical provisions might be better if done at 
Geneva, but we assessed the advantages of moving quickly. 

That is our assessment. 

The Egyptian line defends Egypt; the Israeli line doesn’t defend Is- 
rael. So for the Egyptians to move back their own defense line on Egyp- 
tian territory is politically unacceptable. I must say I find this a very 
persuasive argument. 

So Iam prepared to go back to Israel with something I had never 
heard—to abandon all these distinctions between zones. The Israeli 
forces will move back to this line, and the Egyptian line is defined 
here—so there is no Egyptian withdrawal required. So we'll describe 
any limits not in terms of withdrawal but in terms of distance between 
the Egyptian line and the Canal and the Israeli line. 

The second point President Sadat said is that it is very difficult for 
Egypt to sign in a document limitations of forces on their own territory. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 35 


President Sadat: Quite right. 

Secretary Kissinger: So we thought of various possibilities, such as 
letters to the Presidents, etc. Then the President had an idea, that 
should be explored—that we should write a letter to both President 
Sadat and the Israeli Prime Minister proposing certain limitations. So it 
is not an obligation to each other. 

President Sadat: It’s an American proposal. 


Secretary Kissinger: And there is no suggestion of who imposed 
what upon whom. 

The working group should prepare two documents—an agree- 
ment to be signed at 101 and an American proposal to the two sides 
which would spell out some of the limitations. With the proviso that I 
have no idea what the Israeli reaction will be. It can say in the 
Egyptian-Israeli document that there will be limitations—which are not 
spelled out—in the two zones, and that all other limitations can be de- 
scribed in terms of distances to and from the Egyptian line. 

On limitations, the President thought the number of forces on the 
East Bank should be increased substantially from what the Israelis sug- 
gested. It should be left blank in the document; I know what he has in 
mind but I know I won’t make the decision. He is not now prepared to 
accept no tanks. 

President Sadat: Quite right. 

Secretary Kissinger: Then the President and I agreed on the propo- 
sition that in these zones, which are described geographically, neither 
should deploy weapons that can reach the other’s line. 

Up to thirty kilometers from the Egyptian line and thirty kilo- 
meters from the Israeli line, there should be no artillery and no 
surface-to-air missiles. This should be written in the document as a 
blank, not as a line. 

Secretary Kissinger: Do you want that? Are there any airfields 
there? 

President Sadat: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: I’ll look into that. It doesn’t seem unreason- 
able to me. 

That we then ask the drafters to do two documents: 

—the Agreement to be signed by Israel and Egypt; 

—the American proposal to Israel and Egypt on limitations. 

President Sadat: Right. 

Secretary Kissinger: I warned the President that to my certain 
knowledge this proposal would almost certainly be published. 

President Sadat: Not from the American side. 


36 ~=—- Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: I don’t want to put Egypt in an embarrassing 
position. But there is no way Israel will not publish it somehow, in their 
Parliament, etc. 

The distances of where forces can be deployed should be left 
blank. I know the President’s thinking on tanks and missiles. But I 
don’t think we should go there with these numbers. 

Then I told the President that of the Israeli demands ... 

President Sadat: Political ones. 

Secretary Kissinger: Political ones. We drop the one on foreign 
troops and volunteers. 

We drop the one on passage of Israeli ships through the Canal, and 
we drop the one on civil flights. 

On Bab Al-Mandeb, we agreed that the President will write me a 
letter as to the actions of Egyptian forces. 

That leaves one point that I didn’t raise with you, about the with- 
drawal of United Nations forces. They say “the parties will undertake 
not to demand unilaterally the withdrawal of the UNEF. The with- 
drawal of the UNEF will require the consent of both parties.” What is 
your view on that? 

President Sadat: Indefinitely? 

Secretary Kissinger: That withdrawal requires the consent of both 
sides. 

Minister Fahmi: Its place is not in the disengagement agreement; it 
should be in the final agreement. 

Secretary Kissinger: I’ve told the Israelis, “How can you put some- 
thing permanent in the disengagement proposal which is not a final 
agreement?” 

Minister Fahmi: That is right. 

And if you look at this paragraph, it treats the Sinai as a part of Is- 
rael. “The evacuation of UNEF from Egypt and Israel.” There is no 
UNFF in Israel. It shows they treat Sinai as part of Israel. It is a mistake 
but it shows their mentality. 

Secretary Kissinger: I would recommend we defer this issue. I 
don’t think the agreement will fail on this issue. I’ll tell them you re- 
fused it and maybe they will have another idea. 

I have told President Sadat that we do not want to put you in an 
embarrassing position, to weaken the position of the most moderate 
Arab leader we’ve had the pleasure of working with. We know you 
don’t want to make a separate peace. 

We agreed that now that we are working, it would make no sense 
to interrupt it by going to other places now. So you could inform your 
brethren. I will go to Damascus. Maybe I can go to Jordan. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 37 


Minister Fahmi: If you do, Damascus will be furious. 

Secretary Kissinger: But I will be going there. 

[President Sadat and Minister Fahmi confer.] 

President Sadat: He has a point. It will seem as if there is an axis— 
Cairo-Amman—and Syria is forgotten. 

Secretary Kissinger: We'll do whatever you suggest. We will go to 
both later. 

I also have in mind the President’s view on the south here. 

May I make a practical suggestion? 

President Sadat: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: That I meet now with my colleagues and we 
do two documents, then present them to you at 4:30, and then plan to 
leave here at 8:30, and that I notify Israel now that I plan to arrive at 
10:45 and return here tomorrow night. 

They will probably need more than a day to consider it; they will 
need a Cabinet meeting. 

So I will probably be back Wednesday. There is no day that is in- 
convenient for you? 

President Sadat: No, no. 

Secretary Kissinger: Probably I will have to go back once more to 
Israel, and once more here will do it. Because the tank issue and the line 
issue will be unresolved. 

Assistant Secretary Sisco: What do we say to the press? 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think we should say anything now. 

But we agreed that at some point we should say it is a complex 
issue, a difficult negotiation. “I have an Egyptian map that I am now 
taking to Israel. Nevertheless, good progress was made today, and Iam 
optimistic that progress will be achieved.” 

So those who oppose the agreement won't think it is on the verge 
of breaking down. 

My worry is that the General here hasn’t solved the problem of 
communicating with the North Koreans who are here, and they will 
shoot me down. [Laughter] 

President Sadat: They are very near. [Laughter] 

Secretary Kissinger: In what language do you communicate? 

General Gamasy: Korean. [Laughter] 

President Sadat: I have an idea. We will send Sisco as a test. 
[Laughter] 

Secretary Kissinger: Good idea. 


38 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


6. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Jerusalem, January 15, 1974, 2-3:50 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


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 docu- 
ments and the draft.” 


She agreed to participate in the Cabinet meeting, which will be at 
her home. And she wants to see you before the Cabinet meeting.’ 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 outra- 
geous, they accept them. [Laughter] 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice 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.) 

? 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 Ar- 
chives, 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) 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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.* 


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 south- 
ward—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 head- 
quarters 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”? 


“January 18. 


40 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 bat- 
talions, we meant it. If you can settle it on 5 or 6, you will be awarded 
the Ben-Gurion prize.” 


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 clarifica- 
tion. 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 ex- 
ceeding 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. 


5 The Ben-Gurion Prize was awarded by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to 
those who had worked to help humanity. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 41 


On artillery: the guiding principle is that we would like their artil- 
lery 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. Ga- 
masy was furious. 

Dep. Prime Minister Allon: It makes no difference for the protec- 
tion 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 speci- 
fying 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. 


42 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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. Iam 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.° 

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 limita- 
tion 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. 


© A reference to the Finnish soldiers who served with the United Nations Emer- 
gency Force in the Sinai. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 43 


Secretary Kissinger: But they don’t accept symmetry. 

Ambassador Dinitz: It is not anew 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 Iam 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 


44 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 disen- 
gagement 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.’ 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 mem- 
orandum of understanding. 


Secretary Kissinger: Maybe. 


7 On January 13 in Jerusalem, Kissinger met with representatives of the relatives of 
Israelis captured or missing in Syria. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 ex- 
plain to our people why there is no progress with Syria. Nobody be- 
lieves 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”? 


46 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 unac- 
cepted. 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, be- 
cause 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 be- 
ginning 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 as- 
sumption that the Knesset will approve it. 


Dep. Prime Minister Allon: I hope so. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 47 


Secretary Kissinger: No time is lost by the ratification process be- 
cause 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 informa- 
tion 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 mas- 
sive 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 am convinced that Sadat has gone 


48 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 censor- 
ship 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 to- 
gether by your action, there is no hope of getting the prisoners back. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 memo- 
randum 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 sug- 
gest 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 ex- 
ample, “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. Ican 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 


50 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 docu- 
ments 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 Iam to 
take up and in what manner. 

Mr. Sisco: A checklist. 

Secretary Kissinger: That we will finish tonight. Notify the Egyp- 
tians 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 ple- 
nary meeting. We will try to prepare all the documents in the 
meantime. 

Mr. Sisco: There is no need to duplicate in the memorandum of un- 
derstanding 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. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 imme- 
diately 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 re- 
sponsibly 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 situ- 
ation on the ground. 

I told you privately this morning: If you can get the Senators and 
those intellectuals to ease off on MEN® 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 MEN 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 MEN in a coldblooded way, but we need it to whet 
their appetite. I really want to tell you if we had MEN 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 assur- 
ance [on the blockade]. 

The sentence [on the arms requests] we will delete. The memo- 
randum 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 consid- 
ering the arms requests. 

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


8 A reference to Kissinger’s concern that Israeli officials were encouraging Amer- 
ican 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. 


52 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


7 Memorandum of Conversation! 


Jerusalem, January 16, 1974, 8:30-10:20 a.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister of Israel 

Abba Eban, Minister of Foreign Affairs 

Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to United States 

Mordechai Gazit, Director General, Prime Minister’s Office 
Avraham Kidron, Director General, MFA 

Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, MFA 

Eytan Bentsur, Aide to Eban 

Col. Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Sec. of State, Asst. to President 

Ellsworth Bunker, Amb. at Large 

Kenneth Keating, Amb. to Israel 

Joseph J. Sisco, Asst. Sec. for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs 
Carlyle Maw, Legal Adviser, Dept. of State 

Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Dep. Asst. Sec for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs 
Harold Saunders, NSC Senior Staff 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Allon: How is the American-Israeli war of attrition proceeding? 

Kissinger: I am afraid to say we are making progress. 

Allon: Iam happy with the Israeli press for attacking us for giving 
in. 

Kissinger: Do they attack you? 

Eban: They say it is a one-sided retreat, there is no limitation on 
Egyptian forces, there is linkage, etc. 

Allon: All right, Henry, let’s start. 

Let me say for the record that any memorandum of understanding 
reached between the U.S. and Israel is binding on both parties. 

Kissinger: Let’s say “henceforth” it is binding, so it scraps all the 
previous ones. [laughter] 

Let’s go through the agreement. 

Dayan: [shows a new map Tab AJ’ The Chief of Staff didn’t like it, 
but I overruled him, so we are redoing it. The important point is this 
one, this promontory [in the south]. Here we have a fortified position. I 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice 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 meeting was held in the Prime Minister’s office. Brackets, with the exception of ones 
noted, are in the original. All blank underscores are omissions in the original. 


? Tab A attached but not printed. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 53 


said we would go two kilometers south of that, so that the piece will be 
not only not in our control, but our forces will be south of it. We are 
giving it... 

Kissinger: ... to the U.N. 

Dayan: To the U.N. Our forces will not be in sight of Suez City. 

In substance, this is the main thing, to go off this dominating point. 

Kissinger: You have only one map now? 

Dayan: They will prepare it and bring it to the airport. [See second 
map, Tab By 

Kissinger: No, last night we were going to have two maps, one like 
this and one that takes you substantially further south. 

Dayan: We are going ten kilometers more [in the other map]. 

Kissinger: What you are doing is widening the U.N. zone here. 

Dayan: And adding one kilometer. 

Kissinger: And adding one kilometer. 


Dayan: Because of this road junction, we couldn’t go more than 
two kilometers off. 


Kissinger: Where is the road junction? 

Dayan: [shows it] It doesn’t show here but we need to keep it. 

Kissinger: This is the map I took to Israel [Egypt?].* 

Dayan: No, this is the corrected map. 

Kissinger: You are making two maps, with overlays, so I can show 
him what you first gave him? 

Bar-On: Yes. 

Kissinger: So all they have to give up is one little corner here; and if 
he complains about it I can give it back to him. 

Dayan: The importance of that is that we go off this fortification, so 
we Shall practically not be in sight of Suez. 

Kissinger: Right. Let’s go over the document now. Will you come 
to the airport with me to go over the map with me? 

Dayan: If you want, I will be. 

Kissinger: Good. 

Dinitz: [reads Agreement at Tab C]° “Egyptian-Israeli Agreement 
on Disengagement of Forces. 

“Egypt and Israel will scrupulously observe the ceasefire on land, 
sea, and air called for by the U.N. Security Council and will refrain 


3 Tab B attached but not printed. 
“ Bracketed correction added by the editor. 


5 Tab C attached but not printed. Entitled “Egyptian-Israeli Agreement on Disen- 
gagement of Forces,” it is a draft of the disengagement agreement. 


54 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


from the time of the signing of this document from all military and hos- 
tile actions against each other.” 

Kissinger: My prediction is “and hostile” will probably go. 

Allon: What about violating the ceasefire not by action but by 
moving forces? 

Kissinger: That is covered elsewhere. 

Sisco: And that is an action. 

Dinitz: [continues reading] “B. The military forces of Egypt and Is- 
rael will be separated in accordance with the following principles: 

“1. All Egyptian forces on the east side of the Canal will be de- 
ployed west of the line designated as Line A on the attached map. All 
Israeli forces, including those west of the Suez Canal and the Bitter 
Lakes, will be deployed to the line designated as Line B on the attached 
map.” 

Kissinger: If anyone can figure out what is happening just from 
this document, it will be an accident. 

Maw: It should be “east of the line.” 

Kissinger: Carl is right. It should be “deployed east of the line,” in- 
stead of “deployed to the line.” 

Allon: “And south.” 

Kissinger: Should we say “east and south?” 

Allon: If there is a map attached, it will be clear. 

Dinitz: [continues reading] “2. The area between the Egyptian and 
Israeli lines will be a zone of disengagement in which the United Na- 
tions Emergency Force (UNEF) will be stationed. The UNEF will con- 
sist of units from countries that are not permanent members of the Se- 
curity Council. Existing procedures of the UNEF, including the 
attaching of Egyptian and Israeli liaison officers to UNEF, will be 
continued.” 

Allon: This is with the understanding that in the other document 
there will be a reference to the fact that countries without relations with 
us will not be inspecting our forces. 

Kissinger: A reference to UNEF and only non-permanent mem- 
bers. We already do that. 

Sisco: Say “will continue to consist.” 

Kissinger: Right. 

Dinitz: [reading] “3. The area between the Egyptian line and the 
Suez Canal will be limited in armament and forces. 

“4. The area (as indicated in the attached map) between the Israeli 
line and the line designated as Line C on the attached map...” 

Maw: Why not define the Israeli line [in Paragraph B(4)] as Line B? 

Kissinger: For clarity. Take out the parenthesis on “(as indicated in 
the attached map),” because it is a reference to an earlier draft. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 55 


Dinitz: “4. The area between the Israeli line (Line B on the attached 
map) and the line designated as Line C on the attached map, which 
runs along the western base of the mountains where the Gidi and Mitla 
Passes are located, will be limited in armament and forces. 


“5. The limitations referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 will be in- 
spected by UNEF with officers of Egypt and Israel acting as liaison offi- 
cers attached to UNEF.” 


Kissinger: You realize that no single paragraph in this document 
stands on its own. Every one refers to something else! 


Dinitz: Should we make it clearer that inspection by liaison officers 
will be only on our own territory? 


Kissinger: You can’t say your “own territory?” 
I think this paragraph won't survive. 


Dinitz: [reads] “Air forces of the two sides will be permitted to op- 
erate up to their respective lines without interference from the other 
side.” 


Allon: All right. 


Saunders: Something was left out in typing of paragraph C. Let me 
read it. [Saunders reads the full text] “C. The detailed implementation 
of the disengagement of forces will be worked out by military repre- 
sentatives of Egypt and Israel, who will agree on the stages of this 
process. These representatives will meet no later than 48 hours after the 
signature of this agreement at Kilometer 101 for this purpose. They will 
complete this task within five days. Disengagement will begin within 
48 hours after the completion of the work of the military repre- 
sentatives and in no event later than seven days after the signature of 
this agreement. The process of disengagement will be completed not 
later than 45 days after it begins.” 


Dinitz: “D. This agreement is not regarded by Egypt and Israel as a 
final peace agreement. It constitutes a first step toward a final, just and 
durable peace according to the provision of Security Council Resolu- 
tion 338° and within the framework of the Geneva Conference.”— 
Should be “provisions.” 


®UN Security Council Resolution 338 was adopted on October 22, 1973, and called 
for a cease-fire between forces fighting in the October War within 12 hours of its adop- 
tion. Additionally, the resolution called for the parties to immediately work toward the 
implementation of Security Council Resolution 242. For text of Resolution 338, see Year- 
book of the United Nations, 1973, page 213. Resolution 242 was adopted on November 22, 
1967, and contained two key principles: first, the withdrawal of Israeli forces “from terri- 
tories occupied” in the June 1967 war, and second, the end “of all claims or states of belli- 
gerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and 
political independence of every State in the area.” See Foreign Relations, 1964-1968, vol- 
ume XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967, Document 542. 


56 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Eban: Plural. 

Dinitz: “... of Security Council Resolution 338 and within the 
framework of the Geneva Conference.” 

Kissinger: We should put two lines on it at the end. This is the 
agreement. This will be signed by both sides. Sadat never said anything 
other than that both will sign it together. The U.S. proposal is different. 
There was some confusion. 

Allon: Mrs. Meir had the impression ... 

Kissinger: She was wrong. 

Is there a list of things I must raise? 

Saunders: Yes. [hands over checklist drafted the night before by 
the working group, Tab D]’ 

Kissinger: This is a commentary and exegesis. Can someone do a 
simple checklist? Let Hal and Gazit get together in the next room and 
do an agreed checklist. [Mr. Saunders and Mr. Gazit go out.] 

Allon: So you just add under here a line, “for Egypt” and another 
line “for Israel.” 

Eban: On the next page, there is a paragraph B(7) which we don’t 
want. 

Kissinger: If you staple it together, I will give it to Sadat. [to Sisco] 
Can you make sure that when I see Sadat this is on a separate paper and 
not stapled together? 

Dinitz: [reads] “7. In order to facilitate the transition in the areas in- 
volved in the separation of forces, from the beginning of disengage- 
ment all industrial, administrative, infrastructure and other civilian 
properties and facilities will be left complete and intact in all areas over 
which control is relinquished by one party to the other.” 

Allon: This will mislead him to say “left intact and complete.” It is 
not intact now; it is all broken. 

Kissinger: “Will be left in the condition existing at the time of 
signing.” 

Allon: Right. 

Kissinger: That’s the truth. 

Let’s go over it [Agreement at Tab C] so you know, because when I 
come back, that is it. 

They may drop “and hostile” [in paragraph A]. 

They may want to put Israeli forces before Egyptian forces in para- 
graph 1. In that case we may have to renumber the lines. 


’ Tab D attached but not printed. Entitled “Talking Paper,” it is a checklist of points 
Kissinger should review with Sadat. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 57 


Paragraph 2 may be unchanged. 

Allon: If we put Israel first, we should put Egypt first in the other. 

Kissinger: They will probably want two separate paragraphs 
again. Iam assuming you will accept that. 

Dinitz: The Prime Minister suggests that to give it a more 
even-handed look. 

Kissinger: But that was when the writing of the paragraph was less 
even-handed. 

Dinitz: “Hostile” is important because we wanted 
non-belligerency. 

Allon: But the problem is the movement of arms without hostil- 
ities. Maybe just to add a word. 


Kissinger: They have already rejected “belligerent.” I can’t go back 
and forth. If they want to drop one of them, you would prefer to keep 
“and hostile,” and drop “military.” Because we already have a “scru- 
pulous observance of the ceasefire.” 

Allon: What about “qualitative and quantitative changes in 
armaments?” 

Kissinger: That is implicit in the other document, which spells out 
the limitations. We have the document approved by Sadat. 

It depends in what forum Sadat negotiates with me. If Sadat is 
alone, you have a good chance; if Fahmi and Gamasy are in every ses- 
sion, it will be like here. 

Paragraph 1 may be written in two separate paragraphs. 

Paragraph 2 I don’t foresee any problem with. 

Paragraph 3 I don’t foresee any problem with. 

Paragraph 4 I don’t foresee any problem. 

Paragraph 5 probably will not survive in this form. 

Allon: Why not? There is nothing new in it. 

Kissinger: Maybe it will. But it calls attention to the inspection of 
Egyptian forces. 

Sisco: If it is nothing new, why do you insist on it? 

Kissinger: One of the two of them will go. 

Dinitz: What we are interested in is not to have a new paragraph 
but that the UNEF continues its practice. 

Kissinger: If they start raising hell, I will drop the sentence about 
“existing procedures” because that is the way it is done. 

Dayan: If they don’t want it this way, they have to suggest some- 
thing else. 

Kissinger: I don’t think you need “existing procedures” for UNEF 
if you have paragraph 5. You don’t need the last sentence of paragraph 
2 now. I will keep it in but be prepared to concede it. 


58 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


On the detailed implementation, they want in the opening of the 
road to Kabrit and Suez within 48 hours of disengagement. If I get 
something for it, can I concede this? 


Allon: Can this be parallel to something on the bodies and 
Mizrachi? 


Kissinger: Mizrachi, no. He has told me he will do it in response to 
a request from us but not in an agreement with you. It is totally out of 
the question. You want him mentioned? 

I need a little maneuvering room. 

If Icome back with an uncompleted agreement, I am going home 
Thursday® night and you can finish it with them. 


Allon: We should put it in with bodies and the location of 
absentees. 


Kissinger: I recommend you stay away from absentees unless you 
want a reference to the 80 prisoners in it. 


Dayan: Unless we give them the two roads, they can’t get out. 

Kissinger: He wants your posts off that road. 

Dayan: But we could get the bodies. 

Kissinger: That is reasonable. How do I write it? “The two sides 
will help each other ...” or “will place no obstacle.”? 


Dayan: They should turn them over, and should have them all pre- 
pared by the time we turn the roads over. 

Allon: They should do it without the agreement anyway. 

Kissinger: I have six hours, and there is no time for a substantive 
discussion. How do I write it? 

Dayan: It is for them to do. 

Kissinger: But we can say it symmetrically. 

Dayan: They are taking the area and don’t need us to do it for 
them. They will be able to get their bodies. At the same time, they 
should hand over ours. 

Kissinger: “Israel agrees within 48 hours of the agreement to open 
the two roads from Suez City to Cairo. During the same period Egypt 
will turn over the dead bodies of the Israeli soldiers to the UN.” Some- 
thing like that. 

There is a strong probability that it won’t come up that way, but by 
assurances. But I want to be ready. 

Allon: Whichever way you choose, in the agreement or in the 
Memorandum of Understanding. 


8 January 17. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 59 


Dayan: And it should say, “The details will be worked out by the 
military representatives.” 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Allon: On Mizrachi, we can’t get him in return for access? 


Kissinger: No. But you can get him within 45 days. But I can assure 
you, Sadat will not sign the agreement unless I can assure him he will 
get his 86 prisoners back. 


Dayan: Ninety. 

Allon: It grows every day! 

Kissinger: As I told the Prime Minister yesterday, Iam prepared to 
explain to Mr. Avriel why I persuaded you to do this and why it is in 
your interest, and why the other course will lead to exactly the 
opposite. 

Allon: We will get Levi and Mizrachi? 

Kissinger: Yes. Levi he had never heard of. 

Allon: He is just an insane man. 

Kissinger: He [Sadat] didn’t reject it; he just hadn’t heard of him. 

We are through with this. 

Allon: What document now? 

Kissinger: Joe, make sure when I get off the plane, I don’t have the 
document with B-7 attached to it? 

Maw: The next paper is the U.S. letter [Tab E].’ It begins: “Dear Mr. 
President: I am transmitting the attached ...” 

Kissinger: It is the U.S. proposal. 

Maw: I will read it: “Dear Mr. President: I am transmitting the at- 
tached proposal as part of the agreement between Egypt and Israel on 
the disengagement of their forces. I am also transmitting the attached 
proposal to the Prime Minister of Israel. 

“Receipt of your signature on the attached proposal will constitute 
acceptance, subject to the signature of the same proposal by the Prime 
Minister of Israel.” 

Allon: Are there two separate documents to the two sides? 

Maw: Yes. “In order to facilitate agreement between Egypt and Is- 
rael and as part of that agreement, and to assist in maintaining scru- 
pulous observance of the ceasefire on land, air, and sea the United 
States proposes the following: 

Kissinger: Does Gazit want to say “or any other medium that may 
exist?” 


° Tab E attached but not printed. 


60 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Maw: “That within the areas of limited armaments and forces de- 
scribed in the agreement, there will be: (a) no more than ____ reinforced 
battalions of armed forces and no more than 30 tanks; (b) no artillery 
except anti-tank guns; (c) no weapons capable of interfering with the 
other party’s flights over its own territory; (d) no permanent, fixed in- 
stallations for missile sites. The entire force of each party shall not ex- 
ceed 7,000 men.” Should we say “within the area?” 

Eban: “Within their areas?” 

Maw: “Within its area of limited armaments.” 

Dinitz: There is no need for it. It is describing the area of limited 
armaments. 

Allon: Simcha’s right. 

Maw: Yes. [reads] “2. That in areas 30 kilometers west of the Egyp- 
tian line and east of the Israeli line, there will be no weapons in areas 
from which they can reach the other line.” 

Kissinger: Do we need “in areas” twice? Why not substitute “at a 
distance?” 

Sisco: “To a distance.” 

Kissinger: Right. 

Maw: “3. That to a distance of 30 kilometers west of the Egyptian 
line and east of the Israeli line, there will be no surface-to-air missiles. 

“4. That the above limitations will apply as from the time the 
agreement on disengagement between Egypt and Israel is signed by 
the parties and will be implemented in accordance with the schedule of 
implementation of the basic agreement.” 

Kissinger: No one knows what this paragraph means but it looks 
very legalistic. 

May I raise one point with General Dayan? 

The phrase “no artillery except anti-tank guns” may be too 
wounding. I would like to be able to substitute in (b) as a fall back, “no 
weapons which can reach beyond the UNEF line.” That is what you 
originally proposed. 

I will start with what we agree on. 

Maw: “No weapon that can reach beyond its own line.” 

Kissinger: That’s right. 

May I give you my exegesis of this document, so we will know 
what I will be doing? 

We will have massive problems with Paragraph 1, and Paragraph 
3. The difficulty with Paragraph 3 is that at the request of Gamasy he 
moved it back from 30 to 25, and therefore he would have to overrule 
Gamasy again. Gamasy wanted nothing. He may not want to overrule 
Gamasy again. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 61 


On Paragraph 1, the “no artillery” point will be massive. “No 
weapons capable of reaching the other line” he may accept. We will 
have to see. 


Allon: Yesterday you said the no-missiles point wouldn’t be a 
problem. 

Kissinger: No, I said that having accepted it once he may do so 
again. 

Ijust want you to know I may not come back with exactly this doc- 
ument. I want you to be prepared mentally. 


Dayan: I don’t want it to break off, but I can’t see what flexibility 
there can be. 


Kissinger: Don’t make a decision now; but I just want you to know. 
Allon: Some mad commander may misjudge the distances. 
Kissinger: I won’t raise it, so you don’t have to convince me. 
Allon: The Cabinet spent an hour on this. 


Kissinger: Your Cabinet reminds me of the JCS. While negotiating, 
we never hear from them, but after an agreement is reached you hear a 
lot about what they would have gotten. 


I am not asking for a decision today. 
Since we can’t argue tomorrow, you should think about it today. 
We won't have good communication. 


Dayan: On the 7,000 man force, the Cabinet felt about the expres- 
sion “reinforced battalions” that there had to be a ceiling. 


Kissinger: I understand. But as a man of the world, you know that 
some time you have to agree to something so the other fellow can go to 
his colleagues and say he got something. If we say 7,500 men, you 
won't break off. 


Dayan: I don’t see why you don’t start with 5,000. 
Kissinger: That is a good idea. 


Does it translate right? If I start with 5,000, that makes about 800 as 
a battalion. 


Dayan: “Reinforced battalion”—you don’t know what it means. 

Kissinger: All right. 

I want my Israeli friends to know that when I say “I understand,” it 
doesn’t mean it will happen. 

The next document. [Tab F]'® 


Maw: [reads] “Letter from President Sadat to President Nixon— 
Dear Mr. President: In connection with the agreement on the disen- 


10 Tab F attached but not printed. 


62 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


gagement of Egyptian and Israeli forces, the Government of Egypt con- 
firms that it regards the Straits of Bab el-Mandab as an international 
waterway for ships of all flags and that it will not interfere with the free 
passage through those straits of Israeli ships or cargoes. 

“Upon the opening of the Suez Canal, the principle of free passage 
will likewise be observed and that principle will be extended to Israel 
when a final peace agreement has been concluded between Egypt and 
Israel. As a first step, all cargoes destined for and coming from Israel or 
owned by Israel will be permitted through the Canal from the time of 
its opening.” 

Now we left out of this document the words we agreed to try for: 
“whether by blockade or otherwise,” at the end of the first paragraph. 

Kissinger: That is impossible. 

Allon: It means boycotts, etc. 

Kissinger: He has already told me that. 

Eban: Now the Memorandum of Understanding [Tab G]."! 

Maw: This parallels the letter. 

Kissinger: We have to consider how to get the typing done. How 
do we get authentic copies? 

Allon: You want us to send Phantoms to Aswan to pick it up? 

Dinitz: [reads] “Memorandum of Understanding between the 
United States Government and the Government of Israel. 

“1. The United States informs Israel that Egypt’s intentions are to 
clear and open the Suez Canal for normal operations, and to rehabili- 
tate the cities and towns along the Canal and resume normal peacetime 
economic activities in that area, beginning as quickly as possible after 
the Disengagement Agreement is implemented. 

“2. The United States has received assurances from Egypt of its in- 
tention, upon completion of the implementation of the Agreement, to 
start reducing significantly its forces under mobilization if Israel gives a 
like indication to Egypt through the United States.” 

Kissinger: And this I will now do. I will inform Sadat officially that 
Israel will carry out a significant demobilization during the process of 
disengagement. 

Eban: On the basis of reciprocity. 

Kissinger: Yes. I will do this today. 

Dinitz: [reads] “3. It is the policy of the United States that imple- 
mentation of the Disengagement Agreement and substantial steps by 
Egypt to implement its intentions in Paragraph 1 above should take 


1 Tab G attached but not printed. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 63 


precedence over the undertaking of new commitments by the parties 
related to subsequent phases of the Geneva Conference. The United 
States will do its best to help facilitate the Conference proceeding at a 
pace commensurate with this view. 

Eban: Right. 

Dinitz: [reads] “4. The United States position is that withdrawal of 
United Nations Emergency Forces during the duration of the Disen- 
gagement Agreement requires the consent of both sides. Should the 
matter of the withdrawal come before the United Nations Security 
Council without the consent of Israel, the United States will vote 
against such withdrawal. 

“5. The United States will oppose supervision of Israeli-held areas 
by United Nations Observers from the Soviet Union, from other com- 
munist countries or from other countries which have no diplomatic re- 
lations with Israel. With respect to the deployment of forces in the 
United Nations Emergency Forces zone, the United States will ap- 
proach the United Nations Secretary General with a view to working 
out arrangements whereby no units or personnel of nations which do 
not have diplomatic relations with Israel will (a) be deployed adjacent 
to the Israeli line, or (b) participate in the inspection of the Israeli area of 
limited forces and armaments. 

Eban: The reference to other Communist forces should mean Com- 
munist forces now in the force, because we told the Romanians we 
wouldn’t object to them. 

Kissinger: But that is not needed. 

Dinitz: [reads] “6. The United States has informed the Govern- 
ments of Israel and Egypt that it will perform aerial reconnaissance 
missions over the areas covered by the Disengagement Agreement at a 
frequency of about one mission every ten days or two weeks, and will 
make the photographs available to both Israel and Egypt.” 

Dayan: Can you let us know what the date is of these 
photographs? 

Kissinger: So you can move your artillery? [Laughter] You will see 
the damnedest Israeli movement. [Laughter] 

Dinitz: [reads] “7. The United States regards the Straits of Bab 
el-Mandeb as an international waterway and will support and join with 
others to secure general recognition of the right of free and innocent 
passage through those Straits. The United States will do what it deems 
feasible to maintain free passage of Israeli ships and cargoes through 
the Straits. In the event of interference with such passage, the United 
States will consult with Israel on how best to assure the maintenance 
and exercise of such rights.” 


64 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Eban: The first sentence isn’t just for us but is a statement of your 
international position. But to say, “do what it deems feasible” sounds 
very skeptical. I prefer “will strongly support.” 

Sisco: Yes. 

Kissinger: That we can do. 

Dinitz: [reads] “8. Recognizing the defense responsibilities of the 
Government of Israel following redeployment of its forces under the 
Disengagement Agreement, the United States will make every effort to 
be fully responsive on a continuing and long-term basis to Israel’s mili- 
tary equipment requirements.” 

Kissinger: I will send this to Secretary Schlesinger. 

Dinitz: We have a cable from Washington. 

Kissinger: I have a cable too,” and I want to talk about this. I was 
told the Defense Department agreed to the whole $500 million and the 
only thing is the delivery dates. 

Dinitz: No, they haven’t finished going over the whole list yet and 
General Sumner is ill in bed and only back today. 

Kissinger: Iam told the whole list is gone over and approved. And 
any additional, the $700 million, will require a Presidential determina- 
tion, and I have given instructions to start that process. 

Dinitz: Scowcroft said to Shalev that the Pentagon was dragging 
their feet. 


Kissinger: I have a later word. I am told that they approved the 
whole list. They agreed to 400 tanks and 800 APCs, and some artillery. 
The only item outstanding on the $500 million list were certain ad- 
vanced weapons. The further items will require a Presidential determi- 
nation, and if I return with this agreement I am sure I can get this Presi- 
dential determination. 

Dayan: One set is the Presidential determination, but the other 
problem is they are holding up advanced equipment. 

Kissinger: They are instructed not to use the phrase “political 
decision.” 

Dinitz: [reads] “9. In case of an Egyptian violation of any of the 
provisions of the Agreement, the United States Government and the 
Government of Israel will consult regarding the necessary reaction. 

I suggest adding “and any of its attachments or annexes.” 

Kissinger: Certainly. 

Where is the checklist? 


12 Cable not further identified. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 65 


Let me repeat again, because there is a typist here: Sadat has re- 
peated to me so often that he will clear and reopen the Canal, but it will 
not happen if Israel continues to make it as a condition. If you can re- 
strain your press from claiming an Israeli victory, it may happen. Let 
him claim it as his own achievement. As of three weeks ago I was con- 
vinced this was one of the first things he would do. 


Eban: “Restrain the press”—I don’t know how to do it. We will 
make no official comment. The Prime Minister won’t mention it in her 
speech. 


Kissinger: [goes over the new checklist prepared by Gazit and 
Saunders, Tab H,” reads the items] 


—sea minefield map. 

Gazit: This was mentioned by the Chief of Staff last night. 
Kissinger: This he won’t agree to. 

All right. [finishes reading] 

Allon: One last point. How long will clearing of the Canal last? 


Kissinger: He already told me: Six months to open it, eight months 
to have it in full operation, and he wants to deepen it. 


Can we talk procedures? I will try to finish the document with him 
today and return here tonight. We will have to agree with him on a si- 
multaneous announcement here, in Cairo, and Washington that the 
agreement will be signed the next day. 

I will try for 7:00 p.m. here. 

Dayan: Friday morning. 

Kissinger: It will be midnight in Washington. 

Dayan: Or midnight here. 

Keating: Six o’clock p.m. will make the morning papers. 

Kissinger: That will miss all the networks. How about 9:00 here? 

Dayan: I can’t go to the Foreign Affairs Committee and say here 
are the documents, and it is already agreed. 

Allon: The signing will be at 2:00 in the afternoon at Kilometer 101? 


Kissinger: My colleagues in Washington will want it on the eve- 
ning news on Thursday and on Friday. It has to be announced at 3:00 
p-m. Thursday in Washington which is 9:00 here. 


Dayan: 5 o’clock is better. 


Kissinger: Our experience is that it is too late. What difference will 
it make if it is in the papers the next morning? 


13 Tab H attached but not printed. 


66 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dayan: If I see them in the evening, even if it is in the morning 
papers, Gamasy won't read it. We should shorten the time between the 
announcement and the signing. 

Kissinger: All right. The signing will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday and 
the announcement at 9:00 in the evening. 

Dayan: I don’t want the announcement of the signing before I meet 
with them. 

Kissinger: Can you meet with them at 4:00 or 5:00? 

The Egyptians don’t care whether the agreement is leaked. But the 
U.S. proposal, the limitations, should not be leaked before the 
signature. 


Dayan: That is what will be leaked. If I meet at 4:00 or 5:00, it will 
be over by 6:00 or 7:00. 


Sisco: If you meet at 8:00, and the announcement comes out at 9:00. 


Kissinger: Meet at 6:00, finish at 8:00, and the announcement at 
9:00. 

Allon: Nine o’clock local time here. 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Dinitz: There is also an aspect we have to consider: It is not very 
good from the public point of view to announce it just before the 
signing. It looks like we are rushing it. 

Eban: It must be the day before. 

Dayan: If we can’t say the details, the tanks, etc. what can we tell 
the people? 

Kissinger: You can say there are severe limitations. 

Dayan: In the morning there will be the details, but Gamasy won’t 
read it. 


Kissinger: We won’t confirm it. 
Dayan: We can’t sign it and leave the people in the dark. 
Kissinger: Can’t you sign it and reveal the details later? 


Dayan: We have to do it on Friday because there are no papers on 
Saturday. 


Kissinger: I think you are very sensitive to the Egyptian feeling, so 
I think you will bear this in mind. 


Dayan: I have to put the papers before them. 

Kissinger: If the fact of a U.S. proposal leaks, they may not go. He 
has told me he will not sign. 

Sisco: Can’t you describe it and say a formal U.S. proposal is 
coming later? 

Dayan: They [the Knesset Committee] have the right to ask for all 
the papers. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 67 


Sisco: Can you meet later? 
Dayan: Late at night. 


Kissinger: Could you meet after the announcement? It is a safer 
course. 


Dayan: The announcement is: “Egypt and Israel are about to sign.” 

Kissinger: “Have agreed to sign.” 

Dayan: The Committee should have the option to take a decision 
not to sign, theoretically. 

Kissinger: Believe me, I won’t explain this to Sadat. 

Allon: Are you going to the Prime Minister? 

Kissinger: Should I? 

Dinitz: She said she would like to if you had the time. 

Kissinger: I had better leave. 

How do we get all these letters signed? Do we have all this 
stationery? 

Sisco: We have got it on the plane. 

Kissinger: On the Presidential letters, I will have to initial them. 

Sisco: Right. Is there a U.N. man in Jerusalem? 

Dayan: Of course. He has good communications. 

Kissinger: We will do it tomorrow. If Ken [Keating] goes to the 
U.N. to ask for Kilometer 101 tomorrow, it will be in the newspapers. 
The U.N. will notify Waldheim and he will hold a press conference. 

There is a massive typing problem to get all these typed. 

Eban: “Egypt and Israel have reached agreement on the separation 
of forces. The time for signature has been set for ,” or “has been 
scheduled for se 


Kissinger: Yes. You must get yourself geared for rapid decisions 
tomorrow. 








Eban: Yes. We have scheduled the meetings already. 
Kissinger: I will do my utmost to come back tonight. 


Allon: I hope there will be no need for another Cabinet meeting be- 
cause there will be no substantive changes. 


68 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


8. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, January 16, 1974 


Secretary Kissinger has asked that you be passed the following re- 
port on his latest meetings with President Sadat: 


“1. After two meetings with Sadat today,” I can report that we are 
on the verge of an agreement between Egypt and Israel on 
disengagement. 


“2. In essence the agreement calls for: 


“—Tsraeli withdrawal of its forces from the west and east of the 
Canal to a line no more than 20 kilometers east of the Canal; 

“—Fegyptian forces maintain roughly their present line east of the 
Canal; 

“__A UN buffer zone between the two forces. 


“3. Sadat has accepted most of the limitations on his forces which 
Israel has suggested; the few exceptions relate to numerical strength 
and types of weaponry. I should be able to get Israel’s agreement to the 
Egyptian exceptions tomorrow. I shall also have to get Mrs. Meir’s 
agreement to release about 90 Egyptian POW’s when disengagement 
has been accomplished. 


“4. In order to make all this possible Sadat has agreed to: 


“A public document describing the three areas outlined above. 

“—A classified letter from you to Sadat and Meir describing the 
limitations on Israeli and Egyptian forces and personnel. Both leaders 
will sign this proposal on separate copies, thereby incorporating it in 
the basic agreement. 

“—A classified letter to you from Sadat stating that Egypt will not 
interfere with free passage of Israeli ships and cargoes through the 
straits south of Israel, znd that, after the Canal is opened, Egypt will 
allow Israeli cargoes through immediately. Sadat promises to permit 
free passage for Israeli ships through the Canal when the state of bellig- 
erency has ended. 


“5. We will also be providing Sadat and Meir with letters from you 
expressing satisfaction at the signing of the agreement, and assuring 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 44, HAK Trip Files, January 10-20, 1974, Europe and Mid East State Cables, 
Memos, Misc. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A handwritten notation 
reads: “Back from President.” 

? No memoranda of conversation have been found. See footnote 2, Document 3. Ac- 
cording to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, he met with Sadat on January 16 from approx- 
imately 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and approximately 8:15 to 9 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manu- 
script Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 69 


them that we will do our utmost to see to it that it is fully implemented. 
Finally, we will be transmitting to Sadat, in a classified letter from you, 
the Prime Minister’s assurance that Israel will not attack the civilian 
areas to be established by Sadat in the Sinai. 


“6. The existence of the classified documents listed in the two pre- 
ceding paragraphs is extremely sensitive. Public knowledge of their ex- 
istence could ruin the whole deal. 

“7. Assuming I get Meir’s concurrence to the remaining changes 
suggested by Sadat, the plan is for a simultaneous announcement on 
Thursday’ in Jerusalem, Cairo and Washington at 9:00 p.m. Cairo/Tel 
Aviv time (3:00 p.m. Washington time). 

“8. The announcement which Sadat has cleared and which we will 
be clearing with the Israelis tomorrow reads as follows: 


‘In accordance with the decision of the Geneva Conference, the 
Governments of E t and Israel, with the assistance of the Govern- 
ment of the United States, have reached agreement on the disengage- 
ment and separation of their military forces. The agreement will be 
signed by the Chiefs of Staff of Egypt and Israel at noon Egypt-Israel 
time, Friday, January 18, at Kilometer 101 on the Cairo-Suez road. 
The Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force, General 
Siilasvuo, has been asked by the parties to witness the signing.’ 


“9. We will be sending you a suggested draft statement you may 
wish to make in Washington at the same time. 

“10. President Sadat has asked me to defer my visit to Damascus 
until after he, himself, has visited there. He argues that if he first sets 
the stage for my visit with Asad, my own visit may make it possible for 
us to get things moving with the Syrians. Thus, Sadat has rearranged 
his own travel plans so that he can be in Damascus on Saturday. I will 
follow him on Sunday, and then return to Washington late Sunday 
evening.” 


3 January 17. 


70 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


9. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Jerusalem, January 17, 1974, 9:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 
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.” 


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 any- 
thing 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. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice 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. 


? A reference to one of the January 16 meetings between Sadat, Fahmi, and Kissin- 
ger. See Document 8. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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.° 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 fu- 
rious; he said he would not sign. He said you can fool the people but 
not the army; the army knows what it means. 


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. 


72 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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.]* 

—"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-a-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? 


“Tab A has not been found. The checklist is presumably the one prepared the pre- 
vious day and attached at Tab H to Document 7. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 Ihave 
a social conversation—mention it to him and see what he says. 

“Information on missing Israeli soldiers.”—He said he didn’t un- 
derstand the question; he had no Israeli prisoners left, but if you ad- 
dressed 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 Iragis 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 Is- 
raelis. 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 re- 
lease 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 re- 
lease 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. 


74 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 ar- 
gument in Damascus. 

Deputy P.M. Allon: I have got a point about opening access be- 
tween 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 orig- 
inal] 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 re- 
jected 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. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 be- 
lieve 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 bot- 
tled up until the last phase. 

General Elazar: That is not a problem. 


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


76 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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


He says by Thursday’ 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 signa- 
ture 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? 


> Tab B has not been found. 
6 January 24. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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?” 

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. 


” Kissinger was scheduled to meet with Sadat on January 18. 


78 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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.]® 


On paragraph 2, they accept it but they wanted to delete the sen- 
tence 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. 


8 Tabs C and D have not been found. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 79 


They took another run at putting in 242° 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. Ga- 
masy 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 kilome- 
ters, and there is one model D-3, which has a range of 15 to 18 kilome- 
ters. 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. 


° A reference to UN Security Council Resolution 242; See footnote 6, Document 7. 


80 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: Let’s say a “range no more than 12 kilo- 
meters.” 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 de- 
fending the Canal. There is no possibility for defending forces by artil- 
lery 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 any- 
thing across under these restrictions. 

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


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 81 


On “no permanent fixed installation for missile sites,” he said, 
“This I am accepting for Begin.”’? [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. Sec- 
ond, 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 artil- 
lery 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 incen- 
tive 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 artil- 
lery 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 kilome- 
ters wide. 

Secretary Kissinger: Can we express it in a number other than a re- 
strictive 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. 


10 Menachem Begin, a leader of the Israeli Likud Party, founded in 1973. 


82 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 mil- 
itary 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 agree- 
ment 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 1 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 posi- 
tion that they think they are really out of danger. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 wor- 
ried about reconnaissance. 

Secretary Kissinger: Your biggest problem is not Sadat. The experi- 
ence 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. 


84 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: At a minimum he wants assurance that you 
are not going to shell Port Said. I gave them the assurance. He wants as- 
surance 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 rea- 
sonably optimistic, so he doesn’t panic. 

Ambassador Dinitz: On the other documents. 

Secretary Kissinger: He didn’t like your Memorandum of Under- 
standing."! [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 agree- 
ment, an open bridge for foreign tourists between Israel and Egypt? 

Secretary Kissinger: Now? 

In the letter on waterways, [Tab E]’* 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]."° 

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

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


1 Apparently a reference to the draft of the Memorandum of Understanding be- 
tween 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) 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 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 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. 


10. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the Mission to 
the United Nations’ 


Jerusalem, January 17, 1974, 0131Z. 


Secto 74/131. Subject: Disengagement Agreement Between Israel 
and Egypt. 


1. Text follows subject agreement referred to in instruction tele- 
gram previously sent. 


2. Begin text. Quote A. Egypt and Israel will scrupulously observe 
the ceasefire on land, sea, and air called for by the UN Security Council 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974. Secret; 
Niact Immediate; Exdis (Distribute as Nodis Cherokee). Also sent Niact Immediate to 
USNATO. Repeated Immediate to Tel Aviv, Geneva for MEPC Del, and Cairo. According 
to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, he was in Jerusalem until 8:30 a.m. and then left by 
train for Lod Airport in Tel Aviv. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger 
Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) 


2 Not further identified 


86 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


and will refrain from the time of the signing of this document from all 
military or para-military actions against each other. 

B. The military forces of Egypt and Israel will be separated in ac- 
cordance with the following principles: 

1. All Egyptian forces on the east side of the Canal will be deployed 
west of the line designated as Line A on the attached map.’ All Israeli 
forces, including those west of the Suez Canal and the Bitter Lakes, will 
be deployed east of the line designated as Line B on the attached map. 

2. The area between the Egyptian and Israeli lines will be a zone of 
disengagement in which the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) 
will be stationed. The UNEF will continue to consist of units from coun- 
tries that are not permanent members of the Security Council. 


3. The area between the Egyptian line and the Suez Canal will be 
limited in armament and forces. 

4. The area between the Israeli line (Line B on the attached map) 
and the line designated as Line C on the attached map, which runs 
along the western base of the mountains where the Gidi and Mitla 
Passes are located, will be limited in armament and forces. 

5. The limitations referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 will be in- 
spected by UNEF. Existing procedures of the UNEF, including the at- 
taching of Egyptian and Israeli Liaison officers to UNEF, will be 
continued. 

6. Air forces of the two sides will be permitted to operate up to 
their respective lines without interference from the other side. 

C. The detailed implementation of the disengagement of forces 
will be worked out by military representatives of Egypt and Israel, who 
will agree on the stages of this process. These representatives will meet 
no later than 48 hours after the signature of this agreement at Kilometer 
101 under the aegis of the United Nations for this purpose. They will 
complete this task within five days. Disengagement will begin within 
48 hours after the completion of the work of the military repre- 
sentatives and in no event later than seven days after the signature of 
this agreement. The process of disengagement will be completed not 
later than 40 days after it begins. 

D. This agreement is not regarded by Egypt and Israel as a final 
peace agreement. It constitutes a first step toward a final, just and dur- 
able peace according to the provisions of Security Council Resolution 
338 and within the framework of the Geneva Conference. End text. 


3 Map is not attached, but see the final disengagement map, Appendix B, Map 1. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 87 


3. Agreement will not be public until it is signed at noon Middle 
East time January 18. It is terribly sensitive and it must rpt must not 
leak. 


Kissinger 


11. Letter From President Nixon to Egyptian President Sadat' 


Washington, January 17, 1974. 


Dear Mr. President: 

I am transmitting the attached proposal as part of the agreement 
between Egypt and Israel on the disengagement of their forces. I am 
also transmitting the attached proposal to the Prime Minister of Israel.” 

Receipt of your signature on the attached proposal will constitute 
acceptance, subject to the signature of the same proposal by the Prime 
Minister of Israel. 


Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon 
Attachment 


In order to facilitate agreement between Egypt and Israel and as 
part of that agreement, and to assist in maintaining scrupulous observ- 
ance of the ceasefire on land, air, and sea the United States proposes the 
following: 


1. That within the areas of limited armament and forces described 
in the agreement there will be: (a) no more than eight reinforced bat- 
talions of armed forces and 30 tanks; (b) no artillery except anti-tank 
guns, anti-tank missiles, mortars and 6 batteries of howitzers of a cal- 
iber up to 122 mm (M-3) with a range not to exceed 12 kilometers; (c) 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1180, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, January 10-17, 1974. Secret. Ac- 
cording to Kissinger’s memoirs, the text of the letter was drafted by Kissinger’s negotia- 
ting team. (Years of Upheaval, p. 833) 

? The letter to Prime Minister Meir and the attached proposal is identical to the 
letter sent to President Sadat. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC 
Files, Box 1180, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, January 
10-17, 1974) 


88 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


no weapons capable of interfering with the other party’s flights over its 
own forces; (d) no permanent, fixed installations for missile sites. The 
entire force of each party shall not exceed 7,000 men. 

2. That to a distance 30 kilometers west of the Egyptian line and 
east of the Israeli line, there will be no weapons in areas from which 
they can reach the other line. 

3. That to a distance 30 kilometers west of the Egyptian line and 
east of the Israeli line, there will be no surface-to-air missiles. 

4. That the above limitations will apply as from the time the agree- 
ment on disengagement between Egypt and Israel is signed® by the 
parties and will be implemented in accordance with the schedule of the 
basic agreement. 


3 The agreement was signed at Kilometer 101 on January 18 at 12:25 p.m.; see Docu- 
ment 16. 


12. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir! 


Washington, January 17, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 


I want to inform you that the Government of the United States has 
received from the Government of Egypt assurances to the effect that, in 
connection with the agreement on the disengagement of Egyptian and 
Israeli forces, the Government of Egypt confirms that it regards the 
Straits of Bab el-Mandeb as an international waterway for ships of all 
flags and that it will not interfere with the free passage of Israeli ships 
or cargoes.” 


Further assurances have been received from Egypt that upon the 
opening of the Suez Canal, the principle of free passage will likewise be 
observed and that principle will be extended to Israel when the state of 
belligerency between Egypt and Israel has ended.° As a first step, all 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1180, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, January 10-17, 1974. Secret. 

? These assurances were expressed in a letter from President Sadat to President 
Nixon, January 17. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, 
Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974) 

5 The assurance of free passage was included in the same letter that confirmed the 
Straits of Bab el-Mandeb as an international waterway. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 89 


cargoes destined for and coming from Israel will be permitted through 
the Canal from the time of its opening. 


Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon 


13. Letter From President Nixon to Egyptian President Sadat! 


Washington, January 17, 1974. 


Dear Mr. President: 

I understand that once the agreement between Egypt and Israel on 
disengagement of forces is in effect, you intend to begin work looking 
toward an early return of the Suez Canal to full operation and toward 
the rehabilitation of the cities and towns along the Canal and the re- 
sumption of normal economic activities in that area. I want you to 
know that if you proceed in this way the United States gives you its as- 
surance that Israel will refrain from taking any military action against 
those civilian centers, installations and populations. 


Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 10, February 1974. Secret. 
According to Kissinger’s memoirs, Kissinger drafted the letter himself. (Years of Upheaval, 
pp. 834-835) 


90 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


14. Memorandum of Understanding’ 


January 18, 1974. 


MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN 
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND 
THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL 


1. The United States informs Israel that Egypt’s intentions are to 
clear and open the Suez Canal for normal operations, and to rehabili- 
tate the cities and towns along the Canal and resume normal peacetime 
economic activities in that area, beginning as quickly as possible after 
the Disengagement Agreement is implemented. 

2. The United States has received assurances from Egypt of its in- 
tention, upon completion of the implementation of the Agreement, to 
start reducing significantly its forces under mobilization if Israel gives a 
like indication to Egypt through the United States. 

3. It is the policy of the United States that implementation of the 
Disengagement Agreement and substantial steps by Egypt to imple- 
ment its intentions in Paragraph 1 above should take precedence over 
the undertaking of new commitments by the parties related to subse- 
quent phases of the Geneva Conference. The United States will do its 
best to help facilitate the Conference proceeding at a pace commensu- 
rate with this view. 

4. The United States position is that withdrawal of United Nations 
Emergency Forces during the duration of the Disengagement Agree- 
ment requires the consent of both sides. Should the matter of the with- 
drawal come before the United Nations Security Council without the 
consent of Israel, the United States will vote against such withdrawal. 

5. The United States will oppose supervision of Israeli-held areas 
by United Nations Observers from the Soviet Union, from other com- 
munist countries or from other countries which have no diplomatic re- 
lations with Israel. With respect to the deployment of forces in the 
United Nations Emergency Forces zone, the United States will ap- 
proach the United Nations Secretary General with a view to working 
out arrangements whereby no units or personnel of nations which do 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, 1/1-7/1, 1974 (2). Secret. Accord- 
ing to Kissinger’s memoirs, the Israelis on several occasions sought Memoranda of Un- 
derstanding between the United States and Israel. He attributed this to Israeli 
“consciousness of having only one friend among the nations of the world,” which pro- 
duced “an endless quest for reassurance in the form of additional concessions or side let- 
ters on the interpretation of existing agreements.” (Years of Upheaval, p. 652) 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 91 


not have diplomatic relations with Israel will (a) be deployed adjacent 
to the Israeli line, or (b) participate in the inspection of the Israeli area of 
limited forces and armaments. 

6. The United States has informed the Governments of Israel and 
Egypt that it will perform aerial reconnaissance missions over the areas 
covered by the Disengagement Agreement at a frequency of about one 
mission every ten days or two weeks, and will make the photographs 
available to both Israel and Egypt. 

7. The United States regards the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb as an in- 
ternational waterway and will support and join with others to secure 
general recognition of the right of free and innocent passage through 
those Straits. The United States will strongly support free passage of Is- 
raeli ships and cargoes through the Straits. In the event of interference 
with such passage, the United States will consult with Israel on how 
best to assure the maintenance and exercise of such rights. 

8. With regard to the Egyptian undertaking not to interfere with 
the free passage of Israeli ships or cargoes through the Straits of Bab 
el-Mandeb, the United States informs the Government of Israel that it is 
the United States position that no notification in advance of the names 
of vessels passing through the Straits or any other prior communication 
to Egypt is required. The United States will immediately seek confirma- 
tion that this is also the Egyptian position. 

9. Recognizing the defense responsibilities of the Government of 
Israel following redeployment of its forces under the Disengagement 
Agreement, the United States will make every effort to be fully respon- 
sive on a continuing and long-term basis to Israel’s military equipment 
requirements. 

10. In case of an Egyptian violation of any of the provisions of the 
Agreement or any of its attachments, the United States Government 
and the Government of Israel will consult regarding the necessary 
reaction. 


92 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


15. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


January 19, 1974, 1814Z. 


Hakto 56. Ref: Tohak 112.” 


1. You may pass to the President that I have Sadat’s assurance that 
the oil embargo will be lifted no later than a week from Monday.* You 
should also tell him that Sadat has promised to make a statement 
giving credit to the President for lifting of the embargo,’ that I have 
given Sadat a suggested text of what he should say in that statement; 
and that Sadat has promised to use the statement I have given him. 


2. You should emphasize to the President that our best hope is 
Sadat, and that we must keep our oil men out of this affair, their in- 
terests are parochial and they clearly do not have the ear of the King. 


3. Admittedly, even with Sadat’s assurances nothing may happen, 
but who else can we bet on. My own belief is that we can count on Sadat 
to produce what he has promised to produce. 


4. You should emphasize to the President my deep belief we must 
stay with the game plan which has brought us this far. If we attempt to 
play with the program we have worked out we are likely to fail, and in 
the process may set our entire timetable back immeasurably. Should 
Sadat fail to perform on the firm assurances he has given us we can 
then turn to another course such as that suggested in Tohak 112. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 43, HAK Trip Files, January 10-20, 1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Flash. Ac- 
cording to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, he was in Egypt on January 19 until 3 p.m. at 
which point he departed for Aqaba, Jordan, where he spent the rest of the day. (Library of 
Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) 

? Tohak 112 has not been found. 

3 On January 27, Sadat wrote Nixon that he had communicated with King Faisal 
about lifting the embargo and that Faisal had agreed to lift it. (Telegram 422 from Cairo; 
National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 
133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974) 

“That same day, Scowcroft replied to Kissinger that President Nixon believed he 
would be announcing the lifting of the oil embargo in his January 30 State of the Union 
address. (Telegram WH 40308; ibid., Box 43, HAK Trip Files, January 10-20, 1974) See 
Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974, Document 292. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 93 


16. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the 
Department of State! 


January 19, 1974, 2131Z. 


Secto 115. Subj: KM 101 Signing of Egypt-Israel Disengagement 
Agreement. 

1. Egyptian-Israeli Agreement on Disengagement of Forces was 
signed at Kilometer 101 at 12:25 p.m. January 18 by Chiefs of Staff Ga- 
masy for Egypt and Elazar for Israel. UNEF Commander Siilasvuo 
signed as witness. Maw of State Department and Saunders of NSC staff 
were present in capacity of turning over to UNEF Commander four 
copies of agreement to be signed, one each for Egypt, Israel, UN and 
U.S. Others present in tent at table were: for UN, Political Adviser 
Gorge, Chief of Staff Col. Hogansk, Capt. Fallon; for Egypt, Gen. Mago- 
dub and Col. Howaidy, who represented Egypt at Geneva Military 
Working Group and Fawzy el Ibrashi of MFA who had attended earlier 
Kilometer 101 talks; for Israel, Gen. Adan, new Southern Front Com- 
mander, Col. Sion from Geneva Working Group, Col. Levran and Meir 
Rosenne, MFA Legal Adviser. 


2. In twenty minutes before delegates entered tent, Gorge shuttled 
back and forth between Egyptian and Israeli tents which flanked 
meeting tent confirming arrangements for size of each group at table 
and procedures for signing. Israel wanted a larger group. Both sides 
also agreed that substance should be discussed after signing and that 
the U.S. representatives should remain through whole meeting. Nei- 
ther side wanted to be difficult and problems were settled quickly. 
Egyptian side entered tent first. Salutes and simple greetings were ex- 
changed when the Israelis entered. Atmosphere at this point was cor- 
rect and polite, but no more. 

3. Siilasvou welcomed those present in one sentence and sug- 
gested proceeding immediately to signing. Each of four copies was 
signed by each of the three signers and initialed on each page, in- 
cluding map attached.* 

4. When signing was completed and each copy checked by Sii- 
lasvuo and Maw, signed copies were distributed among four groups at 
table. Signed copies, each in red binder, had been brought by Maw 
from Jerusalem to Cairo night before. Copies had been verified by 
Evron for Israel in Jerusalem. Maw and Saunders took copies to Ga- 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Volume 9, January 1974. Secret; 
Nodis; Immediate. Repeated to Cairo, Tel Aviv, and USUN. 


? Map is not attached, but see the final disengagement map, Appendix B, Map 1. 


94 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


masy’s office in Cairo for verification before driving to Kilometer 101. 
Following signing, Siilasvuo suggested that next item on agenda be set- 
ting a date for the next meeting. Gamasy said he was prepared to meet 
at any time. Elazar suggested 11:00 a.m. January 20, and it was agreed. 


6. Siilasvuo asked whether other questions should be discussed 
such as procedures for the next meeting. Gamasy said he would like to 
discuss principles which might guide the technical discussions, and 
Elazar agreed this would be helpful. 


7. Gamasy then laid out following five principles, speaking briefly 
and precisely from notes scribbled in what seemed to be some sort of 
daily diary: 

A. Each side would agree strictly to observe ceasefire on land, sea, 
and air. He had given order to start at 6:00 a.m. and so far, for first time, 
there had been no violations. Siilasvuo interjected that Elazar had given 
similar order and no violations had been reported. 


B. Disengagement would be carried out in three phases: (1) In first 
15 days, redeployment of Israeli forces from West to East Bank and re- 
deployment over area between two sides. (2) In next 15 days, Israeli 
forces would be redeployed to lines on map attached to the agreement. 
Second Egyptian Army would be redeployed. (3) Final 10 days would 
be used to check positions and armaments on ground and establish 
procedures for UNEF. 


C. Evacuation of Israeli troops from West Bank will start from 
south and move north so as to hand over Suez—Cairo road during first 
three days. Gamasy explained that sooner road was free, sooner rede- 
ployment of Third Army could begin. It would be difficult for Egypt to 
begin redeployment of Second Army before Third was taken care of. 

D. UNEF should operate between two sides through all phases of 
disengagement with five kilometers between. 

E. There should be no destruction of factories or other installations 
in the Suez area. It would improve the atmosphere for both sides if 
Egypt found no such destruction. 

8. Gamasy concluded that he was prepared to continue meeting at 
the Chief of Staff level or at any other level Elazar preferred. He 
thought it might be useful if he and Elazar attended next meeting to as- 
sure that decisions could be taken on spot. 

9. Elazar began his response by saying with a smile that maybe it 
was a good omen that the two sides had very similar ideas about imple- 
menting agreement. Generally, he said, Israel accepted the principles 
Gamasy outlined. Specifically: 

A. Israel is prepared for implementation in three stages. He had in 
mind 14, 14, and 12 days in order to evacuate Western Bank within 28 
days. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 95 


B. Starting Israeli evacuation in south and moving north is ac- 
cepted. Israel understands Egyptian interest in problems of the Third 
Army and is prepared to cooperate. 

C. Israel has similar idea on UN forces, though different in detail. 
Israel would like to have UNEF move in behind Israeli forces so evacu- 
ation areas could be turned over to UNEF and then be transferred to 
Egypt. Israel had thought of more than five kilometers between the two 
forces, but this could be discussed. 

D. With regard to installations and other property in Suez, Elazar 
said he would give very strict orders not to change anything from this 
moment on. But he pointed out that unfortunately war had been fought 
over this area and there had been a great deal of damage. 

10. Elazar concluded by agreeing that the Chiefs of Staff both at- 
tend the next meeting and decide there on attendance at future 
meetings. He agreed that it was important to start the talks well and 
said Israel has no other interest than to honor the agreement in spirit 
and letter in order to improve atmosphere for future agreements. 


11. Gamasy thanked Elazar for his comments and asked whether 
he saw the first 28 days as divided into two phases. At this point, Elazar 
produced map with overlay indicating steps in which evacuation 
might proceed, emphasizing that map had been prepared only as a 
basis for discussion, not as a final solution. Elazar said if Gamasy had 
initial comments Israel would try to adapt its proposal before Sunday.? 

12. Gamasy suggested that perhaps Israeli evacuation of the West 
Bank could be completed in less than 28 days. Elazar said he had no ob- 
jection in principle and only problem was whether it was logistically 
possible to finish in a shorter time. He would look at it. 

13. Gamasy said he hoped that road to Suez City might be opened 
even before disengagement began. Elazar said he would not suggest 
opening the road until after the Israelis had withdrawn north of it so as 
to avoid both forces on the road at the same time. Gamasy accepted 
point with regard to military traffic, but said he was talking only at this 
stage about civilian traffic moving in convoys under UNEF supervi- 
sion. Elazar said he would come Sunday with an answer. 

14. Elazar said he would like arrangements as soon as possible for 
collecting bodies of dead Israeli soldiers and for trying to locate 
missing. Gamassy said he was ready to discuss this. Gamasy said he 
would not raise the question of Egyptian prisoners because he already 
had answer. With regard to Kabrit, Egypt would like to treat it as part 
of Third Army for food and supply if Israel did not object. Elazar said 


3 January 20, the date of the next meeting. 


96 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


there would be no objection. He said Israel would like a map of sea 
mines in the Gulf of Suez. 

15. Siilasvuo asked desires of the parties on briefing the press. 
Elazar said he would say simply that agreement has benefits for both 
sides and represents a first step toward a better future. Gamasy indi- 
cated he would not comment. Both sides indicated they would leave re- 
lease of agreement to political levels of their governments. 

16. In closing, Siilasvuo indicated an interest in how mine fields 
would be cleared since UNEF taking over evacuated areas. Elazar said 
mines would be left, but Israel would provide maps. Gamasy said if 
Egypt had maps it would concentrate all its engineer efforts on clearing 
the fields. 

17. Siilasvuo askied whether photographers should be invited in. 
Gamasy preferred photos be limited to delegations leaving tent. Coffee 
was served, and there was small talk. The meeting ended at 1:15 pm. 


18. After the signing, the atmosphere relaxed from correct to coop- 
erative and even cordial as Generals began discussing their business. 
Setting was combination of desert simplicity and efforts to recognize 
what everyone present felt to be historic moment. UNEF Honor Guard 
in field uniforms lined two paths leading from Egyptian and Israeli 
tents to signing tent. About 150 members of press stationed 150 feet 
away. Inside dirt-floored signing tent was battered U-shaped table cov- 
ered with old gray felt and surrounded by slatted wood folding chairs 
of some other era. 

19. Readiness on both sides to get on with implementation quickly 
and to deal with disagreements as practical problems to be solved char- 
acterized approach of both sides. Siilasvuo and Gorge were quick to 
recognize obvious preparatory work done by Secretary Kissinger to as- 
sure parallel thinking on both sides about mechanics of implementa- 
tion. Both expressed deep gratitude for U.S. contribution, and Siilasvuo 
asked that his congratulations and thanks be extended to the Secretary. 


Kissinger 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 97 


17. Memorandum of Conversation! 
Washington, January 21, 1974, 10-11:40 a.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


President Nixon 

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National 
Security Affairs 

Bipartisan Congressional Leadership 


SUBJECT 


Bipartisan Leadership Meeting on the Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement 
Agreement 


President: Welcome back to the new session. Welcome back, John 
Scali. There will be two meetings this week—one on the Middle East 
today and one on energy on Wednesday. We moved the State of the 
Union to the 30th because of the Women’s National Press Club. 

We don’t know when the oil embargo might be lifted. Henry will 
cover that, plus the Egyptian agreement. 

Kissinger: First, let me go over what our strategy has been. The 
conflict at the end of October had found us on one side, the Arabs with 
Soviet backing on the other side, and the oil embargo. We were a poten- 
tial enemy to the Arabs; Israel was in a trauma digging in on the new 
lines they had taken. The debate in the UN was whether Israel should 
withdraw five kilometers, and Israel refused. Even had they done it, the 
situation would not have been substantially changed. The military situ- 
ation was very unstable and the possibility of renewed war was high. 

At this point, the President decided we should cooperate with the 
Soviet Union and set up the Geneva Conference. 


Resolution 242 means different things to different parties. The 
problem with a general conference is that the Soviet Union would take 
an intransigent position which the Arabs would have to support and 
there would be a deadlock. Instead, we decided to move by stages 
within a comprehensive framework. None of this could have been done 
without President Sadat. He is a wise leader. He was willing to talk 
with Israel at Kilometer 101 and to trust us. 


1 Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 
Box 3, January 21, 1974, Nixon, Bipartisan Leadership. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was 
held in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Brackets are in the original. A list of at- 
tendees is in President Nixon’s Daily Diary. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Ma- 
terials, White House Central Files) 


98 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


President: Compare Nasser and Sadat. Nasser had a mystique but 
he was persona non grata with conservative Arabs. He had to take rad- 
ical positions on Israel, and after the Aswan Dam, with the United 
States. We underestimated Sadat—because he didn’t have the char- 
isma. But he didn’t have the debt to the radicals, the utter hatred of Is- 
rael, etc. Egypt is a non-oil state, yet he can lead the Arabs. 

Kissinger: Nasser was a pan-Arabist; Sadat is an Egyptian nation- 
alist, yet Sadat is better able to lead the Arabs. Nasser scared the Saudis 
silly. There are three levels of Arab problems: the Arab-Israeli problem 
itself; the internal political conditions in each country; and the relations 
to other Arab countries. For example, Asad described the internal 
problems he had moving in directions like Sadat was going—they are 
enormous. Without Sadat having moved, there would be no chance. 

In November I told Sadat that if he wanted enforcement of Resolu- 
tion 339,7 he could get it with a great deal of pain; but if he would work 
with us, we thought we could get a major move; with some effort, a real 
disengagement. To Sadat’s credit, he didn’t know whether he could 
pull it off—neither did I. Golda had been tough here. We had 2:00 a.m. 
meetings at the Blair House.° 

President: Henry usually doesn’t mind that. 

Kissinger: [Joke about making love to Golda and her having 
shingles.] We told Sadat that we wanted to get this major movement 
with the consent of Israel, not by raping her—and nothing could be 
done prior to the Israeli elections. So we needed time to convert Israel. 
Also we needed it to educate Egypt as to what was possible. For six 
weeks we engaged in academic debates with both sides. Israel said they 
would win another war. We said, even so, where are you? And for us, it 
was a dead end street. We finally convinced them to develop a plan of 
their own. Dayan then came over with a plan*—this was done will- 
ingly. We kept both sides fully informed. 

The present Israeli political situation is bad. Her coalition must in- 
clude parties opposed to each other and to withdrawal. The Geneva 
talks were working themselves into a deadlock. The President decided 
we needed to get things moving. Dayan said he had two problems: to 
get the plan approved by the Cabinet and to get it considered at a level 
in Egypt where it wouldn’t be rejected as a test of manhood. 


2See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Dispute and War, 
1973, Document 324. UN Security Resolution 339, adopted on October 23 after the 
fighting in the Middle East continued, reiterated the terms of Resolution 338, calling 
again for a cease-fire (see footnote 6, Document 7). For the text of Resolution 339, see Year- 
book of the United Nations, 1973, p. 213. 

3 Kissinger is referring to the November 1973 meetings in Washington with Meir; 
see footnote 3, Document 1. 

4See Document 7. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 99 


There was a big risk in my going; we didn’t know it would work. 
The original plan was to get a plan first and present it to Egypt and fi- 
nalize it at Geneva. But Sadat said: “Why not finish it now so it won’t 
bog down?” He said he was willing to give more to get it done faster. 

I won't go into the details, but at some point in the negotiations 
they stopped being enemies and became collaborators in a common ob- 
jective. One other point was that when political leaders agreed on a 
point, they asked me to take these points to their respective military. 
They exploded in each case, and were overruled by Golda and Sadat. 

There was no way this agreement could have been reached bilater- 
ally. Each could say things to us to pass that they couldn’t say directly. 

[Secretary Kissinger went to the map on the easel and described 
the agreement.] 

There is a zone of limited armaments. Each side refused to discuss 
its deployments with the other side. We decided that the United States 
would make a proposal to each, which they would sign. Neither of 
them had to say they had accepted limitations proposed by the other. 
The legal status of this is not that we are guarantors; we just generated 
the paper and it is attached to the agreement. It should be kept secret 
for the moment. The key is that the limitations remove any offensive ca- 
pability—please do not reveal this—but neither can reach the other side 
with weapons. So, neither one can attack the other without warning, 
and each war in this area has started with a surprise attack. 


Next, both wanted assurances they were reluctant to get directly. 
We have, however, made each party aware of the understandings with 
the other. None of these are obligations of the United States. For ex- 
ample: Bab el Mandeb [he described how it went]. Another was on how 
the UN would inspect. Each side wanted the UN forces to have liaison 
officers of the side being inspected. We also said we opposed any uni- 
lateral removal of UN forces. Another was: informal assurances of no 
howitzers which could reach Port Said. Another—please keep this se- 
cret—we told both of them we would give them reconnaissance photos 
of the lines. Flights will be made with the acquiescence of each. 

One could almost feel the change in attitude between the sides as 
the talks went on. For example, Kabrit, and the Israeli dead. Five days 
were set aside for technical discussions—they were all settled yes- 
terday. This mood is very significant. 

The next moves relate to Syria and Jordan. The Syrians were beside 
themselves that Egypt would make a separate agreement, and ap- 
pealed to other Arabs. They said this would freeze the situation. Sadat 
asked to let him go to Syria before me. There was an enormous differ- 


100 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


ence between my first and second visits. It was a painful meeting,’ but 
they did produce a plan—it was unacceptable, but at least it was a plan. 
Wealso worked out a face-saving way they could start talks with Israel. 
Asad asked me to stop in Israel to give them the plan. It is a start. I be- 
lieve if we can get disengagement schemes worked out, the sides can’t 
get at each other, and we will have changed the psychological climate. 
After this is done, we will go to Egypt to move toward a final settle- 
ment and let them be the pacesetters. We must be careful not to push 
out the Soviet Union—we will use Geneva to get their involvement and 
we have kept them partially informed. 

An overall settlement will be a painful process—with much emo- 
tion, but this is a start. Both the Israeli and Egyptian press have been 
positive. 

Now on energy—we should say nothing publicly. That would pre- 
vent movement. The problem now is that Arab disunity makes it hard 
to get an agreement among them to lift the embargo. But Sadat is on a 
trip now to get the lifting. We hope he will succeed but we don’t know 
when. We are optimistic but we must not predict it. It can’t be lifted as a 
favor to the U.S. but for their own motives. 

President: Without the disengagement, there is no chance of lifting 
of the embargo. With it, there is a chance, but we can make no predic- 
tion as to when and how. The Arabs must make the decision—and not 
as the result of an American pressure ploy. The embargo has been on 
our minds in these negotiations. The disengagement is more important 
in the long term, but I know the concerns of your constituents. We have 
removed the major impediment, and we are in contact with all of them, 
but we have no predictions. 

Albert: Is the problem an objection because we provided arms to 
Israel? 

Kissinger: That is now overcome. 

President: The fact that we brought about the disengagement 
tends to wash out the arms thing. The radical Arabs could say there can 
be no lifting of the embargo before a final settlement is reached, or at 
least until further movement. That was a major point. 

Kissinger: That is no longer a major point. The President’s position 
was that we wanted to move in the Middle East but not in a way to give 
in to Arab blackmail. The difference between the U.S. and others, is that 
they can only give arms and only we can deliver. 

Fulbright: It’s a remarkable job. 


5 Kissinger met with Asad in Damascus on January 20. See Document 19. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 101 


President: I want to leave you with no illusions about anything. 
This is a big step. I knew the fact that three months ago that Syria 
would receive Kissinger was unthinkable—only Iraq is more radical. 

Kissinger: Asad jokes about pursuing an anti-Soviet policy. 

President: On energy, we hope we have made constructive 
progress, but there is nothing to predict. On the long-term settlement— 
it will involve Jerusalem, the question of the ’67 lines, etc. The U.S. will 
use its constructive influence toward a long-term settlement. We will 
continue to use our influence with all the states in the area. 

Kissinger: I would not use the word “interim agreement.” “Separa- 
tion of forces,” okay, “preliminary”—just not “interim,” because it has 
special connotation. 

President: Another point regards the Soviet Union. It is not useful 
to brag about the Soviet Union being cut out. Had the Soviet Union 
moved to prevent this agreement, we would have had a problem. The 
line is the Soviet Union has been kept informed. We think their interest 
as well as ours is served by this. 

One other point—not only will peace take time but the American 
presence, and capability, are of great substance. Lots of people have 
ideas for a settlement, but only we can do it—so our strength and diplo- 
macy is very important. 

Peace doesn’t come because men of goodwill want it, but only 
when both sides have more to gain by moving peacefully than by war. 
We have demonstrated that another war would be dangerous to world 
peace—both sides know they suffered badly. We also demonstrated 
that the U.S. wants nothing in the way of territory and domination over 
any one. We are respected and we amount to something. That is why 
we got what we now have. I look forward to good relations with every 
Arab state. The Middle East is the Balkans for the 1970s and very dan- 
gerous. We need a constructive relationship with all of the parties. But 
we don’t want to irritate the Soviet Union; we just want to play a con- 
structive role. 

Kissinger: If the Soviet Union wants peace, peace in the Middle 
East is not directed against the Soviet Union—only if they want turmoil 
in the Middle East. 

President: We have had long talks with the Soviet Union on the 
Middle East. Both of us know it is important to each, but neither side 
wants a confrontation there. 


102 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


18. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Washington, January 23, 1974, 10 a.m. 


SUBJECT 


Secretary Kissinger’s Report on Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 


CABINET MEETING 
(Excerpt on Foreign Policy) 


Kissinger: I want to underline what the President and Vice Presi- 
dent said. When something works it looks easy, but one has to look at 
what other things might have happened. It would be difficult now if we 
had a crisis on autobahn, or something, while we were working on the 
Middle East. It is easy for Jackson to posture against the Soviets because 
we have them all quieted down.’ The fact is the President has quieted 
the world down. In 1970 we had four crises going on. 

In the Middle East last October, the Europeans and Japanese pan- 
icked and started to compete for Arab favor. At the middle of the 
month it looked as if we were isolated in support of Israel and the So- 
viet Union could keep the turmoil going by escalating its demands. We 
got a ceasefire, and then it blew up. We had a momentary crisis with 
the Soviet Union and an alert—which even the Arabs thought was es- 
sential. The Arab moderates felt themselves trapped by the radicals, the 
Soviets, and the Europeans. 


What we had to get across is that everyone else could posture but 
only we could deliver. Only the United States had the leverage on 
Israel. 


The President, therefore, sent me to the Middle East with a mes- 
sage that we won't promise what we can’t deliver, but we will deliver 
what we promise. Sadat’s wisdom though was indispensable. His will- 
ingness and his patience gave us time to get things turned around. 


The stalemate stemmed from the tendency of the Arabs to confuse 
great proclamations with achievement. And the Israelis equate security 
with military force. 


1 Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 
Box 3, January 23, 1974, Cabinet Meeting. Confidential. The meeting was held in the Cab- 
inet Room of the White House. A list of attendees is in President Nixon’s Daily Diary. 
(National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files) 

2 A reference to Senator Jackson’s efforts to link Most-Favored-Nation status for the 
Soviet Union to the liberalization of Soviet emigration policies, especially regarding Jews. 


First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 103 


We had to break the international front—a coalescence of the 
Arabs, the Soviet Union, the Europeans, and Japanese, but do this 
without antagonizing the Soviet Union. So we developed the Geneva 
framework to keep the Soviet Union involved. Geneva brought the 
parties together for the first time. 

The moral force of the United States in the world is overwhelming. 
After billions of Soviet expenditures and effort in the Middle East, it 
was the United States which they all turned to. Sadat couldn’t accept 
the Israeli proposal for force limitations but could accept the Presi- 
dent’s proposal in the interest of peace in the world. It could only have 
been done with us. The negotiations were direct, but we provided the 
essential catalyst. 

This is the first time Israel has ever moved back of her own accord. 
We have now disengaged the military forces of the two sides and 
averted a possible resumption of the war and a possible great power 
confrontation. The achievement of surprise is now impossible. With 
forces that are at all equal, victory in a desert war comes only with 
surprise. 

One of the most encouraging developments was to see the two 
sides changed from looking at each other as devils to a recognition they 
had a common problem. Problems which had been deadlocked, after 
the agreement were settled almost immediately. 


We still face enormous problems in the future. Our first need is to 
help prevent Sadat’s isolation in the Arab world. That was the reason 
for my visit to Syria.* They are wacky but it was an enormous step for 
them to send a disengagement proposal to Israel, which they did. It was 
unacceptable, but we can get a negotiation going and Sadat is no longer 
isolated. If we can get a Syrian disengagement, we can then move with 
Sadat for a permanent settlement. Then we can work on the Pales- 
tinians. The Israeli problem is that there is the Religious Party* in the 
Cabinet which regards the West Bank as part of Biblical Israel. 

None of this could have happened without Soviet acquiescence. 
All they had to do was to put out proposals that were more Egyptian 
than Sadat put out. They are not happy, but it was crucial they did not 
interfere. Without détente it couldn’t have happened. 

President: On embargo, you can say that without disengagement, 
no lifting of the embargo would take place—but don’t predict that it 
will. Just say we are working on it. 


3 Kissinger met with Asad in Damascus on January 20. See Document 19. 


“The National Religious Party, an orthodox Jewish political party that formed in 
1956. 


104 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


One political point—Golda has always told me that she doesn’t 
need our men there—that with our arms they can beat the Arabs every 
time. But even if that is true, it is possible only if we hold the ring 
against the Soviet Union. If the Soviet presence had moved into the 
Middle East, we would have had a serious problem. If that had hap- 
pened, it wouldn’t matter how much Congress appropriated. 


We are not trying to freeze out the Soviet Union. It’s just that we 
intend to play a role in the Middle East. 

With regard to Arab moderates, it is essential they side with us be- 
cause the Soviet Union could support the revolutionaries. Even the rad- 
icals, who are anti-Israel and because of that anti-U.S., are not 
pro-Soviet but pro-themselves. We have to play this carefully. The So- 
viet Union is close and we are far away. If the Soviet Union didn’t have 
other fish to fry with us, we would have a bigger problem in the Middle 
East. 

Israel is totally dependent on us, the moderate Arabs partly. The 
radicals even need us in a way. 


Without détente, the Soviet Union could have opposed our initia- 
tive and blown it sky high. Why did they play the role they did? It was 
in their interest—which would not have been served by confrontation 
with us because it would have hurt with respect to Europe, SALT, 
China. This is why détente is right and will continue. 

Kissinger: This is why the constant Congressional pressure against 
the Soviet Union can destroy détente. If the Soviet Union gets nothing 
from it, they won’t continue this posture. 

President: That is right. The military will react against SALT, the 
Congress against MFN. But we must do what is right for détente. We 
must recognize that the Soviet leadership could change. The same with 
the PRC. They could be a tremendous nuclear power in 15-20 years. 
When you hear the nitpickers remember it is not done with mirrors nor 
is it accidental. It is not because Brezhnev loves us—but because his al- 
ternatives are worse. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, 
January—May 1974 


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


Washington, January 20, 1974. 


The following is a report from Secretary Kissinger’s discussions 
this morning with President Asad of Syria: 


“1. I have just completed a five hour discussion with President 
Asad of Syria.* Given the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement, 
he now appears ready—in a very gingerly way—to try for a disengage- 
ment agreement of his own. 


“2. During my first meeting with Asad a few weeks ago® he in- 
sisted that a Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement had to be fully 
buttoned down before he was willing to commit himself to the Geneva 
Conference.* Today he softened his position somewhat, emphasizing 
that he must know where he is going and have some indication of the 
possibilities for disengagement before he fully commits himself to 
negotiations. 


“3. Asad gave me some concrete indications of the kind of disen- 
gagement agreement he would accept.° Although they are no more 
than a starting point, I made it clear to him that the substantial pull 
back he has in mind will certainly be rejected by the Israelis. But he has 
now at least given us a concrete proposal which he said I could give the 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 44, HAK Trip Files, January 10-20, 1974, Europe and Mid East State Cables, 
Memos, Miscellaneous. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A stamped notation 
reads: “The President has seen.” 

? The meeting between Asad and Kissinger took place on January 20 in President 
Asad’s office. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Box 1028, Presidential/HAK 
Memcons, January 1—-February 28, 1974, Folder 2) According to Kissinger’s Record of 
Schedule, the meeting took place from 12:30 to 4:45 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manu- 
script Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) 

8 Kissinger first met Asad on December 15, 1973. See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, 
volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 393. 

* Asad told Kissinger in their first meeting that Syria would not participate in the 
opening of the Geneva Conference in December 1973. 

5 Asad presented Kissinger with three options: first, an Israeli withdrawal from the 
Golan Heights with a demilitarized area; second, an Israeli withdrawal that would leave 
the Israelis with a five kilometer area of control in the Heights; or, third, an Israeli with- 
drawal approximately halfway between the October 6, 1973, line and the original June 5, 
1967 line. 


105 


106 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Israelis and indicated that he knew he would have ‘to make a further 
proposal’ if the Israelis reject this one. 

“4. I shall make a brief airport stop in Israel on the way home to 
give them a report of the conversation with Asad.° This is a good move, 
not only because Asad wanted me to do so, but also because as thin a 
reed as it is it helps relieve pressure on Sadat (who is presently under 
attack for having agreed to a disengagement scheme without waiting 
for the Syrians). The fact that the Syrian-Israeli disengagement talks can 
be said to have begun today will be helpful to Sadat and buy time for all 
concerned. With this Syrian-Israeli process started it also helps reduce 
the amount of trouble that the Soviets can cause. 

“5. My plan is to describe briefly the Syrian proposal to the Israelis, 
ask them to study it and come up with concrete ideas of their own 
which perhaps Dayan can bring to us in ten days or two weeks in 
Washington. I want the U.S. role to be the same as that we played on 
the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement negotiation.” 


6 The meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger took place on Jan- 
uary 20 from 6:55 to 8:04 p.m. at Ben-Gurion (Lod) Airport in Tel Aviv. (Memorandum of 
conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, TS 34, Peace 
Negotiations, Memcons and Telegram Book, Volume 1, December 1973 to January 1974, 
Folder 1) 


20. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in 
Lebanon’ 


Washington, January 29, 1974, 2353Z. 


19342. Subject: Message From the Secretary to President Assad. 
Beirut pass Damascus for Scotes. 

1. Scotes should convey following oral message from the Secretary 
to President Assad in manner he deems most appropriate. 

2. Begin text: 


As Secretary Kissinger informed President Assad in his last mes- 
sage, he conveyed to the Israeli Government on January 20 President 
Assad’s proposal with respect to the disengagement of forces on the 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1181, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, January 26-31, 1974. Secret; 
Cherokee; Nodis; Immediate. Drafted by Atherton; approved by Sisco. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 107 


Syrian front.” The Secretary has been in further communication with 
the Israeli Government following his return to Washington and wants 
to bring President Assad up to date on where matters now stand. 

We have succeeded in persuading the Israelis, despite initial re- 
sistance on their part, to agree in principle to enter disengagement talks 
with Syria. We have also obtained their agreement to the idea of car- 
rying out such talks in the context of the Egyptian-Israeli Military 
Working Group to which Syrian representatives would be attached. At 
the same time, the Israelis have reiterated the great importance they at- 
tach to the POW issue, as the Secretary indicated to President Assad 
would be the case. Nevertheless, the Secretary wants President Assad 
to know that he is confident that, following the pattern developed in 
pursuing Egyptian-Israeli disengagement, he can persuade the Israelis 
to send General Dayan to Washington with a response to President As- 
sad’s proposal once Syria has provided a list of POW’s and has agreed 
to Red Cross visits. 

In keeping with his undertaking to deal with President Assad in 
full candor, the Secretary wants to give the President his judgment that, 
in the absence of Syrian willingness to make the prisoner list available 
and to permit Red Cross visits, there will be a delay in getting 
Syrian-Israeli disengagement negotiations started. The Secretary reit- 
erates his personal commitment to assist in every way possible in facili- 
tating such negotiations as a step toward a just and durable peace. 

Secretary Kissinger will look forward to receiving President 
Assad’s views with respect to this message and meanwhile conveys to 
the President his warm personal regards. End text. 


Kissinger 


2 See footnote 6, Document 19. 


108 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


21. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests 
Section in Syria’ 


Washington, February 5, 1974, 0059Z. 


23475. Subject: Message for President Assad from Secretary. Beirut 
not Addee, pass Scotes in Damascus. 

1. Scotes should convey following letter from Secretary to Presi- 
dent Assad by most expeditious means possible. 

2. Begin message: 

Dear Mr. President: 

We have been having great difficulties with the Israelis in moving 
matters along on the question of Syrian-Israeli disengagement. As you 
know, the recent Israeli Cabinet statement reaffirmed Israel’s interest in 
a disengagement agreement with Syria. However, the Israelis insist 
that before they engage in any negotiations on this matter with Syria, 
the POW list must be provided and Red Cross visits permitted. 

I have been giving considerable thought to how in these circum- 
stances progress can be made. I am willing to try out the following for- 
mula on the Israelis and would like to have your reaction before doing 
so. In conveying the following thoughts to you, I want to make clear 
that they have not been previously discussed with the Israelis. My 
thoughts are along the following lines: 

1. We would convey to the Israeli Government the number of 
POW’s Syria holds. 

2. The Syrian Government would send the list of POW’s to its In- 
terests Section here in Washington. 

3. We would insist with the Israelis that they come up with a con- 
crete proposal on disengagement which they would make available to 
me, in exchange for the list of POW’s. 

4. As soon as the visit of the Red Cross takes place, I would trans- 
mit Israel’s concrete disengagement proposal to you and at the same 
time would insist with the Israelis that they send a high-level official to 
Washington with a view to discussing further modifications in what- 
ever proposal the Israelis had made available. 

5. A negotiating process would then begin perhaps in the frame- 
work of the Israeli-Egyptian Military Working Group. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1181, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, February 1-8, 1974. Secret; Cher- 
okee; Nodis; Niact Immediate. Repeated Niact Immediate to Cairo and Beirut. Drafted by 
Sisco and Atherton; approved by Kissinger. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 109 


I want to stress once again that none of the above has been dis- 
cussed with the Israelis. I also want to point out that the difficulties we 
are experiencing with the Israelis presently are akin to those which we 
experienced in the early stages of the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement 
discussions. I urge, Mr. President, that you not be deflected or diverted 
as a result of the procedural difficulties, as important as they are, which 
presently exist. I remain confident that, if we can get over these proce- 
dural hurdles, with the United States playing a role similar to that 
which it played in the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement discussions, an 
agreement acceptable to both sides can be achieved. It is important, Mr. 
President, that you stay on the course we have discussed and not be de- 
flected by Israeli maneuvers. 

However, an even more serious difficulty has now arisen. I have 
just been informed by the Government of Saudi Arabia that, following 
your visit to Riyadh, and in response to your request, the Saudi Gov- 
ernment has taken the position that the oil embargo against the U.S. 
will not be lifted unless a disengagement agreement has been reached 
between Syria and Israel and is being implemented.” We are informing 
the Saudi Government that, unless the embargo is lifted promptly, 
President Nixon will not authorize further efforts by the United States 
Government to achieve Syrian-Israeli disengagement.? 

The United States had earlier expressed understanding of the deci- 
sion that was made to impose an embargo in the heat of the recent war. 
Since then, however, the situation has fundamentally changed. The 
United States undertook to engage its prestige and influence fully in 
the search for an overall just and durable peace between Israel and all 
of its neighbors. We have given evidence of our commitment to that 
goal and have achieved Egyptian-Israeli disengagement as a first step. 
This was done in spite of, and not as a result of, the embargo. 

This new development places President Nixon and me in an im- 
possible position. Congressional and public opinion in the United 
States will not support continuing United States efforts, which will be 
both difficult and time-consuming, to bring about Syrian-Israeli disen- 
gagement, to say nothing of the further steps required to achieve the 
final settlement the Arab countries seek, while those countries continue 
their discriminatory measures against the United States. Continuation 
of the embargo will thus work against the objectives which you and I 
have discussed. We would very much regret having to discontinue our 
efforts, which as I have indicated, are going forward intensively with 
Israel and which we believe hold out hope of progress over the weeks 


2See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974, Docu- 
ment 298. 


3 See ibid., Document 300. 


110 ~=‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


ahead. This will, however, be the inevitable consequence of a continua- 
tion of the embargo. As for the effects of the embargo, you are undoubt- 
edly aware that the United States is taking measures at home which 
will enable us to manage economically even if the embargo continues. 


I value the relationship I have established with you, Mr. President, 
which must continue to be based on complete frankness and honesty 
between us. In this spirit, I have conveyed the foregoing full statement 
of our position, as we are explaining it to the Saudi Government, for 
your confidential information. While awaiting a successful resolution 
of the embargo issue, I would welcome your reaction to the procedural 
ideas outlined at the beginning of this message with respect to the 
Syrian-Israeli disengagement question. 

I want to make clear, however, that I will only be able to initiate 
with Israel such efforts to solve the immediate problem of getting 
Syrian-Israeli disengagement moving after the oil embargo has been 
lifted. At the same time, I want to reaffirm to you my strong commit- 
ment, including my personal participation, to work for a disengage- 
ment of Syrian and Israeli forces as a further initial step toward a just 
and durable peace in the Middle East. 

With warm regards, 

Henry A. Kissinger 

End message. 

3. For Cairo: Ambassador Eilts should see Fahmy and fill him in 
fully on text of foregoing letter to Assad. 


Kissinger 


22. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests 
Section in Syria’ 


Washington, February 6, 1974, 0219Z. 


24425. Subject: Message to President Assad re Secretary’s Talks 
With Soviets. 

1. You should convey following oral message from the Secretary to 
President Assad in most expeditious way possible: 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1181, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, February 1-8, 1974. Secret; Cher- 
okee; Nodis; Niact Immediate. Drafted by Atherton; approved by Kissinger. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 111 


2. Secretary wants to inform President Assad of his discussions 
with the Soviets about the Middle East during Gromyko’s visit to 
Washington.” Main point Soviets made was that in future all our 
Middle East diplomatic activities should be carried out on a joint 
U.S.-Soviet basis and that modalities should be joint. They also want all 
activities to be carried out in Geneva and to have U.S. and Soviet partic- 
ipation in all Geneva meetings between the parties. We have for the 
moment simply said that we agree in principle that we and Soviets 
should coordinate our efforts, because Secretary first wanted to get 
President Assad’s views. He would appreciate any suggestions Presi- 
dent may have as to whether U.S.-Soviet coordination is desirable and 
how U.S.-Soviet coordination might work in practice, particularly as re- 
gards efforts to achieve Syrian-Israeli disengagement. Meanwhile, Sec- 
retary wants President Assad to know that he has not revealed to So- 
viets any of the matters discussed in confidence between President and 
himself and to express hope that President Assad will keep him in- 
formed of anything he might tell Soviets about these matters so that no 
misunderstandings arise. Secretary would appreciate receiving Presi- 
dent Assad’s views with regard to these matters.° 


Kissinger 


? Documentation on Gromyko’s visit is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, 
volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974. 

3 Telegram 57 from Damascus, February 9, 1710Z, transmitted President Asad’s 
reply that Syria had “no objection to a U.S./Soviet coordination.” Asad concluded by 
stating that Syria lacked “the data which may enable us to suggest a practical plan for 
such co-ordination.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 
1181, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, February 9-15, 1974) 


112 ‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


23. Memorandum of Conversation! 
Washington, February 8, 1974, 4:20-5:40 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Paul Ziffren 

Sol Linowitz 

Simon Rifkind 

Elmer Winter 

Lawrence Tisch 

Albert List 

Morris Abram 

[See biographies at end] 


Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State 
Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Ziffren: Judge Rifkind can start out and give you a fill-in on how 
we all got started. 

Secretary Kissinger: Good. I appreciate the paper you left the last 
time.” 

Rifkind: It is simple, Mr. Secretary. In the fall of last year, almost by 
spontaneous combustion, many of us began to worry about develop- 
ments in this country—all the Arab propaganda on the scene, with 
Madison Avenue methods, the oil companies activity with their ads, an 
anticipated scarcity of fuel—which has now become a reality— 
meaning travel restrictions and shortages. 

We thought all these might combine and pose a threat to the 
Jewish community in the United States. We thought we would address 
ourselves to this problem. We would form a low-key, low-profile 
group to follow the true situation in the Middle East and the oil situa- 
tion, and try to persuade that our interest in the Near East was an 
American interest, not a Jewish interest, and that American strategy 
was for American interest not Israeli interest, and that the fuel situation 
was a long-term problem. We tried to put ideas down on paper and see 
if it could be fed into the American media stream and try to keep a pro- 
tective cover over the situation. We were not too hasty. An ad in the 
Wall Street Journal yesterday—by Alfred Lilienthal, who has long been 
an Arab sympathizer and, I believe, an anti-Semite—reads: “Do arms 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 1, 
Nodis Memcons, September—December, Folder 3. Confidential. The meeting was held in 
the Conference Room on the Seventh Floor of the Department of State. Brackets are in the 
original. A list of the attendees, which includes their positions in the business commu- 
nity, is attached but not printed. 

? Not further identified. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 113 


for Israel mean no fuel for Americans?” The answer is supposed to be 
yes. 

This is the situation we are trying to gain control of. Therefore, I 
am delighted to have the opportunity to speak with you. 

Secretary Kissinger: I appreciate it. That effort is in no way incon- 
sistent with our policy. On the contrary. Apart from the merits of the 
dispute, American policy cannot be affected by the withholding of raw 
materials by raw material countries. For example, on Israeli-Syrian 
disengagement, we favor it, but it is my intention to halt all our efforts 
if they don’t lift the embargo. Because we can’t be in the position where 
they say they forced us to do it—even if we would have done it other- 
wise. We cannot be forced to curry the favor of the raw material coun- 
tries, because once we start it, it is an endless process. 

In 1955 I believed that the first country to take Soviet arms should 
be made to pay for it. Because otherwise it would start a trend. 

Rifkind: It was true. 

Secretary Kissinger: It turned out to be true. If we do it now, it is 
the same with the Energy Conference.’ But given the cravenness, cow- 
ardice and cupidity of the Europeans, we won't do what we should. We 
can use it as a pretext for disassociation. 

I am assuming this is entirely off the record. 

Rifkind: Of course. 

Ziffren: If the question comes up, we will say that any comment 
should come from you. 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t object to your acknowledging you met 
with me. And you can tell the Israeli Embassy of anything we discuss. 

It is good that this is happening when there is no real issue. There 
is nothing I want, except on MEN, which I mentioned. 

I want to give you my analysis of the situation. 

The problem you are addressing in your committee hasn’t been 
acute, partly because the Arabs are not too skillful and partly because 
we are somewhat skillful here. But the problem could become serious. I 
must say that the Israelis themselves were in no position to help them- 
selves without our active intervention. 

The situation is this. At the end of October, Israel was in a des- 
perate situation. Technically she won some victories but lost the war 
strategically. Prior to October 6, Israel’s security was assured by the 
conviction of everyone that Israel could win any war and would win 


3 The Washington Energy Conference was scheduled to convene on February 11. 
See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974, Document 
318. 


114 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


quickly, overwhelmingly, without the problem of resupply except after 
the war. Therefore she didn’t have to negotiate. I met with Eban on Oc- 
tober 4 at the UN.‘ I said: “Is there anything to discuss?” He said: “We 
never had it so good. The best thing you can do for us is to leave us 
alone.” 


That was the valid Israeli assessment. It was completely shattered 
by the war. By the end of the week Israel was in desperate straits be- 
cause of the exhaustion of supplies. Without the airlift, they would 
have lost. Starting the airlift was an unusual decision, and absolutely 
cannot be counted on as normal procedure of American policy—and so 
quickly. And it depended on the accident that we could blackmail the 
Portuguese into letting us use their islands. Third, we had a leader in 
Egypt whom we could keep quiet while we did it, and fourth, the oil 
situation was not yet perceived here. 

It needs an extremely well-disposed Secretary of State and a Presi- 
dent willing to do it. This is a fact that has to be faced—we simply 
cannot expect an airlift during combat, and this is a new fact. 

The Arabs don’t have to win; they only have to survive as a 
fighting force and they can impose a dangerous attrition on Israel. Such 
a level of casualties as they took in October cannot be sustained at that 
level at regular intervals. 

Moreover, the political situation has changed because of the oil sit- 
uation. Israel faces the United Arabs, the Europeans, Japan, and the So- 
viet Union in total opposition to them, and only the U.S. with them, ina 
UN forum with only two votes for them. They would face an unending 
series of resolutions which Israel wouldn’t carry out, and then there 
would be sanctions. It is an irony that Israel, conceived as an escape 
from the ghetto, would become a ghetto itself. This is the situation as it 
is. 

And the peculiar qualities that made Israel what it is would have 
hastened Israel’s doom. To go to Israel 50 years ago, when it was only a 
dream—this is something achieved by extraordinary endurance, not by 
flexibility. It required an almost peasant-like doggedness and an almost 
provincialism that is not usually associated with the Jewish people. 
These qualities served them well until they are now faced with this in- 
ternational situation where they need flexibility and maneuver—in- 
deed, the qualities of the ghetto. But their instinct was to dig in. If it led 
to a new crisis, the whole world would turn on them. The reason they 
needed disengagement was to create belts so that any attack couldn’t 
take place without attacking the UN. Of course they can’t trust them. It 


* According to Kissinger’s memoirs, Kissinger spoke with Eban in New York on Oc- 
tober 4, 1973, and received assurances that Egyptian and Syrian military movements 
were routine. (Years of Upheaval, p. 464) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 115 


is not based on trust. But there is no way they can do it without break- 
ing solemn international agreements. That the American people under- 
stand, and it even gives some standing in the international community. 

And we sought to break the coalition of the Europeans and the 
Arabs. Why did we attack the Europeans at the end of October?? First, 
to show the Arabs they couldn’t bring pressure on us by putting pres- 
sure on the Europeans, and second, to show the Europeans we didn’t 
want their free advice. Otherwise we would have been pressed to heed 
them in the name of Atlantic unity. It was essential for what came later. 
This is why we were so brutal to the Europeans—not that they didn’t 
deserve it on other grounds! 

The other reason is that Sadat is by far the most moderate Arab 
leader. He is an Egyptian nationalist rather than a pan-Arabist, and he 
probably wants to make peace with the Israelis. Whether he can do it on 
terms the Israelis can accept, I don’t know. 

With the Syrians, it is much harder. Then there is the problem of 
the Palestinians and then Jerusalem. 

So each success only gets you to a harder problem. 

The strategy is to keep the Arabs in some disunity and to keep the 
issue out of international forums. This is why we need some Soviet co- 
operation, and why we set up the Geneva Conference. The Soviets 
could have wrecked it by providing the propagandistic forum and mili- 
tary muscle for a radical policy. 

First, it is essential to get some progress on the Syrian-Israeli front, 
primarily because if the most radical Arab state bordering Israel has 
made an agreement, whatever it is, it will change the moral pattern, 
separate Syria from Iraq, and make it easier for Sadat to take the next 
step. An Egyptian territorial settlement will take them out of the war. 


This is why a Syrian settlement is essential, and some Soviet coop- 
eration is needed. 

The American Jewish Community is now quiescent, but in my ex- 
perience it is volatile. The problem is that they seek to prove their man- 
hood by total acquiescence in whatever Jerusalem wants. The second 
problem is in Jerusalem. They couldn’t in a million years have led the 
way to the settlement which brought them temporary salvation—given 
their Parliamentary situation, their Cabinet distrust, etc. At the end, 
they were grateful. Yet time and again they ran incredible risks, making 
proposals that were outrageous. 


5 A reference to forceful statements made by the Nixon administration against 
NATO allies after tensions arose between them over U.S. support for Israel during the 
October war. See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974, 
Document 236, footnote 3. 


116 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


They can’t risk a negotiation like this on the issue of 30 versus 50 
tanks, at a time when they had 1,000, and it made no difference because 
even 100 couldn’t give the Egyptians the capacity to launch an attack. 

Sadat, for his reasons, didn’t rise to the bait. He asked me “Could I 
do better?” I said “Yes, if you want three weeks of haggling and the risk 
of a blow-up.” It worked with Sadat—but it won’t with Syria because 
Asad is a madman. It would be suicide. Basically, the Syrian assess- 
ment of Israel’s position is better than Sadat’s. He first said: “Don’t talk 
to me about disengagement. Sooner or later you'll get tired of them. 
Then we will kill Israel.” Asad wants to kill Israel. Faisal wouldn’t ob- 
ject to the destruction of Israel. So Sadat and Hussein are only two 
forces on which you can build a settlement. 

The tactics with Syria should be entirely different than with Egypt. 
The fact of Syria’s signature on a piece of paper makes it possible to get 
a settlement with Egypt. That is all they should want from Syria. 

At the moment, it is hung up on prisoner lists, and we won’t do 
any more if they don’t lift the embargo. So I don’t need anything from 
you now, but I may later. It is essential we keep close ties to Egypt be- 
cause they legitimize the whole thing. I want you to understand. 

The second problem is: I predict that if the Israelis don’t make 
some sort of arrangement with Hussein on the West Bank in six 
months, Arafat will become internationally recognized and the world 
will be in a chaos. But at the moment in Israel the balance of power is 
held by the religious party. Hussein wants only a foothold on the West 
Bank so he can claim he speaks for somebody. But no one has an in- 
terest in pushing it, and this will enable Israel to ignore it for six 
months, maybe a year—at the price that at the end of the year, the ter- 
rorists will dominate. If I were an advisor to the Israeli Government, I 
would tell the Prime Minister: “For God’s sake do something with Hus- 
sein while he is still one of the players.” But it is not an American in- 
terest, because we don’t care if Israel keeps the West Bank if it can get 
away with it. So we won’t push it. 

The third issue is the Soviet Union. What I have done is a tightrope 
act to break up the coalition of Europeans and Japanese, to keep it out 
of international forums, and for this we need the cooperation of the So- 
viet Union. If you look at the record, it is a myth that we sold anything 
for détente. The wheat deal was the product of election-year politics 
and bureaucratic bungling.® What we do from the White House—like 
credits—we dole out in driblets. The wheat deal is not the result of 


6 A reference to the 1972 U.S.-Soviet grain deal in which the Soviet Union used 
credits provided by the U.S. Government to purchase nearly a billion dollars worth of 
grain. With the Soviets buying so much U.S. grain, the price of grain inflated in the 
United States, leading to criticism concerning the lack of government oversight. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 117 


détente. Aside from this, Brezhnev’s colleagues can say he was taken to 
the cleaners. We settled the Vietnam war on substantially our terms— 
we kept the government there in power and got out with our prisoners 
and beat on a Soviet ally. And we got a Berlin settlement,” and pushed 
their naval base out of Cuba, and pushed them out of the Middle East. 

Winter: Could we have gotten more for the wheat? Not in dollars. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. We could have gotten more in political 
benefits. It was bureaucratic bungling. But now we have, for prestige 
reasons, to get MEN. I was present at [during] Politburo meetings 
where it was clear that MFN was in return for Vietnam. That was the 
debate. Now at the end of three years of détente they’ve got nothing. If 
they lose credits too, they will take a more intransigent course. 

We are more than willing to work it out so Jackson can take the 
lead in reformulating it. I have a good personal relationship with him, 
too. 

This is one area where a group like this could help us. 

Tisch: When did you last speak to Jackson? 

Secretary Kissinger: I deliberately speak with him when the envi- 
ronment is right. I have waited until, say, some group comes to us. I 
know we can settle it amicably and in a way that he gets credit. If he is 
interested. 


Rifkind: Would it be helpful that he be made aware that if he 
settles it in a compromise, he won’t get flak? 

Secretary Kissinger: Even more, that his standing in the Jewish 
Community would be enhanced. I am afraid that if I approach him pre- 
maturely, it will be an issue between him and me. Sol, you are more of 
an expert on Washington. 

Linowitz: Jackson sincerely thinks he has succeeded with his 
amendment and his policy, and he is right. 

Secretary Kissinger: The fact that these guys are brutal bastards is 
irrelevant. 

Linowitz: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: The fact is that these brutal bastards have 
thousands of megatons and we have to reduce the danger of nuclear 
war and they have the power to prevent a Middle East settlement. And 
they have let out 35,000 Soviets Jews last year—even during the war— 
and we have it in writing that it will continue at this rate. Our policy 
signifies no moral approbation whatever. Twenty years ago Solzhen- 


’ The Berlin settlement was an agreement, signed in September 1971, among 
France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States to normalize trade 
and travel between West Germany and West Berlin. It also aimed to improve communi- 
cation between East and West Berlin. 


118 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


itsyn and Sakharov would have been killed.* So in their peculiar way it 
is an amelioration. 

Abram: Right. 

Secretary Kissinger: Given the nuclear danger, it is essential. Given 
the vulnerability of Israel, we must keep the Soviets from mobilizing 
anti-Israel pressures. For this we need MEN. 

Up to now I have been able, at great cost in emotional wear and 
tear, to get the Israelis to go along with saving themselves. When the 
disengagement with Egypt was done, they agreed it was good for Is- 
rael. I don’t exclude that when we get to the much more emotionally 
difficult issue of Syria, it will be more difficult. 

As long as I am here, we will not knowingly do anything that in- 
jures the possibility of the survival of Israel. We can make an error of 
judgment. If so, this office is open to those with whom I have always 
been willing to speak. 

It is important, if it happens, that the Israelis don’t think they can 
automatically count on mobilizing support here. 

It hasn’t happened yet. I thought it would happen over Egyptian 
disengagement. They, because of domestic reasons, lived dangerously 
in the negotiations. 

Tisch: What is the timing on the oil embargo? 

Secretary Kissinger: My position on the oil embargo—which I may 
not be able to hold—is that if no lifting takes place, we will stop. The 
Syrians can’t do it [go to war] without Egypt, and I don’t think Egypt 
will go to war. They will see if they can get anything. But it will be a 
rough period. 

Tisch: You are on the right course. 

Secretary Kissinger: We are not doing it for Israel but for the 
United States. We will pursue Syrian disengagement regardless. If we 
can get an Egyptian territorial settlement, then we are out of the Middle 
East problem. 

Ziffren: Then Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Syria. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, but who will be the spokesman? If the Is- 
raelis can get a settlement with Jordan—which will only take giving 
him Jericho, which is three kilometers from the line—if we get a settle- 
ment in Jordan, we won't hear about Jerusalem for three years. 

Ziffren: What about Faisal? 

Secretary Kissinger: But what can he do? 


8 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist and historian, was deported from the 
Soviet Union on February 13. Andrei Dimitrievich Sakharov was a Russian nuclear phys- 
icist and dissident. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 119 


Ziffren: You are right. 

Secretary Kissinger: The problem is the religious party. 

Tisch: Golda is negotiating with the Likud. 

Secretary Kissinger: Really? That is a problem. If we hadn’t had 
disengagement, the issue would have gone to the UN ... 

Tisch: The problem is personal animosity between Golda, Begin, 
Tamir.’ 

Secretary Kissinger: Begin is intelligent. I have never dealt with a 
government in which any change in negotiations has to be a Cabinet 
decision. 

Tisch: Government by committee. 

Rifkind: It is a coalition situation. 

Secretary Kissinger: But the British, who have a Cabinet system, 
start with a position and go back to the Cabinet later, just before con- 
cluding it. 

Abram: What signals do you get from the Israeli Government on 
MFN? 

Tisch: None. I had a discussion with General Yariv. He is happy 
with disengagement. 

Secretary Kissinger: That they like. 

Linowitz: They don’t think it [MFN] is their issue. But they are 
somewhat concerned that we are using up credits that might affect 
their situation. 

Secretary Kissinger: With MFN we can moderate Soviet behavior 
while MEN is being considered. 

Tisch: Do you see a possible détente between Israel and the Soviet 
Union? 

Secretary Kissinger: If there is a Syrian disengagement, the Soviets 
will be driven to that. 

List: If you back out of the Syrian negotiations over the embargo, 
that leaves Israel in a difficult position. 

Secretary Kissinger: I haven’t stopped yet. But I will. Golda will be 
glad if they don’t have to decide. 

Tisch: They are nowhere near forming a government. 

Secretary Kissinger: That shows they have no sense of the tragic. 
As soon as there is a deadlock, the Europeans will pour in there and 
show that they are better friends of the Arabs. They [the Israelis] don’t 
have all that time. We have kept up the illusion by our momentum. 


° Shmuel Tamir was a founding member of the Free Centre Party, which joined the 
alliance of right-wing parties that formed Likud prior to the 1973 Israeli elections. 


120 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


It is impossible for the Europeans to pay for the oil they need by 
trade, at the current prices. They would have to sell 200,000 Mirages to 
pay for one year’s oil bill—if a Mirage costs three-and-a-half million 
dollars. 

The shortsightedness of the Europeans now is pathological. 

We called a conference for next week which is almost unilaterally 
in Europe’s interest and with nothing in it for us except a cooperative 
international system—and the Europeans are determined to commit 
suicide. We have so much more to offer them [the Arabs]—not only re- 
sources but assistance against Arab radicals. Saudi Arabia and Iran 
couldn’t survive without American good will. And third, only we can 
get progress in the Arab-Israeli area. 

List: When Paul and I met with you, we brought up the idea of 
counter-measures, what effective means there are throughout the 
world. Can we move in that direction, through legislative or other 
means? In view of your view on blackmail, what does this mean? 

Secretary Kissinger: We will get it lifted, though it will be a few 
rough weeks. If the newspapers keep screaming it was deception by the 
President, the Arabs will get tough. But they don’t have the nerve for a 
prolonged confrontation. If we have a moderate amount of public 
support... 

Rifkind: I think we know where we can be helpful. 

Secretary Kissinger: Can you let me know if you do something on 
MFN? 

Ziffren: Can we talk about that for a minute? 

Secretary Kissinger: I have refrained from doing anything because 
I don’t want to force a confrontation. 

Linowitz: Next step should be discussed without the Secretary. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. I talked with a group headed by Klutz- 
nick,'° who shared the sense of this group. 

Linowitz: We should coordinate [with him]. 

Rifkind: Our job is to make Jackson feel he won’t be left out in the 
cold if he makes an accommodation, or that it will be to his credit. 

Secretary Kissinger: And I will do it in a way that it doesn’t look 
like he retreated. 

Everything I have said to you I have said to Dinitz. This is not to 
maneuver around Israel. 


10 Philip Klutznik was Chairman of the Governing Council of the World Jewish 
Congress. The “Klutznik Group” was comprised of a number of prominent American 
Jewish academics, businessmen, and community leaders. For a list of these men, see 
“Conversation with Kissinger,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Spring, 1981), 
pp. 194-195. See also Document 189. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 121 


Tisch: It is to help Israel. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is the intention. 

Ziffren: Does Dinitz agree with this? 

Secretary Kissinger: He and key members of the Cabinet share this 
analysis. But even so, they can’t generate the moves. It is ironic for 
Jewish leaders not to know how to maneuver. 

So there is no disagreement now. Maybe down the road there will 
be, when we get to an Egyptian territorial settlement. It will be hard. 


Ziffren: What about the Syrian POWs? 

Secretary Kissinger: The Syrians made a move which I can’t tell 
you, because only the Prime Minister knows. It puts a floor under Is- 
rael’s list." I think I can get the lists. The problem now is that the Israeli 
Cabinet now decided it needs Red Cross visits too. You know, you are 
dealing with a bunch of maniacs in Syria, who worry about their own 
position. 

I have put a very complicated proposition to Golda, which she 
says her Cabinet will approve if she can tell them Syria has accepted it. 
Ziffren: [Laughs] It sounds like a typical Kissinger proposal. 

Secretary Kissinger: It is very complicated. 

My prediction is: the way to sell any scheme to the Syrians is to tell 
them they are getting exactly what the Egyptians got; i.e. something 
more than the October 6 line. Even if it is three kilometers. Even if they 
put the UN there. So I could easily dream up a proposal. But in the 
present composition of the Israeli Cabinet, they won’t agree to 100 
yards beyond the October 6 line. Even though it makes no conceivable 
difference. 

But it hasn’t happened yet because there are no negotiations going 
on. 

The mere fact of the Syrians negotiating with Israel is a change in 
the Middle East situation. 

AllTam asking is that the Israelis don’t think they can count on au- 
tomatic support from you everytime some junior Cabinet member 
there cries we are anti-Semitic. 

I think the Israeli Government exaggerates the support they have 
in this country. It is one thing to vote $2.2 billion; it is another for a 
Congressman to vote for another war, after Vietnam, and have the en- 
ergy crisis pinned on Israel. 


1 According to Kissinger’s memoirs, Kissinger received word on February 7 that 
the Syrians held 65 Israeli prisoners. (Years of Upheaval, p. 940) 


2. In December 1973, Congress approved $2.2 billion in emergency aid for Israel. 


122 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


[The meeting broke up at 5:40 p.m. with effusive expressions of ap- 
preciation for the Secretary.] 


24. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in 
Lebanon’ 


Washington, February 11, 1974, 0105Z. 


27121. Subj: Response to Message From President Assad to the Sec- 
retary. Ref: Damascus 97.” Beirut pass Damascus. 


1. Scotes should convey the following oral message from the Secre- 
tary to President Assad in most expeditious manner. 


2. Begin message: 


The Secretary wants to thank President Assad for the message con- 
veyed to him through Mr. Scotes the evening of February 9. The Secre- 
tary is confident that on the basis of President Assad’s acceptance of the 
procedural proposal set forth in his letter of February 5,’ it will be pos- 
sible to initiate negotiations looking toward a Syrian-Israeli disengage- 
ment agreement. Specifically, he is confident he can elicit a concrete 
proposal from the Israelis and, as soon as Red Cross visits begin, get 
them to send a senior official to Washington for intensive discussions 
with the Secretary. As the Secretary indicated in his February 5 letter to 
President Assad, as soon as the oil embargo question has been resolved 
he will initiate with the Israelis the steps outlined in our procedural 
proposal. 

The Secretary understands that discussions are now under way 
among the Arab leaders concerned on the question of lifting the em- 
bargo.* He welcomes this development and looks forward to hearing 
the results in the very near future so that he can get things moving with 
regard to disengagement on the Syrian front. In this connection, the 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1181, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, February 9-15, 1974. Secret; 
Cherokee; Nodis; Immediate. Repeated Immediate to Cairo and Jidda. Drafted by Ather- 
ton; cleared in S/S; and approved by Kissinger. 

? This reference is incorrect. It should be telegram 57 from Damascus, which trans- 
mitted Asad’s agreement to Kissinger’s procedural formula. See footnote 3, Document 
22. 

3 See Document 21. 


“A reference to a meeting of Arab leaders in Algiers taking place that week to 
discuss the oil embargo. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 123 


Secretary reiterates what he has said before—further steps on our part 
must await a solution of the embargo question. 


The Secretary wants President Assad to know that he is communi- 
cating also with President Sadat, King Faisal, and President Boume- 
diene in the above sense.> Meanwhile, he wants again, on behalf of 
President Nixon and on his own behalf, to assure President Assad of 
our determination and commitment to make a major effort to achieve 
Syrian-Israeli disengagement as rapidly as possible as a further initial 
step toward a just and durable peace settlement in the Middle East. End 
message. 


Kissinger 


5 Documentation on the linkage between lifting the oil embargo and achieving 
a Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement is in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume 
XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974. 


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


Washington, February 27, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass the following report to you: 


“T met with President Assad for four hours last night; it was a 
long, complicated but basically friendly discussion which I think is 
moving us toward the successful initiation of Israeli-Syrian talks. At the 
conclusion of the discussion President Assad and I agreed on the 
following: 


“1) The Syrians have authorized me to transmit a list of the total 
number of Israeli Prisoners of War now held by the Syrians to the Is- 
raelis. The list contains 65 names. 


“2) Assad has also agreed that Red Cross visits to the Israeli POW’s 
held by Syria can begin on March 1. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 129, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East, Folder 1. Secret; Sensitive; Ex- 
clusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. Nixon wrote “good!” at the end of the 
memorandum. 

? The conversation between Asad and Kissinger took place on February 26 from 
12:10 to 3:25 a.m. at the Presidency in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 
Box 1028, Presidential/HAK Memcons, January 1-February 28, 1974, Folder 1) 


124 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“3) The Israelis are expected to give me ideas on March 1 on Syrian 
disengagement for transmission to Syria. I will personally deliver those 
ideas to the Syrians in Damascus. 

“T will be sending Brent Scowcroft a draft press release covering 
the three points above which I hope to be able to sell to the Israelis 
when I arrive in Jerusalem this afternoon. If Iam successful with the Is- 
raelis, the press release can be issued by Ziegler at 2:30 p.m. today (Feb- 
ruary 27) Washington time. I will be in direct touch with Brent on this 
as soon as I have further word from the Israelis.” 


26. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, February 27, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass the following report to you: 


“I have completed a second meeting with Asad.’ As I indicated to 
you in my previous report, Asad has agreed to let me hand over the 
POW list, and to authorize Red Cross visits. But he is taking a very 
tough position on the overall issue of disengagement. He has told me 
that if the Israelis come forward with a disengagement scheme that 
does no more than return the sides to the 1967 lines he will break off the 
talks. On the basis of past performance I am forced to believe that he 
means it and will do precisely that. Also on the basis of past per- 
formance, I expect it will be extremely difficult to obtain an opening 
position from the Israelis that will not run afoul of Asad’s prescrip- 
tion. Thus, I plan to work for the development and presentation to the 
Syrians of a proposal that is vague enough in its details to avoid the pit- 
falls possible on both sides while serving to get negotiations started. 
I will know more on this after I finish my meetings with the Israelis 
tonight. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 129, Country Files, Middle East, Folder 1. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively 
Eyes Only. Sent for information. A notation at the top of the page reads, “The President 
has seen.” 

? The conversation between Asad and Kissinger took place on February 27 from 
9:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Presidency in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; 
ibid., Box 1028, Presidential/ HAK Memcons, January 1-February 28, 1974, Folder 1) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 125 


“In my first meeting with PM Meir this afternoon? I turned over 
the POW list. She was grateful, and asked that she be given time to no- 
tify the families before we made any public announcement, thus the 
slight delay in the release time in Washington.* 


“T will finish my first round of talks with the Israelis this evening 
and go on to Cairo tomorrow. I will report to you from there.” 


5 The conversation between Meir and Kissinger took place on February 27 from 4:20 
to 5:45 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; 
ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 4, Nodis Memcons, January 1974, 
Folder 4) That conversation was immediately followed by a meeting between Kissinger’s 
negotiating team and the Israeli negotiating team, which lasted from 6 to 7:50 p.m. at 
the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. Kissinger and the Israelis focused on various ex- 
pectations for the upcoming negotiations with Syria. (Memorandum of conversation; 
ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1028, Presidential/ HAK Memcons, 
January 1-February 28, 1974, Folder 1) 


4 The White House released a statement on February 27, before Meir announced to 
the Israeli public that she had received the POW list. On March 1, Red Cross inspectors 
visited the Israeli prisoners of war held by Syria. 


27. _ Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon’ 


Washington, February 28, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass the following report to you: 


“I met with President Sadat for some four hours today; it was an 
extremely fruitful session. 


“T went over with Sadat the results of my earlier meeting with 
Assad, and told him I foresaw real problems in getting the Syrians and 
Israelis to the negotiating table. After hearing me out, Sadat offered to 
send his Chief-of-Staff, and a senior political advisor to Syria to urge a 
reasonable posture on Assad. Gamassy has already left, and should 
have completed his talks with Assad before I get to Damascus to- 
morrow evening. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 133, Country Files, Middle East, Egypt, Vol. X, February 1974. Top Secret; 
Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 

? The conversation between Sadat and Kissinger took place on February 28 in Presi- 
dent Sadat’s rest house near the pyramids of Giza. No time is indicated on the memo- 
randum of conversation. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid.) 


126 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“Sadat said he would urge the October 6 line on Assad as a reason- 
able disengagement line, but doubted that the Syrians would accept it. 
He promised, however, that if we can get the Israelis to offer a few kilo- 
meters beyond the October 6 line, plus the town of Kinetra, he will be 
prepared to back the U.S. publicly should Syria refuse to accept the 
offer. 


“We talked about your trip here; Sadat says you will receive a tu- 
multuous reception. We also had a lengthy talk on a whole range of 
fundamental Middle East issues. I will need to talk to you personally on 
what we went over. 


“The announcement of a resumption of diplomatic relations*® has 
played well here, and was met with enthusiasm. I plan to attend, ac- 
companied by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, a flag raising ceremony 
at our Embassy here tomorrow morning. I will leave immediately 
thereafter for a day of talks with Mrs. Meir in Tel Aviv, and an over- 
night in Damascus. I shall report to you from there.” 


3 Egypt and the United States restored full diplomatic relations on February 28, 
1974. 


28. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Herzliyya, March 1, 1974, 1:15-2 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mrs. Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 

Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister 

Abba Eban, Minister for Foreign Affairs 

Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the United States 

Lt. Gen. David Elazar, Chief of Staff 

Mordechai Gazit, Prime Minister’s Office 

Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, MFA 

Brig. Gen. David Leor, Military Assistant to the Prime Minister 
Eytan Ben-Zur, Private Secretary to Eban 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, 
Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 7. Top Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. The meeting was 
held at the Guest House in Herzliyya near Tel Aviv. Brackets are in the original. Kissinger 
met with Meir prior to this meeting from noon to 1 p.m. and also after this meeting from 2 
to 3:15 p.m. The memoranda of conversation are ibid. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 127 


Mr. Mizrachi, Aide to Eban 
Colonel Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State 

Joseph Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 
Kenneth Keating, Ambassador to Israel 

Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador-at-Large 

Robert McCloskey, Ambassador-at-Large 

Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning 

Alfred L. Atherton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, NEA 
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Senior Staff 

George Vest, Special Assistant to the Secretary for Press Relations 
Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Mrs. Meir: Dr. Kissinger. 

Dr. Kissinger: Madame Prime Minister. I spent the afternoon with 
Sadat yesterday” and we reviewed the negotiations with the Syrians. 

Incidentally, would it be possible to get an English translation of 
that newspaper account you read to me? 

Mrs. Meir: Yes, surely. [Mr. Gazit goes out to get it. See Tab A.]° 

Dr. Kissinger: I will find it very helpful for my meeting this eve- 
ning. [To Sisco] Apparently Sadat called in the Egyptian press after we 
met in which he advocated a four-stage process of negotiations, in- 
cluding the 6-point agreement, initial contacts at Kilometer 101, Geneva 
Conference and Aswan, and that Syria, too, must be prepared to go 
through them. 

So I reviewed the situation with him. I misrepresented your posi- 
tions somewhat, by saying that the plan you suggested to me included 
only about half of the new territories, but I said maybe with great effort 
we could talk about the October 6 line, but I was not authorized to men- 
tion that yet. And then I told him I was not at all clear whether the 
Syrians are playing for a settlement or for a reason to break matters up. 
Also I told him that what the Syrians wanted from me was something 
he had never asked for, namely that the Syrian proposal has never 
changed from my first visit there, which is that I should give them a 
final line which they would negotiate with me, and only after it was 
agreed on would they be prepared to discuss any of the other things. 
Since I was in no position to discuss a final line without a negotiating 
process that previously had taken place between the Israelis and the 
Syrians, we were already ina procedural stalemate. To hold me respon- 
sible for whatever the initial Israeli position was was nonsense, and I 
said that if he had the willingness and courage to go into negotiations 
with you without a prior assurance from me, therefore it wasn’t pos- 


2 See Document 27. 
3 Tab A has not been found. 


128 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


sible to do more for the Syrians. And therefore it was a procedural 
question, not just a substantive problem. They had a right to ask for my 
assistance, participation, mediation, whatever you want to call it, once 
some process was going on, but to demand from me to draw a line 
which they did as a condition for Geneva, which they did again 
Wednesday morning’ as a condition for disengagement talks, that was 
an impossibility. 

Sadat took a very positive position. He said he wanted Syrian dis- 
engagement primarily because it would prevent, for many of the 
reasons which independent of him I had given to you Wednesday 
night: He wanted a Syrian disengagement because it prevented once 
and for all the Syrian capacity to make mischief in the Arab world; be- 
cause it would then be possible to pursue constructive policies without 
the interferences; because it would eliminate a risk of war started by the 
Syrians into which he would be organically triggered. And he said he 
would do his best. 

Isaid to him also that it was premature for me to present a concrete 
Israeli plan in these circumstances in Damascus and maximize the risk 
of an immediate confrontation. I told him roughly what I had thought 
of suggesting to you, that I would present concepts in Damascus not 
tied to any particular line, and say that because of the formation of the 
government and because of the difficulty of the subject, Israel would 
send a senior official to Washington within two weeks of forming the 
government to present a formal proposal, after which Syria would send 
someone, and then there would be some talks about it. 

He agreed with all of this. Then he described his own position as 
follows: He had no fixed views on where the line should be. He would 
do his best to present to the other Arab countries the October 6 line as a 
significant Syrian achievement—if I could get that from Israel. He per- 
sonally thought that Syria had to get some kilometers beyond the Oc- 
tober 6 line. If Israel made such a proposal, then he would be prepared 
to agree that he would not go to war if Syria rejected it and went to war. 
He could not make that commitment on the October 6 line. He didn’t 
pursue the subject, and I didn’t pursue the subject with him. 

He agreed we had to prevent a blowup. He agreed with me that 
the immediate problem was to keep this negotiating process going and 
not face an ultimate line. For this purpose, he sent Gamasy to Da- 
mascus today to explain. I told him it was my impression in any event, 
wherever the line was in the new territories, that you were prepared as 
part of that settlement to permit civilians to return to the territories. 
And he said he was sending Gamasy to stress some of their experiences 


4 February 27. See Document 26. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 129 


in the negotiations, first of all. And he is doing it in the capacity of Chief 
of Staff of the Joint Command—and you remember he stressed that 
when he was on television with me. Secondly, he would also send 
letters to Faisal, to Kuwait and other Arabs, all of whom received letters 
from Assad that I had brought nothing—saying that the process was 
well-launched and the Syrians would be unwise to break it up. And he 
has sent an emissary to these countries. He is sending a Foreign Office 
emissary to Assad this afternoon. He is prepared either for concurrent 
talks in Washington or also in the Egyptian military commission with 
Syrian officers in Geneva. He said he would offer it immediately to the 
Syrians so they would be in the wrong if they turn down either venue. 
And that is essentially the substance of my talk with him on the Syrian 
disengagement. 

I gained the impression that he is sincere about what he is saying. 
He certainly put himself, on TV when I was there, very much on record 
by saying—someone asked him: would you recommend patience to the 
Syrians? And he said: Yes, to be patient. They asked him: Is progress 
being made? And he said: Yes, as much progress as could be expected 
is being made. 

So if the Syrians blow it up tonight—which I don’t exclude—they 
will certainly do it in opposition to his public statement, and to the em- 
issaries he is sending around. 

Mr. Eban: How would they blow it up—by refusing to have a fur- 
ther procedural stage? 

Dr. Kissinger: Well, Assad has said to me—and that is basically a 
position he has never deviated from in any of my meetings—that if I 
bring a position that is confined to the new territories, he will not talk 
further. I won’t bring him such a position; I won’t bring him any posi- 
tion that is tied to any line, so he can’t blow it up on that ground. I will 
draw from the presentation that the Minister of Defense and the Chief 
of Staff made, concepts that can be applied in any place. 

Mr. Eban: And procedural proposals. 

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. But you see, your questions are more rational 
than the discussion is going to be. Since the only procedure he has ever 
been willing to discuss with me is a procedure that follows an agree- 
ment, not a procedure to get an agreement, since he believes that he is 
paying a heavy price to talk to Israel at all in any form. He feels that he 
must have an assurance of something worthwhile before he talks. This 
was essentially his position on the Geneva talks. And when all is said 
and done, when all the verbiage is stripped away from what he said to 
me on Wednesday, that is what he was saying to me on Wednesday. 

The reason he and I always talk for four hours is because we 
always talk past each other. I talk procedure and he is perfectly rational 
about the procedure, and I keep forgetting that he never budged from 


130 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


what he said three months ago. So if I don’t immediately ask him: now 
when does this procedure start?, we are in a never-never land in which 
we have a perfectly rational discussion about procedure but in his 
mind it starts afterward, after the agreement, and in our mind of course 
it is a way of getting an agreement. And basically we have never really 
broken the logjam. I thought on Tuesday night when I saw him for four 
hours® that we were operating from the premise that there would be a 
negotiation parallel to the Egyptian-Israeli style, and it wasn’t until 
Wednesday morning that I understood this wasn’t so. Therefore the 
public statement of Sadat yesterday really puts him squarely on your 
side, and ours, that the procedure had to precede the negotiations. 

Mts. Meir: [to Mr. Dayan] You see, in the four stages Sadat spoke 
of, there was the 6-point agreement, the Kilometer 101, Geneva, then it 
was Aswan. So he took us through the four stages. 

Dr. Kissinger: Now you see why we all treasure Joe Sisco so much. 
He just turned to me and said: You are going to have a tough time to- 
night! Now, I won’t go, you go. [laughter]. 

So Sadat is backing our procedure one hundred per cent. He is 
backing it moreover with Faisal, and wherever else he is sending his 
emissaries. And he is putting himself on record with the Syrians, and 
for that matter he is also putting himself on public record that what I 
have achieved this week is satisfactory. 

Secondly, he showed me a map that the Syrians have given him of 
their minimum line, which I will not share with you, for your emotional 
stability. You know it anyway. 

Mr. Dinitz: Is it the same map? 

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, the same map I brought [on January 20].° What 
is interesting to me is he doesn’t know it. And he asked his generals, 
and General Ismail, the War Minister, to come and show us what they 
knew, and they had the two Syrian lines, and he agreed that that was 
out of the question, that he would not support that. 


But, we have two problems now. The first is the procedure, the 
second is substantive. I frankly don’t want a substantive position right 
now. It is not to anybody’s advantage to have to take a substantive po- 
sition. I want to maintain a position that I don’t have a substantive posi- 
tion. I want to go to Damascus and discuss procedures, concepts, like 
thinning out, return of civilians, ... 


Mr. Dayan: And release of prisoners. 


5 Presumably the meeting in the early morning hours of February 27. See Document 
25. 

® The map has not been found. Presumably Asad gave it to Kissinger on January 20. 
See footnote 5, Document 19. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 131 


Dr. Kissinger: Yes, release of prisoners. 
[Mr. Allon arrives and joins the group]. 


I’ve never seen Yigal and the Defense Minister both wearing 
neckties. 


Mts. Meir: You see the American influence, as our opposition says. 


Dr. Kissinger: They say Israel is a satellite of the United States. 
[laughter] 


So tonight I will keep it confused on substance and precise on pro- 
cedure, with an Israeli commitment that a senior official will come to 
Washington in two weeks, and let’s play it from there. 


Mr. Dayan: From what you know—and perhaps Sadat said some- 
thing about Assad’s position in Damascus—is it something like Sadat 
in Egypt, that is to say, that he is the only one that can make decisions 
and concessions or changes in something, or perhaps he doesn’t hold 
the same position that Sadat enjoys in Egypt? 

Dr. Kissinger: Well, I have the impression ... How these two ever 
got together is now beyond my understanding, how these Arabs ever 
agreed on the same time, I mean. Forgetting now about Sadat and 
Assad—Fahmi and Saqqaf, the two who were in Washington. Never do 
I see Fahmi that he doesn’t warn me against Saqqaf. Sadat has said to 
me previously that he has two problems—actually, three slightly con- 
tradictory problems: In Damascus everyone is bought by someone in 
the Baath Central Committee: some belong to the Iraqis, some to the So- 
viets, some belong to local groups, but everyone is bought by someone, 
according to him. So it is a precarious situation. Secondly, especially 
today, he spoke extremely ill of Assad personally. He said, “You have 
to remember, these are traders, merchants.” He spoke much more ill of 
the Syrians than of Israel yesterday. And thirdly, he says that still 
Assad is the best one to deal with. He said that again yesterday. He is 
making an effort now to bring Assad to his knees, and that is why he 
wants to present the October 6 line as reasonable although not 
enough—I mean reasonable enough to get talks started but not 
sufficient. 

But I am not going to give them a line. So that is an assessment. 
That is why he is saying it. He of course would also like Assad to be 
split off from Boumedienne. But he feels that at this stage the Syrians 
are totally unreasonable. He spoke worse of the Syrians than of you. 

And I have said to him—-since I take the position that you haven’t 
agreed to the October 6 line—I of course had to take the position that no 
line beyond the October 6 line had ever entered our conversation, and 
that I was certain of one thing—that no Israeli settlement would ever be 
given up as part of the agreement. You know that puts an automatic 
limit. He said he agreed with that. 


132 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


This is the full extent of what I know of Sadat in terms of a final set- 
tlement with Israel. He never raised it at all. And I felt I’d better not 
have the record show that I was in the Middle East talking to him and— 
so after we had been on TV, where he had already said the time was not 
appropriate to discuss it, I took him aside and said, “I just want you to 
know, Mr. President, Iam prepared to discuss it, now or at some other 
time, and I don’t want you to think that I avoid the subject.” But the 
cars were already lined up, and he said: “I don’t want to talk about it 
now, this is not the right time to discuss it, it requires careful thought.” 
So we never discussed anything about the ultimate settlement at all. 

[General Elazar arrives] 

Mr. Eban: Have you changed your views about what the effect 
would be if we were not to get a settlement? 

Dr. Kissinger: I have the impression that he believes that if you get 
no settlement because of the refusal to give up any of the old territory 
that he would probably be forced into a war even if he thinks the 
Syrians are unreasonable. That is what I derived from it. My conclu- 
sions are essentially the ones of the other night: in fact they are rein- 
forced. I had no sense before yesterday of how much there was any 
limit beyond which he could fail to support Syria. At least we have 
some sense now of that. He has given me flat assurance that beyond a 
certain point he would not go to war if Syria went to war. 

That, for God’s sake, must remain absolutely confidential. 

Again, I committed nothing to anybody. And he agrees; moreover 
he said tactically it would be a mistake to offer them now any line, even 
if it were beyond the October 6 line, because they’d just pocket it and 
ask for more. So on the immediate procedure, he is in total agreement 
with us. In fact, in my presence he specifically instructed Gamasy not to 
raise any line in Damascus and not to discuss any line. Our Ambas- 
sador, who understands Arabic, said that while he was instructing Ga- 
masy he was giving a summary of what in fact I said here. 

Madame Prime Minister, I am in for one hell of an evening, be- 
cause the last thing he wants is to discuss the procedure. He thinks it is 
irrelevant. 

My basic objective has to be to get out of Damascus without this 
thing being blown up. His basic objective may be quite the opposite— 
to show that he did everything that his brothers asked and that he was 
deceived and got nothing for it. His basic analysis—which is correct— 
is that the basic fact of talking to Israel in any shape creates an illusion 
of some kind of compromise which is in itself a liability for him, and 
unless he knows what is the outcome he has paid too high a price just 
for the talks. 


My own judgment is that he would not accept a line even across 
the October 6 line which did not at least go half way or some distance 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 133 


towards what he calls his minimum line. I am just giving you my as- 
sessment. I have never heard him say anything that would indicate that 
he would be content with 3 to 5 kilometers. He certainly wouldn’t ac- 
cept if I offered it to him without any process. 

So that is not our issue today at all. Our issue today is whether I 
can give him enough substance drawn from what the Defense Minister 
said the other day, as amended by the Chief of Staff, in which I will be 
very flexible about deployment patterns as long as they are reciprocal. 

Mr. Eban: There was a statement from Damascus that you gave as- 
surances of the final line. 


Mrs. Meir: In the Cabinet someone asked me would I today ask 
you whether this statement that came out was made by you. I said I 
wouldn’t even ask it; it’s just inconceivable. But the statement that 
came out said that Dr. Kissinger promised Assad that he would get us 
off the Golan Heights. 

Dr. Kissinger: I think the answer you should give is the one I have 
always given, which is that in Egypt I told the Egyptians I would 
discuss nothing but disengagement, and since I have promised Syria to 
do exactly for them what I did for Egypt, I am discussing only disen- 
gagement and no final lines. As it turns out, I have never expressed any 
view about the final line. He has, of course, expressed vehement views 
on the final line; I didn’t. I am taking rigidly the line I took with the 
Egyptians, with whom I have never had a substantive talk of even the 
most superficial kind about a final solution. That didn’t even come up. 
He expressed himself vehemently. I didn’t even reply in a noncom- 
mittal way; I didn’t reply at all, but just treated it as a non-subject. 
Moreover, Sadat showed me the message Assad sent him, which was 
that Kissinger brought nothing. That would certainly not be nothing. 
So you can flatly deny and I will flatly deny; it is inconsistent with my 
whole concept of how these disengagement talks should be handled. 
But do it not on the ground of what the position on the ground is but 
that it is not part of the disengagement talks. 

Mts. Meir: I understand that concretely, if he agrees, it boils down 
to this: that in about two weeks after we have a government, we will 
send someone to Washington and discuss things with you. Subse- 
quently the Syrians will send someone to you. 

Dr. Kissinger: I can’t stop them from having someone there con- 
currently if they wish, so that within a day of hearing your idea I can 
give it to them. But ideally I'd like to stage it so that your representative 
comes and then I will summon the Syrian representative. Only if those 
two get within range of each other do we start the negotiations. 


134 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mr. Dinitz: How are we supposed to proceed now with the 
Mizrachi affair,’ through the committee in the area? 

Dr. Kissinger: Sadat gave orders in my presence to release 
Mizrachi immediately, so I did not ask for the time. But I have the im- 
pression that it would be today or at the latest tomorrow. And I told 
him you would release all of the 73 that you could still find except the 
Russian.® 

Mr. Allon: Was it difficult to persuade him to leave the Russian 
with us? 

Dr. Kissinger: [laughs] Since he created such happy auspices for 
Gromyko’s visit’? by staging a flag raising ceremony at the American 
Embassy this morning. 

Mr. Allon: Did you raise with him the possibility of keeping this 
joint tent or staff together even after the disengagement is 
implemented? 

Dr. Kissinger: I mentioned it but he laughed. He didn’t say yes or 
no. We didn’t discuss it. 

Mr. Dayan: About Syria, if the question of return of civilians comes 
up, there is a point about it: If this is done within the general agree- 
ment, then of course the area will be handed over to the UN. But if for 
some reason they say, “All right, let’s start with the return of the civil- 
ians,” so it is still under our positions there, which Iam almost sure the 
Syrians wouldn’t accept—he wouldn’t want their civilians to go and be 
under Israeli occupation. So, on the one hand at least I am for starting 
with something—of course with the idea that our prisoners of war will 
be handed back—but besides that, on the other hand, I would have 
liked to see some movement, let’s say the beginning of return of civil- 
ians, and anyway, why keep them in refugee camps? On the other 
hand, I realize that there is a problem because if we are there they won’t 
like it. And Iam sure we won't feel like withdrawing some of our posi- 
tions unless it will be reached within a general agreement. So that is an- 
other problem that I just wanted to mention. 

Dr. Kissinger: If we could ever get them into a negotiation on the 
return of the civilians separated from the final line, we’d already be in 
good shape. 

Mrs. Meir: When I read the statement by Sadat,'° I saw hope in it. 
Because he really went out of his way. 


7 See footnote 8, Document 4. 
8 The Russian POW is not further identified. 
° Gromyko visited Damascus and Cairo February 28—March 1. 


10 Apparent reference to a statement made by Sadat at the flag-raising ceremony in 
Cairo to mark the reopening of the U.S. Embassy. Sadat mentioned the four stages of the 
Israeli-Egyptian disengagement and said it should be a model for Syrian-Israeli disen- 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 135 


Dr. Kissinger: He is trying to keep the procedure going. 

Mts. Meir: He went out of his way to say: “Look, we didn’t get it in 
one step; we went through various steps before we reached this stage 
where we are.” And I thought maybe this would have some influence 
on Assad if he wants something. 


Dr. Kissinger: Madame Prime Minister, you are absolutely right. 
Sadat’s strategy is to isolate Assad. I mean after all, he could have made 
my position hellish by just saying, “This is between Syria and Israel and 
we wish you well, but we won’t get involved in the nuances of this.” It 
would have made it hell. Instead, his joint appearance with me—and 
what I didn’t know until I got here, his separate statement afterwards— 
is in effect putting the onus on the Syrians if it breaks up at this point. 
And he is also sending a message to Faisal, Kuwait and others. More- 
over, his demands, which may be politically unbearable here, are not 
wild, and he is willing to back them up with some very specific assur- 
ance, all of which I think will be a constructive attitude. But that is the 
last problem we have to face now, even though it is a problem. 

He, himself, says no discussion should go beyond the October 6 
line right now. And I wouldn’t even go that far. I think it would be a 
grave mistake for me to take the risk that Assad didn’t mean what he 
said the other day—since every time we found him to mean what he 
says. Therefore I can’t run the risk. It is definitely in his interest to blow 
this thing up while I am out here, if he is going to blow it up at all. For 
the very reason that I want it to blow up, if it does, at the subordinate 
level, he wants to blow it up on a high level. 

Mr. Eban: Is there any information on the prisoners we think are 
alive? 

Dr. Kissinger: No, he has no information. 

Mr. Eban: Do you have any impression of what the Soviets and 
Syrians might have talked about? 

Dr. Kissinger: We have no information whatsoever and the Egyp- 
tians have been given no information whatsoever, nor have the Egyp- 
tians asked Assad what the Soviets are saying to him. 

Incidentally, he says they replenished not one airplane of his since 
the war. 


Mrs. Meir: Really? 


Dr. Kissinger: Sadat says they have given some tanks but no air- 
planes. But you will know that better than I do. 


gagement. (Summarized in the memorandum of conversation between Meir and Kissin- 
ger, March 1, noon-1 p.m. National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 
1973-77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, folder 7) See also the New York Times, 
March 1, 1974, p. 1. 


136 = Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mrs. Meir: We will see what we have on that. 


Dr. Kissinger: He claims they have not replenished planes. He says 
they got tanks. 


Mrs. Meir: And missiles? 

Dr. Kissinger: I didn’t go into the details. He said they got about 
two-thirds of the tanks replaced, but with better tanks, so he is not com- 
plaining about the tanks. 

Mr. Allon: Did he mention the Scuds? 


Dr. Kissinger: No, not at this meeting. At a previous meeting he 
did, but he said he wants to assure me that every missile on Egyptian 
territory is operated by Egyptians. 

Mr. Eban: His air losses were less heavy than his tank losses 
though. 

Mr. Keating: But the Israeli papers said he has been supplied. 

Mr. Dayan: The Egyptians owe a lot of money to the Russians. Do 
they pester them to pay it back? And could it be due to their financial 
difficulties? 

Dr. Kissinger: When I was there, McNamara from the World Bank 
was also in Egypt. He gave me a breakdown of their financial situation, 
which you probably have too. He hasn’t mentioned that to me. But his 
behavior to the Soviets is provocative beyond a point that is conceiv- 
able according to that double-track theory we heard the other day. He 
is putting himself in a position where it will be very difficult for him to 
cross tracks simultaneously. Switching back to the Soviets would re- 
quire him to pay a very heavy price politically, and vice-versa. I think 
his behavior to the Soviets has been really gratuitous. They showed me 
the schedule they have for Gromyko. It was really very minimum, very 
little protocol. 

Mr. Sisco: I don’t see how he could go back to the Russian alterna- 
tive and stay top man in the country. You would really have to think in 
terms of an alternative for Sadat with that kind of reversal. 

Dr. Kissinger: He is imploring us to let him know what we are 
telling the Soviets so he doesn’t get embarrassed. It is either a game of 
unbelievable deviousness, which I don’t see the benefit in, or he must 
be paying the price. I don’t know what the Russians have done for him. 

Ihave no idea what I will face tonight in Damascus. I think there is 
a fifty-fifty chance that I will face there what I faced before. There is 
nothing you can do to change it, so I am not even asking. 

It could well be that the Syrian domestic situation is such that the 
only final line they can accept is the line they gave you, and in their 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 137 


mind it is already such a huge concession. In that case we will have this 
negotiation blow up no matter what line you will talk about. 


Mrs. Meir: Shall we go to lunch? 


29. Memorandum of Conversation! 
Damascus, March 1, 1974, 7:30-11:30 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Hafiz al-Asad, President of Syria 
Asad Elias, Press Secretary 


Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State 
Isa Sabbagh, Interpreter 
Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Department of State (NEA) 


Secretary Kissinger: (After introducing Mr. Atherton) Working for 
me requires a special kind of masochism. Anyone who stays with me 
for six months becomes devoted. 

President Asad: Why six months? 

Secretary Kissinger: It takes that long. He has to work 18 hours a 
day. They tell a story about me that when I was at the White House I 
had one of my staff prepare a draft which I sent back 12 times to be re- 
written. After the twelfth draft, I asked him if this was the best he could 
do. When he said yes, I said “then I will now read it.” 

President Asad: You say they tell this story. Is it not true? 

Secretary Kissinger: Almost. When I give a speech, it goes through 
12 or 14 drafts. 

President Asad: I find that natural. 

Secretary Kissinger: You are a great speaker Mr. President. 

President Asad: When I deliver a written speech, it also requires 
great effort and much paper is torn. 

Secretary Kissinger: I do the same. 

President Asad: Speaking extemporaneously is easier. 

Secretary Kissinger: It is too dangerous for me to give extempora- 
neous speeches. My press conferences are extemporaneous, however. 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 4, 
Nodis Memcons, January 1974, Folder 4. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. The meeting was held 
at the Presidency in Damascus. Brackets are in the original. 


138 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


President Asad: Ninety-five percent of my press conferences are 
extemporaneous. But extemporaneous speeches cause problems for 
persons in positions of responsibility. It is easy to make mistakes. 

Secretary Kissinger: Sometimes what one says in the context of a 
crowd sounds alright but is terrible when you read it afterwards. 

You know the President speaks English perfectly. He is taking ad- 
vantage of the interpreter to have time to think. 

President Asad: If my time permitted, I would like six months to 
study English. That would give me the same confidence as Secretary 
Kissinger has in his associates. 

Secretary Kissinger: In six months we won’t be talking any more of 
disengagement. We will be in the second phase. That is my certainty. 

Asad Elias: I recall a book by Harry Hopkins” about Franklin Roo- 
sevelt, who also required many drafts of his speeches. 

Secretary Kissinger: He was a great President, but I am not sure he 
understood foreign policy. 

President Asad: Policies change with circumstances. 

Secretary Kissinger: I agree. Great leaders in some circumstances 
are not great in others. Roosevelt was a great leader in wartime, but he 
did not understand how to build the world after the war. He did not 
understand that the location of military forces importantly determines 
the political outcome. (Asad laughs.) I do not think President Asad 
needs a lesson on this point. Roosevelt made a mistake in putting our 
military forces into Southern France instead of the Balkans. 

President Asad: Why was that? 

Secretary Kissinger: He saw this as purely a military problem. He 
was looking at how to beat Germany. But in the end the problem was 
not to beat Germany but to acquire strategic position. Don’t repeat this 
to Gromyko, but the problem was to achieve a position vis-a-vis the So- 
viet Union. For that purpose, an invasion of the Balkans would have 
done more good than putting forces into Southern France. 

President Asad: Do you mean to suggest that you are taking this 
aspect into consideration in the Middle East? 

Secretary Kissinger: No. In the Middle East we recognize that the 
Soviets have vital interests. We are not conducting an anti-Soviet 
policy. We are ready to cooperate for peace. We don’t want Middle 
Eastern states to be clients of the United States or the USSR. We want 
them to follow independent policies. I have formed the opinion of Pres- 
ident Asad that he is not good material for a client. 


? Harry Hopkins, a close adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt during his entire 
presidency. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 139 


President Asad: That is right. I will be frank; we want to be friendly 
with all others, and we want them to respect us. We base our policy on 
what is good for us. 


Secretary Kissinger: That is all we ask. The best nations to coop- 
erate with are those that have self-respect. 

President Asad: That is true. A leader who is not good for his own 
country is not good for any other. 

Secretary Kissinger: A leader who is the client of one country will 
be the client of others. 

President Asad: This is our firm policy. 

Secretary Kissinger: I must tell you the truth. Until I started 
dealing with Syria, I considered it a satellite of the Soviet Union. 

President Asad: Why? 

Secretary Kissinger: During the war, we went to the Soviets when 
we wanted something from the Arabs. Since Arab military equipment 
came from the Soviets, we thought you would do what the Soviets said. 
Now that I know President Asad, I think he is not easy for the Soviets to 
deal with. Iam convinced you go your own way. That is all we ask. 
Therefore, we have no difficulties in our bilateral relations. 

President Asad: I agree. 

Secretary Kissinger: You know we want to improve relations. We 
don’t want to add to Syria’s difficulties, but we are prepared to increase 
our representation in Damascus and to send more senior people. 


President Asad: We also desire to expedite the improvement in our 
relations. There are no bilateral difficulties. Your visits have helped. 
The first visit was a bit strange, the second less so, and the third time 
seems natural.’ Some people are talking to us about it. We talk right 
back to them. 

There are no problems between us except the occupation of our 
land. When people discuss U.S.-Syrian relations, they always come to 
this. Without American help, our land would not be occupied today. 
This is a fact. There are those who say things must move slowly, that 
things must first move in the United States. 

But these difficulties will gradually disappear. As a first step, send 
more senior people if you wish. 

Secretary Kissinger: With Egypt, at the start of disengagement 
talks, we sent an Ambassador even without formal relations. In 
other words, in November we raised our Interests Section to 
Ambassadorial-rank. 

President Asad: At the start you had an Interests Section? 


3 Asad previously met with Kissinger on December 15, 1973, and January 20, 1974. 


140 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: We had a junior officer there. 

President Asad: Here in Damascus you had no one. At the present 
stage, send a higher ranking person if you wish. We have sent a Min- 
ister to Washington. 

Secretary Kissinger: We have sent you a good man.* Unless we 
want to do so for symbolic reasons, there is no need to send a more se- 
nior person now. 

President Asad: I have no objections to the man you have here 
now. He is doing his work well. Rank is not always the most important 
thing. All I meant to say was that if you wished to send a man of higher 
rank, it is alright. Mr. Scotes has the added distinction of knowing 
Arabic. 

Secretary Kissinger: The choice is between doing something sym- 
bolic and just looking for the best person. 

President Asad: At this stage the proper person is the one who can 
work to improve relations. If you send a new man of higher rank who is 
less attentive to our relations, that would not be good. 

Secretary Kissinger: In the United States, Syria has the image of 
being an unfriendly country. It is a problem for us to take Syria’s side. 
At some point we need to do something which the American people 
will see as symbolically more friendly. We do not have to do it on this 
trip. We can do it on the next trip. 

President Asad: When the disengagement agreement is signed, we 
could raise the level of our representatives and relate it to the signing. 
Later we could do what you did in Egypt. 

We have good relations with President Boumediene. 

Secretary Kissinger: He is a great admirer of yours. 

President Asad: We have discussed the resumption of relations. 
He sent me word of his desire to do so. 

Secretary Kissinger: President Boumediene is a fine man. I write to 
him often. It is not that Algeria is so important to the United States but 
Boumediene is a great person. 

President Asad: He was looking forward to seeing you, but his trip 
to China interfered. 

Secretary Kissinger: I know China and admire Chou En-Lai very 
much. Don’t tell that to Gromyko when he comes back on the 5th. I 
don’t think he likes Chou. 


4 A reference to Thomas J. Scotes who served as the Principal Officer of the U.S. In- 
terests Section, which was established in the Italian Embassy on February 8, 1974. The 
Embassy in Damascus was re-established on June 16, and Scotes became the Chargé 
d’Affaires ad interim until the appointment of Ambassador Richard W. Murphy on Au- 
gust 9. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 141 


President Asad: If you gave Gromyko a choice of Chou En-Lai or 
Henry Kissinger, whom would he choose? 

Secretary Kissinger: He would choose me. But I have a great re- 
gard for Gromyko. 

President Asad: As you requested, I gave Gromyko your regards. 
You charged me with this trust and I carried it out. 

Secretary Kissinger: What did Gromyko have to say? 

President Asad: We reviewed the Middle East situation and how 
we see disengagement. We gave our views on what is happening. I told 
him exactly what we had agreed with respect to the POW list and Red 
Cross visits, that you were returning to Damascus and that we had 
agreed on nothing during your last visit. Gromyko asked how I viewed 
disengagement. I said I see it as a step toward full Israeli withdrawal 
and that this had been made clear to Secretary Kissinger from the start. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have always understood that disengagement 
is not the last step. It is not a peace settlement. 

President Asad: We also discussed bilateral matters, including eco- 
nomic matters. When Gromyko returns, he will discuss these matters 
with the Ministries. 

Secretary Kissinger: Gromyko is always well-prepared. 

President Asad: I saw him the day after he arrived, at 11:00 in the 
morning. He left this morning. 

Secretary Kissinger: With regard to a peace settlement, the United 
States is not competing with the Soviets. We are ready to cooperate. 
You are free to say to Gromyko that our only concern is how to bring 
this about most effectively. Syrian policy will not be affected by who 
makes peace but by what is in Syria’s interest. 

President Asad: That is true. We will do all possible for peace. 

Secretary Kissinger: If the President is willing, perhaps we can 
discuss disengagement. 

President Asad: I have received a message from Fahmy which 
gives me some idea. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have not seen it. 

President Asad: It came from President Sadat. You know about it. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have not seen the message. 

President Asad has good insights. He said to me before that we 
should give the Arabs U.S. arms to defeat U.S. arms in Israel since we 
can’t let U.S. arms be defeated by Soviet arms. I want the President to 
know that I do not forget his words. 

It is not impossible that our relations will change fundamentally, 
so this would no longer sound like such a revolutionary idea. There is 
no reason for the United States and Syria to be enemies. 


142 = Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


President Asad: Absolutely. 

Secretary Kissinger: You can count on this. Besides, you are such a 
tenacious negotiator that our nerves could not stand having you as an 
opponent all the time. 

President Asad: When will we reach the point where Zionism does 
not spoil our relationship? 

Secretary Kissinger: When there is peace. I do not want U.S. rela- 
tions disturbed for reasons that are not American reasons. 

President Asad: The Arabs only seek justice. I believe that is what 
all people seek. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is correct. But sometimes there are dif- 
ferent concepts of justice. 

President Asad: Perhaps—but justice is generally clear, especially 
when it touches on land and tangible things. I believe where large 
causes are involved, the path of justice is clear. In the Middle East, for 
example, does not he who seeks to recover usurped land have right on 
his side? I cannot imagine any objective person disagreeing or asking 
that we give up territory. 

Secretary Kissinger: I understand the Arab viewpoint. 

President Asad: It is not reasonable that this problem not be 
solved. If the problem of the Palestinian people is not solved, there will 
be no peace. Any Arab who says otherwise is doing us an injustice. It is 
not possible for any Arab leader to make peace without solving the Pal- 
estinian problem. Even if some leader would agree, he could not do so. 
If Sadat, Hussein and I agree to solve the Palestine problem without 
solving the problem of the Palestinians, we could not make it stick. 

Secretary Kissinger: The question is how to define a solution. 

President Asad: At the next stage you need better contacts with the 
Palestinians. 

Secretary Kissinger: You know we have had some contact with the 
Arafat group. As I said before, we will not play the game of dividing 
the Arabs. We let every Arab leader know what we do with other Arab 
leaders. We tell each one the same thing. 

President Asad: That is good. 

Secretary Kissinger: In the second phase we will increase our con- 
tacts with the Palestinians. Can you advise which Palestinians we 
should deal with? 

President Asad: At present, you have contacts with Fatah. That 
will not be adequate after awhile, though it is perhaps alright at this 
stage. 

Secretary Kissinger: In the next stage we will consult with you, but 
we must keep this confidential. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 143 


President Asad: Our relations with Fatah are quite strong. We es- 
tablished them before others did. 

Secretary Kissinger: Which group is trying to shoot down my 
airplane? 

President Asad: In Syria? 

Secretary Kissinger: In Beirut. I don’t want to deal with them. I 
don’t know who they are. 


President Asad: The Palestinian movement is based on Fatah and 
Saiga.° Saiga is also strong militarily. Perhaps others are more inter- 
ested in formulations. As concerns training, Saiga is the best. The rela- 
tions between Saiga and Fatah are good. They decide jointly on Pales- 
tinian policy. 

Secretary Kissinger: It is our impression that Syria controls Saiqa. 


President Asad: We are in the same party and have good relations. 
But Fatah grew up here. We certainly help them. In times of crises, we 
defend them. 


In his 1972 State of the Union Message, President Nixon referred to 
the 1970 Jordanian crisis as the most dangerous to world peace. 

Secretary Kissinger: I remember, we were not on your side then. 

President Asad: I ordered the intervention and was there. 


Secretary Kissinger: Our concern was not Fatah but Jordan and our 
conception of Soviet influence. 


President Asad: The Soviets had no hand in our intervention. 

Secretary Kissinger: I believe that now. 

President Asad: They learned about it from the radio. 

Secretary Kissinger: How is that possible when the Soviets had ad- 
visors in your military units? 

President Asad: It was not the business of the Soviets. After we 
went into Jordan, everyone knew about it. 

Secretary Kissinger: The Soviet advisors could have informed their 
headquarters. 

President Asad: They didn’t know about it until we reached the 
border. 

Secretary Kissinger: We misinterpreted Syria, but we were con- 
cerned about the Soviets and confrontation. That was our concern, not 
Syria. We also feared that the Israelis would attack. 


President Asad: The French wanted Syria to pull out of Jordan. 


5 Al-Saiqa was a Palestinian Baathist political and military organization created by 
the Syrian Baath Party in 1966. 


144 =‘ Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: Did you do so because of what the French 
wanted? 

President Asad: No, we did so when the Arab Committee arrived. 

Secretary Kissinger: We did not understand Syria at that time. 

Shall we now talk about disengagement? I do not want to press 
you. 

President Asad: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know what Sadat has said to you. 

President Asad: He sent disturbing news. I saw General Gamasy. 

Secretary Kissinger: I knew about Gamasy’s coming to Damascus. 

President Asad: Sadat’s letter was full of verbiage, telling things 
we both know. There was no justification for indulging in all of this. But 
the important thing is Sadat’s conversation with you. According to 
Sadat, you said it would be possible to guarantee the October 6 lines 
and then it might develop that it would be possible for us to get back 
Quneitra. Sadat said time would be needed and described the stages 
and time required for the Egyptian agreement but disengagement on 
the Syrian front need not take so much time. 

Secretary Kissinger: I agree. 

President Asad: But Sadat said time was needed. 

Secretary Kissinger: I did not know Sadat was writing to you. 

President Asad: Sadat said you promised to continue your efforts. 

Secretary Kissinger: True. 

President Asad: Gamasy described the history of the Egyptian dis- 
engagement. I explained that the Syrian situation was different—for 
example, with regard to POW’s, Suez, etc. 

Secretary Kissinger: In essence what you have described is correct. 
The phrase “guaranteeing the October 6 lines” is an overstatement, but 
it is not worth arguing about. 

The problem is that Syria sees Israel as monolithic and purposeful. 
I see it as divided, especially while it is forming a new Government. 
After its Government is formed, it can reach decisions more easily. 

I took seriously what you said about not submitting an Israeli plan 
to you which would be dead from the start. I spent six hours with the 
Israelis today and ten hours on Wednesday,° meeting them in small 
groups. I want to be honest and not mislead you. They have not yet 
agreed to the October 6 lines. What I said to Sadat was that if President 
Asad wants to settle quickly and I use pressure, we can perhaps con- 
vince Israel to accept the October 6 line in a few weeks. The Israelis 


© See Document 28 and footnote 3, Document 26. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 145 


have some ideas about the location of forces that are not so different 
from what you said to me in December.’ For example, Israel agrees to 
accept any limitations which Syria accepts on the Golan Heights. If 
there is a zone of light forces on the Syrian side, there would be the 
same on the Israeli side. This can include the greatest part of the Golan 
Heights. I recall how you explained this, and then you sent a telegram 
with further clarifications. This idea is accepted as an idea. The details 
will need to be discussed but that is not worthwhile until there is an 
agreed concept. 

President Asad: The limitations will be linked to the disengage- 
ment line. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, the Israelis accept this. 

Next, I want to stress the following: your idea that there must first 
be an agreement before you negotiate would make me Syria’s negoti- 
ator with the Israelis. Iam flattered by this, since I am told that Syrians 
are good negotiators. But this is not the best way to help you. Eventu- 
ally there must be an Israeli-U.S. confrontation. Their views and ours 
are probably not the same. It is best for everyone to defer this confron- 
tation to the second stage and not to exhaust the American domestic 
structure in the first phase, by seeking to move Israel through the use of 
great pressure in this phase. Sapir told me today that the American de- 
cision on financial assistance is taking a long time. 

President Asad: Sadat told me this. 

Secretary Kissinger: This is not visible, however. I must proceed 
according to our methods. To do that I need a Syrian-Israeli negotiating 
process. 

I have an Israeli assurance, which I can make public, that within 
two weeks, after an Israeli Government is formed, they will send a se- 
nior official to Washington to work on this problem. You might also 
send someone with whom I could work—not for meetings with the Is- 
raelis. After some weeks I could return here and conclude the agree- 
ment. The details could then be worked out in the military working 
group. But there is no need for you to now announce a decision on the 
negotiating forum, which I understand is one of your concerns. 

President Asad: I have full confidence in you. The question is the 
objective we may be able to reach by these means and whether the re- 
percussions of that objective will be positive or negative. I am increas- 
ingly convinced that the Israelis do not want to reach this objective, and 
popular and military sentiments in Israel seem to support my view. 
The latest Israeli statements indicate that what Mrs. Meir has said about 
Golan is not just for domestic consumption. 


7 See footnote 3, Document 19. 


146 ~=Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: Those statements may reflect some Israeli in- 
tentions, but the idea of dealing with Syria is so unusual for the Israelis 
that it will take them awhile to get used to it. 

President Asad: In Syria, it has not been our habit in the past to talk 
about peace. Now we are clear; we want a just peace. I said this during 
the war. Efforts will be required to achieve peace. 

It still remains for us to imagine where these steps will lead. I 
know you do not represent Israel, but it is a fact that without the United 
States there would be no Israel. Given this fact, Israel cannot remain ad- 
amant. If we accepted the October 6 line, what do you imagine would 
be the view of the Syrian Army and people? 

Secretary Kissinger: Iam not asking you to accept that line. I recog- 
nize the disengagement line must be across the October 6 line. 


President Asad: I would like your views. I have the strong convic- 
tion that what you are convinced of is achievable. Do you have an idea 
about the line? What is feasible? It is not that I am against disengage- 
ment, but I am against its having nothing good in it. It could even be 
harmful. 

Secretary Kissinger: How could it be harmful? 

President Asad: If it has no meaning. For example, there is the Is- 
raeli pocket.’ The people and the army know what the war cost and 
they know that war is a back-and-forth affair. Our people think Syria 
was victorious despite the pocket. There is hardly a home in Syria 
without a son in the army. The people know that the ceasefire pre- 
vented our retaking the pocket. We assumed there would be another 
fighting front. 

I believe Egypt should have continued fighting. Sadat sent me a 
pessimistic telegram during the war when the Israeli penetration oc- 
curred on the Egyptian front. I sent him a telegram after he had ac- 
cepted the ceasefire saying there was no cause for concern. I said the 
penetration on the Syrian front was in Syria’s favor and that he could 
wipe out the Suez pocket. 

Secretary Kissinger: You didn’t have an army encircled. 

President Asad: It [the Egyptian Third Army] should not have 
been surrounded. 

Secretary Kissinger: Why was it? 

President Asad: I don’t know. A few mistakes were made. 

But we are deviating. Our people feel we fought honorably and 
that circumstances stopped us. Now the battle is political. Disengage- 


8 A reference to the Israel Defense Force penetration into Syria beyond the June 
1967 cease-fire line. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 147 


ment falls within the political battle. If it takes place on the October 6 
line, the people will ask why we went to war. We say this is disengage- 
ment, not Security Council Resolution 242. The people will say why not 
wait to carry out Resolution 242. If there is a meaningful disengage- 
ment line, then we can get support. The refugees must return home. 
The people must see that Israel did not win. 


Secretary Kissinger: Of course the population will return where Is- 
rael withdraws. 


President Asad: The human problem is on the Golan Heights. Re- 
turn of the population would create satisfaction and then the people 
would begin to understand peace. Even Sadat has spoken in this vein. 


Secretary Kissinger: You are the leader of Syria and will make this 
judgment. 


President Asad: I have put my cards face up. I described to you the 
possibilities as I see them. Can we realize these views? 


Secretary Kissinger: My view is that you can realize some distance 
behind the October 6 line, but not the minimum line you gave me. 


President Asad: That’s a problem. 


Secretary Kissinger: That is my honest feeling. I did not spend 18 
hours with the Israeli Cabinet because they can visualize giving up 
anything behind the October 6 line. The Israelis say to me that they lost 
no territory to Syria but gained territory from Syria. They think the 
present line is better than the line of October 6. They see any with- 
drawal as a unilateral concession. They know there will be a second 
phase. There could be the same clause as in the Egyptian agreement 
about disengagement being only a step toward implementation of Res- 
olutions 242 and 338. 

I find it nervewracking; both of you say the same thing to me. I 
would like to see you and Prime Minister Meir face-to-face. When I say 
to the Israelis they must go beyond the October 6 lines, it is a shock to 
them. They say why—we won—why go back? What is my answer if 
they start a propaganda campaign against me in the United States, 
saying I am asking for unilateral withdrawal from which Israel gets 
nothing. 

I say to you, after they have withdrawn, it will be clear who has 
withdrawn. If I am any judge, you will not be less determined to 
achieve your objective than before. Wherever the line, you will say this 
is the first stage. The people will know you have gained. It is the first 
phase in a political process. 

Now for the question about why disengagement, why not wait for 
full withdrawal? My answer is that I think any withdrawal changes Is- 
raeli attitudes. Their change in attitude with respect to Egypt is great 
since they agreed to withdraw. Before the war, many said that the 


148 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Arabs could not make an agreement until their dignity was restored. I 
understand that. Now, from the Israeli viewpoint, it is better to get 
withdrawal by agreement without humiliation. If they are forced to 
withdraw to your minimum line, there will be less chance of further 
withdrawal. It is more likely to become the final line than if the with- 
drawal is limited. 

President Asad: What will they seek if they are forced to the min- 
imum line? 

Secretary Kissinger: They will seek a U.S. commitment not to press 
for further withdrawal for two years, plus $700 million for arms. 

President Asad: Circumstances may change. Once the Geneva 
Conference machinery starts, they cannot stall for two years. 

The line we propose is close to the October 6 line, West of the Qu- 
neitra hills. No one could live in Quneitra if we did not hold the hills. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have not looked at the topography or at 
where the Quneitra hills are. 1 am not yet ready to discuss it in this de- 
tail. The purpose of your getting back Quneitra would be to permit 
people to live there? 

President Asad: For this reason, we need the hills. 

Secretary Kissinger: I did not say that Israel should hold the hills. 

President Asad: Our minimum line is 3-4 kilometers West of the 
hills. 

Secretary Kissinger: How far are the hills from Quneitra? 

President Asad: About 1% kilometers. 

Secretary Kissinger: To make sure I understand: Your minimum 
line is 3 kilometers from the hills, the hills are 2 kilometers from Qu- 
neitra and Quneitra is 3-4 kilometers from the October 6 line. Hence, 
you are discussing a distance of 8-10 kilometers West of the October 6 
line. 

President Asad: Yes. Remember the map I gave you. 

Secretary Kissinger: Is that the present Syrian minimum line? 

President Asad: Yes—in the North. It is probably about the same in 
the South. These were our considerations when we delineated the 
line—so that most of the inhabitants could return and those villages 
overlooked by high ground would not be so vulnerable. This is the 
reason for our line. It is about halfway [between the October 6, 1973 and 
pre-June 5, 1967 lines]. 

Secretary Kissinger: I do not think it possible to get Israel back that 
far as part of a disengagement agreement. That is my honest judgment. 
There is no sense lying to you. How far back is hard to judge—six kilo- 
meters?—I don’t know, I will have to see. Right now I am expending 
my energies getting Israel used to the idea of some withdrawal. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 149 


President Asad: That’s a problem. If they cannot be moved to a 
greater distance, there is no point in discussing this again. 

Disengagement on the Egyptian front ends March 5?? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

President Asad: There are no Israelis on the West Bank. Then 
Egypt's military situation is now better. 

Secretary Kissinger: There is no question about that. 

President Asad: Are the Israelis thinking of a further war—do they 
want that? 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think they want another war. 

President Asad: What is in their minds? Do they believe it possible 
that the occupation can continue? 

Secretary Kissinger: I think the October War was an unbelievable 
shock to Israel. The consequences have not fully sunk in. People in 
shock tend to freeze their positions. 

In November, when I talked of returning to the October 22 line at a 
dinner in Washington—and I was the guest of honor—Golda Meir 
would not even speak to me.'° Now they are accustomed to the idea on 
the Egyptian side. The first thing is to get a transition in their minds, 
from hostility to the possibility of peace. This is the importance of dis- 
engagement on the Syrian side. If three months ago I had spoken to the 
Israelis of peace with Egypt, they would have said I was crazy. Now 
they can talk rationally with Egypt, and they know Egypt wants the 
same thing as Syria. 

With Syria they are not to that point yet. They are fearful; they 
don’t know your mild nature. 

President Asad: If we can’t get them back ten kilometers, our na- 
ture is indeed mild. 

How far back are they on the Egyptian side? 

Secretary Kissinger: It is a different situation. From the Egyptian 
forward line, perhaps 10-12 kilometers, but this must be related to the 
depth; there is great depth in Sinai and they evacuated the pocket they 
held as they would in Syria. Things must be in perspective. All dis- 
tances are greater in Sinai. 

President Asad: Although the Israelis evacuated a sizable amount 
of territory in Egypt, perhaps the Egyptians found it easier. Gamasy 
said it was rough dealing with the Israelis. 


° The disengagement actually ended on March 4, a day ahead of schedule. (New 
York Times, March 5, 1974, p. 3) 

10 Th fact, Kissinger spoke with Meir at the dinner in Washington on November 1, 
1973, and again the following day on November 2. See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, 
volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Documents 305, 306, and 312. 


150 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: Exactly. Therefore they must be given some 
time. I never gave a final line to the Egyptians. 

There is one thing we can do before you commit yourself. Let them 
send a representative to Washington in two weeks. After he returns to 
Israel, you can send a representative so they will not be in Washington 
at the same time. After that I can return to the area. Then it will be easier 
to judge. 

President Asad: But the line is ten kilometers. I agree time is 
needed, but everything depends on the line. Their pocket is part of the 
front; it is 10-18 kilometers deep, but it is not a problem. But if the line 
is not ten kilometers back, I won’t consider disengagement. 

Secretary Kissinger: I never made a commitment to Egypt. If I 
wanted to gain time, I could say yes to you and then in three weeks say 
I couldn’t achieve it. But what is at stake is more important. I want 
Syria’s friendship and trust, so you will know our word counts. 

President Asad: I agree. I am telling you things that are inherently 
harmful to me. Without confidence in you, I would not say them. 

Secretary Kissinger: We want to help you. You know the length to 
which we have gone to contribute to Sadat’s international position. We 
want to do the same for Syria. We would like Syria to emerge stronger 
from the negotiations. 

Iam not asking you for another line. Before you gave the POW list, 
Israel would not even discuss disengagement. I have spent 18 hours 
with them, and they are just as tough as you but less pleasant. Since 
they don’t trust each other, they have eight people in the room at once. 

May I ask you frankly, is there anyone you trust enough to send to 
Washington for frank talks with me after the Israelis leave? 

President Asad: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: I propose to have long talks with the Israelis. 
There will probably be a new Defense Minister—General Rabin, who is 
intelligent and one of the few Israelis who thinks conceptually. Most of 
them speak of hills and roads and of all the things that are not impor- 
tant. When I negotiated the Egyptian disengagement, they had a Cab- 
inet meeting over 30 howitzers. 

President Asad: Will it be Rabin? 

Secretary Kissinger: Unless Dayan changes his mind. 

President Asad: From Sadat I hear that Dayan is a practical man. 


Secretary Kissinger: Yes. Before October I thought he was stupid 
and tough but in the Egyptian negotiations where the Israelis treated 
me as a traitor (they had demonstrations against me in December), I 
spent 15 hours with Dayan and others. Three to four weeks later they 
began to change. I think we are at December in the Syrian negotiations. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 151 


Today I gave the Israelis my reasoning. I told them I don’t want to 
hear their views now; I wanted them to think for two weeks and then 
send a senior representative to Washington. 


Dayan has become practical. Rabin is also, but he thinks like a 
Frenchman. He puts forth absurd propositions before drawing correct 
conclusions. 

President Asad: Rabin may be better. He has been a diplomat. 

Secretary Kissinger: Remember there was a history behind with- 
drawal from the Canal. They had considered it in 1971.'' They have 
never considered withdrawal from the October 6 line, so it is a tough 
intellectual problem for the Israelis. 


President Asad: I remember in 1971 Golda Meir said something 
about withdrawal from Golan. 

Secretary Kissinger: With effort and wisdom, I think we can 
manage. 

President Asad: You said you would call a senior Israeli to 
Washington? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. After he leaves, perhaps you will agree to 
send someone you trust to me. May I ask who it will be? 

President Asad: If it is a military man, General Midhat Shihabi, 
Chief of Intelligence and Reconnaissance. 

Secretary Kissinger: It is up to you. It should be someone you trust. 

President Asad: Absolutely. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will tell you what I think. Your repre- 
sentative will return, and about then I will be ready to come back to the 
Middle East—or perhaps I will first ask the Israeli to return to Wash- 
ington. I will decide with your representative what to do. This might be 
the best procedure. Then there is no need to negotiate in the working 
group. 

President Asad: That is better. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will go to Moscow the second half of March. 
Before or after Moscow, I will come back to Damascus. We will keep 
you informed of our significant contacts with others. If others tell you 
something we haven’t told you, check with us as you did from La- 
hore.’ I may disappoint you but I won’t deceive you. We must have 
confidence. 


11 See footnote 3, Document 9. 
12 A meeting of Islamic leaders was held in Lahore, Pakistan, February 22-24. 


152 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


I see Faisal tomorrow. Do you object if I tell him in general terms of 
our talk?’ 

President Asad: No objection. 

Secretary Kissinger: I also have no objection if you tell him. 

President Asad: I tell President Boumediene everything, and he 
tells me everything. 

Secretary Kissinger: Do you know how to reach him? I believe he is 
in North Korea. 

President Asad: During the Lahore meeting, I urged Boumediene 
to see you when he returns. 

Secretary Kissinger: I had a good talk with Boumediene a month 
ago.‘ I wanted to stop in Algeria this time on my way to Damascus. I 
will write him and tell him I have no objections if he shows you my 
letters. 

President Asad: There still remains the question of the disengage- 
ment line. 

Secretary Kissinger: This is what must be determined after the 
visits of Israel’s and your representatives to Washington. 

President Asad: What is now envisaged will do us no good. Yet 
what we want does not seem achievable. What is the solution? 


Secretary Kissinger: First, I must get Israel accustomed to the idea 
of withdrawal beyond the October 6 line. Once they accept the prin- 
ciple, it may be easier to discuss the exact number of kilometers. Also, it 
may then be possible for us to see if some adjustments are possible in 
your position. Right now with Israel, the problem is the principle. Once 
the principle is accepted, it will be eaiser. 

President Asad: The line I mentioned was not decided by me. It 
was arrived at by a number of experts in our Armed Forces. 

Secretary Kissinger: It is one thing to devise a line when you are 
thinking of only your own position. When you know the other side’s 
views, you can have another look at it. 

President Asad: Our first meeting was very formal, and we dis- 
cussed the whole Golan. But what I said at the first meeting still holds, 
namely, that disengagement discussions should be held on a technical 
basis. My point was that neither side should gain an advantage. But 
this does not appear to be the case. 


13 4 portion of the memorandum of conversation between Kissinger and King 
Faisal is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969-1974, 
Document 332. 

ie Kissinger last met with Boumediene in person on December 13, 1973, in Algiers. 
See ibid., volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, footnote 2, Document 393. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 153 


Secretary Kissinger: There must be a combination of political, psy- 
chological and technical considerations. 

President Asad: That is true. We can adjust specific points—a hill 
here or there. But do you envisage any specific depth for the line? 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t have a map here. I have thought that 
some kilometers beyond Quneitra might be possible, but I was just 
thinking out loud. As of now, Israel hasn’t accepted the October 6 line. I 
do not want to create confusion, and I therefore have not asked Israel. 

President Asad: I have confidence in you and therefore I am asking 
you. I proceed from the premise that if withdrawal beyond the October 
6 line is conceptually feasible, it can be done. 

Secretary Kissinger: And if there is some flexibility on your side. 

President Asad: You have never seen such flexibility. We started 
talking about all of the Golan, and now we are talking about 10 kilo- 
meters. These meetings with you are responsible. 

Secretary Kissinger: Israel’s negotiating tactic is to move from the 
intolerable to the impossible and call it a concession. 

President Asad: (laughing) I hope we are not that way. 

Secretary Kissinger: If this is the end of your flexibility, I would not 
want to meet you when you were inflexible. But seriously, considering 
the history of U.S.-Syrian relations, I consider these meetings with you 
very special. I appreciate them. I hope, since Iam not the Assistant Sec- 
retary for the Middle East but the Secretary of State, that you appreciate 
the time I am spending here. 

President Asad: You will hardly find an area of bigger problems of 
such importance to the world. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have spent two-thirds of my time since Oc- 
tober 6 on this problem. If your Foreign Minister had answered the 
phone on October 6 when I tried to reach him to stop the war, Iam sure 
that he would have taken my advice. 

President Asad: Really? 

Secretary Kissinger: I doubt it. 

President Asad: I insisted on going to war. 

Secretary Kissinger: I totally underestimated your capabilities. I 
also thought we should limit the extent of your certain defeat and not 
create a problem as in 1967. I have learned much since October 6. But I 
did not expect to be sitting in Damascus with President Asad three 
months after the war. This is an important chance—historically more 
important than the number of kilometers. Wherever the disengage- 
ment line is, it will not be final. 

President Asad: I am confident of that. 


154 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


To return to the question of the line, we must discuss it since it will 
have repercussions both positive and negative. Iam not ill at ease with 
the present line. I do not agree with some of Sadat’s remarks. Specifi- 
cally, I do not agree with him that Israeli withdrawal from the salient 
will lessen the pressure on Damascus. From the point of view of our 
people, I find the salient an advantage. I am surprised our brothers in 
Egypt do not understand us. 

Secretary Kissinger: The major reasons for disengagement are po- 
litical and. psychological, not military. I have never used the military 
argument. 

President Asad: You mentioned “some” kilometers West of Qu- 
neitra. What does that mean? In Arabic, this has the precise meaning of 
between three and nine. 


Secretary Kissinger: I would think it would be nearer three than 
nine. 

President Asad: You do not want to define things precisely. 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t want to say something that I cannot de- 
liver. I can deliver the October 6 line even if Israel has not yet agreed. 
West of that they have conceptual difficulties. I have spent my energy 
convincing Israel to accept the October 6 line, since I did not want to 
confuse matters. Once a principle is accepted, it will be easier. It is like 
the October 22 line in Egypt. At the beginning, even eight to ten kilo- 
meters seemed impossible to the Israelis. 

This is why I am hesitating. I am not trying to be clever. I am not 
bargaining. My interest is to try to get the maximum for you, not the 
minimum. But I don’t know what that is. 

President Asad: I believe you. I have been pressing you because I 
must give some idea of what is feasible to people close to me with 
whom I discuss this question. 

Secretary Kissinger: I understand. I do not think you are being 
unreasonable. 

President Asad: Please don’t think I am putting you through the 
third degree. 

Secretary Kissinger: I think you are extremely persistent. 

President Asad: To the extent that we agree conceptually, this will 
help. Iam not saying we must form a single front. 

Can I hope that you will expend all possible efforts to realize the 
minimum I am seeking? 

Secretary Kissinger: You can count on that. I will make a maximum 
effort to get all that is attainable. That is a promise, not a hope. You can 
call me back to Damascus after a reasonable interlude. 

President Asad: I have no more questions. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 155 


Secretary Kissinger: Let me be sure I understand. First, I will invite 
a senior Israeli official to Washington to pursue the objective we have 
just agreed on. After he has left, you will send a trusted representative 
to Washington. We will give you a week’s notice. He will have full se- 
curity protection. After he returns to Damascus, I will contact you or 
you will contact me, to discuss the next step. In any case, when I go to 
Moscow, I will stop here either on my way there or on my return. 

I will not concert with the Soviets. I will tell them only what you 
and I agree. But I need to know what you will tell the Soviets—about 
our discussions, not about bilateral matters. 

President Asad: We can agree on this at the end of our discussion. 

Secretary Kissinger: In an emergency, I am prepared to come to 
Damascus apart from my Moscow trip. In any event, this will be in 
about a month, give or take a week. 

President Asad: You mean after you have invited Israeli and 
Syrian representatives to Washington? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

President Asad: Do you think it will be possible to have disengage- 
ment during your Moscow trip? 

Secretary Kissinger: I will make a major effort, at least to get agree- 
ment on a line. We can then give the matter to military representatives 
to work out the details. I estimate this will take about five weeks. 

President Asad: Do you mean that the Military Committee will be 
Egyptian, with Syrian officers attending? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

President Asad: That will be good for the Geneva Conference. 

Secretary Kissinger: There are many peculiarities in the Middle 
East. Historically, wars start between countries that are at peace. Here 
they start between countries that are already at war. 

Let me give you another example. At the opening of the Geneva 
Conference, Israel said it would not accept UN auspices, and Syria said 
it would not go to Geneva. Now Israel wants only UN auspices and Sy- 
ria wants to negotiate only in Geneva. 

The final document must be signed by Syrians, however. 

President Asad: The Working Group will be headed by an 
Egyptian. 

Secretary Kissinger: Then both Egypt and Syria must sign. I doubt 
that Israel will accept only an Egyptian signature. 

President Asad: Let them both sign. 

Secretary Kissinger: Compared with the Vietnamese, you are not 
the most difficult person I have negotiated with. 

President Asad: We are more flexible. 


156 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: And more human. However matters turn out, 
I am touched by the humanity of the Arabs with whom I have talked. 

President Asad: This is something we learn from childhood. We 
are not vindictive. For example, we have one custom—more common 
in rural areas—that when two tribes are enemies and one kills a 
number of members of the other, if he then goes to the camp of the be- 
reaved, they cannot harm him. 

Secretary Kissinger: Is that because he is a guest? 

President Asad: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: If he leaves the camp, is he in trouble? 

President Asad: No. Once he has entered the camp or the home of 
the other, there must be reconciliation. (GOLH!) 

We also have the custom of vengeance. If a person is seen outside 
his territorial limit, he must then be killed. 

So you see, your idea of having Mrs. Meir come to Damascus is not 
so bad. 

Secretary Kissinger: This is one of the rewards of these meetings. If 
the American people learn to know the Arabs better, they will under- 
stand them better. 

President Asad: We are our own worst enemies. 

Secretary Kissinger: After 1967, the Arab mistake was to try to 
achieve your goals through hostility toward the United States. Friend- 
ship will help not only bilaterally but to achieve peace. 

I have told you President Nixon plans to come to the Middle East 
in May, and you said he might come to Damascus. If he is received with 
the same warmth I have been, the publicity will help in the United 
States. 

President Asad: He will be warmly received. 

Secretary Kissinger: I can assure him of this on the basis of my own 
experience. 

President Asad: Egypt has announced his trip. 

Secretary Kissinger: No. They announced they have invited him. 

President Asad: They said it would be April. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is wrong. When he comes, it will be on 
the same trip—in mid-May. We will agree jointly on an announcement, 
but we do not have to do this until April. All visits will be at the same 
time. We have no special favorites. 

President Asad: It will be an opportunity for establishing relations 
with Arab countries. 

Secretary Kissinger: It will have a profound impact on relations. 

President Asad: Unfortunately, we lack accommodations in Syria. 
Egypt has the former Kings’ palaces. It is our bad luck that Syria never 
accepted a King. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 157 


Secretary Kissinger: You have a proud people as a result. The 
Guest House is very comfortable. The President has simple taste. He 
does not judge hospitality by luxury. He will want frank and open dis- 
cussions with you. You and he will find that you can speak frankly and 
in a common language. I will have the pleasure of seeing you in April 
before the President's visit. 

I want you to know that we plan to budget some money for cul- 
tural exchanges with Syria, for students. It is up to you if you want to 
take advantage of this. 

President Asad: Everyone wants to go to the United States. Our 
most famous professional people have specialized in the United States. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will tell Mr. Scotes to discuss this with the 
Foreign Ministry. 

President Asad: I notice that people who study in a given place re- 
turn with their attitudes changed. Those who study in America return 
with high standards. 

Secretary Kissinger: And as radicals, whereas those who study in 
the Soviet Union return as conservatives. 

President Asad: What shall we tell the Soviets of our discussions? 

Secretary Kissinger: It would not be useful to discuss specific lines 
with them. 

President Asad: I agree. 

Secretary Kissinger: We can tell them of the evolution we foresee— 
namely, that Israel, and later Syria, will send representatives to Wash- 
ington, and then I will make a return trip to the area. Then Gromyko 
will come back here again. But that’s your problem. I promise that if 
Gromyko comes first, I will not follow him around. 


President Asad: What if Gromyko expresses the wish to be here? 

Secretary Kissinger: Perhaps it would be better not to mention that 
I will be returning. 

President Asad: This time, the Soviets requested that Gromyko be 
here at the same time with you. 

Secretary Kissinger: What if they do so again? 

President Asad: We will find a way. 

Secretary Kissinger: With the press, I suggest that we say our dis- 
cussions will continue here and in Washington, and that Syria will send 
a representative to Washington when this is necessary. Will you say the 
same? 

President Asad: It is up to you to do. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will say we had good constructive talks. The 
matter will now proceed with Israel sending a representative to Wash- 
ington. After that Syria may be prepared to send a representative. I will 


158 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


say I am optimistic about the evolution of the matter and that I will 
make a great effort to bring about disengagement. I will say only that I 
brought ideas here from Israel, and will add informally that anyone 
who has dealt with the Syrians knows that they do not accept the ideas 
of others. You can say that you presented your ideas and insisted on 
them and that the discussions will continue. 

President Asad: The press will speculate about specific disengage- 
ment lines. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will discuss no lines. 

President Asad: What if I say you brought ideas and we did not 
agree with them. 

Secretary Kissinger: All right, but don’t be too antagonistic. Make 
it sound as though there is the possibility of progress so our press does 
not report a failure. 

President Asad: A White House statement referred to your 
bringing an Israeli plan. It would be better to say we had received the 
plan and did not agree with it. 

Secretary Kissinger: We have not said “plan.” It is better to use the 
word “ideas.” If you say plan, the Israeli Cabinet will ask “what plan?” 

President Asad: Right, we’ll say “ideas.” 

Secretary Kissinger: I will say that I brought Israeli ideas, that Syria 
did not accept them, that you gave me your own ideas, that the discus- 
sions will continue, and I will describe how they will continue. On 
background, I will tell the press the two sides are still far apart. 

Israel has given me the names of a number of its soldiers missing 
in action and wonders if you have any information about them. 

President Asad: A number of bodies were buried. We brought a 
rabbi from Damascus for the ceremony. Perhaps they are some of the 
missing. You can be sure that the number of living is as I have given to 
you. 

Secretary Kissinger: I trust you. The question is whether you have 
any information about those who were buried? 

President Asad: I will tell Mr. Scotes if we find any of the missing 
on this list among the buried. 

Secretary Kissinger: The Israelis have also given me two other 
names on whom they seek information. They were seen parachuting 
and Israel thought they had been captured. We appreciate how meticu- 
lously you have kept your word about the Red Cross visits. 

President Asad: Given the intensity of the battle, there is no doubt 
that some who parachuted, including Syrians, were hit. 

Secretary Kissinger: This is not an accusation that prisoners-of-war 
were killed. It is a serious attempt to find out about missing-in-action. I 
will see that no accusations are made. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 159 


President Asad: I would like to talk longer, but I know you must 
get up early for your visit to the mosque. After that you will not be re- 
ceived in Israel. 


Secretary Kissinger: I will take my chances. 
(After amenities, the meeting adjourned.) 


30. Backchannel Message From the Deputy Director of Central 
Intelligence (Walters) to the President’s Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Kissinger)’ 


Rabat, March 8, 1974, 1327Z. 


To: The White House for Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, eyes only. From: 
Lt. Gen. Vernon A. Walters. 


On March 7 I saw PLO representatives at King Hassan’s guest 
house in Fes in real Arabian nights environment. Present as at previous 
meeting in November’ were Khalid el Hassan and Mujid Abu Sharawa. 
Also present this time was Abu Marwan, PLO representative in Rabat, 
but as he spoke no English he might as well not have been there. 


I opened by saying that we realized that Palestinians were a factor 
in any Middle East settlement but that for us it was essential that disen- 
gagement begin on the Syrian front before we could go any further. 
Khalid who did all of the talking for them seemed a little disappointed 
that I had not come with an invitation, a date for a meeting, and an 
agenda. As we talked, his understanding of our position grew. Finally 
he said that for them too disengagement on the Syrian front was vital. 
He did hope that after this occurred I could talk to them more precisely. 
He felt that in about four or six weeks this could be appropriate. If such 
a meeting took place in Washington their level of representation would 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 139, Country Files, Middle East, Palestinians, Folder 1. Secret; Sensitive; 
Eyes Only. Walters first met with PLO officials on November 3, 1973. See Foreign Rela- 
tions, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 318. On February 12, 
PLO officials relayed word through the Moroccan Government that they wished to meet 
again in Morocco as preparation for an eventual meeting in Washington, DC. (Library of 
Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 189, Geopolitical File, Middle East, 
Palestinians Contact Messages Book, 1973-1975) According to Kissinger’s memoirs, the 
U.S. Government agreed on February 16 to a meeting in Morocco between Walters and 
PLO representatives in March. (Years of Upheaval, p. 1037) 


? A reference to the first meeting between Walters and PLO representatives on No- 
vember 3, 1973. 


160 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


depend on the circumstances at the time. I asked if secrecy could be 
maintained if such a meeting did take place. The Secretary felt very 
strongly that if secrecy is lost in delicate negotiations then propaganda 
would follow and this was not conducive to success. He acknowledged 
that your tactics had scored many successes and said that they would 
confine such knowledge to their central committee. 


Very significant to me was the fact that unlike what took place at 
our first meeting, not only did they not inveigh against King Hussein 
but they never once mentioned his name or their sufferings at his 
hands. I draw from this that they were impressed by our telling them in 
November that he was our friend and are keeping their options open 
with him. 

Khalid said that Gromyko had received Arafat officially in Cairo 
and had told him that the Soviets were prepared to recognize the PLO 
as the government of a state. In the past all of their dealings with the So- 
viets had been with the CPSU rather than with the Foreign Minister. 
Khalid said that they realized that their relationship with the Soviets 
and the U.S. could not be exactly the same but they hoped that their re- 
lationship with us could change. They could not remake their public 
opinion toward the U.S. overnight. Khalid spoke well of Sadat and 
Assad and somewhat dubiously of the Iraqi regime. He asked about the 
Zarga Mutiny’ and I said that my information was that it involved pay 
and in some measure corruption but did not involve their loyalty to 
King Hussein. He said that their information agreed with this. At this 
point he could easily have made some derogatory remark about Hus- 
sein or Zaid Rifai but did not do so. 

Khalid also asked about Iranian-Iraqi relations, particularly about 
the border clashes. I said I knew little other than that such clashes had 
occurred. The Iraqis had bad relations with almost all of their neighbors 
such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan but they did have good 
relations with the Soviets. Khalid commented that King Faysal was 
very firm on Jerusalem. I said the oil weapon should be used carefully. 
It was important to know when to turn it off before it did more damage 
than good. 

Khalid noted the high educational level of the Palestinians and the 
major contribution they had made to other Arab states in administra- 
tive and technical competence. He said immense amounts of capital 
would soon be available to the Arabs because of the new oil prices. He 


3 On February 3, a garrison of Jordanian troops in the town of Zarqa, 15 miles north- 
east of Amman, attempted an uprising against the Jordanian Government over a lack of 
pay raises to keep up with the cost of living and over the perceived corruption of several 
Jordanian officials. The uprising was suppressed by February 6. (New York Times, Feb- 
ruary 7, 1974, p. 7) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 161 


wondered if we had given any thought to these funds and how they 
should be used. I assured him that you had given much thought to this. 
I noted that such wealth brought responsibility as well as advantages. 
This seems a very important point. Playing the role of intellectual 
mentors to the rich Arabs would not displease the Palestinians. In fact I 
think they would relish the prospect of playing a key role in the use of 
the great funds soon to be available to the Arabs (particularly in the 
context of a Saudi-American agreement on such matters). This could 
provide an outlet for the Palestinians that would relieve some of their 
pressures for resettlement in Palestine for all Palestinians and soothe 
some of their hangups. 

The Palestinians feel that they rendered you a great service by 
warning President Franjiyeh through the Kuwaitis about the plot 
against you in Beirut.* When I mentioned that you had not appreciated 
the Damascus caper” Khalid replied that the Beirut plot had been much 
more dangerous. 

Khalid harped a little on the U.S. special relationship with Israel 
which he said had been a dagger in the heart of the Palestinians and 
hoped this would change. I said I could not tell him that the U.S. would 
abandon Israel but we had such special relationships with a number of 
countries and they were not exclusive of others. 

Khalid said that the Palestinians had been somewhat troubled by a 
number of people offering to act as intermediaries for them with the 
U.S. President Ceaucescu in particular had harrassed them on this 
point, claiming credit for your initial contacts with the Chinese. I said 
we too had had a number of people make approaches to us claiming to 
be acting for PLO. Khalid with Shawara nodding agreement said they 
wished to use this as the only channel. 

Khalid complained that the Palestinians got very bad treatment in 
the U.S. media. I said that this was the fault of the terrorists who had 
given the Palestinians a bad name. He said scornfully that it was easy to 
be a terrorist, all one needed was a hand grenade. I said that if our 
channel is to continue there must be no act of terrorism against the U.S. 
He agreed. 

The Palestinians accepted before the end of our talk the fact that 
we were not prepared to go further until after the beginning of disen- 


“In December 1973 Kissinger received a report that Palestinians planned to shoot 
down his plane as he flew into Beirut for talks with President Frangieh. (Years of Upheaval, 
p. 788) 

: According to Kissinger’s memoirs, on February 27, 1974, Palestinian militants 
planted mines in the road that led to the Omayed Mosque in Damascus with the intention 
of detonating them under Kissinger’s car. Since a morning meeting with President Asad 
had finished later than planned, Kissinger postponed the visit to the mosque and avoided 
the assassination attempt. (Years of Upheaval, p. 958) 


162 ~Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


gagement on the Syrian front. They did not like it but they accepted it. 
They are clearly hopeful that once this has begun that I will bring them 
something more precise. 


This talk lasted two hours and in addition to the above we talked 
economics, philosophy as well as black Africa and agreed on the ex- 
istence of God. 


I will be in Washington Sunday afternoon and will call you then. 
King Hassan did not attend the talk but saw him both before and after 
my discussions with the PLO representatives.° I will send a second 
message on my talks with him. 


On meeting and leaving the Palestinians I was kissed. (It was only 
on the cheeks and I know you will understand.)’ 


®In telegram (text not declassified) March 8, Walters described his meetings with 
King Hassan both before and after his meeting with the Palestinians. (National Archives, 
Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 139, Country Files, 
Middle East, Palestinians, Folder 1) 

f According to a summary of U.S. contacts with the PLO from 1973 to 1974, a Pales- 
tinian made an approach to U.S. officials in Beirut on April 20 with a message from Arafat 
requesting that the U.S. Government provide encouragement regarding PLO aspirations 
for “national authority” and participation in Geneva. On May 6, the U.S. Government of- 
fered an informal reply through Beirut, which noted that the United States will consider 
the Palestinian role in a settlement and Palestinian “legitimate interests.” It also noted 
that the U.S. government had not excluded in advance any possible arrangement. (Ibid.) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 163 


31. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Washington, March 8, 1974. 


PARTICIPANTS 


President Nixon 

Secretary Kissinger 

GOP Congressional Leadership 

Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National 
Security Affairs 


SUBJECT 
Middle East 


President: It is very important not to talk about linkage. I don’t 
know how Henry has stood it. He has been out there talking to ev- 
eryone. There is movement on an agreement between Syria and Israel. 
It is more difficult than the Egyptian one, and we don’t know when it'll 
be done. Don’t predict. The Egyptian disengagement was an enormous 
achievement. Henry? 

Kissinger: It might be helpful to summarize your basic strategy, 
Mr. President. 

In October and November of last year we found a united front of 
the Soviet Union, Europe, Japan—most of the world—supporting the 
Arabs and then following generally the Soviet line. All of the issues 
were lumped together in one big ball. We were the only supporter of Is- 
rael, and everything we advanced the Soviet Union would block. 

Our objective was (1) to break up this coalition, (2) to change the 
situation where the Soviet Union was the supporter of the Arabs and 
we were the supporter of Israel, and (3) to break out the issues into sep- 
arate items. 

We demonstrated to the Arabs that the Soviet Union could give 
them arms, but only the U.S. could give them political progress. The 
Jordanian crisis of 1970 and all our other actions were parts of this 
policy, to demonstrate that the Arabs would have to come to us. 

President: At the time of the “67 war, the U.S. ended up on the Is- 
raeli side. This time, we saved Israel with an airlift; we stopped a pos- 
sible Soviet intervention—both of these looked pro-Israel. We saved Is- 


1 Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 
Box 3, March 8, 1974, Nixon, GOP Congressional Leadership. Secret; Nodis. The meeting 
was held at the White House. Brackets are in the original. A list of attendees is in Presi- 
dent Nixon’s Daily Diary. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White 
House Central Files) 


164 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


rael. But we did this in a way which enhanced our role with the Arabs 
and did not posture us as anti-Soviet. 

Kissinger: The paradox of the situation is that it is in our interest to 
have Israel so strong the Arabs can’t defeat it, so they must come to us 
for progress. We must keep the Soviet Union out but not frustrate them 
so that they actively oppose negotiations. Asad of Syria said he wanted 
U.S. equipment because I told him we wouldn't let Soviet equipment 
defeat U.S. equipment. 

Sadat is a wise, moderate leader who permitted a reduction of ten- 
sions by agreeing to disengagement. He ran the risk of separating him- 
self from the other Arabs; Asad immediately started a campaign 
against Egyptian disengagement. A Syrian disengagement is tougher. 
Egypt acts as an independent country and not as part of a pan-Arab 
movement; the Sinai is not close to Israel. But the Syrians are at the 
front of the movement of pan-Arabism,; much of Israel used to belong 
to Syria, and the domestic situation in Syria is more complicated. 

President: Tell us about Asad. Sadat turned out to be more able 
than Nasser. 

Kissinger: Sadat is able. He is not mesmerized by exhortation or 
tactics. Asad is very intelligent, perhaps more intelligent than Sadat. 
Also there is a difference in background—Egypt was British, Syria was 
French. 

Syria doesn’t want to be the first one to have made an agreement 
with Israel—whatever the content. This is the reason we have adopted 
the procedure we did. We had planned to do it like Egypt and Israel at 
Kilometer 101.” It became apparent to me, though, that this would just 
produce a situation where each side would constantly have to prove its 
manhood. The way we ended up was a way we could get things 
moving and lead into it gradually. The Syrians would reject anything I 
brought back, so I brought something very vague. Now they have said 
they have rejected it—whatever that can mean—and made a 
counter-proposal publicly—thus getting that public element out of the 
way. 

President: The point is we won’t get an instant settlement. 

Kissinger: And they may attack—to prove they can’t win and must 
negotiate; to prod Israel back into the conflict; to force Soviet support; 
or even egged on by the Soviets. 


? At Kilometer 101 on the Cairo-Suez Road, Israeli and Egyptian military officials 
negotiated between October 28 and November 29, 1973, in an attempt to disengage their 
forces. The Egyptians broke the talks off on November 29, but negotiations continued at 
the Geneva Conference in December 1973. See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XXV, 
Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 165 


President: There is no indication of the latter, and we don’t want 
any anti-Soviet coloration to our policies. 

Kissinger: The President is right. Soviet influence is down drasti- 
cally. And they must be asking: what have they gotten from their aid? 

President: You should know that we are prepared to help clear the 
Suez Canal. It is the right thing to do. 


Burleson: What is the significance of the Iran-Iraq dispute?? 

Kissinger: We have no relationship to it. But if the Iranians tie 
down Iraq, they can’t go to Syria. Iraq is a radical element in Syria. Syria 
can’t fight back by itself. 

President: What can the leadership say on the embargo? 

Kissinger: As little as possible. 

President: Why not say we are making progress—apart from the 
embargo—and hope to avoid rationing? We are working on negotia- 
tions and that will have a favorable effect—but the embargo is a matter 
for the Arabs to decide. We are seeking peace as an end in itself—the 
fact of the embargo makes it more difficult. They should lift the em- 
bargo as an end in itself because a positive American role in their coun- 
tries is in their interest. 

On the other point. Israel is saying: Between ’67 and ’74 you were 
our friend; now you are renewing relations with the Arabs, etc. The an- 
swer is this is not at the expense of Israel. We always will stand by Is- 
rael, but we are seeking better relations with the Arabs in Israel’s own 
interest, and also to keep the Soviets out and not have Israel sur- 
rounded by countries either radicalized or under Soviet influence. 

Kissinger: In fact, after the Syrian disengagement we plan to go 
back to the Egyptian part and seek a territorial settlement. Also with 
Jordan. Jordan is difficult because of Israeli domestic politics. Israel 
hasn’t realized their choice is between dealing with Jordan and dealing 
with Arafat. They can’t deal with neither. 

We must deal with the situation one item at a time. This process 
has been very painful for the Soviet Union. Before, even we dealt with 
the Soviet Union as the spokesman for the Arabs. Now everyone is 
coming to us. We are not trying to force them out—but their negotia- 
ting style is too legalistic for this situation—and they also tend to push 
more extreme views. 


3 According to a White House note prepared for the President’s Daily Briefing on 
March 7, continued border disputes between Iran and Iraq had led to sporadic fighting 
during the first week of March. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC 
Files, Box 1230, Harold H. Saunders Files, March 1-10, 1974, Folder 3) 


166 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


But the Soviet Union has the capability of going public, stirring up 
trouble, etc. 

President: The Arabs are very emotional. 

Kissinger: A moderate Soviet policy is important—therefore the 
President’s relationship with Brezhnev is important—and MFN. We 
can’t put it to them in every area and expect them to continue to take it. 

President: Remember, if the Soviet Union and China had wanted 
the Vietnam War to go on, it would have, and the POW’s would still be 
there. Our interests are opposed to those of the Soviet Union in most ar- 
eas of the world—but we discuss with them our differences and we 
seek to avoid any of these issues from provoking nuclear war. 

Rhodes: Do we have a promise of the embargo lifting? 

Kissinger: The President’s language in the State of the Union was 
Arab language. The problem is Arab unity. They have to have unity to 
lift the embargo. We have to decouple the embargo or we will be black- 
mailed at every step if they think we need it. 

President: We can’t link the two. 

Kissinger: Take Faisal. He wants to lift the embargo, but by having 
it, he is at the head of the radicals—for free. 

Rhodes: We'll be playing the same game until Jerusalem? 

Kissinger: No, he is not blackmailing now. 

Bob [omission in the original]: This tells me we ought to get off our 
duff and get going so the embargo doesn’t matter. 

President: Right. 

Kissinger: One point on the MEN and credits. 

President: Yes, this is very important to the world. 

Kissinger: This is a case where an action produces the opposite re- 
action to what was intended. Cutting off MFN will push emigration 
back to what it was in the Johnson times, not increase it. It will radical- 
ize their Middle East policy. We can’t frustrate them in every area. The 
result of an MFN cutoff would be that after three years of détente they 
would be worse off than when détente started. 

The story is we have been taken to the cleaners in détente. We got 
our way in Vietnam, solved Berlin, prevented war in Cuba, and got the 
Soviets moderated in the Middle East. 

Until 1972 we were attacked for not making increased trade an end 
in itself. 

President: I will veto if the credits are not passed. Our relations 
with the Soviet Union were cool during the ‘50s and ’60s. We didn’t 
trade; there was little communication. The new policy doesn’t mean a 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 167 


change in attitudes—I despise what they did about Solzhenitsyn,’ but 
he is in Paris, not in Siberia, or dead. 

The question is how do you get the Communists to change? Not 
through the Glassboro technique’—a little of that is helpful. But great 
nations consult their interests, not their emotions. The primary 
U.S.-Soviet interest is that we are both nuclear powers, and I can push a 
button to kill 20 million Soviets and he can kill 20 million Americans, 
and we are in consultation to find common points of interest, and the 
basic point is we are not interested in destroying each other. There is a 
gradual change which we can anticipate in a very long term. But in get- 
ting there we must avoid a holocaust. If détente breaks down, we will 
have an arms race, no trade—that’s not very important—confrontation 
in the Middle East and elsewhere, and they will go right on repressing 
their people and even more so. The only alternative is a $100 billion in- 
crease in the defense budget and that might not do it. I don’t think that 
is viable, because they can keep up an arms race. 

Kissinger: One other point: Our careful détente policy prevents a 
wild European détente policy toward the Soviet Union. They can’t do it 
now, because they fear we could outbid them. 

President: We are trying to build a new world—not to change 
human nature, but to break the ice which prevented peaceful settle- 
ments of disputes. That is where we are now, and we must build now 
on this. People like Jackson think I have gone soft—I know them and 
they know me. 

Our options are very clear. We can follow our present track, build 
up our defenses, or bug out of the world. 

Beall: Can we get this to the Jewish community? 

President: Henry and I are trying to. They are worse than Jackson. 
Isn’t it better for the U.S. to have influence with its enemies than the So- 
viet Union? Israel says all it needs is weapons. But even if they can hold 
off the Arabs, there is the Soviet Union. Who can keep the Soviet Union 
at bay? It is in Israel’s interest to have us on good terms with the Soviet 
Union. 

Kissinger: We are making progress. The leaders are receptive now 
and I think they are working on Jackson. But labor and others are run- 
ning with this ball. 

President: There is also a partisan interest that this diplomatic ef- 
fort would fail. 


4 See footnote 8, Document 23. 


5 A reference to the June 1967 Summit between President Johnson and Soviet Pre- 
mier Alexei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey. 


168 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Scott: The worse case may be a vetoed bill, and we would have to 
try then for a bill with MEN. 


32. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Washington, March 29, 1974, 12:05-2:45 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


General Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Simcha Dinitz, Israeli Ambassador to the United States 
Colonel Aryeh Bar-On, Aide to Minister Dayan 
Mordechai Shalev, Minister, Israeli Embassy 

Moshe Raviv, Counselor, Israeli Embassy 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security 
Affairs 

Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large 

Alfred L. Atherton, Assistant Secretary-designate for Near Eastern and South 
Asian Affairs 

Harold H. Saunders, Senior Staff Member, NSC 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


[The Secretary, Minister Dayan and General Scowcroft conferred 
alone from 12:05 to 12:45 p.m. in the Secretary’s Office. The meeting 
then began in the Conference Room.] 


Secretary Kissinger: I have already welcomed you here. I am de- 
lighted you are here. The last time I saw you I was afraid I wouldn't see 
you in an official capacity. [Laughter] Without interfering in Israeli pol- 
itics, I want to say it is a great pleasure for us. 

General Dayan: Thank you very much. 

Secretary Kissinger: We will meet again tomorrow. The principal 
reason we are here is to discuss Syrian disengagement. I will talk to you 
also about my talks in Moscow, which were very tough, and in a way 
quite worrisome. Which way should we do it? 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, 
Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 5. Secret; Nodis. The meeting began in the Confer- 
ence Room on the Seventh Floor of the Department of State, then moved to the Dining 
Room on the Eighth Floor. Brackets are in the original. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 169 


General Dayan: There are four subjects: One is our plan, the other 
one is the present situation on the Syrian front, which is something to 
make us worry too. Then if you could tell us about Moscow and the fu- 
ture of Geneva, and then our requests for armaments, which we will 
discuss tomorrow probably. 

Secretary Kissinger: Right. 

General Dayan: Should we present our plan? 

Secretary Kissinger: Let me talk to you five minutes about 
Moscow. It was the roughest conversation I have ever had with the So- 
viets on any subject, including Vietnam.” On Vietnam they were tough, 
but since it didn’t affect their interests they gave up easily. 

The main thrust was we had squeezed them out of the Middle East 
and violated our understanding—that understanding which we 
showed you the text of.* The understanding of course was premised on 
the fact that we needed these auspices in order to get the sides together. 
It never occurred to us it should mean they could insist they had to be 
there. 

They insisted on immediately reconvening the Geneva Conference 
and that the Syrian disengagement talks be held there. They refused 
any proposal that I consult with Gromyko before or after a trip. 

They were much tougher generally. On U.S.-Soviet things we 
made good progress except on SALT, where, between us, our position 
is as crazy as theirs. 

They said the Syrians wanted them present. We checked with the 
Syrians and fortunately it was not true. But it is clear they won’t accept 
any settlement in which they don’t participate, and they want the Ge- 
neva Conference, and they want the Palestinians present. 

I think nothing would please them more than a breakdown of the 
negotiations with Syria. Nothing would please them more than to be 
able to say to the Syrians we couldn’t produce progress. They may pre- 
vent the Syrians from making an agreement, and then the problem will 
be whether we can separate the other Arabs from Syria. 

It was a very brutal talk. They didn’t come back to it. We left it that 
I would see Gromyko again when he comes to New York. 


Ambassador Dinitz: To the special General Assembly. 
Secretary Kissinger: Yes. Let’s see your plan. 


7 Kissinger discussed the Middle East with Soviet leaders in Moscow on March 26 
and 27. The memoranda of conversations are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, 
volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972—August 1974, Documents 167 and 170. 

3 A reference to the understanding that Kissinger and Gromyko initialed on Oc- 
tober 22, 1973, in Moscow that Middle East peace negotiations would begin “under ap- 
propiate auspices.” See ibid., Document 144. 


170 ‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


[Dayan unfolds a map on the table. See Tab A.]* 

General Dayan: Let me explain. These are our settlements on this 
side. It is important to bear it in mind. These are Arab villages. Some 
are still inhabited, those in red. The ones in green are evacuated. So you 
see there are some Arab villages empty. All except one in the new area 
are empty now. 

Secretary Kissinger: I should have known you would place your 
settlements right on the road! 

General Dayan: This is the map. That is where they are. [Laughter] 

If the Syrians want the people to go back to villages, here they are. 

I think it is important both in principle and as a practical matter 
that as many as possible go back. 

Secretary Kissinger: I agree. They have said this to me. 

General Dayan: It used to be no man’s land before, where no one 
could go. I think now the status should be different—the people should 
go back and it should be Syrian administration. The civilians should go 
back even to the area under UNEF administration. 

The blue line is our line, the red line is the Syrian line. So it is the 
same as in the old area except UNEF goes between and the civilians go 
back. 

Here [in the north] we won’t want to go back to the old line. We 
would divide it in three parts—our area, the UNEF zone, and the big- 
ger part to go back to Syrian forces without any restrictions, except 
some I will mention that are mutual. 

There are two [overlay] maps here, one with the villages and one 
with the lines. 

We've followed the model of the Egyptian agreement on limitation 
of forces: There will be ten kilometers with limited forces, and an addi- 
tional 15 kilometers with some limitation, and then 30 kilometers. 

There will be two infantry battalions, with 60 tanks, 3,000 men, 
within the ten kilometers. Then, within the 25 kilometers, one infantry 
division, 300 tanks, and 100 guns. Then the 30 kilometers is without 
anti-aircraft missiles, on both sides. 

Secretary Kissinger: It is like Admiral Moorer presenting a SALT 
plan. It is probably exactly what you have got there now. Our military 
have discovered that arms control is a way to expand armaments; you 
build up to a compulsory ceiling. 

General Dayan: At least I am in good company. 

Secretary Kissinger: Do you have that much there now? 


“Tab A, a map entitled “Separation of Forces Plan,” is Appendix A, Map 1. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 171 


General Dayan: We don’t have that much there now. [Laughter] 
That is why we want more tanks. 

Now we have about 350 tanks now along the Syrian line. I don’t 
like it because the war might break out now. We have more than 300. 

Secretary Kissinger: You want more? 

General Dayan: No, I don’t want so many there, so close to 
Damascus. 

We don’t want this kind of war of attrition. If we strike back, they 
will say we are undermining the situation on the Egyptian front. This 
can’t go on every day. 

Of what we have heard of the Egyptian [Syrian] position, besides 
that they want to ask us to get off the Golan Heights, they also want no 
buffer zone. 

Secretary Kissinger: We never raised it formally but it is my im- 
pression too. 

General Dayan: They told Kreisky.° 

Secretary Kissinger: That is nonsense, what they told Kreisky. We 
heard that they told him about the 67 borders and the Palestinians. 
That was Asad’s maximum position. 

General Dayan: The buffer zone is very important for two reasons. 
It is a real buffer. There is no demilitarized zone, like on the Egyptian 
side. The question is whether there is something like that on the Syrian 
front too, something to make war less likely. So the question is whether 
this is an obstacle to offensive operations. Of course, everyone can 
overrun a UN force. 

Secretary Kissinger: But it would be a moral barrier. 

General Dayan: It would make things more difficult. 

Secretary Kissinger: No, we would support a UN zone, and I think 
the Egyptians would. 

General Dayan: With civilians returning, it will be Syrian 
administration. 

But here it is too narrow and if they agree, it will have to be 
widened. 

The question is whether they want a UN zone. 

Secretary Kissinger: I have never raised it formally, and my im- 
pression is if I raised it now, they would reject it. 

General Dayan: So the question is whether they want it and what 
the conditions would be—like how wide, and the status of the civilians. 


> Bruno Kreisky, the Austrian Chancellor, led a mission of the Socialist Interna- 
tional through the Middle East in mid-March 1974. 


172 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


The second question is whether they want a limited-forces zone. 

Secretary Kissinger: It depends on whether they have enough 
forces! [Laughter] 

General Dayan: The main question is anti-aircraft missiles. We 
would have to take ours back. 

Secretary Kissinger: How many artillery do you have there? 

General Dayan: About 120 guns. 

Secretary Kissinger: Will you make sure, while we are negotiating, 
that you put more there than you want to leave? Quite seriously. 

General Dayan: We have 300 tanks there and want only 60. 

Secretary Kissinger: You said you have 360 on the Golan Heights. 

General Dayan: It depends on what you mean by the Golan 
Heights. This is all the Golan Heights. We would have to take them fur- 
ther back behind the 1967 line. 

Secretary Kissinger: Looking at the Syrian line, if you put your 
tanks—the 300—behind the old line, that is something they can 
understand. 

General Dayan: Whatever they are willing to do, we will do. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is fair enough. 

General Dayan: The number of tanks and the distances are the 
same for both parties. 

Secretary Kissinger: Let me give you my view. As a plan of disen- 
gagement of forces, I can’t argue with it. What are the arguments for 
Syrian disengagement? The arguments are not as militarily compelling 
as on the Egyptian front. Second, you are dealing with a country that 
will be even less reliable than Egypt. Third, you are dealing with a lead- 
ership that is less stable. 

The argument is a temporary neutralization of the most radical ele- 
ments; it gives the opportunity to take the Egyptians out of the negotia- 
tions altogether. Third, while it can’t prevent a war, it permits a war to 
start under conditions that help keep the others out. Fourth, the Soviets 
want this to fail to bring about a disintegration of our role in the Middle 
East. 

If this happens, the Soviets will accomplish not only the end of the 
American role but also the destruction of Sadat, which I think they are 
interested in. Second, the French are determined to see our role fail be- 
cause that is an obstacle to their policy in the Middle East. Third, Calla- 
ghan, whom I saw yesterday,° I could see was under pressure from the 


6 Kissinger met with James Callaghan on March 28. On March 5, Callaghan had 
been appointed British Foreign Minister after the Labour Party took power in the United 
Kingdom. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 173 


experts in the room. They [the new Labour Government] are 
well-intentioned but their ignorance is a problem. You saw their en- 
dorsement of the November 6 declaration on the Middle East.’ 

So we can’t afford a failure. And if the oil embargo is reimposed ... 

This plan—I have to consider whether even to present it. From ab- 
stract logic, you are reasonable. The civilians returning is reasonable. 
But these lines are impossible. We can present it only on the basis that 
something else can be done with you. I will be frank with you. The war 
may break out anyway, if the Soviets give a blank check, no matter 
what you do. But if I present this, war will break out. We will be 
discredited; Egypt will be discredited. 

I have told your Ambassador, some slice of the Golan Heights, in- 
cluding Quneitra, will have to be part of this arrangement. I know 
you're not authorized to discuss it here. You don’t have to discuss it. 
But one reason Iam going in so leisurely a pace is to let Israel reflect on 
it. 

As to the other aspects: I think it should include a UNEF zone. If 
they totally reject it, we have another problem. But it is to our advan- 
tage to have it as close to the Egyptian model as possible. Sadat can 
support it more easily. 

On first look, I like this idea of the zones. I think these numbers are 
much too high. But if you accept the principle that anything they will 
accept you'll accept, ... 

General Dayan: No, on Egypt, we agree to 60 tanks. 

Secretary Kissinger: You are giving me your fallback position on 
Egypt. When I was in Israel, Golda said she would die if there were any 
tanks. 

General Dayan: No, it is double the Egyptian. 

Secretary Kissinger: If you accept that principle, it is fine. If it is 
flexible, not a ceiling, I think we are fine. I have no reason to haggle 
with these figures. We will support symmetrical limits. 

We are back to the problem of where the line is. 

Asad has told me in innumerable conversations that the October 6 
line was unacceptable. All our intelligence indicates this is his position. 
Sadat took this position too. The Soviets told me their impression is 
what is needed is a small line beyond the October 6 line, and didn’t say 
they objected to that. 

General Dayan: Did the Soviets tell you they want the final lines? 


” The November 6 declaration was a European Community declaration calling for 
Israel to withdraw immediately to the October 22 cease-fire line. 


174 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: No, they didn’t mention it. We have to 
discuss, before Gromyko gets here, what we can give them. They men- 
tioned only the Palestinians in connection with the Geneva Conference. 
They might pay a price for it. 

You have to report to your Cabinet my strong conviction that it is 
very dangerous for me to present this line even to the man that comes 
here. I don’t say give him your final position, because if you do, he will 
have to reject it, to show how tough he is. 

General Dayan: One point: We are now keeping the old Syrian po- 
sitions on Mt. Hermon and we suggest we will hand them over to 
UNEF. 


Secretary Kissinger: To present this line will produce a war. It will 
certainly produce a war. What do you think, Joe? 


Mr. Sisco: That is what worries me the most. 

Secretary Kissinger: It will produce a war and almost certainly 
eliminate us from the negotiation. 

We have an urgent request from Sadat for food grains which the 
Russians have cut off. Someone told me he made an anti-Soviet 
statement. 


Mr. Sisco: In a Beirut interview, he said that the Soviets told him a 
lie during the war, that the Syrians had agreed to a ceasefire. 


Minister Shalev: October 13. 


Mr. Sisco: He cabled to Asad who said no, they hadn’t. So he ac- 
cused the Soviets and Vinogradov of double-dealing. 

General Dayan: On the Syrian front, we are very worried. We hear 
the Egyptians will send 34,000 troops, commandos, there. This infor- 
mation repeated itself several times. There are Cubans there, out front, 
manning tanks there with others. There are some pilots from Pakistan, 
from Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. So there is quite a mixture of interna- 
tional brigades—mostly from Arab countries, and they all came to 
fight, not to be stationed there. What worries us is the ones from Com- 
munist countries who are not Arabs—this is new: North Korea, Cuba, 
Poland, East Germany. 

Secretary Kissinger: But this strengthens my argument, really, that 
it is essential we make a major effort to keep this from being stirred up. 
Ihave told you this. What I have said is, it has to include Quneitra and 
some line parallel. There will be no American pressure to give up settle- 
ments. I think it is 60-40 Asad will accept it, but whether his Govern- 
ment will is another problem. 

The problem is how to deal with the Soviets. With Jackson and the 
Congress, we can’t say to them they will lose détente if they don’t be- 
have, because our Congress is wrecking it anyway. On SALT, we are 
giving up nothing; we are offering them nothing. All Dinitz’s brigade is 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 175 


writing profound articles on SALT. Iam not blaming you. And we are 
squeezing them in the Middle East. So if I tell them they are threatening 
détente, they will say, what? I am very worried about the Soviets. 

Can we do something to get them to cooperate if we give them the 
line as I suggest? I think we can do it if we get Boumedienne lined up. If 
I gave this line to Asad, he would switch completely to a destructive 
line. 

I know you have no possibility to change it now, but you should 
report to the Cabinet what I am saying. 

General Dayan: I want to say one thing about the timetable: It has 
been going on for a month now. If we have an intensive negotiation, it 
is at the end of April. 

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t want an intensive negotiation now 
before Asad goes to Moscow. I will write to Sadat tomorrow;’ I won’t 
present details but an attitude. I will tell him to use his influence to get 
the military activity to stop. 

General Dayan: Will it affect the Egyptian front? 

Secretary Kissinger: I will tell him (a) to use his influence on the 
Syrian front, and (b) not to join a war, provided Israel doesn’t do any- 
thing wild. 

We will talk about it again tomorrow. Because if we get squeezed 
out of the negotiations now, we have an unfortunate combination of 
circumstances—the Russians, the French, the British Foreign Office, 
and the Germans, who are shaky. We are keeping them out only by the 
illusion of success. And Dinitz’s brigade, who want now to undermine 
our foreign policy ... If on top of that the Middle East blows up next 
month, you will have a combination of desperate men, infuriated So- 
viets, French eager for our failure, the British civil servants, who are al- 
ready pushing Callaghan in a certain direction ... 

General Dayan: I am scheduled to be on “Meet the Press” Sunday. 
Is there any objection if I mention the Cubans there? Because it is a fact. 

Secretary Kissinger: Bebe Rebozo’ will love you. Let’s have lunch. 

[The party moved to the Eighth Floor and continued the conversa- 
tion at lunch] 

Ambassador Dinitz: The General’s problem is that we have to give 
Siilasvuo an answer. 

Secretary Kissinger: You will have the photos next week. We will 
fly at the very end of the period the Egyptians gave us. 


8 Apparently a reference to a message transmitted in telegram 64526 to Cairo, 
March 30. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850038-2011) 

° Bebe Rebozo was the son of Cuban immigrants who became a wealthy banker and 
close friend of President Nixon. 


176 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


General Dayan: I will be challenged very hard in the Parliament. 
One aspect is the promise; the other is the finding. 

I will have to go Tuesday afternoon to say something and we will 
have to rely on our own checking. 

Secretary Kissinger: On Wednesday, the photographs will show, 
and you will be okay. 

I think it would be suicidal for you at this complex point to take on 
the Egyptians, when we have these assurances. Over an issue that is es- 
sentially trivial. It is not like 1970. 

General Dayan: It is not the Government; it is the opposition! 

Secretary Kissinger: Then they will have to be faced down. 

General Dayan: I will have to say I believe that by the end of next 
week they [the extra Egyptian guns] will be removed. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is all right. 

General Dayan: But I would have to mention Siilasvuo. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will get in touch with Sadat. I am extremely 
reluctant to make an American statement on this without checking 
with the Egyptians. 

Maybe they will have removed it by then. Although this doesn’t 
quite solve your problem. 

Iam sure I can get a formal assurance that they will be out by next 
week. We already have the formal assurance from [War Minister] Is- 
mail, who has been more of a problem than Sadat. 

General Dayan: On the prisoners, I wonder if we can get an imme- 
diate exchange of wounded in accordance with the Geneva Conven- 
tion. We just got a report from the Red Cross that two are in hospital 
and are getting operations. We don’t think they have the best surgeons. 

Secretary Kissinger: The Red Cross knows how many wounded 
you have? 

General Dayan: Yes. About 30-40 wounded in Israel, in the class 
that should be returned right away. And could they give us the names 
of about 18 who were killed there, and let us recover the bodies? And 
we would give them three Syrians killed in Israel. 

And if the Syrian civilians come back, it will have to include the ex- 
change of prisoners. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, that will have to. 

General Dayan: And the Jews in Syria—if they can let them out... 

Secretary Kissinger: He has told me so many times they were well 
treated, he would be offended. I didn’t realize why they didn’t leave 
until you told me they weren't allowed to leave. 

Frankly, I should raise this at the end of the negotiation, not during 
it. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 177 


General Dayan: Would the Russians get involved, or wouldn’t 
they touch it? 

Secretary Kissinger: The Russians will pay a heavy price to get in- 
volved, and for that they might even support the line Iam proposing— 
not your line. But I am not eager to let the Russians into the room. Be- 
cause I am not sure what Israel and Syria will do in a room together that 
won't be disastrous. 

General Dayan: I was negotiating with a Syrian in 1948—and an- 
other Syrian came over and said, “What are you two Jews conspiring 
about?” Because he was Jewish; I hadn’t known it. 

We have word the Russians are delaying the return of their ci- 
vilians to Syria. 

Secretary Kissinger: I am uneasy because the last time Brezhnev 
yielded so easily was after June [1973] in San Clemente’? when it was 
followed by massive arms shipment to the Middle East and no real re- 
straint. So maybe I faced him down; but maybe they are about to do 
something. 

General Dayan: Did the Russians promise to help? 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know. For letting a Russian into the 
Conference, we could get quite a few concessions. On Syrian Jews, I 
don’t know. For the line I suggested, it is almost certain. 

Brezhnev had a map of the disengagement things once—which he 
never produced. When he was showing me other maps, I saw it. From a 
quick glimpse, it looked like the October 6 line plus the salient. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Do you have any information about Egyptian 
contingents being sent to Syria? 

Secretary Kissinger: No. It strikes me as improbable. And if it is so, 
they are being sent there to restrain them. 

Mr. Sisco: They would have informed you. 

Ambassador Dinitz: It seems improbable too, but we have re- 
peated intelligence. 

General Dayan: The rationale would be he wants to keep his own 
line quiet and show solidarity with Syria. He doesn’t want his own 
front flared up. 

Secretary Kissinger: No. 

General Dayan: They have opened up the Morgan oil field."’ 


10 Brezhnev visited the United States for a nine-day trip from June 16 to June 24, 
1973, which concluded with a meeting at Nixon’s home in San Clemente, California. Doc- 
umentation on the talks, which included lengthy discussions of the Middle East, is in For- 
eign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972—August 1974. 

™ The Morgan oil field is in the Gulf of Suez. 


178 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Ambassador Dinitz: You will have, in addition to minesweeping, 
other units of the Sixth Fleet there? 
Secretary Kissinger: No. 


Ambassador Dinitz: Zumwalt” will say he has not enough ships to 
put there! 


General Dayan: I saw a letter in the Washington Post asking if you 
are getting money from the Europeans for opening the Canal, since 
they get the benefit. 


Secretary Kissinger: The Russians don’t get all that much benefit 
from it, and we can send carriers through too. This is one of the cheap 
insanities the intellectual community is now engaged in. This isn’t a 
great period to conduct American foreign policy. 


Do you as a military man think it makes any difference? 

General Dayan: If it shortens the lines for ships in the Indian 
Ocean. As an infantry man, I don’t take the navy very seriously 
anyway. [Laughter] 

Do they have an aircraft carrier? 

Secretary Kissinger: They have a helicopter carrier. 

General Dayan: What kind of helicopter do they have? Like the 
Cobra,’ of course. 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know. 


General Dayan: The New York Times said the Russian equipment 
was better than American in the October war. Our people didn’t like 
that. 


Secretary Kissinger: Is that true? 
General Dayan: Regarding anti-aircraft missiles, yes. 


Secretary Kissinger: We were too busy designing planes which 
play the national anthem of the country over which they are flying. 


Ambassador Dinitz: How about the armored personnel carrier? 

General Dayan: The American ones are better—there is such a va- 
riety of missiles attached, it is not a simple personnel carrier. 

We don’t think very much of the new Russian tank, by the way. 

Secretary Kissinger: Really? 

General Dayan: We were expecting something more efficient and 
with better armor. There is not much difference between the T—-62 and 
the earlier one. Not basically. We thought it would be of a new genera- 


22 Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. was Chief of Naval Operations from July 1970 
until July 1974. 
13 The Cobra is an attack helicopter made by Bell Helicopter Textron. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 179 


tion that would cause new problems. Not that it is not a good tank, but 
it is nothing special. 

Secretary Kissinger: Why does it require special training? 

General Dayan: It has night-aiming, and anti-infrared, and a lot of 
new devices. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Is there any progress on Soviet Jewry? 

Secretary Kissinger: I want to discuss that with you. 

We are now in a suicidal period of American foreign policy. In 
Vietnam, $200 million stands between us and guaranteeing South Viet- 
namese survival. $200 million caused by inflation and oil. We fought 
there for ten years, with a loss of 50,000 men—and now we can’t get it. 

On MFN—if we get that, then we have the problem of credits. I 
must say, negotiating with the Russians as American Secretary of State, 
we really have nothing to offer. 

No sooner will détente end than they will all switch to the left of 
us. Once they have the assurance there will be no SALT agreement, 
they will point out that we have 15,000 warheads overkill. 

General Dayan: Is the oil embargo lifted completely? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.'* 

General Dayan: Sadat got his way on the postponement of the 
Arab summit.’° 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. That is why we have to get something on 
the Syrian front. 

Mr. Sisco: Our Israeli friends can be helpful there, in your interest 
as well as ours. 

General Dayan: We don’t want escalation on the Syrian front; but if 
it increases ... So far, they are not shelling settlements, only military 
positions. But if one commander some day decides to shell a settlement, 
there will be an outcry. Everything might happen. 

Mr. Atherton: What have your casualties been? 

General Dayan: Last night there was one dead and one wounded. 
In a month, not many—five killed and five wounded in a month. 

Ambassador Dinitz: But there is growing sentiment to retaliate. 

Secretary Kissinger: I understand the situation. In many ways the 
Syrians are the hinge. That is why the Soviets are so nervous. Once the 
Syrians reach an agreement ... 

Ambassador Dinitz: Then they will work on the Palestinians. 


14 The embargo ended on March 17. 


15 Apparently a reference to the Seventh Arab League Summit Conference at Rabat, 
Morocco, which was held in October 1974. See Document 112. 


180 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: But there is no obvious confrontation aspect. 
The Saudis and the Egyptians will have a good alibi to keep things 
quiet; they will have a vested interest. 

Ambassador Dinitz: If the Russians tell the Syrians: “Accept that 
line but in a month we will be behind you on the ’67 line.” 

Secretary Kissinger: That will be true on any line. 

General Dayan: The Russians asked for immediate opening of the 
Geneva Conference? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, and to have the Syrian disengagement 
discussions there, and in a room with the United States and the Soviets, 
the Egyptians and Syrians and Israelis. It has a number of advantages: 
It puts the Egyptians on the spot. If the Egyptians don’t back the 
Syrians, or if they do. 

The only possibility for us is to tell the Syrians, “If you play with us 
you will get something; if you don’t you will get nothing.” The only 
other possibility is, if there is an agreement, to let them ratify it. But let- 
ting them in will be too dangerous. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Did they raise the question of resuming diplo- 
matic relations with us? 

Secretary Kissinger: Not in Moscow. But Dobrynin did in the week 
before. I found him, in the week before, somewhat misleading. Some of 
the press problem is from briefings by him. 

Has your Foreign Minister decided to come to the UN? 

Ambassador Dinitz: He has not decided yet. It depends on who 
else is coming. 

Secretary Kissinger: What Time said [about Eban’s low standing] 
won't help. 

Ambassador Dinitz: That came from an Israeli source. That article 
[about Kissinger] came out all right. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

Ambassador Dinitz: There is another one coming in the New 
Republic. 

Secretary Kissinger: That won’t come out so well. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Not as well, but not bad. 

Secretary Kissinger: Really? 

General Dayan: Is there anyone in America who is not a newspa- 
perman? [to Dinitz:] Not that you know. [Laughter] 

Ambassador Dinitz: After we spoke to you about the need to play 
down Egyptian violations, you know Marilyn Berger'® physically 


16 Marilyn Berger was a staff writer for the Washington Post. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 181 


changed the headline from “Gross Egyptian Violations” to “Diplomatic 
sources play down violations.” 

That is because I told her. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is more than I could do. 

Ambassador Dinitz: You should have had me in Moscow with 
you. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. The situation is not so gloomy, or it is 
gloomy but not because of what happened there but because of the stu- 
pidities here. They constantly altered the schedule, and so on, but that 
is no different from the way it has been on previous pre-summit 
meetings there. 

The underlying reality is gloomy because we are facing these 
brutal bastards with nothing to offer them. 

Ambassador Dinitz: What do you think is Brezhnev’s situation 
with respect to the war party there? 

Secretary Kissinger: The only thing different was that he stuck reli- 
giously to a talking paper. Either he will be replaced by the right or he 
will shift to the right. 

Mr. Sisco: What will determine the situation? SALT? 

Secretary Kissinger: On SALT we will have nothing. Given Jackson 
and our Armed Services Committee. Economic things would help. On 
the Middle East they need a little face-saver. Well, more than a 
face-saver. They want a dominant position in Syria. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Is it hurt pride, or are they afraid of you get- 
ting a position in Syria like in Egypt? 

Secretary Kissinger: They should see, if they are intelligent, that we 
will be in much more difficult negotiations a year from now. So part of 
it is hurt pride. 

General Dayan: Egypt is more important to them than Syria. 

Secretary Kissinger: Egypt they have already lost. Unless they can 
get rid of Sadat. 

General Dayan: They might try it. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is why they want the Syrian thing to fail; 
it discredits both the U.S. and Sadat. 

It is unfortunate this happens at a time when China is paralyzed. 
We can’t use China to scare them. We have no moves to make to China. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Fahmi is the big man now. 

Secretary Kissinger: Hafiz Ismail will be sent to Moscow. 

General Dayan: If there is anything Sadat wants us to do to avoid 
embarrassing him, I suppose we should do it. 

Secretary Kissinger: Military trainees! 


182 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mr. Sisco: What would you recommend, Mr. Secretary, to the Min- 
ister to say on “Meet the Press?” He will get asked, “Are there viola- 
tions?” “If so, what are you going to do?” 


General Dayan: I will say we had a dispute about the number that 
should have been left, because it was expressed in units rather than in 
numbers, but we think it will be corrected. 


Secretary Kissinger: Good. On disengagement, you can say you 
brought a plan. 


General Dayan: And we will meet tomorrow. 


Secretary Kissinger: Yes. We should say it was a constructive talk, 
and we are hopeful. 


Can I say you accepted my offer to return as Defense Minister? 
[Laughter] 

General Dayan: Can you find out about the Egyptian troops in 
Syria? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, I will. I don’t want to deal with the people 
who are in Egypt now; I want to send our Ambassador to see Sadat. 

Ambassador Dinitz: He [Sadat] is in Yugoslavia now. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

I don’t know whether I need to propose a toast to someone who is 
a friend as well as an ally. But I want to express our hope we can bring 
this to a successful conclusion. 

General Dayan: Yes. Thank you. 

We will be asked whether these Egyptian guns were discussed 
today. 

Secretary Kissinger: You can say it was discussed. 


General Dayan: And if you can, by the time I am home, give me 
some formula I can use. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. We won’t have an answer until 
Monday."” 

Sisco will be at the throttle. He was last week. 


Mr. Sisco: I must say, Mr. Secretary, I didn’t really feel you were 
ever away! 


Secretary Kissinger: Ellsworth, we really have to send you to Ge- 
neva. Vinogradov was there in Moscow. You really have to keep him 
company there, doing nothing with him. 


Mr. Sisco: That is the only job he has now. 
Secretary Kissinger: Because Sadat would not let him back. 


1 April 1. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 183 


When we put in for economic aid for Egypt, we may need your 
help. 

Ambassador Dinitz: That presupposes our economic aid will be 
solved by then. [Laughter] 


Secretary Kissinger: Before I leave, I am going to get you declared 
PNG. 


General Dayan: Will we get the full $1.5 billion in grant? 
Secretary Kissinger: That will be settled in the next week. 
General Dayan: After Sadat comes back. [Laughter] 

Secretary Kissinger: He hasn’t approved it yet! 

The question is a presentational one. The determination made is 


not final. If we said all of the $1.5 is to be a loan, he would have the right 
to retroactively make it grant even if the initial determination is loan. 

Ambassador Dinitz: But we hope it won’t be this way. 

Secretary Kissinger: No. 

Ambassador Dinitz: We don’t want our credits made into a grant. 
Because our policy is to pay all our loans. It would look like forgiving a 
loan. 

Has the President finalized his Middle East trip plans? Because we 
get many reports. 

Secretary Kissinger: No. You will be the first to know. It depends 
on many domestic things, and he can’t go while Syrian disengagement 
is unsettled. It would put him under too many pressures. 

Ambassador Dinitz: Al-Ahram'® keeps saying May. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is the intention. If we get a Syrian disen- 
gagement done, we can aim at the last third of May. 

General Dayan: Will we meet tomorrow? 

Secretary Kissinger: Make it 9:30." 

[The luncheon then ended. Kissinger and Dinitz meet alone in the 
Secretary’s office from 2:45-3:00. The Secretary and the Minister then 
went down to the Main Lobby together to face the press.] 


18 Al-Ahram is a daily Arab newspaper based in Cairo. 

! Kissinger met with Dayan on March 30 from 9:50 until 11:05 a.m. in the Secre- 
tary’s office at the Department of State. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry 
Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 5) 


184 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


33. Letter From Secretary of State Kissinger to Israeli Prime 
Minister Meir! 


Washington, April 3, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 

I have just completed detailed discussions with Defense Minister 
Dayan? who presented the views of your government on the question 
of Israeli-Syrian disengagement. I know that Minister Dayan will be re- 
porting to you and members of the Cabinet fully regarding our talks, 
but I feel that it is essential that I communicate with you directly on 
how I see the situation which faces Israel and the United States at this 
critical juncture. You know from our previous discussions that I believe 
that if a disengagement agreement is achieved between Syria and Is- 
rael, it is likely to last for some time, provided military restraint is 
maintained on both sides. 

I understand fully from my talks with Minister Dayan the consid- 
erations that went into the development of the current Israeli proposal 
on Syrian-Israeli disengagement. I appreciate that it represents a fur- 
ther evolution in the Israeli thinking on this matter and contains a 
number of positive features. 

However, in the spirit of friendship and candor which has been 
characteristic of our discussions, as well as the intimate and special re- 
lationship that exists between Israel and the United States, I must 
convey to you my deepest concern over a number of important aspects 
of the Israeli proposal, particularly as it relates to the line to which Is- 
rael would withdraw. 

As presently formulated, I believe the plan has no chance of being 
accepted by the Syrians and is likely to result in a break in the talks with 
a possibility—and in my honest judgment—a probability, that war 
again would break out, at least between Syria and Israel. I express this 
judgment with a heavy heart. 

In addition, such a break in the talks would take place on condi- 
tions most difficult for Israel and the United States. The efforts of the 
U.S. would be largely discredited; the Soviets would be provided with 
an unparalleled opportunity to recoup their losses in the area and to re- 
convene the Geneva Conference and through it establish for them- 
selves a role of the kind which they have to date been denied by the 
Arabs themselves. The Europeans would be strengthened in their 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. Secret. 
2 See Document 32. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 185 


pro-Arab course. The oil embargo would probably be reinstated. Egypt 
would be isolated and weakened in its resolve to stay out of future con- 
flict. The positive trend which the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement 
agreement has brought about would be reversed, and much of what 
has been accomplished over the past months fundamentally 
undermined. 


You will recall that in my conversations with you I outlined what I 
believe is needed in order to give hope that an agreement can be 
achieved*—an agreement which would protect the security interests of 
Israel, would leave untouched Israeli settlements, and would provide 
the only sensible alternative to war. I explained to Minister Dayan as I 
did to you in my talks in Jerusalem, that what is required is an Israeli 
proposal that provides for Israeli withdrawal along the lines I ex- 
plained to General Dayan but not to include any Israeli settlements. 
This will enable us to obtain support from other Arab countries. I do 
not know whether Syria would find this acceptable, but I am confident 
that with such an Israeli proposal, put forward on the basis of agreed 
tactics between us, the capacity of the Soviet Union to be successfully 
troublesome would be reduced. It would provide President Assad with 
an alternative to war while placing whatever territory Israel gives up 
under the control of UNEF, it would sustain our mutual efforts, and it 
would avoid giving additional ammunition to those European coun- 
tries who seem poised today to inject themselves unhelpfully into the 
situation should present efforts fail to achieve agreement. 

Madame Prime Minister, I am writing to you in all solemnity be- 
cause I am convinced that we are now reaching a very critical point. I 
know there are varying views in Israel on this matter. I believe I under- 
stand the concerns, the worries, the anguish which all Israelis feel that 
nothing should be done which could affect adversely Israel’s security. 
It is a grave and awesome responsibility—a responsibility which you 
have long carried with great courage and distinction. I know your fer- 
vent desire for peace, your fervent hope that not one more Israeli ever 
be lost in another war. Because I know that you fully realize this, Iam 
writing to you at this point to urge you to reconsider on an urgent basis 
the proposal that has been conveyed to us and to consider seriously 
and give weight to the views I have expressed in this letter. In doing so, 
I would ask that your government look at the totality of the strategic 
and political considerations I have outlined and not the military aspects 
alone. 

As you know, I will be seeing the Syrian representative about 
April 11 or 12. Ido not ask you to formulate a new Israeli proposal for 


3 See Document 28. 


186 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


these meetings. However, I am most fearful that presenting your cur- 
rent ideas will have the serious results which I have described in this 
letter unless I can at least offer in the talks some hope that we can ex- 
pect a further progression of your views by the time I come to the area, 
in the latter part of April. 

I would appreciate hearing from you before my talks with the 
Syrians here in Washington.* 

With warm regards and respect, 


Henry A. Kissinger? 


* Prime Minister Meir replied to Kissinger’s letter on April 9, stating that the pro- 
posal presented by Dayan during his visit to Washington “reflects the position of the Is- 
rael Government.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissin- 
ger Office Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974) 


5 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. 


34. Editorial Note 


On April 11, 1974, three members of the Popular Front for the Lib- 
eration of Palestine-General Command attacked the Israeli town of 
Kiryat Shmona near the border with Lebanon. The PFLP-GC members 
killed eighteen Israeli civilians in an apartment building, and all three 
attackers were later killed that day by Israeli forces in a shootout. (New 
York Times, April 12, 1974, p. 65) On April 12, Israel launched retaliatory 
attacks against six Lebanese villages bordering Israel and destroyed the 
houses of residents suspected of sheltering Arab guerrillas. (Ibid., April 
13, 1974, p. 1) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 187 


35. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Washington, April 13, 1974, 10:40 a.m—12:23 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Brigadier Hikmat al-Shihabi, Syrian Army, Chief of Staff for Intelligence 
Dr. Sabah Kabbani, Chief of Syrian Interests Section 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State 

Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large 

Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary-Designate for Near Eastern and South 
Asian Affairs 

Harold S. Saunders, NSC Senior Staff 

Camille Nowfel, Interpreter 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


[Photographers were admitted briefly as Secretary Kissinger 
greeted Brigadier Shihabi in his office.] 

[After the photographers departed, the Secretary introduced the 
members of the American side. The reasons for the large number, he 
said, were two: First, his own colleagues did not fully trust him. 
Second, decisions in this conversation would be taken by majority vote. 
“Tl probably lose,” he added.] 

Secretary Kissinger: What I thought we should do is review the 
evolution of where we are with the Israelis, and where we should go, 
with great precision. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: There are a number of things to keep in mind 
about the Israelis. In the Arab world I know there is the view that the 
Israelis are terribly clever and everything is thought out. Our experi- 
ence with the Israelis is that it is a very divided government, with about 
ten Cabinet members who think they should be Prime Minister. In fact 
Israel is one of the few countries in the world where you insult a man 
by offering him a Cabinet position—because he usually thinks he is en- 
titled to more. It is the opposite of the State Department, where all my 
State Department friends know I am unqualified for the Foreign Serv- 
ice and the only way I could get a job in this building is as Secretary of 
State. [Laughter] 

What this means is that on almost any issue in Israel it is almost 
impossible to have a rational debate on the overall strategy. The more 


1Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1028, 
Presidential/ HAK Memcons, March 1—May 8, 1974, Folder 2. Secret; Nodis. The meeting 
took place in the Secretary’s office. Brackets are in the original. 


188 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


general your idea is, the more you unite all the factions against it. Sec- 
ondly—I want to give you an explanation of our strategy, then we can 
get into specifics—it is no secret that there are pressure groups in this 
country who work together with the Israelis. What we have to prevent 
is a coalescence of all these forces. 


Therefore our strategy with these negotiations is to move one step 
at a time. We ask the Israelis to make one decision; then we ask them to 
make another decision; then we move them step by step towards the 
objective. 

Let me explain the Egyptian case, as I began to do yesterday.” We 
had no contact with the Syrians at all at that time. We asked Israel to 
discuss with us the October 22 line. They absolutely refused, and I re- 
ceived on one weekend thirty phone calls from Members of Congress 
who—at that time they said we were doing it with the Russians. And 
also a newspaper campaign started. So I decided not to fight that issue 
right away, and to get myself organized first. By the end of November 
they were willing to discuss disengagement. By mid-December they 
were willing to leave the West Bank of the Canal—you remember they 
had a bridgehead—but only if all the territory they left were turned 
over to the UN. We rejected that. Then they said half the territory could 
go to Egypt. As late as when I went to Aswan the first time, they said 
they were willing to give Egypt two-thirds of the territory on the West 
Bank but they had to have the bridgehead across the Canal. 

So it was not until the last three days of the negotiation that we got 
them to go back to where they did. 


It is the same with Syria. This you have to understand. 

Brigadier Shihabi: As you have pointed out, Mr. Secretary, moving 
forward towards the objective step by step may be the best way. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will show you the latest proposal; I will first 
explain their first proposal. 

Brigadier Shihabi: I would like to point out that time is of the es- 
sence in this respect. 

Secretary Kissinger: I agree with you. And our intention is that I 
plan to come to the Middle East during the last days of April. I will fix a 
date after you have left. Then within a week ... I hope on my next trip 
to come to a final settlement. By May 10th. Maybe earlier. At any rate, 
when I go to the Middle East, I hope we will come to a conclusion. And 
I would travel back and forth between Damascus and Israel for as long 
as is necessary. Unless President Asad wants to meet in Palmyra. 


? According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, there was no meeting with Shihabi 
the previous day. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, 
Miscellany, 1968-76) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 189 


Brigadier Shihabi: Any place you would like to meet, we would be 
pleased to arrange for you, Mr. Secretary. 

What I wanted to point out with respect to time is, if we keep the 
situation as frozen as it has been, we are likely to bring about that what 
has been achieved might be misconstrued in a way jeopardizing to all 
that has been achieved. 

Secretary Kissinger: But in two weeks? I plan to leave two weeks 
from today or tomorrow. 

Brigadier Shihabi: This is good, Mr. Secretary. But I wanted to 
point it out because of the importance of time. 


Secretary Kissinger: We need two weeks. I would like to have the 
situation prepared once I am out there. I do not want them to have me 
sitting in Jerusalem looking impotent. We will leave during the 
weekend two weeks from now. And I will go certainly to Israel before 
Damascus, to get their [proposals]. 

I will of course keep you closely informed. Also I will keep you in- 
formed of any conversations we have with anybody bearing on this 
subject. And we will not discuss anything with any Arab country that 
you do not know about—concerning Syria. Because it is not in our in- 
terest to create any misunderstandings in the Arab world. 

Let me explain where we were in the Israeli position. 

When I was in Israel—when was it?—in the first part of March,’ 
their proposal was that they would give up half of the salient, and the 
other half was to be put under the United Nations. And that no ci- 
vilians could return into the area. So we did not even present this to 
President Asad, because I did not want to insult him. 

We then said that, one, whatever territory they withdraw from, the 
civilians should return. So that is a condition as far as we are concerned, 
and I assume it is a condition as far as you are concerned. 

Second, we could not ask you to accept restrictions on your side 
that they would not accept on their side. In other words, there had to be 
an equitable arrangement. 

Thirdly, we told them they had to make a much more substantial 
withdrawal than just part of the salient. 

Then they sent Dayan over here, and presented a plan that ac- 
cepted two of our proposals.* So I am just showing you there is 
progress. One, they agreed that civilians can return to whatever area 
they withdrew from, and Syrian civil administration can return. And 
second, the restrictions on their side of the line would be the same as on 


2 Kissinger met with Israeli leaders in Israel on March 1. See Document 28. 
4 See Document 32. 


190 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


your side. And they gave us a line further back than the first one. In 
fact, it is almost the October 6 line, not exactly. I will show it to you ina 
minute. 


I then had a private talk with Dayan—what I say, you know, 
should go only to the President, because it would be very unfortunate if 
it got into the newspapers—and I told him in my judgment it was im- 
possible for President Asad to settle for the October 6 line, and there 
had to be some change beyond the October 6 line. And I told him we 
would be quite sympathetic to this point of view, but others, like Rabin, 
are opposed. 

So after I returned I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in which I 
made this point very strongly. And she replied and did not reject it. She 
did not accept it either.” But they know that when I go out there I am 
not going to accept this line. 

We have to move these things [the line] further over. But the ci- 
vilians returning, Syrian civil administration, and symmetrical restric- 
tions—that we have achieved. 

You know the problem for them is very difficult. Because for them 
the Golan is a much more emotional issue than the Sinai. So maybe if I 
get blown up in the Middle East, it will be in Jerusalem, not in Da- 
mascus. [Laughter] 

Brigadier Shihabi: We are aware of the fact that security measures 
have to be... 

Secretary Kissinger: I meant it as a joke. 

Brigadier Shihabi: You may not be concerned about your safety as 
a person, but in view of your importance to the world at large, every 
measure will be taken. 

Secretary Kissinger: I will have a difficult time. Because the person 
whom we relied on, Dayan, has been severely weakened. And the 
Prime Minister—she is not very imaginative, but once she makes up 
her mind, she can be quite courageous—has also been weakened. Eban 
has no influence. Allon lives in a settlement near the Syrian border, so 
he is... not very fond of Syria. [They smile.] I want to be realistic. The 
Chief of Staff, who was very helpful on the Egyptian side, has just been 
dismissed. 

But that is my problem. Iam determined to produce a settlement. I 
have always told your President that I do not think I can achieve the 
line he proposed. But I will achieve the maximum line that is possible. 
And it will have to be beyond the October 6 line. And it has to include 
Quneitra. 


5 See Document 33 and footnote 4 thereto. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 191 


So let me show you what they have given us. You should not get 
too upset [laughter] because ... 


[They get up and go over to the table to examine the Israeli map 
brought by Dayan on March 29. Tab A]° 

They did not tell me I could pass this over to you, so we will just 
use it for discussion. 

[Pointing out on the map:] This is the October 6 line. They want to 
make this the UN zone. Civilians can return up to this line [including 
the UN zone] and Syrian civil administration can be introduced here. 

Then they accepted the same basic principle as with the Egyptians, 
that is, various zones, with limited forces. For example, in this zone 
there will be two infantry battalions, 60 tanks, and 3,000 men. And the 
same here [on the opposite side]. In this zone—which is the same dis- 
tance on both sides—there can be that many [indicates numbers in table 
at the bottom of the map]. 

I told them these forces seemed very large to me for up there. They 
told me they were prepared to negotiate. They do not insist on these 
figures. At any rate, they accept the principle that the figures should be 
the same on both sides. 

As Isaid, this zone will have to be moved here, and that, of course, 
would move the separation zones over here [westward]. What they did 
here [in the southern sector] is to take the old demilitarized zone; they 
want to put the UN into the old demilitarized zone, but Syrian civil 
administration. 

I have the impression that President Asad would not accept this— 
or am I wrong? [Laughter] 

I am not even going to present this. 

Brigadier Shihabi: I believe it would be preferable not to present 
this to him. 

Secretary Kissinger: I won’t present it to him. The thing to re- 
member about this is not whether it is acceptable—it is not accept- 
able—but that it is the first proposal that one can even discuss, in terms 
of ideas, for example, the symmetry of limitations. Now the problem is 
to move the line over here [to the west]. Then the size of forces, and so 
forth, we should discuss later. 

President Asad told me he agreed to the idea that forces should be 
limited on both sides of the line. Or did I misunderstand him? 

Brigadier Shihabi: In principle, the question is discussable and ne- 
gotiable, and some settlement along these lines can be reached. 


6 Tab A is Appendix A, Map 1. 


192 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: I agree. I think these figures are ridiculous. 
But it is up to you. I personally do not think they need one infantry di- 
vision and one armor division in this zone. And I said this to Dayan, 
and I had the impression that he is prepared to lower this. 

Your problem is that you scared them so much on October 6 that 
they are no longer so self-confident. [Laughter] 

In that week—it was my first week here—the intelligence people 
in the State Department, the Sunday before October 6, told me about 
your deployment of tanks. To me the deployment of your tanks looked 
like you were getting ready to attack. So I asked the Israelis, and they 
said, “Impossible. The Syrians can never attack. It is impossible.” I 
asked them three more times that week, and each time they told me it 
could not happen. 

So that was quite a shocking event. This is their present concept, 
but I will not present this concept in Damascus. 

Brigadier Shihabi: As much as this plan will not be presented, I see 
no need to go into a detailed discussion of it. But my first impression is 
that it does not represent a real disengagement between the forces of 
both sides. It does not indicate a desire on the other side for real with- 
drawal and consequently a real move in the direction of peace. 

In addition, this plan seems to impose a relinquishing of sover- 
eignty over more areas of our own territory. The defense of Damascus 
would be weakened. [He points to the limitation line farthest to the 
east.] 

Secretary Kissinger: This line has to do with missiles. This line [the 
other] refers to forces. 

Brigadier Shihabi: A plan like this can by no manner or means be 
acceptable. And you are right, Mr. Secretary, it would be pointless to 
present it to the Syrian Government. 

Secretary Kissinger: I understand the line is unacceptable too. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Yes, it is not acceptable in any respect—because 
it is not disengagement, it is relinquishing sovereignty and it is not a 
real move to peace. 

Secretary Kissinger: But there are two problems—one is the line 
and the other is these zones. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Also, the lines are very far from being 
acceptable. 

Secretary Kissinger: What I want to understand is this concept— 
even if the lines are moved over here—of limited armament like on the 
Egyptian side—whether that concept is acceptable. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Yes, the concept of defining areas on both sides 
equal in size and limiting the numbers of forces in these parallel areas is 
acceptable. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 193 


Secretary Kissinger: It is acceptable. 

Brigadier Shihabi: It is acceptable in so far as negotiating this point 
is concerned. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, we are not talking about numbers. And 
this concept of two zones, with light and limited forces, on the Egyptian 
model? 

Brigadier Shihabi: It would be better, rather than two zones, [to 
have] one zone, in which there would be a reduction of forces on the 
two sides. 

Secretary Kissinger: I would have to discuss this with the Israelis. 
They think more along the Egyptian lines. You think more in terms of 
one zone. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: The next question is what is your view about a 
UN force? With the understanding that Syria would administer the civ- 
il administration in that area. It would be Syrian sovereignty but a UN 
force. 

Brigadier Shihabi: As you realize, Mr. Secretary, the best guarantee 
of peace is to have a real desire and move in the direction of peace. 

Secretary Kissinger: Right. 

Brigadier Shihabi: The Golan area differs in many respects from 
the Sinai area. 

[Everyone is seated.] 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think looking at the map will improve 
his disposition. [Laughter] 

Brigadier Shihabi: It differs in terms of terrain. And Golan is a pop- 
ulated area. There are 273 populated towns there. The population is be- 
tween 170,000 and 180,000. It is small in terms of area. All these factors 
make it necessary to look at it differently from the Sinai with regard to 
the presence of an international force. In our estimate, the presence of 
UN observers would be more appropriate as far as the Golan is 
concerned. 

Secretary Kissinger: It would ease matters greatly if we could have 
a UN force there. But it need not be extremely large. 

[To Sisco:] Have we ever made an estimate of what is needed? 
There are 8,000 people in the Sinai, but that is a much longer line. 

Under Secretary Sisco: No, we have not. 

Brigadier Shihabi: In our opinion, Mr. Secretary, as long as either 
of the parties does not have a desire for peace, the presence of any 
emergency force, whatever the size, is useless. 

Secretary Kissinger: I agree that if either side wants to go to war, it 
can go to war. 


194 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Brigadier Shihabi: The nature of the area, the fact it is populated, 
and third, the fact that the Syrian people are raised in such a way that 
they are not willing to have a foreign force on their territory, make 
them unwilling to accept a foreign force there. Our view is that our de- 
sire for peace is the best guarantee, and the presence of an international 
force would, I believe, in our country create a complication that would 
be unnecessary. As far as observers are concerned, we might increase 
their numbers, increase their effectiveness. 

Secretary Kissinger: Everything is a problem, believe me. I have 
negotiated with the Israelis. At one point they had a five-hour Cabinet 
meeting over thirty guns. And you are not exactly easy to deal with, ei- 
ther. [They smile.] You did not survive for 2,000 years with various for- 
eign pressures on you, by being easy to get along with. [Laughter] 

But I respect a fierce sense of independence. That is a good guar- 
antee of stability in the long term. [Shihabi nods yes.] Because countries 
that have a strong sense of independence towards one side have it 
towards everybody. 


Honestly, I have to tell you, I used to think of Syria as a Soviet sat- 
ellite. [Laughter] I am serious. I don’t think you are good satellite 
material. 

Brigadier Shihabi: As I pointed out last night, it has always been 
our desire that our relations with all peoples, particularly with the big 
nations, the United States and the Soviet Union, should be based on 
friendship and mutual respect. During the period when we had no bi- 
lateral relations between us, we always felt that was an abnormal situa- 
tion. During the period when we had relations with the Soviet Union, 
and there were people who were not really aware of the situation as it 
was in Syria, we sought to make it known to everyone that Syria was 
very concerned about its sovereignty and self-respect. It is no secret to 
you, Mr. Secretary, and to your colleagues who are aware of what was 
going on, it was a period when we were under a great deal of pressure. 
But in spite of all the pressure and all the difficulties we have had, we 
have never lost sight of our independence and our sovereignty. Just as 
fiercely and strongly as we resisted such alliances as the Baghdad Pact, 
we just as strongly resisted the creation of other pacts. 

Secretary Kissinger: I am aware of this. We recognize Syria is con- 
ducting its own policy. We also recognize that it is no accident that Da- 
mascus has through so many centuries been the center of Arab nation- 
alism, and that is not without its meaning to us. And basically, the only 
long-term basis for a long-term relationship is with people who have 
their own self-respect. They are more difficult to deal with, but they are 
more reliable. 

Our own view on the Syrian-American relationship is that if we 
now succeed in this disengagement, we are prepared, at whatever pace 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 195 


you wish to set, to accelerate normalization of our relationship. And I 
frankly believe it will help the further evolution of the peace efforts if in 
the American mind the view of Syria is improved as a country with 
which we have better relations. 

Brigadier Shihabi: On the basis of my personal desire, as well as on 
my experience and knowledge, there is such a desire on the part of our 
Government at all levels. 

Secretary Kissinger: President Asad has said this to me. 

Brigadier Shihabi: There is a real desire to further relations be- 
tween us, to further cooperation between our two countries. As far as a 
desire to accelerate this is concerned, I am going to convey what you 
just said to the President. 

Secretary Kissinger: We won’t press you; we just want you to 
know we are prepared to accept whatever initiative you wish to make. 

Brigadier Shihabi: We appreciate your position in this respect, Mr. 
Secretary. But as you appreciate, any move in this direction would have 
to be the outcome of the evolution of a new set of circumstances that 
our people could understand as appropriate. 

Secretary Kissinger: We understand you have your domestic ne- 
cessities. We just want you to know we are willing. We also want you to 
know we have no special favorites among the Arab countries, and we 
are prepared to do with any Arab country what we are prepared to do 
with any other. So President Asad can assume, observing what we do 
with other Arab countries, that the same is true in principle with Syria. 
And you will see we will be improving our economic relations with 
Egypt over the next few months, and we are prepared, whenever you 
are ready, to do the same with you—but you determine the pace—and 
be helpful in your economic development. Because in the long term, 
that is where the hope of the area resides, to fulfill the aspirations of 
your people. My colleagues told me of the very interesting talk you had 
last night of the possibilities of the economic development of Syria. 
Once peace is achieved in the area, there are really good projects. 

Brigadier Shihabi: This is very true. 

Secretary Kissinger: Now, I am having lunch with Gromyko.’ I just 
want to tell you what I am telling him—with your approval. Actually it 
is social; his wife will be there, and my wife, so not much business will 
be done. But social conversation is not a Soviet specialty. [Laughter] So 
we will probably get to business eventually. 


” Gromyko was in Washington for talks with U.S. officials. He and Kissinger dis- 
cussed the Middle East on April 12. See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XV, Soviet 
Union, June 1972-August 1974, Document 173. 


196 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


I will say I presented certain Israeli ideas, which we do not sup- 
port. And that I will continue efforts with Israel to produce a line more 
in keeping with Syrian necessities. I will not discuss the problem of lim- 
ited armaments or the problem of the return of the Syrian population. I 
don’t object to your saying this to them if you want to. But I, if you 
agree, would like to know what you tell them, because I would like to 
tell them more or less the same thing. 

You have not been in contact with them here. 


Brigadier Shihabi: There has been no such contact and I have no in- 
tention to make any such contact. Inasmuch as you have pointed out 
you do not support the Israeli plan which has been presented, and you 
will not present it to President Asad on your visit to Syria, therefore I 
feel there is no need to enter into a detailed discussion of this subject 
with the Soviets. 

Secretary Kissinger: My idea, though, if you agree, is to leave the 
idea that we are making some progress, so they do not start a propa- 
ganda campaign. [Shihabi nods agreement.] 

Let me give you an honest judgment of what the progress is—this 
is for you, not for the Soviets. The progress is return of the Syrian civil 
administration and population. Second, that Syrian forces can return to 
the areas vacated, except perhaps to the demilitarized zone between 
the two sides. And that Israeli forces will be thinned out in the same 
proportion as the Syrian forces. But since there are no Syrian forces 
now in the areas being vacated, the objective result is an augmentation 
of your forces and a thinning out of theirs. 

So the three components will be: a movement forward of Syrian 
forces, a withdrawal of Israeli forces, a thinning out of Israeli forces be- 
yond the line of withdrawal, and return of Syrian civilians to the va- 
cated territories. Those are the positive elements that have already been 
achieved. What has not yet been satisfactorily achieved is the line. And 
the United States agrees it should be beyond the October 6 line. And we 
are putting great pressure on the Israeli Government to go along with 
it. 

So this would be where we are now. Therefore what remains to be 
done when I come to the Middle East is to move the line. And to agree 
on the disposition of forces. On both sides. 

I hope I am not like the man who during the war said the way to 
deal with the submarine menace is to heat the oceans and boil the sub- 
marines to the surface. Someone said, how do you do that? He said: I 
have given you the idea; the technical execution is up to you. 
[Laughter] 

This is what we have to achieve. 

I would not come out if I did not think it could be achieved. What 
will be necessary when I come out, quite frankly, is this: I do not think 
extreme flexibility is the characteristic of Syrian negotiators. [Laughter] 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 197 


Brigadier Shihabi: Thanks for the compliment. [Laughter] 

Secretary Kissinger: So we should not let the details stand in the 
way of the accomplishment. I don’t have anything specific in mind. 

Brigadier Shihabi: As a result of your contacts with Syrian officials, 
and particularly with the President, I am sure you are aware of our de- 
sire to move objectively in the direction of peace. 

Secretary Kissinger: I am a great admirer of your President. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Our desire for a just peace is an objective and 
durable desire. Whatever discussions we have are based on this desire 
and on our capability of moving in this direction. 

Secretary Kissinger: Let me deal with two other problems, with re- 
gard to Soviet relations. President Asad said we should reach an agree- 
ment in principle first, and the details could be worked out in the mili- 
tary committee. Frankly, I believe when we work out the principles we 
will also work out the details. Because it is hard to separate them. 

But we can work out a ceremony in which the Soviets can have 
standing, and so forth. 


I think once we have discussed the line and size of forces, there is 
not much more to negotiate. But I will follow your wishes on this. But it 
may not be so easy to split this in two parts. You do not have to make a 
decision now. 

Brigadier Shihabi: I will convey this to the President. 

Secretary Kissinger: If we reach that point, it will be a happy 
problem! 

Second, as you know, the Soviet Union is eager to have it appear as 
if there is Soviet participation. I may agree to meet with Gromyko in 
Geneva on my way to the Middle East. I want you—I want your Presi- 
dent—to know that this will be a symbolic meeting, done for Soviet 
self-respect. Nothing will be discussed there beyond what I have told 
you I will discuss. We will negotiate with President Asad directly, not 
through another country. 

I do not suppose you would object to a meeting in Geneva? 

Brigadier Shihabi: I do not think so but in any case I will convey 
this to the President. But I do not think there is any objection. 

Secretary Kissinger: We have informed your President after every 
meeting and we will be very meticulous about this. And in fact I will 
send him a letter tonight thanking him for sending you and about some 
of our discussions.* And I hope you will convey to him my warm per- 


8 Apparently a reference to messages transmitted to Asad in telegram 75900 to Da- 
mascus, April 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850023-2017) 


198 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


sonal regards, as well as my gratitude for sending you. [Brigadier Shi- 
habi nods yes.] 

Will I see you in Damascus? 

Brigadier Shihabi: I hope I will have the privilege of seeing you. It 
has been an honor for me to be sent here as the representative of my 
Government. Iam happy to return to the United States, after a long ab- 
sence. Iam pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these things with 
you. 

Secretary Kissinger: I hope we can look back on these meetings as 
the beginning of peace. 

When do you return to Syria? 

Brigadier Shihabi: Immediately upon completion of my mission. 

Secretary Kissinger: Is there anything we can do? [to Sisco:] Are we 
taking care of him? Theater, and so on? 

[to Shihabi:] I will be taking you downstairs. There are many press 
there. How do you think we should handle this? 

Brigadier Shihabi: Before I answer your question, I would like to 
mention that I have with me a map which shows the lines to which 
withdrawal should go. I would like to present it to you. 

Secretary Kissinger: Oh, yes. Let us discuss it. We should discuss it. 
[They get up to the table again.] Can I keep it here? 

Brigadier Shihabi: Yes. 

[They spread out the map on the table. Tab B]’ 

The orange line represents the international boundary. The blue 
line represents the line to which we would want the Israelis to with- 
draw as a preliminary step towards disengagement [sic]. 

Secretary Kissinger: That is the line the President gave me [on Jan- 
uary 20]??° 

Brigadier Shihabi: It is almost the same line. It varies in that it takes 
into consideration areas that are populated. The previous line went be- 
tween two populated villages up in the north; the present line has the 
two villages on this [the Syrian] side of the line. 

At the southern part, the line takes in a rather sizable village, Fiq, 
which has a population of about 10,000. 

[Indicating:] This is the October 6 line. This is the salient area. 

The red line is the line to which we want our forces to move. 

For practical purposes, on this map, the occupied territory is di- 
vided into three parts: 


° Tab B is Appendix A, Map 2. 
10 See Document 19 and footnote 2 thereto. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 199 


The blue area falls between the international boundary and the line 
to which the Israelis should withdraw. This is the area where the Is- 
raelis are to remain only on a temporary basis. 

The green area is the buffer zone between Israeli and Syrian forces. 
Naturally the civilians are to return to this area and it is to be under 
Syrian civil administration. And the international observers can move 
freely throughout here. The width varies, between three and six 
kilometers. 

The red area is the area in which there would be Syrian forces. 

As you know, Mr. Secretary, our ability and maneuvering in pre- 
senting our point of view is extremely limited. As you know from your 
talks with the President, we have given you our final opinions with re- 
spect to this subject. 

The details on this map are an indication of a number of positive 
steps on our part: 

First, it shows appropriate withdrawal as the first step in the direc- 
tion of peace and as an expression of a desire for peace. It will give us a 
chance to make the plan acceptable to our people. 


It has an adequate buffer zone which will make impossible daily 
clashes, and which would make possible the removal of the state of ten- 
sion. And this plan will make it possible for us to repatriate a large por- 
tion of the population of the area, and that in itself will have a great 
positive effect, first on the people of the area and on the population at 
large. 

The positioning of our forces, their going beyond some important 
centers like Quneitra, will be a positive step and give a feeling of secu- 
rity, particularly to the population in this area. 

Mr. Saunders: Is there any concept of limitation in this area? 

Secretary Kissinger: As I understand the General, he has agreed to 
the principle of limitations for both sides. 

Brigadier Shihabi: In principle this is negotiable, and ... 

Secretary Kissinger: Why don’t you make some studies, for your 
own use, so we can discuss them when I come? Because it will be valid 
wherever the line is. 

Brigadier Shihabi: Yes, we will. 

Secretary Kissinger: I recognize this represents a further evolution 
of your thinking—this line, and the creation of a buffer zone. 

I think you should present it to the Israelis. [Laughter] 

Brigadier Shihabi: Mr. Kabbani pointed out that this map is larger, 
clearer, and much more specific than the Israeli map they presented, so 
it represents a clearer, more positive desire for peace. 


200 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: I recognize the Syrian Government made 
much evolution in their thinking, and it shows a desire for peace. There 
are many constructive elements in here. 

What do we do with the press? 

Brigadier Shihabi: What do you suggest? 

Secretary Kissinger: We can step in front of the television for two 
minutes. We can say we had very full and very frank talks. I presented 
some of the Israeli ideas and he presented very detailed Syrian ideas. 
That we will continue our efforts to bring these two positions together, 
and the United States will do its utmost to bring about disengagement 
between Israel and Syria, and we consider that these talks have been 
very helpful. I can say it, or you can say it and I can confirm it. 


Brigadier Shihabi: [in English] I prefer you will say it. [Laughter] 
Secretary Kissinger: Then you will say “You are a liar.” [Laughter] 
You should say a few words too. 


[The Secretary and Brigadier Shihabi thereupon went down in the 
Secretary’s elevator to the main lobby where they spoke briefly to the 
press. Their remarks are at Tab C.]'? 


1 Tab C attached but not printed. 


36. Memorandum of Conversation! 
Washington, April 25, 1974, 5:08-6:35 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mr. Max Fisher 

Rabbi Israel Miller, President, Conference of Presidents of Major American 
Jewish Organizations 

Mr. Jacob Stein, Former President, Conference of Presidents of Major American 
Jewish Organizations 

Mr. Yehudah Hellman, Executive Director, Conference of Presidents of Major 
American Jewish Organizations 

Mr. Stanley Lowell, President, Conference of Soviet Jewry 

Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, President, American Jewish Congress 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 155, Geo- 
political File, Israel, April 1974. No classification marking. The meeting was held in the 
Conference Room on the Seventh Floor of the Department of State. Brackets are in the 
original. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 201 


Mr. I. L. Kenen, Chairman, American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee 
Mr. David Blumberg, President, B’nai-B’rith 

Mrs. Rose Matzkin, President, Hadassah 

Mr. David Sheinkman, President, Jewish Labor Council 

Mr. Louis Cole, President, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory 
Council 

Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, President, World Zionist Organization 

Mr. Herman Rosenberg, Young Israel 

Mr. Paul Zuckerman, United Jewish Appeal 

Mr. Edward Ginsburg, United Jewish Appeal 

Mr. Raymond Epstein, Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President 
Mr. Leonard Garment, Counsel to the President 

Mr. Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Mr. Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 





[The Secretary conferred with Max Fisher privately in his office 
from 5:00-5:06 and with Garment and Fisher from 5:06—-5:08.] 

Kissinger: I appreciate this opportunity to see you. Going off to the 
Middle East, I wanted to talk to you about what we are trying to do 
there, and what might come out, so you have a feel when you read the 
newspapers of what our basic strategy is. 


Nothing that I tell you is behind the back of the Israeli Govern- 
ment. Everything I tell you I have told them. In fact, I have told them 
more than I am telling you. [Laughter] 

No, there is a 100 percent agreement on the basic strategy. On 
tactics, there will be 100 percent agreement by the time I leave Jeru- 
salem. There may be tactical differences sometimes. 

Now, why do we want a Syrian disengagement? 

It is important there be confidence in the Jewish community in 
what we are doing. There are a lot of dangerous people spreading 
around dangerous things. For example, that we are in cahoots with the 
Soviet Union, that we are doing all this for détente, and that Israel is the 
victim of détente. Any serious person knows what we are doing is of 
profound damage to the Soviet Union. On my last trip to Moscow, 
there was a four-hour brawl with Brezhnev on the Middle East.” Our 
whole strategy for four years was to create a situation where the Arabs 
become frustrated with the Soviet Union and turn away from the Soviet 
Union. So it is crucial that the Jewish community understand what is 
going on. 

The second crucial point is that if the Arabs turn from the Soviet 
Union, that they have the option of turning closer to the United States. 
This is vital to the security of Israel. Let us say, in a horrendous case— 
which will never happen—if the United States replaced all Soviet mili- 


2 See footnote 2, Document 32. 


202 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


tary equipment in Egypt with American equipment, one-for-one, Is- 
rael’s security would increase by 500 percent. Because you know that in 
a war, we would never resupply Egypt by airlift in the middle of a war 
the way we did with Israel. But it is an absurd case, and it will never 
happen. There will be economic aid. If we supply any weapons, it will 
be a symbolic trickle. 

So I hope the Jewish community does not fall for this Jackson 
amendment on the economic aid bill that no Soviet military ships can 
go through the Suez Canal. Reconstruction of the Canal was one of the 
conditions that Israel put on the disengagement agreement. Because 
every dollar spent there is a hostage to Israel because they are only 15 
kilometers away. So don’t fall for easy answers in a complicated 
situation. 

Some Jewish leaders get upset when I am seen with Arab leaders. 
[Some laughter] But this is essential to the success of our strategy. 

What were the issues last year? Jerusalem, the 1967 borders, the 
rights of the Palestinians. What are the issues now? Disengagement. Be- 
cause every Arab leader has learned, painfully, that they have to deal 
with us, and if they deal with us they have to deal with us on one issue 
at a time, and this is Israel’s interest. 

The alternative to the present course is not to do nothing; the alter- 
native is that the United States will not be the mediator, but it will be in 
international forums in which the Soviets, Europeans and Japanese will 
be influential, and all the issues will be lumped together, and the Arabs 
will turn back to the Soviets. 

It is easy to make heroic speeches. 

In October, I prohibited for two weeks any discussion on energy in 
our government. So all our decisions were taken in absence of consider- 
ation of energy. The embargo was put on on the last day of the war.’ 

I tell you frankly: I consider it highly improbable that the largest 
airfield in the Azores will be available to us for an airlift again. It took 
massive blackmail and agreement on support for Portuguese policy in 
Africa. [Murmuring in the group.] 

Third, you don’t have to take my judgment on the domestic situa- 
tion, but I think it will be harder to get $2.2 billion from the Congress 
next time.* 

So I agree, Israel is in danger, in fact in greater danger than is gen- 
erally recognized. This is why we have moved slowly, with painstaking 
agreement on the very last detail with the Israeli Government. This is 
the only course with the possibility of success. 


3 The oil embargo was imposed on October 19, 1973. 
4 See footnote 12, Document 23. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 203 


We have to have the capacity to maneuver. We have to maintain 
the confidence of the Arabs; we have to keep the Soviets from dis- 
rupting everything. This is complicated. 

This is the strategy: To go from Syrian disengagement to either an- 
other negotiation with Egypt or a negotiation with Jordan. It depends 
on the preference of Jerusalem. I think probably it will be with Egypt. 
There is a chance for very major progress on the Egyptian side. 

That is why everything depends on Syrian disengagement. We are 
in a very uncertain situation. There is uncertainty about the [Israeli] do- 
mestic situation. 

I am counting on your excellent discretion here. 

Weare in a situation where Dayan, and Golda, who put over the 
Egyptian disengagement, are on the way out. Even Eban is reported on 
his way out. On the other hand, Rabin I know well, and he was a close 
friend of mine among Ambassadors. He is one of the few in Israel with 
a geopolitical sense. I often called him in to chat about areas unrelated 
to Israel. This is not generally known. We used to sit in the Map Room 
of the White House and just chat. Because I respected his judgment. 

It is a complicated situation in Syria now, too. There is an Iraqi fac- 
tion, a Syrian nationalist faction. Compared to other Syrians—when I 
compare the messages I get from him [Asad] today with the first talk 
Joe and I had with him in January, there is an enormous change. 

And the Soviet situation. Here is a situation in which they put in 
$15 billion, or, depending on how you measure it, maybe $20 billion in 
aid, and their Foreign Minister cannot even get into the country. It is 
something pathetic for me to see him in Geneva on the way in and to 
pretend we are consulting.° I saw him barely two weeks ago. Nothing 
could have happened in these last two weeks. And to see him on the 
way in—I couldn’t have talked to anybody yet. They are being put 
through a humiliating show of impotence. 

On one hand this is good, but on the other hand it is dangerous. If 
they become obnoxious, they can make it impossible for the Syrian 
Government to settle. If they do what they haven’t done, they could in- 
sist on the 1967 lines or on a positive linkage to them. In our first talk 
with Asad, he insisted on the 1967 borders, which was a concession for 
them because never before had Syria agreed that Israel had a right to 
any borders. Now they don’t even discuss the 1967 borders because my 
answer is that we should deal with one issue at a time. 


So we have to consider how to conduct the negotiations, and then 
how to give the Soviets a pretense of participation. It is even more hu- 


5 Kissinger and Gromyko met in Geneva on April 28 and 29. They discussed the 
Middle East on April 29; see Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 
1972-August 1974, Documents 175 and 176. 


204 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


miliating, because no one is fooled. Again, I am counting on your dis- 
cretion here. The hardest problem in fact is the Syrians, who insist that I 
do the negotiation. It is in our interest to maintain that position, be- 
cause the maximum price we would pay to the Arabs would still make 
them more dependent on us than on a move with Russian backing. 


You know the map. Israel is willing to return about three quarters 
of the bulge, and to divide what they return between a UN zone and a 
Syrian zone. The Syrian position is that they first asked for the 1967 
line, then they asked for about half of the Golan. The Israelis cannot ac- 
cept that because of the settlements, but you have to remember it is an 
enormous concession for the Syrians to agree to any line on the Golan. 

What we have to prevent is a breakdown of the negotiations in 
which other Arabs have to support Syria. We have to get a situation 
where other Arabs like Boumediene support it, and where if the war 
starts they fight alone. A breakdown of the negotiations I guarantee 
will lead to an outbreak of the war with Syria. The only question is 
whether Egypt will join. 

Our maximum objective now is a disengagement agreement, 
which will be a situation in which the resumption of hostilities will be 
physically difficult. Our minimum position should be to create a situa- 
tion where if Syria fights it will be fighting alone. The worst situation is 
with the others joining in, and the Europeans too. The Europeans, espe- 
cially the French, are just waiting for it to break down. The only way we 
keep them under control is to keep our negotiations going. 

What is the issue? The Syrians asked for one half of the Golan. 
Maybe 15 kilometers. Both Sadat and Boumediene have told us that if 
Syria can get Quneitra and a line south, they will feel that Israel has 
made a reasonable proposition. 

Boumediene took me aside before he left and said to me: “Please 
see that Sadat doesn’t get totally demonized.” 

If we can’t produce Quneitra, which is three kilometers from the 
old line, how can we promise to get a full settlement? And if we can’t 
do that, how can we conduct our diplomacy? Then they have to shop 
around again. 

Weare talking about four to five miles, at the most. With this, we 
are practically certain of achieving our minimum objective, and we 
have four out of five chances of achieving the maximum objective of a 
disengagement agreement. 


6 Boumediene met with President Nixon and Kissinger on April 11 in Washington. 
A memorandum of conversation of their meeting is in the Ford Library, National Security 
Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 3, April 11, 1974, Nixon, Algerian President 
Boumediene. There is no record of a private conversation between Kissinger and 
Boumediene. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 205 


There are other subsidiary issues. You don’t have to get into this. 
Of course, you can ask me anything you want. But one issue is whether 
we havea UN emergency force or only UN observers. My feeling of the 
way we will solve this is to triple the number of observers, or puta UN 
emergency force in and call them observers. [Laughter] 

Another issue is that they will want to give the territory back to the 
UN and not to Syria. 

But, if we can agree on a line with them, we can settle the other 
issues. Not that they are a joy to negotiate with where territory is in- 
volved. [Laughter] They are tough negotiators. Sometimes their do- 
mestic situation creates incredibly petty situations. But if they were 
easy to deal with, the Arabs wouldn’t be coming to us, and the pres- 
sures would start again. But though they are a pain in the neck, we un- 
derstand their situation. 

This group is always concerned about: Do we do enough for Is- 
rael? It is important that you understand that we understand that our 
strategy depends on Israel being so strong that it can defend itself and 
that they have to come to us. If Israel was so weak the Arabs could im- 
pose their will on them, our strategy couldn’t work. 

The Israeli Ambassador knows that they have gotten seven times 
more equipment than in any comparable period in the history of 
Israel-Arab relations. It was more than the Berlin airlift in terms of ton- 
nages. But we did this with no peep out of the Arabs—precisely be- 
cause of our diplomacy. When Joe was Assistant Secretary, whenever 
we shipped two Phantoms, we got cables from everywhere in the Arab 
world that riots would start and American lives were at stake. 


Every problem you solve gets you to a harder one. Though the 
Egyptian one I think may be easier. It is not as explosive. I don’t think 
Egypt will go to war. 

I don’t know whether the present Israeli Government can make 
this move beyond Quneitra. They haven't refused it. The Prime Min- 
ister knows exactly what we think is necessary. She is not a fool: If she is 
going to turn it down, she knows it is better for her to do it now than 
when I have already begun to go through Algiers, Cairo. So I am rea- 
sonably optimistic. You know them. So if problems develop, you will 
know the area of debate. They are right not to decide now before it is 
absolutely necessary. Because if the Arabs knew, they would just add 
on more demands. 

But on the Soviet issue and the Arab issue, it is important that you 
understand, so you don’t fall for the easy litanies from different people. 

Rabbi Miller: First, we want to thank you for your candor. This is a 
significant date to be discussing Israel—it is Independence Day—but I 
want you to know that if we raise issues, it is not because of pettiness 
but because of concern. 


206 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: Oh no, I know. 

Rabbi Miller: But many of us last night expressed concern about 
the UN vote. Maybe the UN isn’t the most important organization, but 
we just didn’t understand the second vote of the U.S. in voting for the 
resolution.’ 

Kissinger: On the United Nations, we faced this problem. Last 
week, all of those Arabs whose interests at least on this step are parallel 
to Israel, that is, who are advising Syria to be moderate, advised us that 
a U.S. veto would be a disaster. I know you aren’t talking about a U.S. 
veto, but I just want to show the evolution. There was the non-aligned 
resolution that we would have vetoed. We then called the Lebanese 
Foreign Minister down here. We were told it was in his hands what res- 
olution would pass. We worked with the Lebanese Foreign Minister, 
who was adamant. We worked out a resolution which he was willing to 
support, which included at least a condemnation of any act of violence. 
We didn’t say we would support it but left him with that impression to 
get him off the non-aligned resolution. Then we introduced the amend- 
ment. We decided if we could get any other government to go along 
with us, we would abstain. But we couldn’t leave any of those gov- 
ernments who would have been left in a painful position—so we took 
the lesser of two evils and voted for the resolution. 

But today we made a statement [reading the text:] “It condemns 
equally ... all acts of violence, especially those resulting in the loss of 
innocent civilian lives, which covers the wanton and criminal massacre 
at the village of Qiryat Shmona.” [Tab A]® 

Moreover, we made it clear that in our view paragraph three 
means what the amendment meant. We have distributed this to the 
press. So we have made it clear that as far as the U.S. is concerned, we 
condemn the massacre. This was not perfect, but given the conflicting 
pressures we felt this was the lesser evil. 

Rabbi Miller: We understand what you have said about rap- 
prochement with the Arabs. But where does the line go? 

Kissinger: Remember that this is the best resolution the Security 
Council has ever voted. It always used to condemn Israel unilaterally. 
This condemns all acts of violence, and in addition, it calls for all gov- 
ernments not to do anything to interfere with the peace efforts. We got 
this far through the rapprochement. 


7 UN Security Council Resolution 347 was adopted on April 25 after a Lebanese 
complaint to the UN that Israel had raided Palestinian refugee camps on Lebanese terri- 
tory. The resolution condemned Israeli violation of Lebanese sovereignty. For the debate 
in the Security Council and the text of the resolution, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 
1974, pp. 207-211. 


8Tab A, entitled “Transcript of Press, Radio and Television News Briefing 
Thursday April 25, 1974, 12:57 p.m.,” attached but not printed. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 207 


Questioner: In the past, whenever I was feeling gloomy, we used to 
have to go to Israel to find reassurance. Now I can come here. 

Secretary Kissinger: You are nice. 

Questioner: I understand this strategy, to draw them from the UN 
and the Soviets. It seems to be working. But there is still apprehension. 
As Heinrich Heine said, “I have a toothache in my heart.” I can under- 
stand where the economic aid fits in, but on military aid to them... 

Kissinger: That was an absurd scenario I gave you. 

Questioner: Yes, but you told us before about the resistance to the 
airlift at the lower levels of the Pentagon. And today we see in the New 
York Times what we had feared—all this Arab wealth coming into the 
United States.” Where does it end? 

Kissinger: We won’t rearm the Arabs. It could never happen with 
Syria under any conditions. If anything happened with Egypt, it would 
only be in the context of further progress toward Israel and drawing 
away from the Soviets. 

We have to maneuver this very carefully. I must say that Israel’s 
position is enormously difficult. I must say as a friend, we are miti- 
gating the dangers, not removing them. I have never denied it. On mili- 
tary aid to the Arabs, this is not a realistic danger at this moment. 

If Arab influence in this country becomes so great that there is an 
airlift to the Arabs in an Arab-Israel war, Israel would be finished. Be- 
cause then they could also block an airlift to Israel, and this could then 
happen without a U.S. airlift to them. 

We will never become an arms supplier to the Arabs, because one 
lesson we have learned is that you can never buy enough. The Arab 
view—unlike ours—is that the Soviets didn’t give enough and with- 
held it. 

Questioner: If the Soviets don’t do it, where will he get the arms? 

Kissinger: The Yugoslavs, the Indians, the French—there are many 
suppliers. It is better for Israel that the Arabs not be on the end of a So- 
viet supply line. 

The Soviets stripped their armored divisions; the French don’t 
have any armored divisions. I find French policy totally malicious. The 
Soviets at least gain something for themselves; the French gain nothing 
except to cut up the United States. 

Questioner: Just six months ago Egypt was close to the Soviets. 
Now, at a bewildering pace, all this has changed—on the political level, 
on the military level, and on the economic level, with the President’s 


° A New York Times article entitled, “Arabs Starting to Invest New Oil Money in 
West.” (New York Times, April 25, 1974, p. 1) 


208 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


bill for $250 million for Egypt.'° The test of the intentions of Egypt be- 
comes terribly important. We still read statements by the Egyptians 
that they'll go back to 1956 and then to 1947. There was a statement by a 
high-level Egyptian in Beirut. 

Kissinger: [to Sisco] Did you see that? 

Mr. Sisco: No. 

Questioner: This money for rebuilding cities and the Canal. And 
trade too. Commodities. 

Kissinger: I think the greater the stake in economic progress, 
greater is his stake in a peaceful evolution. For a while, Egypt ap- 
proached us but we fended him off because Israel wasn’t ready for ne- 
gotiations, because frankly we felt he was a clown and we underesti- 
mated him. The Israelis thought they never had it so good. I was 
impressed with him first during the war. When we started the airlift, 
we sent him a message. We said: “We are doing this but you should re- 
member that your hopes for progress depend on us. So try to restrain 
your reaction.” And he did. 

When I first came to Egypt on November 7, I had never been in an 
Arab country. I had never dealt with a high-level Arab leader. The Eu- 
ropean Community had submitted a resolution to the United Nations 
to return to the October 22 lines. Japan was for it. Israel was totally iso- 
lated—and was in the wrong on that issue, technically. 

I said to Sadat, “You can have a brawl on this, or you can let me 
work out something both sides can live with.” He agreed. And I didn’t 
offer him economic aid as an inducement at any stage. If you can 
imagine where we would be if the embargo were still on now and 
blamed on Israel ... For him to turn, which is not inconceivable—well, 
it is inconceivable: The only way he could turn is if the negotiations 
failed totally or if we kicked him in the teeth. We have to gamble on 
him. We have to use this period. If we played with him the way we play 
with the Soviets, keeping adding on concessions .. . If you saw how he 
gives us information on the situation in the Arab countries, you would 
see that $250 million is cheap. 


Jacobson: The last time we raised the matter of the $2.2 billion and 
we expressed our concern. At that time you indicated you knew of no 
problem. Israel was counting on it. Now there is a tremendous disap- 


10 In a foreign aid request sent to Congress on April 24, President Nixon requested 
$350 million for Israel, $50 million in security support and $300 million in military credits; 
$250 million in supporting assistance for Egypt; $207.5 million for Jordan, $77.5 million in 
security support and $130 million in military grants and credits; and a $100 million Spe- 
cial Requirements Fund for any new needs that might arise. For text of President Nixon’s 
message to Congress, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1974, pp. 373-379. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 209 


pointment when we read that there would be only $1 billion in grant. 
Maybe more will come later, but you know their economic condition. 


Kissinger: First, this decision was worked out with the Israeli Gov- 
ernment. Second, one decision was whether it would be declared nec- 
essary, which was not an automatic decision. And third, the terms of 
the credit were an issue. We had the problem of not starting a Congres- 
sional brawl and not doing something disruptive of the diplomatic sit- 
uation. Sapir is not spending sleepless nights on this. [Laughter] He 
may be spending sleepless nights but not on whether the other $500 
million will ultimately be granted. The credit will be on concessional 
terms, and will be grant. 

Mr. Kenen: Sadat is moving cautiously. We are giving him $250 
million. Is there any possibility that he can renounce belligerency at this 
stage? 

Kissinger: He doesn’t need the $250 million all that badly. The So- 
viets would gladly give him $500 million if he would only shut up 
about them. He wants $250 to show he has a western option. The best 
way to deal with him, the best strategy is to tie no strings and to count 
on what the evolution will be, as it must. 

Zuckerman: From my circles, labor circles, the issue has never 
been Congressional support for Israel. The blame has never been put 
on Israel for the embargo but in another direction. 

Kissinger: Right. 

Zuckerman: You have raised this concern in the future, if the em- 
bargo were imposed again. But in the meantime why do the Soviets sit 
back and take this? And not try to create a belligerent state. 

Kissinger: First, their leadership now is not the most able, so they 
may not know how to do it. Second, if they create a belligerent state, it 
could end up like 1967 and 1973 and a stalemate. We would let them 
know they would sacrifice détente. Except that this time, there would 
be great temptation to escalate and try to face us down. In October, we 
had to spend three weeks explaining our alert. 

So the incentives are pretty evenly divided. One reason we are 
concerned about MEN is not, as some of your labor friends think, that 
we are soft in the head about the Soviets, but we are using détente to 
regulate Soviet behavior. 

Sadat is not going at our pace. In fact we would probably prefer 
him to go slower. 

Hertzberg: The criticism of you in the Jewish Community isn’t the 
details on strategy, which you argue so brilliantly, but that you misun- 
derstand American interests versus the Soviet Union. Letting them into 
the Suez Canal, letting them turn the flank of the Middle East, and in- 
sufficient pressure on the totality of Soviet policy, that is, generally 


210 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


giving them their head. My colleagues here know I don’t have this 
view, but these issues must be posed. 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Hertzberg: The Soviets must be getting something, to be good 
boys; what is it? QED, it is not in the American interest. That is the 
argument. 

Kissinger: When you play chess, it doesn’t follow that the loser 
gets something out of it. Talk to Rabin; we had a deliberate strategy to 
create such frustration in the Arab world that they would turn against 
the Soviets. For five years we worked on this. In 1970 I said publicly 
that our objective was to expel the Soviets from Egypt. Every liberal 
newspaper jumped on me for that, for “returning to the Cold War.” 

In the [October] war, in spite of what you read, on the airlift, our 
strategy required that Israel not lose—because we would not let the 
Arabs win with Soviet arms. So we are reaping the benefits of five years 
of the strategy. To think this is being done in collusion with the Soviet 
Union is absolute insanity. 

Geneva for Gromyko is a damage-limitation situation. At least for 
the yokels it looks good, but it fools no one. 

Are we so committed to détente that we will pay any price? You 
know the argument. It is interesting that this debate started during the 
Vietnam war, when we were attacked as war criminals by the very 
people who now say we are soft on Communism. Mondale!!—who is a 
friend of mine—every year submitted a resolution demanding that we 
trade with the Communists. I have told this group that if I were an op- 
ponent of Brezhnev in the Politburo I could make an overwhelming 
case against him: The Vietnam war was ended on our terms. You may 
not like the terms, but they were our terms. We got a settlement in 
Berlin. We got rid of a naval base in Cuba. 


What about the Suez Canal? First, if we succeed there will be no 
flank to turn, because we will squeeze them out from Iran to Saudi 
Arabia. And if we succeed with Syria, we will work on Iraq. Second, 
there is no law that says when a Soviet ship goes through, it can’t be fol- 
lowed by an American ship. Every Soviet ship that goes through the 
Canal can be followed by an American ship, and we have more ships 
there. 

What have they got? The wheat deal.’* The wheat deal was done 
by bureaucrats. It was done for politics. It was done on the assumption 
that we couldn’t sell enough wheat. That had nothing to do with for- 


eign policy. 


1 Senator Walter Mondale. 
12 See footnote 6, Document 23. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 211 


I am seeing Meany’* when I get back. 

Fisher: We really appreciate this. Our talks here are based on 
frankness. We would be remiss if you didn’t know our concerns. 

Kissinger: No, I knew them anyway. [Laughter] But I think they 
should be put on the table. 

Fisher: They should be based on confidence. We are wishing you 
well on this visit and praying for you. 

On foreign aid, we are concerned about Israel. No one I have 
talked to is concerned about aid to Egypt; we think it is a master stroke. 
But when Israel is in such dire straits, to ask for only $300 million in 
grant aid looks bad. 

Kissinger: I am counting on Dinitz’ troops to work on that. 
[Laughter] We won’t veto an increase, I can tell you that. [Laughter] 

Fisher: It is important that you know what we are thinking about. 
But we wish you success. It has been tremendously useful. I only hope 
when you get back from Syria there is a smile on your face, because you 
look unhappy today. 

Kissinger: I am not certain how it is going to go. If it fails, every- 
thing I have said is in severe jeopardy. But I am going to act on the trip 
as if it is certain to succeed. I hope the Jewish Community can support it 
as much as its conscience permits. 

You shouldn’t be pessimistic. I think we have a good chance to get 
our minimum objective, and a better than even chance to get our max- 
imum objective, that is, a disengagement agreement. Syria would be 
the first radical state to sign on a line. We wouldn’t have these incidents 
over Mt. Hermon because there will be demilitarized zones all around. 

Fisher: Well, we understand you have a time problem. 

Kissinger: Yes. 

All: Thank you. 

[The meeting then broke up with thanks and handshakes—and 
some wedding congratulations—to the Secretary. 

[Secretary Kissinger then conferred in his office privately with Mr. 
Fisher, Len Garment, and Rabbi Miller, who introduced him to Stanley 
Lowell, the President of the Conference on Soviet Jewry.] 


13 George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO. 


212 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


37. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir! 


Washington, April 30, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 


I am writing to you regarding Secretary Kissinger’s mission to the 
Middle East and on the eve of his arrival in Israel. I received yesterday a 
full report of his conversations with Mr. Gromyko? in which, as he has 
reported to you, he successfully resisted Soviet proposals which in our 
judgment would have been enormously complicating and prejudicial 
to the common efforts of Israel and the United States to achieve a satis- 
factory separation of forces in the Golan Heights. 


In my talks with Secretary Kissinger before he left, we discussed 
and reflected on the immediate days ahead, their crucial character, and 
their decisive impact on future developments. Simply stated, Madame 
Prime Minister, if a Syrian-Israeli disengagement can be achieved, it 
could build further on the foundation of confidence which has begun to 
develop as a result of the scrupulous implementation by Egypt and Is- 
rael of the disengagement agreement. It could also open new avenues 
for additional steps towards peace and a further strengthening in Is- 
rael’s security. 


On the other hand, if we fail in this endeavor, I am convinced that 
Israel will face a situation fraught with risks. It would mean the re- 
versal of the trend towards reduced Soviet influence in the area, the in- 
jection of the views of others who neither appreciate nor seem inter- 
ested in helping to maintain Israel’s security, a situation in which the 
capacity of the United States for constructive purposes will have been 
effectively neutralized, and the likelihood of another war in the Middle 
East under conditions in which both domestically and internationally 
American actions would be much more difficult than in October. 


Madame Prime Minister, you have often said, and I have appreci- 
ated it, that my Administration has given more support to Israel—ma- 
terial and political—than perhaps any other Administration. This is not 
said, I know, in any partisan way, but I believe this judgment to be ac- 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. No classifi- 
cation marking. Kissinger wrote Meir a letter on April 29, urging Meir to make the com- 
promises necessary for disengagement with Syria. He warned that “if our present 
diplomacy fails in the critical period ahead, it will be beyond our power to prevent a re- 
sumption of hostilities, a return of diplomatic efforts to unmanageable international fo- 
rums, a restoration of Soviet dominance in the area, and extreme jeopardy to the progress 
that has been so painfully achieved in recent months.” (Ibid.) 


2 See footnote 5, Document 36. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 213 


curate. We have pursued a policy of protecting and strengthening Is- 
rael’s security both with material support and diplomatic efforts. 

I therefore find it profoundly disturbing to see reports from Israel 
which are casting doubt on the U.S. role and describe our policy as one 
which is pursuing détente without full regard and understanding of Is- 
rael’s interests. I cannot overemphasize what a fundamental mistake I 
believe it would be for Israel to approach the critical days ahead and 
Secretary Kissinger’s mission in this frame of mind. 

Israel is going through a period of readjustment. You have suf- 
fered pain and anguish from a recent war which was neither your de- 
sire nor your choosing. But I find it painful, Madame Prime Minister, to 
see developing in Israel an attitude of gloom and distrust regarding the 
U.S. efforts. A vote on a Security Council resolution,? which in our 
judgment was not as balanced as we would have liked but was more 
balanced than any in the past, cannot erase the magnitude of the timely 
airlift in Israel’s hour of peril, nor the achievement of an Egyptian- 
Israeli disengagement agreement which you yourself characterized as a 
very favorable result for Israel. It is difficult for me to understand how 
such an atmosphere could develop in the week in which I authorized a 
generous apportionment of the $2.2 billion commitment,‘ and sent to 
the Congress a foreign assistance program for 1975 which provides 
equally generously for your future needs.” It is perplexing to me that 
our steadfast support for Israel could be seriously doubted at this crit- 
ical hour as Secretary Kissinger is arriving in your country on his vital 
mission. 

I know and understand your worries and fears. Difficult decisions 
lie ahead, but the risks of failure are so great and the consequences are 
so profound that I felt it incumbent upon me to share with you my con- 
cerns and hopes regarding the coming weeks. I can assure you that it is 
not our intention to ask of you and your government concessions that 
would be prejudicial to the survival of Israel. 

I hope therefore, Madame Prime Minister, that you and your gov- 
ernment approach the talks with Secretary Kissinger in a mood of op- 
portunity as Israel faces one of the most fateful weeks in its history. 


Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon 


3 See footnote 7, Document 36. 
4 See footnote 12, Document 23. 
5 See footnote 10, Document 36. 


214 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


38. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 1, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass on to you this report of his 
meeting with President Sadat: 

“Sadat and I continued our talks for four hours tonight* in the 
same cordial and constructive spirit. We worked out in great detail a 
position for the Israeli-Syrian talks which is extremely reasonable. If Is- 
rael rejects it, [may have to ask you for and am counting on your all out 
support in influencing the Israelis. 

“Sadat again said that he looks forward to your visit, which we 
went on to discuss at length. He wants you to make your first stop in 
Cairo and to spend two and a half days in Egypt. He hopes to take you 
with him on a special train from Cairo to Alexandria through the 
thickly-populated Delta region. He estimates at least eight million 
people will line the route. Sadat proposes that your trip start around 
May 30 so that you are in Egypt at about the time the oil ministers are 
meeting June 1 to consider the embargo. 

“In sum the talks here reconfirmed Sadat’s willingness to play a re- 
sponsible and forthcoming role at this delicate stage of the Middle East 
talks. His high esteem for you and your approach to these problems 
was apparent throughout our discussions. 

“T leave for Jerusalem in the morning and will report on my first 
round of talks with the Israelis tomorrow night.” 


1 Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing 
Office Files, Box 12, Egypt CO, April 24—May 15, 1974. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for informa- 
tion. A stamped notation at the top of the page reads, “The President has seen.” 

? The conversation between Sadat and Kissinger took place on May 1 in Alexandria, 
Egypt. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kiss- 
inger, 1973-77, Box 1, Folder 10) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 215 


39. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 2, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has asked me to transmit the following mes- 
sage to you: 

“T am reporting to you promptly on my private meeting with 
Prime Minister Meir and subsequently another meeting with her and 
all her principal colleagues because the Israeli position presented to 
me today foreshadows, in my judgment, a possible break in the negoti- 
ations at an early stage. 


“Before I came, I made clear to both sides my assessment of what 
would be required in order to achieve a Syrian-Israeli disengagement. I 
said specifically that there would have to be Israeli withdrawal to a 
point roughly 2-3 kilometers west of the October 6 line, including a line 
west of the town of Kineitra. As you know, for the past several weeks 
both the Israelis and the Syrians have encouraged me strongly to come 
to the area once again to see whether the disengagement agreement 
could be concluded and in the knowledge of my judgment as to what 
was required in order to achieve agreement. Despite the internal crises 
in Israel, both publicly and officially, the Israelis have been insistent 
that I pursue the negotiations in the area. 


“Both in my private meeting with the Prime Minister and subse- 
quently with the Cabinet, at which the Chief of Staff made a detailed 
presentation, the line to which Israel indicated it would be willing to 
withdraw was one several kilometers east of the October 6 line with the 
Israelis occupying the high ground throughout. The new Chief of Staff, 
Gur, used the specious argument that there was no other line further 
west to which Israel could withdraw which it would consider defen- 
sible. The line was essentially the same line which Dayan gave me four 
weeks ago® with some slight change favorable to the Syrians in the 
south but with a more important change in the north on Mount 
Hermon in favor of the Israelis. In short, the line I received today can be 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A notation at the top of the page reads, “The Presi- 
dent has seen.” 

? The conversation between Meir and Kissinger took place on May 2 from 1:20 to 
3:55 p.m. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 
1973-77, Box 1, Folder 10) Another meeting took place with the Israeli Cabinet from 4:10 
to 6:05 p.m. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Box 6, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, 
Folder 3) 


3 See Document 32. 


216 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


considered, if anything, a retrogression from the line given to me by 
Dayan four weeks ago which I told him then would prove unaccept- 
able. If I were to present this line to the Syrians, there would be a 
blowup in the negotiations and the likelihood of a renewal of war 
greatly increased. Once again, the Israelis have continued to view the 
disengagement line in narrow military terms—and even in these terms, 
it is not wholly defensible since there is a high ground on which a line 
could be drawn roughly 3 kilometers west of the October 6 line which 
in our judgment would be defensible. I am therefore playing for time 
and will discuss secondary issues when I go to Damascus to give Israel 
an opportunity to reconsider. 


“T pointed out to the Israelis that disengagement could not be 
viewed only on the basis of these narrow military considerations. I 
stressed that Israel faces two choices: to stick with the present very un- 
satisfactory position which in my judgment would have the following 
consequences—it would break the negotiations with the onus on Israeli 
shoulders; it would reverse the trend in the Arab world towards mod- 
eration; it would weaken the Sadat leadership in the Arab world; it 
would offer both the Soviets as well as the West Europeans an opportu- 
nity to inject themselves into the picture in a most unfavorable way; it 
would throw the whole matter into international forums, i.e., the 
United Nations Security Council and the Geneva Conference; it would 
result in a loss of control by the United States in both the negotiations 
and the trend of developments in the area; it would probably result in 
the reinstituting of the embargo since the Oil Ministers are again sched- 
uled to meet to review the situation on June 1—it is likely to result in 
Syria starting another war against Israel, a war of attrition in which 
even the moderate Arabs would be under pressure to come to Syria’s 
support, where the Soviets would see an opportunity to regain influ- 
ence by all-out military support of Syria and in circumstances where 
the United States would be isolated and in the likelihood that the kind 
of support necessary would be dependent on a most uncertain public 
and Congressional opinion. 

“At the same time, I openly acknowledged that there was a risk for 
Israel in going forward on the kind of line which has been previously 
discussed as one that is within reason. I agreed with Mrs. Meir that 
there could be no absolute guarantee that if they withdrew to this point 
a war would not result eventually, but I felt that time is on the side of 
Israel. If an agreement is achieved, this would permit Sadat to continue 
to take the lead toward a peaceful settlement, and there was less risk, in 
my judgment, in this course than the one which the Israelis seem stuck 
on. 

“Tam, therefore, meeting with Mrs. Meir this evening to consider 
together the consequences of the failure of my mission and how one 
could proceed in these circumstances. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 217 


“It is, of course, possible that what we have heard today is tactical, 
for the Israelis have asked us to go to Damascus tomorrow and to take 
up a number of specific elements in the disengagement agreement 
other than the question on the line. I will do this and I will be able to get 
by for this one round with Asad, but in the absence of anything more 
from the Israelis, it cannot be strung out much beyond early next week. 

“T, therefore, would like you to consider on an urgent basis the 
consequences which will face us should this mission be terminated in 
the circumstances that I have described. I believe a letter from you 
which lays out frankly the consequences which would ensue, particu- 
larly with respect to U.S. policy, would be most helpful at this junc- 
ture.’ If you agree, I would like it sent soonest and I could have the op- 
portunity to review it before it is transmitted. You will wish to weigh, 
Mr. President, what specifically you would want to tell Mrs. Meir re- 
garding American policy in these circumstances. What would the reac- 
tion of the American people be to a course which is likely to result in 
not only the maintenance of the high prices of oil but the reimposition 
of the embargo? Could Israel expect American support for an airlift of 
the kind which would be required in order to prevent an Israeli defeat? 
What could Israel expect by way of changes in our ongoing arms 
policy? These are very fundamental questions and I would hope that 
your letter would deal with these matters. Finally, could Israel expect 
the consistent and steadfast political and diplomatic support we have 
given in circumstances where the United States would be isolated? I do 
not wish to prejudge your answers—my own idea is that we may have 
to take some very painful decisions. 

“T would appreciate your consideration of the above on a most ur- 
gent basis.” 

Secretary Kissinger plans now to return to Jerusalem on Saturday 
evening.’ If it is your wish to send a letter to Prime Minister Meir, I will 
draft it, check it with Kissinger, and get it to you on your trip for ap- 
proval before dispatch to Mrs. Meir. 


4 Printed as Document 41. 
5 May 4. 


218 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


40. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 3, 1974, 1232Z. 


Hakto 29. Since my last report to you I have had an additional 
meeting with Prime Minister Meir and her colleagues last evening and 
another one with the Prime Minister alone this morning.” As a result of 
this effort, there has been a bit of movement in the Israeli attitude and 
they indicated they now would be willing to withdraw to a line slightly 
behind the pre-October line, which would (1) put most of Quneitra in 
the UN zone so that Syrian civilians could return and (2) permit Israel 
to retain the main defensive positions which it relied on before the Oc- 
tober war. This line would thus return to Syria a small area which Israel 
conquered in 1967, and Syrian civilians could return to all the areas Is- 
rael vacated. 


In light of this, I want to hold the kind of letter which I recom- 
mended last evening? and which I am confident will be needed at a 
subsequent stage of the discussion. However, it is essential to keep the 
Israeli feet to the fire and therefore I recommend that the following 
brief letter from the President to the Prime Minister be sent on 
Saturday:* 


[Omitted here is the text of Document 41.] 
For Scowcroft: 


Scowcroft should make arrangements to have it delivered to 
Shalev Saturday stressing that it was sent by the President from the 
plane. 


Advise by flash cable time of delivery. 
Warm regards. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Flash. 

? Kissinger met with the Israeli negotiating team on May 2 at the Foreign Minister’s 
Residence in Jerusalem. The memorandum of conversation lists the time as “After 
Dinner.” (Ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, 
March 1974, Folder 6) Kissinger then met with Dayan from 11:40 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the 
King David Hotel in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; Library of Congress, 
Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 192, Geopolitical File, Middle East, Peace 
Negotiations, Israeli-Syrian Relations, Negotiation Books, Volume I, March—May 1974) 
Kissinger met with Meir on May 3 from 9:05 to 10:25 a.m. in the Prime Minister’s Resi- 
dence in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Records 
of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 3) 

3 See Document 39. 


4 May 4. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 219 


41. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir! 


May 4, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 


I am writing to you as I am flying in Air Force One to Spokane, 
Washington.” 

I have read detailed reports from Secretary Kissinger on his talks 
with you and your colleagues. I understand from his reports that your 
discussions are continuing and that today he leaves for Damascus with 
your latest ideas. 

I wish only to convey to you at this time a few brief observations. I 
believe that the arguments which Secretary Kissinger made regarding 
the consequences that would ensue if the negotiations failed as a result 
of the Israeli position on this matter were, if anything, understated. The 
present peace-making effort is crucial to Israel’s future and the ability 
of the United States to go on helping as it has. 

There are positive trends in the area which we believe it is essential 
to encourage because they serve both the short and long range interests 
of Israel and the United States. You cannot take for granted that the pat- 
terns of the past will be automatically repeated. These patterns of the 
past, as you may recall, required a worldwide alert and a massive airlift 
which I personally ordered over strong objections from elements of the 
Congress. 

Madame Prime Minister, I have been Israel's friend for a long time. 
I understand the heavy responsibilities you and your colleagues bear 
for Israel’s present and future security, and I believe you know there 
are few others in the world who know as I do what responsibility is. It 
is in this spirit that I underscore how essential it is for Israel in its own 
interest to grasp the opportunity which exists in the present situation. 

Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon® 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. No classifi- 
cation marking. A handwritten notation at the top of the first page reads, “Hand deliv- 
ered to Min Shalev, 12:40, 5/4/74.” 

? According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon departed Phoenix, Arizona, on 
May 4 at 8:03 a.m. Mountain Standard Time and arrived in Spokane, Washington, at 
10:37 Pacific Daylight Time. (Ibid., White House Central Files) 


3 Printed from a copy that indicates Nixon signed the original. 


220 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


42. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 4, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has asked me to transmit the following mes- 
sage to you: 

“I have completed six hours of intensive discussion with Asad* 
based on the strategy that I would focus in Damascus on issues other 
than the disengagement line. On these some progress was made and 
most, if not all, would probably not prove irreconcilable after consider- 
able further effort if we can eventually achieve agreement between the 
two sides on a line of disengagement. 

“On these specific issues: 

A. Syria agrees that the ceasefire should be an integral part of the 
disengagement agreement. While I am in the area Asad has agreed to 
reduce Syria’s shelling and stop raids; 

B. He agrees that there should be a buffer zone and his ideas are 
sufficiently flexible to bridge the gap between Israel’s insistence on a 
UN force and Syria’s strong preference for an observation corps; 

C. He agrees that there should be an exchange of POWs and miss- 
ing in action as part of the disengagement agreement; 

D. It is unclear at this point whether he will agree to mutual 
limitations of arms and forces which was a key element in the 
Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement but I think it is likely; 

E. On the disengagement line, both sides are still far apart. If Israel 
does not move beyond the October 6 line, no settlement is possible. 
Even it it does, Asad’s objectives may be more ambitious than the nego- 
tiations can sustain. 

“Asad was very positive about improvement in relations and said 
again you are very welcome to come to Damascus during your Middle 
East trip. 

“T will go next to Alexandria for a few hours to fill in Sadat and re- 
turn to Israel Saturday night to renew my talks with Mrs. Meir and her 
colleagues prior to a Sunday afternoon Cabinet meeting. It will be es- 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 144, Country Files, Middle East, President’s Trip to Middle East, June 1974. 
Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A notation at the top of the first page reads, “The President 
has seen.” 

? The conversation between Asad and Kissinger took place on May 3 at 5 p.m. in 
Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Box 1028, Presidential/ HAK Memcons, 
March 1—May 8, 1974) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 221 


sential that I bring to Damascus on Monday night a line within negotia- 
ting range.” 


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


Washington, May 5, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has sent you the following report from 
Jerusalem: 


“We have reached the crucial stage in the negotiations. The Israeli 
Cabinet meeting Sunday afternoon will be critical in determining in 
large measure the direction in which things will take. In my meeting 
with Mrs. Meir and her closest Cabinet colleagues (Allon, Dayan and 
Eban) and ina 1:00 A.M. private meeting with her subsequently,” I once 
again reviewed the considerations which make it essential that the Cab- 
inet decide on a position that is within negotiating range and that I can 
present to Asad as such. 


“Prior to these meetings, I had spent the entire day with Sadat? re- 
viewing where matters stand. He was displeased both with the Syrian 
and the Israeli position. Sadat has a vital stake in the achievement of a 
Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement since he fully realizes that to 
fail at this juncture would not only reverse all the positive trends in the 
area but would in fact expose him to the radical tendencies in the area 
which he would be forced to join in one way or another. He believes 
that if it is possible to secure Israeli agreement to a line that includes 
some modest modifications in the October 6 line including all of Que- 
nitra he can help mobilize key Arab support and will himself exercise 
influence also to get Syrian agreement. I suggested that to help achieve 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 192, Geo- 
political File, Middle East, Peace Negotiations, Israeli-Syrian Relations, Negotiation 
Books, Volume I, Folder 2. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A notation at the top of the first 
page reads, “The President has seen.” 

? The conversation between Meir and her colleagues and Kissinger took place on 
May 4 from 9:30 p.m. to 1:10 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. (Memo- 
randum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, 
Box 7, Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 4) No record of the subsequent private 
meeting between Kissinger and Meir has been found. 

3 The conversation between Sadat and Kissinger took place on May 4 from 11:35 
a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Maamura Rest House in Alexandria. (Memorandum of conversation; 
ibid., Box 21, Classified External Memcons, May—November 1974, Folder 1) 


222 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


this that I send a member of my party, Harold Saunders, to Jidda and 
Algiers to talk to Faisal and Boumediene. Sadat agreed and made avail- 
able a close assistant of his, Ashraf Marwan, who will make parallel ef- 
forts in these two capitals. 


“Sadat made clear that if the Israelis would accept this proposal he 
would not only support it privately with the principal key Arabs but he 
would also agree to support it publicly. Moreover, Sadat said that once 
Syrian-Israeli disengagement is achieved, he is prepared to embark on 
a serious negotiation with the Israelis on a second phase. 

“T described this strategy fully to the Israelis last night as well as 
Asad’s reactions to other elements of a disengagement agreement, most 
of which I pointed out are negotiable but would involve a very heavy 
struggle indeed. 

“The decision the Israeli Cabinet must make today is whether I can 
take an Israeli position to Damascus late Monday night or Tuesday 
morning’ as close as possible to the above proposition. My impression 
is that the Israelis will be willing to draw the line so that the Eastern 
part of Quneitra will be under Syrian Civil Administration with the 
Western part under the UN. This is insufficient in my judgment. It will 
even be considered an insult by Asad. If this proves to be the final word 
at this juncture we will then have to develop a course of action which 
minimizes the adverse impact on us and at least slows down the proba- 
ble adverse trend inimicable to our interests. I would then return home 
fairly quickly. 

“Your letter arrived Saturday evening? as I was meeting with Mrs. 
Meir and I believe helped immensely in bringing to Mrs. Meir and her 
colleagues the reality of the situation Israel faces. 

“T meet with Mrs. Meir and a larger number of Cabinet members 
this morning before I go on to Amman, returning to Israel once again 
on Monday. 

“Warm regards.” 


4 May 6-7. 
5 Document 41. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 223 


44, Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 6, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has asked that I provide you with the fol- 
lowing report. 


“T have just completed over four hours of intensive discussions 
with Mrs. Meir, alone in the first instance, and subsequently with her 
key Cabinet colleagues.” 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.° 


“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 will- 
ingness 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 Boumediene 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 pos- 
sible 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 ac- 
cept this line, we will have made important gains with key Arabs which 
should help reduce the adverse impact should the negotiations reach 
an impasse. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. Secret; Sen- 
sitive; 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 subse- 
quent conversation took place on May 5 from 10:15 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. at the Prime Min- 
ister’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. 


224 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“I will meet with Gromyko tomorrow,‘ 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 to- 
morrow 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.” 


“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. 


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


Washington, May 6, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has asked that I provide you with the fol- 
lowing report. 


“In a few hours I will be returning to Jerusalem from Amman’ to 
receive the views of the Israeli Government following its Cabinet 
meeting of yesterday. Iam concerned that at best they will present me 
with a proposal which draws the line of disengagement through East 
Kuneitra and that my pleas and arguments that the line must be drawn 
to include all of Kuneitra will basically have gone unheeded. My con- 
cern has increased because I have now received clear-cut reports that in 
response to the emissaries which President Sadat and I sent to see 
Faisal,? we have the full support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait 
and a willingness on their part to apply pressure on Asad provided we 
can get Israel to agree to a disengagement proposal which draws the 
line to include all of Kuneitra as well as a small area in certain parts 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. Top Secret; 
Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. A handwritten notation at the top 
of the page reads, “The President has seen.” 

? Kissinger met with Hussein on May 5 from 5:10 to 7:17 p.m. at the Royal Diwan in 
Amman. (Memorandum of Conversation, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, Box 8, 
Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 3) 

3 Kissinger had sent Harold Saunders and Sadat had sent Ashraf Marwan as emis- 
saries to see Faisal and Boumediene. See Document 43. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 225 


west of the October 6 line. I expect a similar reaction from Boumedi- 
enne whom the emissaries will see tonight. In short, my judgment is 
that the negotiation can succeed or fail with all of its implications over a 
kilometer or so in and around Kuneitra and a similar distance west of 
the October 6 line. 


“The situation in which all Arab States will support us against 
Syria will not return. I shall therefore insist tonight that Israel yield in 
Kuneitra at the risk of public dissociation by the United States. I do this 
based on the conviction that I will have your full support. Later tonight 
a letter from you may be essential. 

“If you disagree, please have Scowcroft flash me.” 

Henry will be meeting briefly with Gromyko tomorrow on 
Cyprus. Gromyko is concluding his visit to Syria, and Henry felt that a 
meeting with him at this time before firm positions on the Syrian/Is- 
raeli disengagement had been developed would avoid the possibility 
that the Soviets could become involved in the substance of the 
discussions. 


46. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Jerusalem, May 6, 1974, 5:55-6:40 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mrs. Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 
Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the United States 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 


National Security Affairs 
Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Meir: How was the King? [Hussein]’ 
Kissinger: All right. There was not much to discuss with him. 
Meir: Was he in a bad mood? 


Kissinger: No. 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, 
Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 5. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the Prime 
Minister’s office in Jerusalem. A meeting with the rest of the Israeli negotiating team fol- 
lowed this one from 6:45 to 9:10 p.m. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Folder 4) 
Brackets are in the original. 


2 See footnote 2, Document 45. 


226 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Meir: Did your friend [Gromyko] leave Damascus for good?? 

Kissinger: If not, I won’t go. I think he’s leaving for good. I told you 
I had proposed the 9th, but for the reasons I gave you Ill see him on the 
7th. So if you'll oblige with some governmental activity ... 

Meir: There is a hunger strike outside my house. 

Kissinger: On what? 

Meir: That we shouldn’t sell out. That we shouldn’t give up Ku- 
neitra. That we shouldn’t do anything dangerous. 

Kissinger: Every course is dangerous. I’ve never told you different. 

Meir: And the shooting yesterday was awful. 

Kissinger: I’ll take this up. 

Meir: The Russians are bringing in equipment. 

Kissinger: That’s our information as well. 

Meir: And there is an international force there—Kuwaitis, Paki- 
stanis ... 

Kissinger: All this is true. 

Let me tell you about the Saunders mission. Here is a new report: 
[paraphrases from cable]:* 

“Tmet Sunday with Saqqaf, Rashid Pharaon, and Adham.” All this 
is in the context of what I presented as my idea. “I met with Adham. 
The key point in his position was that it would be a good first step.” 
This is the first-step argument which I use in Saudi Arabia and in the 
area that it creates a good situation for getting the shooting to stop and 
going ahead. “Adham and Pharaon are regarded here as the men most 
likely to reflect the King’s thinking. Pharaon reiterated his question of 
Saturday night of whether Kuneitra would be under UN or Syrian ad- 
ministration. I replied that it depended on the position that Israel 
would finally adopt but under the proposal we were discussing it 
would be under Syrian administration. Pharaon made two points. It 
was essential that a way be found to put Kuneitra entirely within Syri- 
an administration. I explained the great difficulty in doing this and ex- 
plained the problem created by Israeli settlements so close there. 

“Pharaon stressed that it was important to present a position 
which Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Algeria could support ... He said it 
was a good position especially if Kuneitra could be under Syrian ad- 
ministration and the Syrians would be isolated if they did not accept it. 
He asked whether Boumedienne would accept . .. [told him I would be 
going to brief Boumedienne.” 


3 Gromyko arrived in Damascus on May 5 and left the morning of May 7. 


4 A reference to telegram 965 from Algiers, May 6. (National Archives, RG 59, Cen- 
tral Foreign Policy Files, P850067—2495) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 227 


Now since then I have seen both Marwan and Saunders. Marwan 
claims the Kuwaitis took the same position as the Saudis, and ac- 
cording to him, the Kuwaitis even said they’d cut off the subsidy to 
Syria if they rejected it. 

So, if we look at the positive side, what started as a discussion of 
the 1967 frontier is now down to a narrow strip. Sure, they’1I say it’s the 
first step, but they’ll say the 1967 borders anyway. My strategy is to 
leave Syria to last. 

It was almost unanimous in our group that the Israelis should not 
be asked to give up Golan. That will not be a contentious issue between 
Israel and the United States. Now we’re down to the absolute min- 
imum that’s needed. 

Meir: Yesterday there was a long Cabinet meeting and the con- 
sensus was—there was a map, you'll see it soon°—and Kuneitra is di- 
vided. And we can’t move the entire border. You'll see the map. And in 
some places where we move we have to ask them to move to widen the 
buffer strip. We didn’t say the army would stay. 

Dinitz: Our military line will be west of Kuneitra. 

Kissinger: That’s not the problem. 

Dinitz: But what’s important for presentation purposes is that the 
military line is west. 

Kissinger: Every Arab leader agrees they can support giving Ku- 
neitra. I did my best with Marwan—showing him the map, and the di- 
viding line, and I gave him all the arguments. He says the only way 
they can support it is if he can say Kuneitra even if it doesn’t mean any- 
thing. The rest of it depends only on whether the line moves west. 

Dinitz: You'll see the map. 

Kissinger: Let’s see what it looks like. 

Meir: My Party is up in arms. I wish it could be, but I can’t. 

Kissinger: What is your alternative? 

Meir: I agree, you've never said there is no danger. So that’s all in 
your favor. I certainly can’t say to my people there is no risk. 

Kissinger: No. If you asked me to defend it before your Com- 
mittees, I’d say it is the lesser of two dangers. In October if Syria had at- 
tacked alone, you would have totally defeated them. 

Meir: Yes. 


Kissinger: If we can keep the Arabs divided. If we can keep the cur- 
rents going ... if I had been Secretary of State three months earlier 


5 The map was shown to Kissinger in the plenary meeting that began at 6:45 p.m. 
The map is not attached but see Appendix B, Map 3 for a map of Kuneitra and its 
surroundings. 


228 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


maybe I could have begun maneuvering. Being united is not their nat- 
ural state. Morgenthau’ can say I’m taken in by Sadat, but look at the 
price he’s paid. And we’ve paid him nothing. As I said to Morgenthau, 
the Munich nightmare for Israel is not this slow process which you can 
partly control; the Munich disaster for Israel is the 1967 frontier im- 
posed by foreign decision. I remember when we came here right after 
the October war, the first question you asked me was, “Did you agree 
with the Russians on the 1967 frontiers?” 

Meir: The danger is a war in which we're in a worse position. 

Kissinger: No, if Syria is alone. As I’ve said, from my point of view 
it’s better if this fails, because if something goes wrong I could say I had 
warned you against it. This way, if you agree, I’m forever paying the 
price. 

The danger is a united Arab world. One piece of intelligence from 
Saunders is that Faisal told me Faisal is trying to change Syrian policy 
by changing the government structure—getting rid of that party. Faisal 
says the civilians in Syria are the worst, and the military aren’t. Hussein 
told me this independently. Khaddam would go, and Shihabi might be 
Prime Minister. 

Meir: Asad would stay? 

Kissinger: Yes. Asad is no Sadat but it’s clear they are anti-Soviet 
and want to be pro-Western. This is the impression I also got from 
Shihabi. 

Meir: The reports we get from Cairo are even more serious— 
coming from Moslem fanatics. 

Kissinger: My present plan is to come back here from Cyprus to- 
morrow evening, about 7:00 or 8:00. 

Meir: Of course. 

Kissinger: And I’ll report to you immediately. I won’t tell him any 
details of the plans. I’ll tell him they’re still meeting. 

Meir: I can’t believe the Russians, with all the equipment they’ve 
been putting in, will just step out. 

Kissinger: No, they won’t step out. 

Meir: They'll do everything possible to stop the agreement. They 
have nothing to lose. 

Kissinger: The risk for them is if it breaks up in circumstances in 
which there is total U.S. support for the Israeli position, they face a situ- 
ation in which their client will lose. 


® Hans Morgenthau was an international relations specialist. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 229 


Dinitz: If the Arab world lines up behind your plan, there is little 
risk the Syrians will want to be alone. 

Kissinger: If we succeed in getting Boumedienne, I think Syria will 
yield. Marwan says if Asad rejects it, he should think about it for two 
days, and Faisal and he would send emissaries. I can’t speak about 
Boumedienne. But I’ve promised him a Joint Economic Commission 
and diplomatic relations, but only after diplomatic relations. I don’t 
know why he needs it. He’ll get some EX-IM credits for a natural gas 
line. But there won’t be any economic aid. 

Meir: He doesn’t need it. 

Kissinger: But I held that up because of the embargo. There is no 
new plan. In any case, he knows he can’t get it without disengagement. 
So I think he’ll come. 

Dinitz: In the Cabinet there was a consensus for a list of requests 
we had, on economic aid and military equipment. 

Kissinger: We have to work it out differently from the last one. We 
can work out the understandings but not tie them to the agreement. 

Dinitz: What she said is we have to sit together and concretize 
those needs, possibly by sending a delegation to the United States. 

Kissinger: You should have a long-term arms agreement whatever 
you do, because you shouldn’t have to do it every six months. You 
should do it in the time frame of disengagement because we can use 
that explanation to the Arabs. On economic aid, I don’t know how to do 
it. 

Dinitz: We should have experts meet. 

Kissinger: What I should do is get a formal Presidential authoriza- 
tion to promise long-term arms aid, and send a mission, and send you a 
letter saying the President has authorized this. What you need is not 
just a mission. 

Dinitz: A decision in principle on long-term arms aid. 

Kissinger: That’s right. 

Meir: And something that we shouldn’t be asked to come down 
from the Golan Heights. The Cabinet was unanimous. 

Kissinger: This we have to work out... 

Dinitz: Yes, if it leaks ... 

Kissinger: It'll kill us. 

Dinitz: It would be better if it’s a Presidential letter to the Prime 
Minister. 

Meir: [to Dinitz] There was a letter; which you didn’t think much 
of. 


230 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dinitz: [to Kissinger] When you were in Mexico, he sent a letter, 
with Sisco, that “no Israeli soldier would be asked to leave territory 
until there was peace.” I didn’t think much of it.” 

Meir: You said, Mr. Secretary, to Rabin, that if you had been there 
it wouldn’t have been sent, because it couldn’t be implemented. 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Meir: One more thing the Cabinet wanted: If there is another war, 
we shouldn’t go through such agony as in October before the airlift. 
There should be contingency planning. 

Dinitz: The Pentagon asked us for lists of what we’d need if there 
was a new war. We weren't sure we wanted to give it to the Pentagon, 
but... 

Kissinger: I’m in favor of contingency planning. 

Dinitz: With the Azores and the Europeans, could we have some 
planning? 

Kissinger: It is a mistake to approach European Governments. 
Contingency planning I have no objection to. 

The immediate [Pentagon] political game is clear. It’s such a total 
change in their orientation that I’m not sure what they’re up to. Never 
mind, I have no problem agreeing to contingency planning. 

If this story gets out, all hell will break loose. But it shouldn’t be at 
a military attaché level. So officers? 

Dinitz: Yes. 

Kissinger: Let me talk to Haig and Scowcroft about how to do it. I 
have no problem giving you an understanding on it since the Pentagon 
has already offered it. 

I'd be wary of giving your detailed supply situation; can’t you give 
just your needs? 

Dinitz: Just how soon we’ll need certain items. I have no trouble 
giving it to Scowcroft. 

Kissinger: If the Arabs find out they'll play it more cleverly. Scow- 
croft can discuss it but it has to get into the Pentagon machinery. 

Dinitz: Yes. 

Kissinger: First you give me a list of what you want. Second, I'll 
send a letter to the President tonight saying this is what we should 
promise the Israelis and why. Third, I’ll give a letter to you saying the 
President is prepared to work out the following things. 

Meir: There is the issue of military equipment. Then the promise 
that the U.S. will not ask us to go down from the Golan Heights. 


7 Not found. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 231 


Kissinger: This I have to think about. In this Administration it 
won't happen. 

Meir: Then we have to consider what will happen if someone 
wants to remove UNEF. 

Kissinger: That we can easily have. 

Dinitz: You don’t need to bother the President with it. 

Kissinger: We can have some understanding like on the Egyptian 
one. Because the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will never be- 
lieve we didn’t have understandings. We could show them those. Like 
the Egyptian things. 

I can leave somebody here tomorrow. 

Dinitz: Not for sensitive things. 

Kissinger: No, but for other things. 

Dinitz: For a Memorandum of Understanding. 

Kissinger: Yes, because I don’t want to create the impression this 
[the Gromyko meeting] is a U.S.-Soviet agreement. We should leave 
someone here to be working with you. 


[The Prime Minister and Secretary Kissinger went into the larger 
Conference Room for the plenary meeting. ] 


47. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Jerusalem, May 7, 1974, 9:07-11:15 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mrs. Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 
Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the United States 
Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur, Chief of Staff 

Col. Aryeh Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 
Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Meir: I called a Cabinet meeting thinking it would be short. It took 
two and a half hours. 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 7, 
Nodis Memcons, March 1974, Folder 1. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the Prime 
Minister’s office in Jerusalem. 


232 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dayan: I want to say I was happy last night when you came back 
about having these enclaves. I felt bad because I thought I had misled 
you. Actually Israel doesn’t have troops in between there. So all these 
lines would turn out to be ridiculous. 


Let’s get to business. I hope you will be happy—though I have 
never seen you happy. (Laughter) 


Kissinger: My happiness consists on having something that has a 
maximum chance of being accepted. 

(Looks over the map on the Prime Minister’s desk.) 

Gur: Here on Mount Hermon we didn’t include the Syrian 
position. 

So we start the red line in no-man’s land. We go down—you know 
that line. 

Here, in the northern side of Kuneitra, you can see we moved not 
only in Kuneitra but in the whole northern valley there. 

Kissinger: Any populated area there? 

Gur: There is a big village there. 

Kissinger: Any village they could move people back into? 

Gur: That is a political question 

Kissinger: He has an obsession about populated areas. 

Gur: The village of Akhmadia. We can move the line a few hun- 
dred yards. 

Kissinger: We don’t need that for tomorrow. 

Gur: So all this area we give back. 


Dayan: Here is the first stronghold we really pull back. No monkey 
business. 

Kissinger: The wriggly line is of no value if there are no villages 
there. It would create more problems. 

Gur: There are two considerations—the villages and the road. 

Dayan: We shall not break it on this village. 

Gur: We tried to make enclaves between the strongholds. This is 
an area where I can’t remove strongholds. But here are two villages in 
no-man’s land where I don’t mind if they come in. 


Kissinger: You can’t designate a specific village; you have to allow 
them into all villages. 


Dayan: No, there are only two there. 


Kissinger: Fine. But it makes a difference if I can say they can come 
into all villages. 


? The map is not attached. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 233 


Gur: Here, the Rafid area. Here (in the southern bulge) we gave up 
a stronghold. In Rafid area we will give up a stronghold. Here is the vil- 
lage of Rafid where I understand they can come. 

Kissinger: I haven’t mentioned it. 

Gur: Here (in the southern bulge) is the third stronghold we’ll pull 
back. To the south we can’t pull back because it is plains; I don’t know 
of any village. And here I would not recommend to bring back ci- 
vilians. Here the terrain is such—voluntarily I wouldn’t give up that 
stronghold, but that picture was too sophisticated. 

Kissinger: My worry was ... 

Dayan: They would have thought we had cheated them and it was 
meaningless. 

Kissinger: You are absolutely right. 

Dayan: Now you can point to three strongholds and can point to 
return of civilians there. I don’t think you should say anything about 
the south, because there are no villages there. 

Kissinger: It would be a mistake to speak about any exclusions. 

Dayan: When it comes to that, we will speak of that later. There are 
insignificant villages there. South of Rafid I don’t think they will ini- 
tiate anything but you don’t have to discuss it. 

Kissinger: This village will help. The northern half. 

Dayan: It would look ridiculous. 

Kissinger: Can’t you do something here (along thin part of the strip 
in the middle section)? 

Dayan: I don’t think so. 

I was a bit worried. On the map I brought to Washington (he takes 
it out), south of Rafid, there are no Syrian villages. We took an old 
Syrian map and wanted to see what happened at any time. But they 
have some villages where the farms go up to our line. It was no-man’s 
land. It is abandoned now. 

They can go back there, three villages south of Rafid. 

Meir: The question is where is the line they compensated? 

Dayan: It is all rocks. Perhaps there is grazing in the summer, but it 
is not settled now. 

Kissinger: It would be of maximum help to be able to say civilian 
authority can move into any area. I am not blaming you—it is a 
common problem. Because if I know the Arab mind, the Egyptians 
moved forward all along the line and he and Boumediene say it is im- 
portant. This gap won’t help. 

Dayan: We always talked about “all along the line” with Egypt, 
but it is really ten percent of the line. There is all the area south—Abu 


234 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Rudeis. (Points to wall map—the whole western coast of Sinai.) This is 
the whole Egyptian line. 

Kissinger: I’ll have trouble for this whole area (the southernmost 
part) and I will have trouble up here. The problem is what happens if 
they reject it. The Egyptian Marwan said today—I misled him a bit, be- 
cause I told him you would withdraw along the whole line. I remem- 
bered we had prepared a false map for Sadat and then got a better one. 
So they all think I can do better than the first one I presented. So 
Marwan urged me not to give it all at once. Here (the southernmost 
part), Iam not arguing, nor in the north. 

My question is whether there is anything at all that can be done in 
this stretch of line (the center). 

Meir: When we move military installations, we move them out. 

Dayan: I honestly think nothing more can be done. There is a limit 
and we have reached the limit. 

Gur: There is such a thing as this village (in the middle sector) 
which doesn’t bother me. I won’t speak about strongholds because I am 
against it completely. 

Dayan: You know when we had the Egyptian agreement, there 
were no demonstrations against the Foreign Minister’s house.° 

Meir: A woman I have known for many years, the widow of Ben 
Zvi (Yitzhak Ben Zvi, the first President of Israel)—who is no dema- 
gogue—joined them. That really bothered me. 

Kissinger: The question is whether if it fails they won’t be demon- 
strating against worse things. I thought before the question was if it 
fails; now I think there is a chance of it succeeding. 

Dinitz: How should it be titled? 

Kissinger: “Zone of separation” is better. All Arabs have a thing 
about the UN. 

Dayan: We have to go into it later. 

Kissinger: The Egyptian thinks we shouldn’t offer him the Mount 
Hermon thing tomorrow. 

Dinitz: So we can make a worse map, easily. 

Kissinger: I am sure! 

There are two schools of thought: We can either say this is abso- 
lutely all we can get, or... 

Dayan: Can we use the old map where we asked for mutual 
withdrawal? 


3 Demonstrations against a U.S.-brokered disengagement agreement between Israel 
and Syria began upon Kissinger’s arrival in Israel on May 2 (Washington Post, May 3, 
1974, p. A26) and continued over the next few days (Years of Upheaval, p. 1062). 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 235 


Kissinger: Let’s wait until we have the big group. These villages 
will help. 

(Gur leaves.) 

Gromyko started out with all-out support of the Syrian position. 
He said basically disengagement isn’t a Soviet idea anyway; they be- 
lieve in the 1967 frontiers. But if there is a disengagement, it has to be 
extensive enough so that visibly it looks like going to 1967. He said, 
“Do you support the Israeli position?” I said “There is no Israeli posi- 
tion. You have a strategic decision to make. I assume when I go to Syria, 
we will have a common position and our support. Our assessment is 
that if it fails there will be another war, and Syria will lose. And you 
will have a difficult decision to make.” 

From that point he started backtracking. He said it must include all 
of Kuneitra. I said I don’t know. He said, “Are the Israelis withdrawing 
from the 1967 line?” 

Basically, he left me the view not that they would necessarily sup- 
port it but they wouldn’t necessarily support Syria if if breaks down. 
That is at the end of the meeting. 

I took him aside and said, “Look at Germany. Bahr will go. 
Schmidt is my friend, and if you start a harassing game, we can do it 
too. We could work together in Central Europe.” 

After I said these two things, his attitude changed. He said there 
had to be an organic link to 1967. I argued with him. He said, “You are 
willing to make reference to the fact that this is the first step toward an 
overall settlement without reference to what it is?” I said I didn’t know 
but I could discuss it with the Israelis. So he thinks he got a great 
victory. 

Marwan and Saunders came back from Boumediene. He’ll support 
it but it isn’t clear how. Marwan thinks it means he will send an emis- 
sary. It could be true. Boumediene is very cautious. Boumediene asked 
specifically about Mount Hermon. 

Marwan’s view—though predicated on the view that you'll pull 
back all along the line—is that I should just show him Rafid and Ku- 
neitra tomorrow. Because all Arabs think when Kissinger says he can’t 
get more, it’s not true. 

Dinitz: Jews too! 

Kissinger: I will show him Kuneitra and then throw in the rest 
later. It sort of makes me believe something is possible. Apparently the 
Syrians have not shown the Russians the map I showed them—which 
is interesting. 

But I have to tell you, every Arab that I have seen places emphasis 
on a continuous line. Since I don’t need it tomorrow, maybe you can 
take another look. Let’s see what his reaction is. 


236 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Dayan: What time do you meet him tomorrow? 

Kissinger: I will arrive there at 1:00. So I could leave there in the 
evening and come back here. If I leave at 6:30 I will be back at 6:30. 
Thursday* I am going to Riyadh and Cairo. Though it is very risky to 
leave here for Riyadh. 

Meir: Why? 

Kissinger: Because the King of Saudi Arabia is very pained when 
somebody comes from Jerusalem. 

Meir: But he has nothing against Jews! 

Kissinger: But he does about Israel. But that is my problem. I think 
I should go to the King. Sadat later. Then back to Syria on Saturday. 

The major problem is it looks like a series of pockets. 

Dayan: A pocket? 

Kissinger: A pocket in the north, and a pocket in the south. I am 
talking about how it looks. 

Dayan: It depends on the physical terrain. Every military line must 
follow the physical terrain. 

Kissinger: I don’t think we can get any further in arguing before 
we even have his reaction. 

Dayan: The present Chief of Staff was chief of the Northern Com- 
mand and he knows every inch there. He has good experience in Wash- 
ington as Attaché. He is really stretching himself. 

Meir: We don’t even have Cabinet approval on this (previous) 
map. 

Dayan: But it is our internal affair. But it will be impossible to 
move back a little more. 

Kissinger: What do they think the alternatives are? 

Meir: They don’t think. Some are demagogues; some are really 
anxious. 

Kissinger: But what are alternatives? So everything doesn’t fall on 
Israel internationally. Rabin asks me, “What do we gain time for?” To 
gain time, we gain having Heath replaced by Wilson, Brandt by 
Schmidt and Pompidou by Giscard.° I am not claiming credit for it, but 
Europe’s view is a little different now. 

Meir: I know Schmidt, he is a friend of ours. 

(They confer in Hebrew.) 


“May 9. 

5In 1974, Harold Wilson succeeded Edward Heath as British Prime Minister, 
Helmut Schmidt succeeded Willy Brandt as West German Chancellor, and Valéry Gis- 
card d’Estaing succeeded Georges Pompidou as French President. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 237 


Kissinger: The strategic problem for you is, unless there is agree- 
ment, the argument will be increasingly “if you can’t force them to go 
two kilometers, how can you .. .?” 

Dinitz: But it is not two kilometers, because of the salient. 

Kissinger: Maybe he will accept it. 

Meir: What Gur explained, it is a question of ridges. And we can’t 
lose sight of who the Syrians are. They have never kept any agreement. 
Once we move back from the ridges. 

Dayan: It was the same with the Mitla Pass. 

Kissinger: You convinced me of that, because I felt if he really 
wanted an agreement, it wouldn’t make such a difference whether he 
had Mitla. There were many factors. And we were dealing with Sadat. 

Meir: Look at the area he is getting back. 

Dayan: They are there because this is terrain of land, not because of 
an accident. So we could take one or two back and make up for it by 
making two new ones on either side. That is one thing. But to move the 
whole line... 

I can’t resign because I already have! But the Chief of Staff says he 
has gone to the limit. 

Nobody will support it. 

Meir: (to Dayan) Last night in our Parliamentary party group you 
didn’t come. I was there until 12:30. 


Kissinger: You don’t have to convince me. We have a common 
problem. If nothing can occur to us, maybe we will go with what we 
have got. Maybe it gives Sadat a way out. 


Meir: I was at the Parliament party; Yigal was before the Com- 
mittee. We can’t do it unless we are convinced. 


Dinitz: I strongly recommend you take first another map which 
doesn’t include Hermon because they are bound to reject it. 


Meir: Yesterday’s map, for instance. 

Kissinger: That will infuriate them. 

Dinitz: But the Hermon thing is psychological, and you can say the 
Israelis don’t want to withdraw from an area you have attacked and 
killed so many men. 

Kissinger: Anyway I need two maps, military and civilian. 

Dinitz: Talk to Moshe; he has a problem with it. Because the ci- 
vilians don’t go to all the area where the military withdrew. 

Kissinger: That is a presentational point. I need a less-good map 
than the one we have. They are very interested in the Hermon area. 

Dayan: They are suffering very heavy casualties there; they don’t 
announce it. Maybe you can say half of Kuneitra. 


238 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: No, that would inflame them. Maybe drop Rafid and 
Hermon. 

Dayan: And maybe say we insist on mutual withdrawal. 

Kissinger: My instinct is, that would be too inflaming. 

Dayan: Why not say a buffer zone with no civilians returning? 

Kissinger: He seems extremely concerned with what his military 
think. If we could give him the north and not fool around in the south. 

Dinitz: Maybe he will accept the first map. 


Kissinger: You have produced a permanent stomach upset for me. 
Between you and the Syrians. Not the food, but the state of tension. 

(Dayan brings in yesterday’s map.)° 

Dayan: It went way up to Hermon (the UN zone). Today we cut it 
to here (to give Syrians more). 

Kissinger: You could just put your line up here somewhere. They 
are obsessed with bloody Hermon. 

Dayan: It is not bloody, but it snows. 

Meir: A lot of blood is shed there too. 

Kissinger: You are opposed to showing two maps, one for civilians 
and one for military? For tomorrow it is too complicated. 

Dayan: You can just tell him about the civilians going back. 

Kissinger: There is a pathetic quality to these Arabs, a sort of ma- 
chismo. I think Asad’s problem is to get something not as bad as Sadat 
got. 

Meir: It is a fact of life he didn’t do as well. 

Kissinger: I tell that to all the other Arabs. 

Dayan: I will get you another map tomorrow. One that keeps 
Hermon, and also Rafid, if you think it... 

Kissinger: My basic instinct is ... 

Dayan: He probably heard about Rafid from Sadat and others. 

Kissinger: But all he heard was that I would try to do it, not that I 
would succeed. Tomorrow I will sell him this salient (north of Ku- 
neitra) which seems in my mind to connect with Kuneitra. If you can 
throw in this village. That is a sort of coherent slice. 

I have got two problems tomorrow—to give him enough to keep it 
going and to give him hope for a little more. I could say you insist now 
on holding Hermon but I have given you an ultimatum—if you don’t 
mind. 

Dayan: You can say months back we offered Hermon but now, 
with all this fighting ... 


6 See Document 44. The map has not been found. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 239 


Kissinger: I will give him a strong impression he will get Hermon. 
Dinitz: And Kuneitra. 

Kissinger: As a certainty. 

Dinitz: And then you go back and get also Rafid. 

Meir: He shouldn’t think he is getting all his civilians back. 


Kissinger: I will tell him Israel has left Kuneitra. The civilian ad- 
ministration will be an enormous negotiation anyway. Once he has ac- 
cepted the line he is in a different psychological position—because it 
means he has convinced the Ba’ath party and the Russians acquiesced. 

I know your view. You know I think it is wrong. There may be an- 
other brawl about it, but there won’t be a trick. 


I am going to be slightly misleading to him on the civilians, be- 
cause all he is going to be able to tell his colleagues is he has gotten Ku- 
neitra. It is a little dishonest. But once he has accepted the line, he has 
talked to his Knesset or whatever he’s got, and he has more a vested 
interest. 


Meir: The Hermon for him is a great thing. We just heard he has a 
field hospital there. 


Dinitz: Because of the casualties. 
Meir: We have had some too, but he has had tens of casualties. 
Kissinger: The key is to keep the Arabs divided. 


Meir: I know Kuneitra has become a symbol to them, but 
Hermon’s a reality. 

Kissinger: Boumediene raised Hermon. I have written a letter to 
him.’ 

You know these babies—these Arabs—have let it be known they 
are hurt that I am not taking Nancy’* there. 

Dinitz: As it is, she is spending too much time in Egypt. 

Kissinger: It'll be finished here. 

Dinitz: But as of now, we are upset. (Laughter) 

Kissinger: Let’s be clear! What map is he shown? 


Dayan: Without Hermon and Rafid. And say you will try to get 
something in the south. 


Meir: You said Sadat wouldn’t be impressed with Rafid. 
Dinitz: He knows you got Rafid. 

Kissinger: No, I told him I would try. 

Meir: There is no muezzin outside. 


7 Not found. 
8 Nancy Kissinger. 


240 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: Sadat you can handle. 

I wish you direct negotiations with the Syrians! 

Meir: There are some things for tomorrow. 

Kissinger: Why don’t I call on you tomorrow before I go? 

Meir: Good. 

Rodman: You want to know the number of square kilometers 
being given up? 

Kissinger: Yes. Gromyko asked me how many. 

Meir: East of the purple line? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Dayan: I will get it for you. 

Meir: Here there is one thing. This is a summary on our friends, the 
Kurds (Tab A).” 

Kissinger: We have approved several million. 

Meir: They are in trouble. 

Kissinger: I can’t believe it. The Egyptians asked us to ask the Shah 
to put pressure on Iraq so Iraqi troops all leave Syria. That is why there 
was trouble in February between Iran and Iraq. 


Meir: Are they (the Jordanians) participating and intending to 
move towards Syria? 

Kissinger: I am certain he is not. He has checked with us every day. 

Meir: We have awful reports of what the terrorists plan. May is a 
bad month, the month of Independence for Israel. 

Kissinger: They don’t want us to go to Kuwait, the Jordanians. 
They think it’s too dangerous. 


° Tab A attached but not printed. Entitled “The Situation in Kurdistan,” the paper 
assesses the fighting in Iraqi Kurdistan between Kurds and Iraqi forces with an emphasis 
on Soviet support for the Iraqis against the Kurds. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 241 


48. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Damascus, May 8, 1974, 12:15 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Hafez al-Asad, President of Syria 

Abdel Khalim Khaddam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Maj. General Hikmat Shihabi, Chief of Staff 

Mr. Daboul, Presidential Adviser 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary for Political Affairs 

Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff 

Isa K. Sabbagh, American Embassy, Jidda (Interpreter) 


[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Arab-Israeli dispute.] 


Kissinger: On the disengagement negotiations, I wanted to review 
the difference between the Egyptian and the Syrian negotiations, and 
the Israeli and American domestic situations, so we can make a 
common assessment, if that is all right with you. Then you can under- 
stand the pressures on me and on the situation rather than talk about 
abstract lines. 


In Israel demonstrators are now showing signs with my name in 
Arabic. I can’t call on the Prime Minister because her house is sur- 
rounded by demonstrators. 

My assessment is as follows: 


First, the Syrian negotiation is much more difficult than the Egyp- 
tian negotiation for many reasons. For one thing, the territory involved 
is much smaller. Also, there is a civilian population. The territory is 
much closer to the security centers of each country. It raises an emo- 
tional and psychological response in Israel. 

And the military situation is different: The “pocket” that Israel had 
across the Canal had a narrow supply route in a corridor 15-20 kilo- 
meters wide. It was pinched by two Egyptian armies. It was in flat 
country at the end of a very long supply line. They had a great sense of 
vulnerability. In the Syrian pocket, they don’t feel as vulnerable. I am 
just assessing the situation, not defending it. They have a line of hills 
behind it and Mount Hermon beside it. They are not eager to give it up. 

If you study the Egyptian agreement, they (the Israelis) didn’t 
withdraw from any place where there were not Egyptian troops. There 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, 
Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 1. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the Presi- 
dential Palace in Damascus. 


242 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


were five Egyptian divisions across the Canal. In Egypt, we established 
a line on the existing line of control and the withdrawal of the pocket. 
There was a UN zone in a flat place with no population. 

In Syria, we are doing separate things: One, to restore Syrian ci- 
vilian administration. And secondly, we are talking about Israeli with- 
drawal from newly-acquired territories. In Egypt, they withdrew from 
no new territories. 


Asad: What is the area of the pocket? 

Kissinger: We will check that. 

Asad: On the West Bank, the Israelis said it was 1700 square 
kilometers. 

Kissinger: We will send you a message. That adds a particular 
complexity to the negotiation. 

Secondly, the problem of the Syrian-Israeli negotiation also has to 
be seen on one hand as a geographic issue and on the other as an issue 
of political orientation. 

I repeat, I say this analytically. 

Ihave thought a lot about where we are. I must admit that it is very 
difficult for me to work in this atmosphere. This part of Syria we are 
talking about is seen in Israel as an extension of Israel. They never 
thought of the Sinai this way. 

What is involved now is the basic question His Excellency raised 
the other day: Whether Israel will live in peace with its neighbors or be- 
have like the Americans toward the American Indians. 

There is a tremendous psychological battle in Israel which the 
older generation cannot understand. 

I have met them on three separate visits for seven hours each. The 
older generation is in tears. In Israel, which is friendly, the atmosphere 
is much tenser than here, where we have no relations. 

The reason is that what we are trying to bring about is to move the 
body politic in Israel from war towards peace and from a military to a 
political conception. I believe it is the policy we have pursued since Oc- 
tober that has removed the present government. If Israel had had our 
support, it would and could have stayed in the occupied territories 
whatever the USSR did, as it did for six years. 

Now your courage and the heroism of your soldiers has made pos- 
sible the change in Israel which now realizes that peace cannot come 
from a policy of strength alone. 

It is important now to keep in mind what is the first step. I have 
been an admirer of what deGaulle did in Algeria. I believe the inde- 
pendence of Algeria became inevitable the day deGaulle gave 
independence to the black African nations. It was inconceivable he 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 243 


could deny independence to Algeria. That was the crucial decision. In 
any political process, you have to understand the crucial issue. The cru- 
cial decision now is for Israel to decide to come back. 


Let me tell you what a senior minister told me Sunday:? “The worst 
things you are doing to us are: (1) after every war so far, we have ex- 
tended our territory and you are asking us to contract it; (2) after every 
war we created a new permanent situation for a reasonably long pe- 
riod. You are wishing us to take a step you say is only a first step 
toward implementing Resolution 338.” 

So this is the problem in Israel. 

It is compounded by the fact there is an old government that is 
daily losing authority but a new group is not yet established. The new 
group is more realistic, less emotional, less wedded to a policy of colo- 
nization. They will be no easier to deal with. 

I was thinking of bringing the Prime Minister today. 

We will reach a point in the talks with the Israelis where we will 
have to judge, one, whether there will be a total political immobility, or 
two, adoption of a stance of total militancy. Out of this chaos there will 
be a victory of the right wing military. 

I believe a disengagement agreement brought about by the kind of 
pressures we are using will bring about a change in Israel in a favorable 
direction. 

Let me talk analytically about the American political situation. 

In the past any Secretary of State who tried to do anything on the 
Arab-Israeli problem has been either destroyed or immobilized. 

The reason is this. I know no situation in the United States where a 
Secretary of State had a political following of his own. Therefore, Israeli 
strategy has always been to attack the Secretary of State who was more 
vulnerable. Right now the opposite is true as a political fact. Secondly, 
in the past, our policy has not been conducted in an intelligent adapta- 
tion to the American scene. The Arab tendency has always asked for so 
much it was easy to mobilize pressures against the policy. We have suc- 
ceeded in splitting the issues so much that it was harder for Israel’s 
friends to use the media to focus pressures on us. We have also always 
moved so fast that something was finished before it could be criticized. 
We have, therefore, been able to move step by step. For example, yes- 
terday both the Senate majority and minority leaders made speeches in 
support of my policies. Honestly, I don’t think the minority leader 
knew what he was saying; he wanted to benefit from my popularity, 
not from the negotiation. 


? May 5. See Documents 43 and 44. 


244 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


In terms of the American political situation, the strategy is to push 
the Israelis as far as possible without raising a general uproar. If we 
push it too far, given the situation the President faces, we could face 
months of paralysis. We have to use my prestige to put this over. If we 
fail, a campaign will say that the Secretary of State is colluding with the 
USSR to impair Israeli security. It is already starting. Joe Kraft* says I 
got the Soviets to have Syria to attack Israel so I could score a success by 
stopping the war I started. 

Asad: Kraft? 

Kissinger: He was here. His point is: For my own purposes, I 
worked with the Soviets to start a war so I could get it stopped diplo- 
matically. But that is only the beginning. If we could succeed, all this 
we could sweep away. 

What is important is whether we can keep the momentum of Israel 
going backward or whether we are going to have another stalemate. 

There cannot be another military change. In a political situation 
where Israel is going back, a point will be reached as in Algeria where a 
decision will be inevitable. 

Gromyko wants to put a solution into the context of an agreement 
with me. It isn’t that kind of a problem. 

The big change in the last six months is in political mobility. The 
Israelis can no longer count on U.S. support on all issues. The American 
Secretary of State is urging Israel to move back. 

This is the general assessment I wanted to share. After lunch we 
can go into details. 

From my own selfish viewpoint the best thing for me would be for 
the negotiations to fail. I would be criticized for three weeks, but then I 
could withdraw. If I succeed and continue—as I will—I will suffer great 
attacks. But if we succeed, we can generate political support for what 
we are doing. 

(The party moved to lunch.) 

Kissinger: Sisco is the only individual who is a conspiracy all by 
himself. 

Asad: He is a phenomenon! 

Kissinger: I have studied the purges in the USSR in the 1930’s. 
Stalin developed a definition that had a curious aspect: A person didn’t 
have to have done something; he just had to have the potential to harm 
Stalin. On that basis, I would have to purge my whole staff. 

Sisco: I am still here. I must be not so bad, or else I’m inefficient! 


3 Joseph Kraft was an American columnist. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 245 


Kissinger: Did you see an article by Prof. Morgenthau? He com- 
pared me to Chamberlain. The campaign being made against me is that 
I am working with the Soviets and Arabs to destroy Israel. 

Asad: Does he work in political science? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: Is he a good American if he makes enemies of the Arabs? 

Kissinger: No. He is wrong. We each pursue our own interests. I 
believe it can’t be in the U.S. interest to have Arab enmity, especially for 
a third country. 

Saunders used to press me to be more friendly to the Arabs. I told 
him the time wasn’t right yet. Without the war it would not have been 
possible yet. 

Asad: In order to make a judgment, these professors should make 
an assessment of the losses and gains for the U.S. 

Kissinger: Next time, I am planning to bring Mrs. Kissinger. 

Asad: Yes, we are planning on it... 

Khaddam expected that on Cyprus you would agree with Gro- 
myko to postpone discussion of disengagement until Moscow.’ Does 
Gromyko want to discuss this in Moscow? 

Kissinger: If I go to Moscow, it will not be to discuss the Middle 
East. 

I think the situation by early next week will be: We will either 
know whether we can agree, and then we should move very quickly. 
We will know by Saturday or Sunday? what is the maximum I can 
achieve. Then you will have to decide whether it is enough. If it is 
enough, we will have to move very fast before they can organize 
against us. If I can return with a success, I can explain it as a movement 
toward peace. If I come back with a stalemate, I will have to explain 
who is at fault. Gromyko couldn’t help one iota. The worst thing I could 
do would be to make an agreement with Gromyko and sell it in 
America. Why should I make concessions to the Soviets and not to you? 
We want friendlier relations with Syria. 

So if we have a stalemate and if I go to Moscow, I will not talk with 
them about the Middle East. If they told you they could do better in 
Moscow, that is wrong. They tried this at two summits and failed. 

Asad: We are aware of these things. 

Kissinger: I think it is unlikely I will go to Moscow in two weeks. 
But if I do, no matter what you are told, the subject will be SALT. In 
Moscow at the end of March, they were discussing their participation, 


4 A reference to the Moscow Summit scheduled for late June. 
5 May 11-12. 


246 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


not the substance of a disengagement.® That was the argument with 
Brezhnev. I told him if he could settle the disengagement, I would not 
ask to participate. Iam not trying to talk against the USSR because we 
know you have to get your military equipment there. 

Asad: If you started giving arms to the Arabs, you would be better 
able to control the arms. 

Kissinger: Just in this room, we are starting with Saudi Arabia. 
They are sending a mission to Washington in June on general coopera- 
tion. We will have a military section to that. 

Asad: The nations here need arms. The need, of course, would be 
lessened, given peace. 

Kissinger: What we want to do is establish a pattern. We are 
starting on economic cooperation, including technical and scientific co- 
operation. And that can expand. We may do it with Egypt next. After 
the disengagement or after a reestablishment of relations, we would be 
prepared to do it with Syria. 

Asad: We are anxious that, as fast as possible, things go back to 
normal. But sometimes, one lets go emotionally sometimes. One sees 
certain proposals that make me angry. We are in earnest, Dr. Kissinger. 
For your own ears, if you are worried about 1—2000 demonstrators in Is- 
rael, there are many more in Syria who would march against us for co- 
operating with you. 

The Syrian difficulty is that people here who have been nurtured 
over 26 years on hatred, can’t be swayed overnight by our changing 
courses. We would never take one step except in the interests of our 
own people. We are all human—we all have our impulsive reaction to 
things. But in leadership, we have to restrain ourselves and analyze 
and take steps in our own interest. A just peace is in the interest of our 
people. 

Kissinger: And of Israel and of all people in this area. 

Asad: Wars waged for aims other than to establish justice should 
not be waged. 

Kissinger: The extraordinary thing last October was that people 
who were bold enough to make a war against all odds were moderate 
enough to follow a restrained policy in peace. 

Asad: On the first day—October 6—I made a speech saying we are 
entering a war to stop bloodshed. We want peace. So, of course, we 
have to bend every effort for peace. 

Kissinger: I agree. That is why I tried to explain the framework. 


6 Kissinger went to Moscow at the end of March for talks with Soviet officials, in- 
cluding General Secretary Brezhnev. See Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XV, Soviet 
Union, June 1972-August 1974, Documents 167-170. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 247 


Last November, we thought Damascus was physically dangerous 
for an American to visit and we didn’t even propose a visit. That was 
before I knew the Foreign Minister. I have invited him to come to 
Washington when he comes to the U.S. next. Our hospitality is not as 
advanced as Syria’s. 

Shihabi: I protest. 

Kissinger: We know what tremendous efforts you have made to 
entertain such large parties. You'd be less well equipped if you hadn’t 
had 2000 years of barbarian invasions. Our security people operate; ar- 
rest them. 

Asad: Relations are improving. 

Kissinger: Whatever happens on disengagement, we are prepared 
to try to continue improving relations. 

Asad: We too. Will Rabin form a Cabinet?’ 

Kissinger: Yes. I think they’re waiting for these negotiations. If 
they succeed, they'll speed the transition to a more political position. 

The best one in Israel is Dayan. 

Asad: Will Eban be in the Cabinet? 

Kissinger: The present Cabinet will almost certainly not be in the 
Cabinet—but not for this reason. They’re looking for a scapegoat. Eban 
will probably be in the Cabinet. 

Shihabi: Dayan may come back later. He is still young. 

Kissinger: If we do not succeed, the right wing will gain more and 
more the upper hand. In a year or two, Dayan may come back. 

Asad: I heard Eban make a good statement after the war that wars 
aren’t going to help. They should follow a policy of making the Arabs 
desirous of not going to war any more. 

Kissinger: That is the overwhelming issue. That is why this is such 
an important phase. 

(At 5:15 p. m. everyone rose from the table. While the group reas- 
sembled, Dr. Kissinger noted a reviewer’s comment on his first book 
“Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy.” The reviewer said he could not 
tell if Dr. Kissinger was a great writer but anyone finishing the book 
was a great reader. Seriously, some of the considerations in that book 
were dated and some were coming back. It pre-dated the era of 
missiles.) 


” After Golda Meir’s resignation as Prime Minister on April 11, Yitzhak Rabin was 
nominated to be Prime Minister. He negotiated with various Israeli factions to form a 
new Cabinet while Meir continued to head a caretaker government. On June 2, the 
Knesset approved his new government. 


248 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: Seriously, we wish that peace will reign all over the world, 
and that competition will be peaceful. It is one of the traits of this world 
that conflict remains. 

Kissinger: I think we have an important opportunity for peace. 

Let me show you now where we stand in our talks with the Is- 
raelis—if you won’t get too angry. I think I can get some more, but the 
objective situation is difficult unless you want to accept this. Let me 
show you, and then I'll tell you what I'll try to do. When I come back 
Saturday or Sunday we can take stock. You should make your deci- 
sions in terms of the overall analysis I gave you. 

(Showing a map.)° Israel has now agreed to go back to the October 
6 line everywhere but Mt. Hermon. 


Asad: This is the October 6 line? 

Kissinger: No, this. They agreed to leave October. We will not 
show anything as a UN zone. They want a zone with no military forces 
but it will be Syrian. I’m saying they have to go back on Mt. Hermon 
and they must find some other stretch along the line where they can go 
back. 

They haven’t agreed. 

Asad: (Followed the line.) 

Kissinger: They want all points on top of Mt. Hermon. I’ve told 
them they must reconsider this. 

Asad: This configuration is creating a dovetailing. Last time we 
asked for a straighter line—irrespective of the terrain. We would decide 
ona line and then discuss adjustments one way or another. They’re not 
going back behind the October 6 line generally. 

So I make these observations: Observation # 1: There is no return 
behind the October 6 line. Observation # 2: There is no straight parallel 
line. Thus complicates the situation. Observation # 3: They keep points 
they occupied after October 22. For example, on Mount Hermon, where 
they had no positions. The only observer post they had was on the Oc- 
tober 6 line. Observation # 4: There is no significant area of land from 
which they are withdrawing. There is no withdrawal of any substance. 

Kissinger: The pocket and Quneitra. 

Asad: They are not giving back Quneitra. They have just split 
Quneitra. 

Kissinger: That’s what they started out doing. Now the line is just 
on the Western edge of Quneitra. They started dividing the city. We re- 
fused the idea. 


8 The map has not been found. It is presumably one the Israelis gave Kissinger the 
day before. See Document 47. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 249 


Asad: The city is important because we want to return the ci- 
vilians. We can’t do it unless the military situation is good. As it stands 
now, it is not good. 

Kissinger: I’ll report every point you make. It took a letter from our 
President? to move them from the middle of Quneitra. The United 
States is interested in return of civilians to Quneitra and would do ev- 
erything it could to assure a return of civilians and its rehabilitation. 
We would be prepared to say we would give strong support if the ci- 
vilians are harassed. 

Asad: The civilians will be up in arms against us. 

Kissinger: This we would not permit. 


Asad: I hope this is clear to Dr. Kissinger: We cannot agree to a 
disengagement of this kind. This indicates the Israelis are insisting on 
war. We would not take Quneitra back in this form. We would only 
agree to a line near the line we have indicated. If we agreed to this kind 
of disengagement, we could not return to civilian life. This does not 
suggest Israeli seriousness. First, we want a straight line. We could say 
let’s go back to the October 22 line (in the north?). Of course, Dr. Kissin- 
ger knows we can’t possibly accept. 

Kissinger: Let me give my personal view. I know you can’t accept. 
I think we should ask Israel to withdraw some other distances along the 
line and in Mt. Hermon. Even Qunietra—it was first just a little corner. 

Asad: I believe you. 

Kissinger: I agree they must do more. I’ve already told them my 
thinking. 

I believe in addition that, if they were very wise, they would make 
it much easier for you because I believe you have been very reasonable. 
However, you should keep in mind that whenever I say I’ve pressed 
them to the maximum, we will have to consider where we are. 

Even this brings the line very close to their settlements and will 
create great insecurity. It will create a tremendous political situation 
there. 

Asad: I’m with you. Your thoughts are clear. Yes, but look at it 
from our point of view. It doesn’t inspire a belief that they are earnest. It 
would not help us continue. I could not send the civilians back. The sit- 
uation there is worse. 

Kissinger: Why? 

Asad: We would have to redeploy. It would cost us money. It is 
weak on some political points like a recognition of the October 22 line. 
It would be as though we were projecting an untruth on our people. 


° Document 41. 


250 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: I understand. 

Asad: I hope you will understand my remarks are directed at Is- 
raelis. We want a just peace. We say this to everybody around the Arab 
area. We don’t want to fall into traps. We can’t understand peace as a 
realization of gains for the Israeli people. We don’t want to deceive our 
people. 

Kissinger: This I understand. On the other hand, leaving aside de- 
tails, look at the concept. Once the 1967 line is broken, for the first time, 
the Israelis would have withdrawn from strongpoints and territory 
which they did not lose in conflict. Therefore, Syria would have 
achieved an actual Israeli withdrawal under political pressure under 
the pressure of Syria and the United States. Particularly with some 
more territory. In the pocket—you will know—the Israelis claim the 
present line is easier to defend. 

I will go back and explain your considerations and your attitude. I 
will try to continue the strategy that I’m pursuing—to use maximum 
political pressure short of a political explosion in the United States. I’m 
not yet under full-scale attack. The way the Israelis present it in the 
U.S., they treat Syria as part of USSR and say I’m making concessions to 
the USSR and what am I getting in return. So why do I want Israel to 
withdraw? 

You have your own political requirements and maybe we cannot 
succeed. I will make an effort to improve the map. The significance for 
the Israelis is that this is an encroachment on their settlements for the 
first time. 

Asad: My retort is that their settlements can be shelled by us now. 

Kissinger: The best way to get them off the Golan Heights is to put 
pressure on the settlements in Golan. 

Asad: I am suggesting point counter point. 

Kissinger: The Egyptians are not emotional. The most useful thing 
is for me to go back to Israel. There is no sense in discussing secondary 
issues—UN, etc.—until we have a line. 

My job is to see whether I can improve the line. 

May I bring Mrs. Meir here? 

Asad: We'll be occupied twice! 

Kissinger: You want to come with me tonight? 

Asad: It would be a strange historic event. 

Kissinger: What is maddening about negotiating with her, is the 
emotion. She thinks an injustice has been done to her. She says: You 
started the war therefore you have to lose territory. 

They say “You started the war, you get the pocket back and some 
territory behind the ’67 lines.” 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 251 


Asad: You may keep the map. 

Kissinger: Never give away a free map. Is that the motto of the Di- 
rector of Intelligence? I’ll make a maximum effort. I’ll give them two 
days. I’ll come back Saturday or Sunday, depending on what I can 
achieve. You know how long it took me to get this. 

Asad: We could have demonstrations. I fear our people. 

Kissinger: If it turns into a contest between demonstrators, I’ll just 
leave the area, go to Washington and lead my own demonstrations. I’m 
losing. 

What I said to you about the Israeli domestic situation is not based 
on the demonstrations but on the basis of what is going on there. If they 
lose this battle—and lose the pocket—they will be discouraged. If they 
keep the pocket, their strategy will be justified. They want to make it a 
U.S.-Soviet dispute. We want to decouple it. Success cannot be meas- 
ured in territory. We’ve spent days and weeks bringing pressure on 
Israel. 

Now what should we say to the press? 

Asad: We cannot say we’ve reached agreements with regard to 
certain elements. We could say we discussed certain elements. 

Kissinger: Ill say we’ve discussed some elements, and made some 
progress, but we should avoid an impression of a rupture. 

Asad: Neither this nor that. Neither cause them to be optimistic 
nor pessimistic. Not create an overexpectation. 

Kissinger: Your brothers in Egypt always predict total success for 
me without being told anything by me. 

Asad: I’ve had contacts with Sadat. 

Kissinger: While the Israelis are deliberating, I may go to Riyadh 
and stop in Cairo to pick up my wife for a few hours. I won’t show 
maps to the Arab leaders but I will talk in a general way of what I’m 
trying to do in pushing the Israelis back. I’ll say what I did before lunch 
but with less precision. 

Asad: I sent them summaries. They said the Israeli plan is confined 
to the pocket and that Dr. Kissinger is going back to Israel. 

Kissinger: What we discussed after lunch, I won’t say. The details 
are your business. I have to leave time for King Faisal who always gives 
me religious instruction for half an hour. 

Asad: Communism and Zionism. You never know. There may be a 
relationship. 

Kissinger: He thinks Moscow is controlled by Tel Aviv. 

Asad: Isn’t Mrs. Meir Russian? 


Kissinger: Can we say to the press that we brought some Israeli 
considerations to Damascus? We’re now going back with some of your 


252 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


considerations. I’ll return here Saturday or Sunday. For my press, I'll 
say we're making some progress, but we’re not near an agreement. 


Asad: Yes. We are not near an agreement. You have to say there is 
progress. You give same nuance. 


Kissinger: Let’s agree on something else. If they say, “Did you 
bring a map?” 
Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: I’ll say I brought some geographic considerations. In all 
seriousness, I appreciate your spirit. This is painful for you. We are 
talking about your territory. 


49. Memorandum of Conversation! 
Herzliyya, May 8, 1974, 9:45-10:55 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mrs. Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 

Yitzhak Rabin, Minister of Labor and Prime Minister-designate 
Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister 

Abba Eban, Minister of Foreign Affairs 

Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Shimon Peres, Minister of Information 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the U.S. 

Mordechai Gazit, Director, Prime Minister’s Office 

Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur, Army Chief of Staff 

Avraham Kidron, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Col. Aryeh Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 

Lt. Gen. David Leor, Military Assistant to the Prime Minister 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Ambassador Kenneth B. Keating, U.S. Ambassador to Israel 

Mr. Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large & Chief U.S. Delegate to 
Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East 

Mr. Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and 
South Asian Affairs 

Mr. Carlyle E. Maw, Legal Adviser 


1Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, 
Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 2. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the Guest 
House in Herzliyya. All brackets, except those indicating omitted material, are in the 
original. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 253 


Mr. Harold H. Saunders, National Security Council Senior Staff 
Mr. Peter W. Rodman, National Security Council Staff 


Dr. Kissinger: Let me give you a brief summary of what happened. 
Given again the delicacy of what we are doing, if we can maintain the 
discretion that has characterized all our meetings for a week. I just 
would like to keep re-emphasizing it, because it has helped to get us 
here. 

It was the best meeting we have had.’ For the first time I believe we 
havea chance of getting an agreement. For the last week I have thought 
that the best thing that we could do would be to elaborate a cause of 
break-up that would not isolate Israel and would not lead to an explo- 
sion in the Middle East. My major concern had been to keep the Arabs 
divided on the issue of break-up rather than to produce a solution. 

I still do not say the chances are better than 50/50, and maybe not 
even quite 50/50, but it was the first rational discussion I have had with 
the Syrians about the possibility of a disengagement. 

As I am accompanied by the press, I always have the problem of 
making sure that the meeting doesn’t end prematurely or they'll scare 
the world half to death. The meeting took what?, about four and 
one-half hours. And the first hour or so I spent on describing 
U.S.-Soviet relations to him, on the theory that whatever I told him was 
probably more than the Soviets had told him. Secondly, on the theory 
that if he saw that the Soviets were working with us on a lot of agree- 
ments, he might estimate their willingness to run risks for him that 
would jeopardize our relationship. 

I did it in the form of giving him a report of what happened in 
Cyprus.° I de-emphasized the key discussion in Cyprus and gave hima 
lot of the discussions on other matters, having to do with the Summit. 
And that also gave me the opportunity, in the guise of describing the 
SALT negotiations, of telling him about the strategic relationship be- 
tween the United States and the Soviet Union and the superiority in 
numbers of warheads we had. Again, I repeated this in the guise of tell- 
ing him what the issues were in SALT, and why it was hard to frame an 
equitable proposal, since for the Soviets to catch up we would have to 
stand still for five years. 

This he enjoyed hugely, and he asked many clarifying questions 
and made a very helpful suggestion. I said to him that the Soviet pro- 
posal sounded reasonable, but since we were already at the limit of 
what the Soviets proposed for us and the Soviets hadn’t even started on 
their program, it would take them five years to reach their limit while 


2 See Document 48. 
3 See footnote 4, Document 44. 


254 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


for five years we do nothing. He said, “Why don’t you propose that 
both sides stop building these missiles now?” [Laughter] 

Mrs. Meir: You never thought of it! 

Dr. Kissinger: General Gur’s friends—that is exactly the program 
of the JCS. That’s what the Joint Chiefs of Staff want us to propose, that 
both sides now stop deploying multiple warheads, since we already 
have over 1,000 missiles and the Soviets have yet to build one. That’s a 
fair enough proposal! 

Well, at any rate, I just give you this to describe the mood. With re- 
spect to the Middle East, apparently the Soviets, in their inexhaustible 
tawdriness, have tried to use with them a remark that Gromyko made 
to me at the end of the meeting yesterday, to try to make some money 
with the Syrians. At the end of the meeting, Gromyko invited me to 
come to Moscow in a few weeks. He repeated an invitation, that they 
have extended to me ever since March, that I should come once more 
before the Summit, and I replied, as I did since March, that if the SALT 
discussions warranted it, I would come. If the SALT discussions did not 
warrant it, there was no purpose in my coming and it had absolutely 
nothing to do with me. 

Apparently the Soviets told him that if the disengagement did not 
succeed, they would be prepared to take it up when I visited Moscow 
in two weeks. So Assad asked me whether I agreed to that with Gro- 
myko, and I said absolutely not, that we were in no position to nego- 
tiate disengagement in Moscow with the Soviets, that we didn’t think it 
was a bilateral matter between the Soviet Union and the United States. 
That we were talking to him, and that all our discussions would be be- 
tween Syria and Israel and under no circumstances would we work out 
a solution with the Soviet Union. 

All of which pleased him enormously. He made an approving 
comment about this approach. 

Well, then we turned to the substance, and I made a very long 
analysis to him of the situation as I saw it, beginning with the difference 
between the Egyptian and the Syrian negotiation, the difference in the 
position of the salient, the difference in the position of the location of 
the armies, the proximity to vital centers, the fact that the area was pop- 
ulated, and pointing out that in effect in the Egyptian disengagement 
the Egyptians did not ask the Israelis to withdraw from lines that the 
Egyptian armies did not occupy. And that, therefore, the negotiating 
problem for us in the Syrian-Israel one was infinitely more complex 
and that the terms in which he had posed it were unfulfillable. 

I then analyzed the Israeli domestic situation, and pointed out to 
him that there was a limit beyond which it could be stretched. He said if 
demonstrations impress me, what I needed is that he would be glad to 
organize one for me in Damascus. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 255 


Mr. Allon: A very organized society. 

Dr. Kissinger: He said he had read there were several hundred 
demonstrators against me in Jerusalem. He said it would be no 
problem to get tens of thousands into the streets of Damascus. 

Then I explained the American domestic situation, as I saw it. And 
I told him my view that if he relied on a stalemate and superpower 
pressure, the results were more likely to be similar to the 1967-73 pe- 
riod than anything else. And I said therefore the time has come to see 
whether we can have a reasonable discussion about disengagement. I 
said all this before I showed him the map. I said the major thing we 
have to settle is the attitude with which we are going to work. I can’t 
stay out here much longer. We should settle it within the next few 
meetings. We have to see whether we can get into an agreement in prin- 
ciple. If we can get to an agreement in principle, we should then work 
very hard to get it settled as rapidly as possible before outside influ- 
ences start confusing things. If we can’t get an agreement in principle, 
then we should analyze where we are and where we go from there. 

And I told him we were prepared to have friendly relations with 
them under conditions of peace in the Middle East, and so forth. 

He replied in a very rational way, and not emotionally, and said 
that he wanted to point out that we had made a very good analysis 
from the Israeli point of view, but he too had his problems, that for 26 
years the Syrian people had been taught that the Israelis were devils 
and that for him to make peace required some tangible results that he 
could show. And even under those conditions it was extremely diffi- 
cult. And he said he was prepared to make a genuine effort towards 
peace. 

General Shihabi was there, whom we know from his visit in Wash- 
ington,4 and who is rather impressive, and to our view a rather 
pro-American Syrian—I mentioned him to you once or twice—and I 
am inclined to believe this, because none of us really took him to be a 
man of consequence when he arrived, so we didn’t give him any special 
treatment. We thought he had a message to deliver and we would take 
the message and send him home. It was only due to the accident that 
Gromyko was in Washington that weekend he was there, and I asked 
General Shihabi how to get in touch with Assad who was in Moscow. It 
was then I discovered that he was really extremely anti-Soviet and ex- 
tremely worried that the Soviets might tell Assad something about 
their meetings in Washington, and he was trying to work out all sorts of 
ways by which he could get to Assad and keep him from being misled. 


4 See Document 35. 


256 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


At any rate, Shihabi was there. And I then said to him their line just 
couldn’t be done, and I presented, shall we say, the modified map. That 
is, the map which showed only the Kuneitra salient, not the Hermon, 
not Rafid. So, if I could implore the people here to keep this discussion 
out of the newspapers—I don’t know whether you can censor them— 
but really ... 


He looked at that and said it is totally out of the question. But he 
made a very—it was not like on Saturday, or whenever I was there last, 
Friday;? on Friday he exploded. And this time he made a very rational 
analysis. He pointed out that the Hermon range was acquired after Oc- 
tober 22nd and therefore he could not accept that. He said that what he 
needed was some movement over of the October 6th line in a straight 
line. He kept repeating that over and over again. He didn’t really object 
too much to the depth of the salient, but he kept stressing over and over 
again that it had to go in a straight line, a more or less straight line, 
south. 

With respect to Kuneitra, with respect to what he did see, he made 
two observations. He found the Chief of Staff’s village. He and Shihabi 
went very carefully over the map to look for villages to which they 
could go back. He said he is very eager to re-settle. They looked for the 
village; they found that village and showed it to me. He said, “There 
are the Israelis; don’t they understand? They don’t understand how to 
make peace. How can I be asked to resettle half of a village?” 

I am just reporting this to you so that you can make your 
assessment. 

Then he went at Kuneitra. Actually, I gave him a slightly mis- 
leading representation of your position. Not misleading; I didn’t give 
him a full exposition. I wish you [to Mr. Dayan] wouldn’t stare at me 
like that. I know what you think. 

Mr. Dayan: You don’t know! 

Dr. Kissinger: You know I have my heart set on Kuneitra. It’s my 
birthday on May 27th. Will you give it? All my life I wanted it. 
[Laughter] Ever since you took me there in 1967. 

Mrs. Meir: Especially when you saw the hills. [Laughter] 

Dr. Kissinger: I frankly—you built the hills afterwards. 

Mrs. Meir: After the 22nd of October? 


Dr. Kissinger: That’s it. You built the hills after... [Laughter] Well, 
then with respect to Kuneitra, he said: “It ought to be in the Israelis’ in- 
terest that I settle this area. I cannot settle a town that has an Israeli mili- 
tary line running through it.” He said, “I cannot do this.” He said, “Tf I 


5 Kissinger had previously met with Asad on Friday, May 3 at 5 p.m. See Docu- 
ment 42. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 257 


want a town called Kuneitra, I can build a town called Kuneitra and I 
can place it anywhere.” 

Mts. Meir: Good idea! 

Dr. Kissinger: He said, “But the importance of the town would be if 
I could settle it,” and for the rest, he said, “Of course the line had to go 
down.” He clearly abandoned his plan. He agreed that if we can agree 
on a line, he would make a major effort to settle all other issues. I 
showed him zones of limited armament; I didn’t go into any details. I 
said the other things had to be demilitarized. I don’t say he accepted 
but he also didn’t reject it. None of this—wouldn’t you agree, Joe?— 
none of this caused ... It still certainly is going to be a nuisance when 
we negotiate it. On the demilitarized line, maybe he didn’t understand 
it properly, but I could see him trying to line it up. There is a town in the 
southern end of your pocket, which is a road junction. You know what I 
am talking about? 

General Gur: Yes. 

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t know what’s the name of it. 

General Gur: It’s a hill they built after the last war—that they built! 

Dr. Kissinger: He was trying to line up the red line to see whether 
the village was on the demilitarized side or was not on the demilita- 
rized side, but he didn’t raise the point. 

Mr. Rabin: Is it [omission in the original]? 

Dr. Kissinger: He didn’t mention. I just saw, when he and Shihabi 
went over the map, they were trying to line up the red line to see where 
that town was. 

General Gur: It is in their hands. 

Dr. Kissinger: Is it in their hands also militarily? 

General Gur: I think so. 

Dr. Kissinger: I have the impression that if it isn’t, he will raise it, 
but I can’t be sure. 

General Gur: It is below the hill, so I didn’t mind exactly where the 
line was. 

Dr. Kissinger: I have never heard of such a hill obsession. He needs 
psychiatric treatment! 

General Gur: I think I left it in their hands. 

Dr. Kissinger: I am not saying it is going to be raised; I am indi- 
cating that he must have known what that red line was there for, be- 
cause he was lining it up. 

There was much more desultory talk. I finally said to him, I said, 
“Look, I understand what you are saying. I will go back to Israel. I will 
report exactly what you have said about the line. I will see what we can 
get, and come back to you Saturday or Sunday.” He was very fulsome 


258 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


in his praise for my efforts. He said he wanted us to know that he really 
wanted to make an effort, but you had to make it possible for him. You 
could not put him into an impossible position which wouldn’t enable 
him to do it. 

And then we discussed what to say to the press. He said he recog- 
nized we had to show some progress, so that people wouldn’t think 
there was no hope, but we shouldn’t give the impression that there was 
an agreement, because if we gave that impression, then the conse- 
quences would be very drastic if it failed. 

I give you all this detail because it is the first nonemotional discus- 
sion I have had with him. 

I told him I was going to visit other Arab leaders, because he was 
going to find it out anyway, and that I would like to give them the same 
analysis I had given to him as to why disengagement agreement was 
desirable. He said, “Please do that; that would help me.” But, he said, 
“Don’t give them the details of the map. Just give them the general 
theory.” 

But he said again: the line has to move in a straight line. That was 
the theme he kept repeating. 

Then I drove out to the airport, and as I was entering the plane I 
was intercepted and taken into a reception room and I was told that 
General Shihabi wanted to say a word. Khaddam was talking to Assad. 
Shihabi said to me, in English, that we should understand their 
problems, that he was an old friend of Assad’s, that they wanted to 
come to a conclusion but it had to be one that they could defend domes- 
tically. That they would make a big effort with the line if I could bring 
them something that they could accept. 

Khaddam then came back and said he talked to Assad who wanted 
to impress on me that his only interest in Kuneitra was the ability to 
settle it, and for that he needed the hills. I told him right away that this 
was a subject that I had already discussed with the Israelis, and that 
seemed to be undo-able, and I didn’t want them to expect me to come 
back with the hills. 


That’s the essence of where we stand. But both in the language 
they used—and at no point did they threaten what they would do with 
the Russians. Now, on the plane I got a cable from Fahmy’ saying that 
we should try to avoid a summit meeting—asking what we knew of 
Assad’s plan for a summit meeting—and that we should try to avoid it 


e Telegram 2962 from Cairo, May 8. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Mate- 
rials, NSC Files, Box 1183, Harold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, 
May 1-May 12, 1974) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 259 


at all cost, and that he thought that it was important to get a disengage- 
ment agreement. He didn’t have any specific ideas. He was more con- 
cerned with heading off the summit tactically. 

Mrs. Meir: Did Assad mention the summit meeting to you? 

Dr. Kissinger: No. 

Mr. Peres: There’s been a lot of talk on the Arabic radio an- 
nouncing it. 

Dr. Kissinger: The only way the summit came up at all was when 
we were discussing the EC-Arab summit and I told him I was opposed. 
The EC Foreign Ministers meeting, the dialogue with the Arabs. I told 
him I was opposed. I told him I was opposed. I said any non-Arab that 
gets 20 Arab ministers together in one room is crazy. I said, “Any Euro- 
pean would sit there and write down everything you people said, and 
it is going to turn into a mad-house.” And he laughed and he said, 
“That’s absolutely right.” He said, “At any rate, foreign ministers’ 
meetings are not how the Arabs decide; we decide them at summits.” 
That’s the only time he mentioned the summit. 

Otherwise, I do not believe he will do anything to rock the boat 
until he knows whether the thing will succeed or fail. 

Mr. Allon: You didn’t discuss with him the problem of ceasefire so 
long as the talks were continuing? 

Dr. Kissinger: I think it would have been a grave tactical mistake to 
start nit-picking. I got your point. 

Mr. Allon: He gave you a promise in a previous meeting. 

Dr. Kissinger: I didn’t raise it. I didn’t raise any other points be- 
cause I didn’t want him to raise any other points. 

Now I will go to Faisal—that will be fairly easy—and to Sadat, 
with whom I will discuss candidly what the position is. The two big 
sticking points, as I see them now, will be Kuneitra—not in terms of 
hills, but what one can do about civilians there and what assurances 
can be achieved. And the second is to make the line go as consistent as 
possible. 

Mr. Allon: But for that townlet there, did he agree to the red line 
east of the old demarcation line? 

Dr. Kissinger: He raised no objection to it. That doesn’t mean he 
won't raise it. I have said this to him one hundred times and I said it 
again, and I said, “This will be a demilitarized area.” He didn’t say, 
“Yes, I agree to it.” But actually, when we showed where his army can 
go, when he was rejecting it, he said, “Look, this requires a lot of redis- 
position. Our army has to move from there.” And he pointed to the red 
line. 


260 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mr. Dayan: When you said, “straight line”, what exactly do you 
mean? Where did they have this straight line? [He unfolds a map on the 
table.]’ 

Dr. Kissinger: This you moved up a bit this morning. I think the 
generals moved this a little bit. Or is this the way we had it? 

General Gur: The paper moved a little bit. [Laughter] 

Dr. Kissinger: This is the village. 

General Gur: Ahmadiya. He didn’t see that village for quite a long 
time. Nothing exists, and if he wants to build the village ... 

Dr. Kissinger: This is the problem we keep going over and over. To 
them it is a symbolic thing. If he wants to rebuild the village, he can do 
it here. I am just pointing out that he called special attention to this. 
And then this whole area he called attention to—this one he doesn’t 
know—he called attention to this whole area, of course. And when he 
said straight line—what was your interpretation? [They study the 
map.] 

The town he was trying to place was this one [near the red line in 
the center]. That they were pointing to and moving the red line. 

This [Mt. Hermon] he violently objected to, but we don’t have to 
spend enormous time on. 

He didn’t make a specific proposal. But if you compare his original 
scheme to this, we are now in the area at least of rationality. It may be 
undo-able, but it is not any more an irrational discussion. 

My plan, as I said, is to see Faisal. All I have to tell Faisal is that I 
agreed with Assad that I will try to get him more. And I know that I can 
get him more. So it is easy to deal with Faisal. I will then report to Faisal 
that I did get him more. So that’s not a major problem. The Saudis are 
not distinguished by heroism anyway. Although it would help to keep 
them quiet for two weeks if the thing breaks up. It is one thing for them 
to change their position. It is another right away to go and— 

Second, I will go to Sadat. I think I should discuss with Sadat and 
the private secretary of the President, Marwan, who is the one who was 
sent around, their assessment of what can be done. I would try to get 
Sadat—Sadat has already sent two messages to Assad, and Boumedi- 
enne has sent one—whether we can get them to send another one. 
That’s why I am going to stay here on Saturday. At any rate, I will not 
go to Syria until I can see whether I can get some Arab pressure gener- 
ated, and depending on Sadat’s view, I may or may not send somebody 
to Boumedienne again. 


’ The Israeli map is not attached. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 261 


So then I will be back here Friday early afternoon.® Perhaps we 
could meet then. I mean, there’s nothing you don’t know that I know, 
and we still will then have about 36 hours to discuss strategy. Certainly 
it depends on what we want to do Sunday. We have those two addi- 
tional things we have already agreed to that I can get him. 

Mts. Meir: What map will you show to Sadat? 

Dr. Kissinger: The Rafid map.’ 

Mts. Meir: And he will not notify Assad? 

Dr. Kissinger: No. It is in Sadat’s interest to have these negotiations 
succeed. Or I will describe—I will think about it—I will describe it or- 
ally in terms of something that I can get but have not yet got and there- 
fore they’d better keep quiet. After all, it was Sadat’s idea that we not 
show everything at once. So he has no interest in destroying the 
strategy he himself recommended. 

My original idea was to bring every concession to Syria yesterday. 
It was his private secretary, it was Marwan in Cyprus: I didn’t have a 
map to show him; I told him I was going to get a map from Israel that 
evening. He said, “Whatever you do, don’t give them everything.” I 
told that to you yesterday. So it was the Egyptian idea not to give ev- 
erything. So I don’t believe that they will now destroy the strategy they 
themselves have recommended. 

Whatever their long-term motives, their short-term interest has to 
be in an agreement. Their position at the summit, at the oil conference, 
will be extremely embarrassing. Vis-a-vis the Soviets, it will be ex- 
tremely difficult. My judgment is that whatever their long-term 
strategy, they now want an agreement. 

Mts. Meir: There is one thing that I fear, and I want to get your re- 
action to that. For instance, you will report to Sadat what has happened 
in Syria and he will be encouraged. Like it is encouraging when you say 
that he speaks rationally and didn’t react emotionally and didn’t go 
back to some wild ideas. But if, for instance, it is stressed that the line he 
wants is a straight line, and if Sadat accepts it, he will support him in 
that. The thing that I fear is that to the best of my knowledge we have 
actually gone to the limit. 

Dr. Kissinger: I will tell him that you have told me that you have 
gone to the limit. First of all, I think what Sadat’s judgment will be 
worthwhile for, and Gamasy’s . .. I don’t think that this negotiation is a 
question of whether he will support to the limit, because he has had 
many opportunities to support to the limit; his approach will be to see 


8 May 10. 
° The Rafid map refers to a map that revealed Israeli concessions in the Rafid area of 
the southern Golan Heights and on Mount Hermon in the northern Golan Heights. 


262 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


what he thinks he can sell to other Arabs if it comes to a blow-up, or he 
may ask Gamasy’s opinion whether based on his knowledge of the 
Syrians they can be brought to accept it. Now, I must say that Sadat was 
more optimistic on Saturday than I was.’° He turned out to be right as 
to the possibilities of a settlement, and his pressures so far have not 
been in the direction to see what he could bleed out of Israel but rather 
to define the minimum that he thought was necessary. 


I will make clear to him that this is considered by Israel the max- 
imum position. 

Mts. Meir: Because Sadat will also see the part of Rafid; he will see 
the picture. What I am afraid of is that we shouldn’t be faced with a po- 
sition on Friday—I don’t want to be misunderstood—but it will prob- 
ably be easier for Sadat to take the stand he has taken when Assad. was 
speaking a wild language. But now that he is speaking more or less like 
anormal person, then Sadat can say to himself: “Well, this is an accom- 
plishment.” And I agree that this is an accomplishment, something en- 
couraging for us too if he is becoming rational. But then the outcome 
may be that he may say: “Well, after all, Assad has made this won- 
derful evolution and now it is a question of drawing a straight line and 
going a bit west, and something like that.” As you say, you will tell him 
as far as we are concerned, this is the map we gave you. We are not 
playing tricks with you. You saw how we measured things out. 

Dr. Kissinger: I have no possible interest in arousing in Sadat ex- 
pectations that cannot be fulfilled. That is totally contrary to his experi- 
ence with me. I have no interest whatsoever in showing that. On the 
other hand, if I tell him: “This is what the Israelis assert, and I have 
reason to believe that is their maximum position,” if he then tells me: 
“Look, this will not be sustainable in the Arab world, you have got to 
know that,” you can still maintain your position. We will not neces- 
sarily be guided by Sadat’s views, but you have to know them. In my 
judgment, he in this negotiation will make every effort to make it suc- 
ceed. Because if he wants a blow-up, he will do it for his own reasons, 
not for Syria’s reasons. And he wouldn’t run a risk of war for Syria if he 
can possibly avoid it. 

Mts. Meir: Because he, probably, and Gamasy, certainly, will un- 
derstand why we say this is the line and not here. He may not agree 
with us but he will understand the reasons. It isn’t a question of 
prestige. 

Dr. Kissinger: It won’t be at all an emotional discussion with the 
Egyptians. The discussion with the Egyptians will be purely tactical, 


10 May 4. See Document 43 and footnote 3 thereto. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 263 


and he will give me his tactical assessment. And I have no incentive to 
get him to raise demands that then may not be fulfillable. But if he 
makes them, you have to know them. And then you make your deci- 
sion in the light of what you know. 

Mr. Allon: I understand that Assad didn’t want you to show the 
map to any Arab leaders. So you can describe it orally to Faisal and— 

Dr. Kissinger: With Faisal, I wouldn’t even get into it. What Faisal 
wants to hear I can give him. I will tell him a simpleminded version of 
it. I will tell him first of all why it will be necessary to have an agree- 
ment, because a stalemate will bring the Russians right back into the 
area. I will give him a simpleminded version that Israel after long hesi- 
tation has agreed to this salient around Kuneitra, that Iam now going 
back to Israel and will produce additional things. That is all he wants to 
hear. Whether it is along the whole line or not, I don’t think he would 
analyze so carefully. His Foreign Minister has also taken the same posi- 
tion as Assad. You just have to accept the fact that this is a symbolic 
thing in the Arab world. Saqgaf wrote me a letter last night making that 
same point.'’ But the map will not be shown in Saudi Arabia. 

Mr. Allon: Now, if I am not wrong, in your last meeting with 
Sadat, you showed him the Rafid area, but not Kuneitra, if I am not 
wrong. Now you will come back to him, and you have Kuneitra as an 
additional— 

Dr. Kissinger: It is senseless, whether I say that; it is not a horse 
trade. It is not between me and Sadat. What we have, what is additional 
to what Sadat has seen, is that the Rafid area is extended beyond that 
little— 

Mr. Eban: Assad may have told Sadat about our Kuneitra 
proposal. 

Dr. Kissinger: My impression is that all he told the other Arab 
leaders is that your first proposal concerned only a part of the salient 
and therefore he rejected it. I don’t think he has given anybody a pre- 
cise definition of any plan, and I think that is a good sign, because if he 
wanted to break it up he would have described your iniquity in elo- 
quent terms. 

The judgment is not whether I bought a hundred dollars worth or 
a thousand dollars worth. The judgment he will have to make is 
whether he can justify it in his conception of the Arab world. He may 
have a totally different idea of what should be handled, which hasn’t 


™ No letter from Saqgaf has been found, but a letter from Faisal is in telegram 2485 
from Jidda, May 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 
P850071-2027) 


264 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


occurred to me, and all I can do is bring it to you. I can’t negotiate with 
Sadat as to what is reasonable. 

Mr. Allon: Iam sure you know how to deal with Sadat better than I 
do; I never met him. But what I want to say is that from the little you 
showed him on your last visit to Alexandria, you bring a great change 
on behalf of the Israelis. 

Dr. Kissinger: I know that. 

Mr. Allon: So maybe as you do your tactics, you can say: “I got al- 
ready this little bit, | hope I will get something else.” And not show him 
the whole thing at once, to develop the achievement, if possible. 

Dr. Kissinger: That is the strategy with Assad. With Sadat I have to 
find out what he in fact is willing to support if it blows up. 

Mr. Allon: So you have to tell him. 

Dr. Kissinger: More or less. 

Mr. Allon: So it is essential, really, to say, as the Prime Minister has 
said, that we have reached the limit, both on the ground and with the 
people. 

Dr. Kissinger: His desire will be to wind it up. Judging by Fahmi’s 
cable, I think their earnest desire is to wind it up as fast as possible. So I 
don’t think he is looking for any complications. 

Mrs. Meir: When are you leaving tomorrow? 

Dr. Kissinger: Very early. I don’t need any decisions tonight for 
this trip. I think after I come back we ought to make an unemotional, 
cold-blooded assessment of where we stand. We are not bargaining 
with you. If I can build a little house at the entrance of East Kuneitra, 
that is all I need. 

Mrs. Meir: You can build a house on the hill. One of the hills 
around Jerusalem. 

Mr. Allon: I am sure one of the kibbutzim will offer you an hon- 
orary citizenship. 

Mr. Dayan: If you take a map to Sadat, I suggest it will be an accu- 
rate one. I am very sorry about this small one, even with an explana- 
tion. I would rather have a precise map. Why have the wrong map with 
the right explanation when you can have the right map? It is a map 
drawn by our people. I am terribly unhappy with it. Had I been there, 
they wouldn’t have done it. This is not a way, to have a wrong map 
with the right explanation. Let’s have the right map. The map must be a 
hundred per cent accurate. Let me have the five maps back and change 
it, so you have the map expressing exactly how our position is. And 
then you can have any kind of confusion you want, but a thing ex- 
tended and drawn by us, that is how to express our views about it. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 265 


Mrs. Meir: You mean the map that the Chief of Staff drew?” 


Mr. Dayan: Nobody was there. We were all away, and then our 
people were asked to— 


Mts. Meir: You are not speaking about the small map. 

Mr. Dayan: We should work all the night through and give you an 
accurate map exactly according to what we agreed about last night. 

Mr. Allon: I think the Secretary’s tactics with the Syrians were 
good. 

Mts. Meir: But that is what he intended to do with Sadat anyway. 

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. You cannot play through all the refinements of 
your domestic position; there is a lot more at stake. You have to play 
through the consequences of a break-up over any period of time 
against the consequences of an agreement and see where you are, and 
where we are, and where everyone is. No one is going to sneak civilians 
into Kuneitra without anyone noticing it. There are going to be a thou- 
sand discussions before it happens. He has said he doesn’t want to put 
civilians into Kuneitra under the present circumstances. 

Mr. Allon: Not even if we signa... 

Dr. Kissinger: I wouldn’t leave a map with Sadat anyway. 

Mr. Allon: No, I mean about what you said about the population. 
Not even if we sign an agreement? 

Dr. Kissinger: No, not with the present line. That is what he said 
today. He may change his mind by Sunday. 

Mr. Eban: What is the motivation of the straight line? Is it cosmetic, 
symbolic, or does he want something on the ground? 

Dr. Kissinger: I think it would prove that they succeeded in ob- 
taining a change in the October 5 line. But maybe we can think of some 
other way of straightening the line. I have explained to you every objec- 
tion he made. Another way of looking at the thing is to look for the 
maximum number of villages one can put under his control, which 
seems to be a thing which is very much on his mind. Maybe other 
things occur to people at this table. 

Mr. Dayan: I know there is no point to argue with you about 
Assad’s position. But he is not here, so what I understand is ... 

Dr. Kissinger: He has his pride. The Prime Minister wouldn’t come 
here; I offered him a ride here. 

Mr. Dayan: But under the circumstances, on the one hand I under- 
stand that he wants the maximum of refugees or farmers to come back 
to their places. The way I see it, lam very much for that. I don’t know 


2 A map drawn up by Lieutenant General Mordechai Gur. 


266 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


what everyone in our country thinks, if they agree with me, or even in 
the Cabinet, but I am for that. Secondly, of course it doesn’t matter 
where the village was, he can rebuild it anywhere, because nothing is 
left there. So if he really wants people to be resettled, it can really be 
built anywhere. I am not trying to make excuses why they shouldn’t go 
there, but I am just saying—I said it from the beginning—he can build a 
Kuneitra wherever he wants. It is nonsense to say this. But then he said 
that he can’t have his people going somewhere very close to our mili- 
tary line. So what that means is, for instance, this village, Ahmadiya: 
How can we cut it into two? Supposing we move our military line to 
the end of the village. He will say, “How can our people live close to 
your military line?” If I understand correctly, that is what he said about 
Kuneitra, that he can’t bring the people back because our military line 
is there. 


So what does all this mean? We are there at that line because of the 
features of the ground. It is not because of a straight or a curved line. 
We can’t move the hills. You can move the village if he won’t want his 
people there, or if we don’t want our people to live close to the Syrian 
military line, we can build the village somewhere else. But you cannot 
move the hills. So I don’t know. If we don’t want to mislead ourselves, 
to deceive ourselves, I really think that there is no chance whatsoever, 
whatever the arguments or the alternatives will be, I see no chance for 
any changes, not significant, but even non-significant changes in the 
line of the map that we drew last night. Not because we were at our 
best, but this is the kind of ground features it is. 

Dr. Kissinger: After the next round, we, the United States group 
will make a decision whether there is any sense in going on. If we de- 
cide not to go on, whatever else happens, the next round will not be dis- 
cussed with yardsticks and with measuring centimeters and all these 
fine points that we have spent every night patiently discussing. But the 
judgments will be made on a much cruder basis in a much more abso- 
lute way. 

But let’s face that when it comes up. Maybe your final line will be 
accepted. Believe me, I do not urge Arabs not to accept the Israeli posi- 
tions. And there have been innumerable occasions where the Arabs 
have accepted Israeli positions which I thought might not be accepted. 

For your own contingency planning, you ought to consider the 
possibility when they don’t accept it, what can be done. I am not asking 
you to do it now; you have three days before you have to make a deci- 
sion. But you are now enjoying the luxury of being able to massage this 
problem, ten yards at a time. That is not inherent in the situation. And 
many problems that are profound security concerns wouldn’t look all 
that absolute when they get discussed elsewhere. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 267 


You can be sure that I will do my best to get it settled on this basis. 
If we can, we can. 

I can certainly not go on. If we don’t have an agreement in prin- 
ciple say by Monday, I am going to end my efforts. If I don’t see by 
Sunday that it is very close, there is no sense returning back and forth, 
debating the theology of security that both sides have. I think we have 
got to the point where both sides are close. Either they are going to ac- 
cept your position or you are going to have to change your position, 
and if neither of them is achievable, we have to have a hiatus. I see 
nothing that can happen. I do believe they now want to strive for a set- 
tlement. If that judgment is right, it is quite possible that your map is 
enough. I am not saying it isn’t. Ihave reported to you what Assad said. 
Since I haven’t presented them the southern part of the map, it may be 
that he feels about Rafid the way I feel about Kuneitra. [Laughter] 
Maybe his mother comes from there. 

Mts. Meir: I know you don’t have to be told this, but the simple 
analysis is: 1am sure that Assad, but at any rate you are convinced that 
no matter where we are, no matter where their civilians are, that one 
bright morning we won’t get up and attack them. So if you speak of 
theology of security, his theology is good if he thinks in these terms, 
and he has no reason to think in these terms. Whereas with us, this is 
the matter that we have to take into consideration. And therefore be- 
yond a certain limit—we laugh over hills, but it isn’t because we like 
hills. These hills are not high enough; it is not the Hermon; but it is 
these hills upon which the security of our people depends. So I know 
that we are not always very popular when we speak so much about 
security. 

Dr. Kissinger: It is not a question of popularity. 

Mrs. Meir: But I am sorry that this is a major problem of our life. 

Dr. Kissinger: It is a question of what the alternative will be, given 
certain conditions. I am not raising this now. I am saying if on Sunday 
night I come back and if then you have 12 hours or 24 hours to make up 
your minds, it is less good than if you can start thinking from now what 
you might say on Sunday night. At any rate, I will tell you now: If by 
Monday night there isn’t either an agreement in principle, or an immi- 
nent agreement in principle, I am going home. I have to. And you will 
then have to evaluate where we will all be in the light of that situation. 
But it may not arise. There is no magic whether it is Monday or 
Tuesday. 

Mr. Peres: Do you intend to go to Damascus again before you come 
here on Sunday? 

Dr. Kissinger: No, I don’t think I should go to Damascus until I 
have—nothing would be served. Iam going to see whether Faisal and 
Sadat will send emissaries to Assad. Assad right now is in a rather be- 


268 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


nign mood. He knows I am travelling to the others. He knows what I 
am going to say. I have told him what I am going to say. I think he is 
trying to make an agreement or he wouldn’t let me run around giving 
them the theory why an agreement should be made. Isn’t that your in- 
terpretation, Joe? [Mr. Sisco nods yes.] So what his final conclusion will 
be, I have no way of knowing. He is certainly not happy with what I 
brought him today. I think there is a better than 50-50 chance that Sadat 
will urge him to do it. 

Mrs. Meir: Look, I want to tell you. All our friends here under- 
stand. We have an internal problem, but I am not making that point at 
all. Because if the Likud and all the others, and those sitting opposite 
my house, if they want something that Iam convinced and all of us are 
convinced is wrong, then the internal problem has no part in it whatso- 
ever. The trouble begins when we begin to think that on certain points, 
not that they are right—I don’t care what speeches Begin makes or 
Sharon or Tamir,’ any of them, as long as they are wrong. 

Mr. Allon: They’re wrong. 

Mrs. Meir: But I want to be right with myself. So the last thing I 
would want you people to think is that we are concerned about our in- 
ternal problems. Sure, we have internal problems. But that is not the 
point. There isn’t any of us Israelis around this table that would say to 
himself: “Well, really we can do this, but what will happen internally?” 
That isn’t the question at all. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that 
we have to be convinced that what we do is right. 


Mr. Allon: I think Henry and his friends could see for themselves 
how painstakingly we tried to move each little bit where we could, the 
Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff—in fact, all of us. 

Dr. Kissinger: I believe we have had a very good discussion. I be- 
lieve you have been very serious. I don’t think we ought to debate it to- 
night, because there is no decision you can make tonight even if you 
had the best will in the world and there were maneuvering room, be- 
cause we have no concrete basis on which to make a decision. After I 
have talked to Sadat, we will have a preliminary view of considerations 
that you might want to consider or not want to consider. The next time 
you have a decision to make is after I have talked to Assad. Because 
then you will know exactly what your range of choices is. The only 
reason I insist on it tonight is so that you can start thinking. 

Your choice is not between absolute security and no security. Your 
choice will be to weigh the alternatives of the various courses of action. 


13 Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon, and Shmuel Tamir were founding members of 
the Likud Party. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 269 


But that is a debate I recommend we have later. There is no sense de- 
bating it now, since there is no concrete proposal I can make to you. 
Mr. Allon: Maybe Sadat will be satisfied with the map you show. 
Dr. Kissinger: That is a distinct possibility. 
Mts. Meir: I told the Secretary of State to take the small map with 
him and he will be surprised that Sadat will say, “Fine, it’s wonderful.” 
He almost said it, I understand. 


Dr. Kissinger: It was the location of my house that called attention 
to it. Because I wanted my house in the Syrian part and that’s flat; there 
was no elevation. 

Mts. Meir: I think we should allow our American friends to go to 
sleep for a while. 

Mr. Eban: I don’t know why the Israeli side shouldn’t be included 
in that. 

[The meeting then adjourned.] 


50. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 9, 1974, 0748Z. 


Hakto 64. 1. Please tell Haig that I will use every available opportu- 
nity to mention the President’s role in the current negotiations. I will 
continue to stress the importance of his involvement in our overall ef- 
fort to seek a lasting peace. 

2. Ask Haig to be sure the President understands that these negoti- 
ations may not succeed entirely. Ideally, I would hope to see an agree- 
ment concluded while I am in the area. Realistically, however, this may 
not be possible though I hope to keep the negotiating process alive. If 
these conditions are met, there is a good chance that the President's trip 
can take place and that he will be warmly welcomed wherever he visits. 


3. Warm regards. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East HAKTO 1-179, April 28-May 31, 1974. Se- 
cret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Immediate. 


270 ‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


51. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 9, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has asked me to provide you with the fol- 
lowing report: 

“Tam in the process of organizing various forces for what I believe 
will be my climactic meeting with President Asad on Sunday.” Yes- 
terday I brought the Israeli position to Asad? which represented an ad- 
vance over the past Israeli proposals. I informed Asad of Israel’s will- 
ingness to draw its defense line west of the entire city of Kuneitra. 
While this represents improvement, the fact is that when one analyzes 
the current Israeli withdrawal proposal, for all practical purposes it is 
not much more than a symbolic pullback from the line that existed just 
before the war of October 1973. Moreover, under the Israeli proposal 
Asad could not return his civilians to Kuneitra and the Israeli defense 
line would be at the edge of the city—in fact along one of the city 
streets. Thus some further Israeli concessions are clearly necessary. All 
this would be far short of Syrian demands. 

“Thad further discussions with Mrs. Meir and the key Members of 
her Cabinet last night,* and the current Israeli mood is resistant to any 
additional concessions. 

“I will be meeting with them again on Friday evening” to review 
the situation, and on the basis of the Cabinet-approved position I will 
be presenting the Syrians on Sunday with a few additional modifica- 
tions that draw the line west of the October line in a couple of places. 
For example, the Israelis are willing for the U.N. to take over their posi- 
tions on the highest peaks on Mount Hermon. Whether I can get some- 
thing more from the Israelis on Friday is doubtful. 

“T will, of course, make a major effort with Asad. If the above Is- 
raeli position proves insufficient, the Israelis will then face a critical 
choice: to permit the negotiations to reach an impasse and thereby face 
the probability of an escalated attritional resumption of hostilities on 
the Golan Heights, or to face up to giving up another kilometer or so of 
territory which would not affect their security adversely but would re- 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 192, Geo- 
political File, Middle East, Peace Negotiations, Israeli-Syrian Relations, Negotiation 
Books, Volume I, Folder 4. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. 


? May 12. 
3 See Document 48. 
4 See Document 49. 
5 May 10. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 271 


quire giving up some of the cultivated fields attached to settlements 
they established near Kuneitra in 1968. Again, Iam struck with the lack 
of flexibility which the domestic situation in Israel causes, and with the 
lack of responsibility which stakes the American position in the Middle 
East and risks an enhanced role for the Soviet Union on a kilometer 
here and there and on the vagaries of Israeli domestic politics. At the 
same time, Asad, who seems to want a disengagement agreement, also 
has internal pressures which concern him. He stressed repeatedly that 
he must have the kind of disengagement agreement which he can ex- 
plain to his people after 26 years of struggle and not provide the oppo- 
nents of his regime an opportunity to upset him. 

“My efforts in the last 48 hours have been designed to keep the 
Russians essentially neutralized and non-involved—this was the prin- 
cipal result of my meeting with Gromyko in Cyprus°—and preparing 
the groundwork for Saudi intervention in Damascus in support of the 
position I will be presenting to Asad on Sunday. My conversation with 
Faisal today’ indicated that the Saudis are prepared to be helpful. 
Saqgaf, the Foreign Minister, publicly endorsed your foreign policy 
and our stand on disengagement. Faisal could not have been more flat- 
tering. There is a good chance that the Saudis will send an emissary to 
Damascus to weigh in on the side of moderation. I was also able to an- 
nounce at the conclusion of my Saudi visit here today, the visit of 
Prince Fahd to Washington on May 24, which reflects the progress we 
are making in establishing a basis for long-term economic, scientific, 
technical and military supply cooperation between Saudi Arabia and 
the United States. 

“Tonight I will be going to Cairo for further talks with Sadat and 
concerting with the Egyptians on ways in which they will exercise their 
influence in Damascus. 

“There is still a chance for an agreement but it is tough going. 

“Warm regards.” 


6 See footnote 4, Document 44. 
7 No memorandum of conversation has been found. 


272 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


52. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 10, 1974. 


Following is Secretary Kissinger’s report of his meeting with Presi- 
dent Sadat. 


“In three hours with President Sadat today,” I explained exactly 
where the evolution of Israel’s position stands and what I think I can 
achieve in my next talks in Jerusalem. 


“President Sadat feels that the proposal which I expect to take to 
Damascus with me Sunday* could be justified to the Arab world. In- 
deed, from his recent contacts with other moderate Arab leaders, he 
feels reasonably certain that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Algeria are al- 
ready prepared to support this approach. However, he is uncertain that 
President Asad will be able to accept it as it is. He feels it will be neces- 
sary to persuade the Israelis to give a little more space around the city 
of Quneitra, and he is not sure Asad will have the courage. But he rec- 
ommends that I present the Israeli map as it is since it reflects two sig- 
nificant gains over the last map I took to him: (1) it removes Israeli 
forces from Mount Hermon and (2) it gives Syria two slices of territory 
behind the 1967 line. The thought is that, if Asad is willing to accept this 
concept in principle, I would be able to come back to Israel and say that 
the agreement hinges entirely on a buffer zone around Quneitra. I shall 
see Prime Minister Meir Friday afternoon‘ to report on my soundings 
in Riyadh and Cairo. Then I will take the latest map to Damascus 
Sunday. Meanwhile, President Sadat will send a strong message to 
Asad stating that this is a moment of decision and urging him to seize 
it. If further Arab pressure is needed, he is prepared to send his War 
Minister and Chief of Staff to Damascus after I see Asad Sunday. 


“Tam encouraged by Sadat’s attitude but would caution that Asad 
is still an uncertainty.” 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—-May 31, 1974. Se- 
cret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 

? The conversation between Sadat and Kissinger took place on May 10 from 11:05 
a.m. to 1:34 p.m. at the President’s Giza Residence in Cairo. (Memorandum of conversa- 
tion; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 
1974, Folder 3) 

3 May 12. 

* Kissinger met with Meir and members of the Israeli Cabinet on Friday, May 10, at 
4:30 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem to brief them on his meetings in Saudi 
Arabia and Egypt. (Memorandum of conversation; RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 
1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 2) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 273 


53. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 12, 1974, 0820Z. 


Hakto 79. Please pass following report to the President. 
Begin text: 


Ihave had two meetings since returning to Israel Friday night, one 
with Mrs. Meir and her key Cabinet members, and a second one with 
Dayan chairing it because PM Meir was ill.” 


These sessions helped refine our tactics for my key meetings with 
Assad today, and I now have Israel’s specific views of all the key ele- 
ments of an agreement. 


The map I will present today represents two important advances 
over the previous map I left in Damascus: (1) it removes Israeli forces 
from Mount Hermon and would replace them with the UN; and (2) it 
would return to Syria two slices of territory behind the 1967 line, which 
Assad can make much of politically. The key issue remains the line of 
disengagement—and the agreement is likely to be made or broken on: 
(A) Israel’s willingness to give up all of Kuneitra with perhaps a one 
kilometer UN buffer zone around it separating Syrians and Israelis; 
and (B) Syrian willingness to agree to continued Israeli control of three 
major hills west of Kuneitra. 


Internally in Israel, it is now likely that Rabin will be able to form a 
government by the end of this week. Internally in Syria, Assad seems to 
be preparing the groundwork for an agreement. He is, of course, still an 
uncertainty, and the prospect of an agreement will be much clearer by 
tonight. 

End text. 


Warm regards. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—-May 31, 1974. Se- 
cret; Sensitive; Immediate. 

2 For the meeting with Meir and key Cabinet members, see footnote 4, Document 
52. Kissinger met with Dayan and the Israeli negotiating team on May 11 from 9:15 until 
11:10 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; Li- 
brary of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 343, Department of State 
Memcons, External, May 1974, Folder 1) 


274 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


54. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 13, 1974, 0009Z. 


Hakto 81. Please pass following message to President: 


1. I presented today to Asad* the latest Israeli map which draws 
the defense line around Kuneitra and includes two slices west of the 
line that existed at the time of the October 1973 war. While Asad did not 
reject the proposal, he took strong exception to it and asked for adjust- 
ments in the line which go beyond the symbolic moves of at least one 
kilometer west of the October line which were embraced in the Israeli 
plan. Asad stressed in particular that with the Israeli defense line run- 
ning through Kuneitra he could not send in any Syrian civilians since 
they would be under threat of Israeli guns and positions in the sur- 
rounding hills, and he needed more lands where he could settle his 
people in various villages in the north and south. 


2. Two things impressed me in particular about the Asad meeting: 
A) Thad the impression that he wants an agreement but has a problem 
bringing along people who had thought of Israelis as devils for 26 
years; and (B) he used the meeting to bring in key leaders in his admin- 
istration—the Minister of Defense, the Chief of the Air Force and the 
Chief of Intelligence in addition to the Foreign Minister—for obvious 
way to build a consensus. 


3. I met for three hours this evening with Prime Minister Meir and 
her colleagues® and gave them a full report of the Asad meeting. In par- 
ticular I stressed the positive benefits that would result from successful 
disengagement agreement to Israel, to the U.S. diplomatic efforts, the 
resultant decoupling of Soviet support of the Arabs, and all of the posi- 
tive trends that have developed in the Middle East over the past six 
months. By the same token I painted the realistically stark situation that 
will face the Israelis—and U.S.—if the disengagement agreement fails, 
and we lose control over the diplomacy as well as a number of the key 
developments in the area. Again I impressed the theme, which I have 


1Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 193, 
Peace Negotiations, Israeli-Syrian Relations, Negotiation Books, Volume II, May 1974, 
Folder 1. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Immediate. 

? The meeting between Asad and Kissinger took place on May 12 from 1:30 to 6:15 
p-m. at the Presidential Palace in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; National 
Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, 
Folder 4) 

3 The meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger took place on 
May 12 from 9 to 11:45 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of 
conversation; ibid.) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 275 


reported to you in some detail in past messages, of how essential it is 
for the Israelis to look at the disengagement agreement in a broad polit- 
ical context rather than the marginal and narrow tactical consideration 
and quibbles over one or two kilometers here and there. I doubt that 
made much of an impression. 


4. I have asked for a further meeting with Mrs. Meir and her key 
Cabinet members for 10:00 A.M. tomorrow morning before she con- 
venes her full Cabinet. I plan in very strong terms to insist that they 
consider some change in and around the Kuneitra area while holding 
on to the hills. We have in mind a UN buffer belt of a kilometer or so 
around the city. Secondly, I have asked the Israelis to reexamine their 
present line of disengagement, both north and south, to see whether 
further adjustments can be made so that the Syrians can have returned 
to them a number of villages for resettlement purposes. Neither of the 
above changes would in any way affect adversely the strategic position 
of the Israelis on the Golan Heights. I am not at all certain that this 
would be sufficient to meet Asad’s needs, but I believe it is important 
that I take something along these lines back to Damascus on Tuesday.* 
If it fails, we will have to suspend the talks in the least damaging way. 

5. I do not ask you to do anything more on this matter at this time 
since I believe your messages over the recent days have been most 
helpful. I hope the Israelis will take a broad view. 


Warm regards. 


4 May 14. 


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


Washington, May 14, 1974. 


Following is the report of Secretary Kissinger’s meeting yesterday 
with Prime Minister Meir. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 


276 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“I met with Mrs. Meir and her colleagues this evening” to receive 
the results of today’s Cabinet consideration. The results were disap- 
pointing and my judgment, shared by my whole team, is that the very 
modest concessions given to us today will prove inadequate to achieve 
an agreement. 


“The Cabinet decided that it would not agree to straighten the line, 
as asked by the Syrians, nor would they alter the Israeli line to provide 
some additional villages for resettlement of civilians. 


“The Cabinet did agree: 


(1) That the division between East and West Kuneitra would be 
eliminated; 

(2) The division in a small village called Ahmadiya in the north 
would also be eliminated; and 

(3) That a small UN zone behind the Israeli defense line around 
Kuneitra could be established. 


“The weakness in this position is: 


(1) That the Israeli defense line is still right up against the edges of 
Kuneitra and, therefore, Assad will feel that it is not possible for Syrian 
civilians to live in this town; and 

(2) That the line was not drawn to include small hills within a 
couple hundred yards of Kuneitra where anybody living in town 
would be doing so in the shadow of the Israeli position. 


“T once again repeated all the considerations in the broadest sense 
that were involved, including your message* about how much the 
United States has riding on all this in terms of our future relationships 
in the area and positive trends which failure of this negotiation will ne- 
gate and then reverse. 


“Nevertheless, I will present this Israeli position in the most effec- 
tive way I know how in Damascus tomorrow. There is a slight chance 
that after tomorrow Asad will decide that he is so deeply committed to 
an agreement that he will go through with it anyway.” 


? The evening meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger took 
place on May 13 from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memo- 
randum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 6, Nodis 
Memos, March 1974, Folder 2) There had also been a morning meeting on May 13 be- 
tween the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger which took place from 10:10 to 11 at the 
Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., Nixon Presi- 
dential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1029, Presidential/HAK Memcons, May 8-31, 1974, 
Folder 3) 


3 Document 41. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 277 


56. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 14, 1974, 0840Z. 


Hakto 87. Sit room deliver at 008. Israeli intransigence is in my 
view due to these factors: 

(1) Domestic divisions in Israel (2) a deliberate attempt to wreck 
our Arab policy (3) Israeli assessment of Presidential paralysis—the last 
message from the President? was brushed off with disdain by the PM 
(4) Israeli apparent belief that they have established a direct pipeline to 
the Pentagon. 

We must deal with the first three factors after my return. It is im- 
perative however that DOD be brought into line. Please have Haig call 
Schlesinger and hold up all new commitments. Also delay administra- 
tively all pipeline items. We can then review the entire situation after 
my return. 

Please confirm. 

Warm regards. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—May 31, 1974. 
Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Immediate. 


2 See Document 41. 


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


Washington, May 14, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger has asked that I forward to you the following 
report. 

“T have just completed four hours of discussion with President 
Asad? in which I conveyed the latest Israeli proposal with the three new 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive. 

2 No memorandum of conversation of this meeting has been found. 


278 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


elements of flexibility which the Israelis provided me with after my 
consultations yesterday. You will recall that these were: (1) Israel is pre- 
pared to cede Syrian civilian control and presence in all of Kuneitra; (2) 
Israel will turn over the high ground which abuts directly on Kuneitra 
on the north to a UN presence; and (3) Israel will return all of the town 
of Ahmadiya just north of Kuneitra to Syrian civilian control and pres- 
ence, rather than one-half as previously offered. 

“As I expected, President Asad rejected these proposals and he 
continues to insist that the Israelis must be out of the large hills west of 
Kuneitra, that there must be further movement westward in the Israeli 
line, about 1-2 kilometers and that there must be Israeli withdrawal 
from the one key remaining position on Mount Hermon. This position, 
from the Israeli point of view, is essential as an electronic listening post. 
Asad did suggest that he would be willing for the Israeli defense lines 
to be drawn through the peaks of the high hills north of Kuneitra with 
neither side occupying them, but Iam confident that the Israelis will re- 
ject this since they would see it as affecting adversely their strategic po- 
sition and it would involve giving up a number of cultivated fields. 

“While I will have a further discussion with Prime Minister Meir 
and her colleagues tonight and tomorrow morning and will return to 
Damascus for a concluding session tomorrow afternoon, I do not ex- 
pect the situation to change in any basic way. 

“However, I am now convinced that major progress has indeed 
been made, particularly in our overall relationships with Syria and the 
other Arab states. The end of this mission will not result in a termina- 
tion of the talks between the two sides. Asad has agreed that if the mis- 
sion is wound up tomorrow as expected, he will issue a public state- 
ment: (a) praising the efforts of the United States; (b) indicating that 
progress has been made in the talks; (c) agreeing that the talks should 
be suspended to give the parties an opportunity to review the situation; 
(d) agreeing to resume these talks in a few weeks. This will have a pro- 
found impact on the attitude of other Arab states. Sadat will undoubt- 
edly take the same line and Faisal will be under heavy pressure to do 
the same. Most significantly, this kind of a positive statement by Asad 
assures that there will be no new oil embargo imposed on June 1 when 
the Oil Ministers convene. And, finally, the atmosphere will be such in 
this area that it will be propitious for you to take your trip to the Middle 
East. 

“You will recall that we had two objectives in undertaking this 
mission. The second was to at least make substantial progress. This we 
have done and in a way in which our overall relationships with the 
Arabs have been improved and our overall interests both protected and 
strengthened. 

“Warm regards.” 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 279 


58. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the U.S. 
Interests Section in Syria! 


Jerusalem, May 15, 1974, 1058Z. 


Secto 419/867. Subject: Message for President Assad. 


For Scotes from the Secretary. Please convey following message 
from me to President Asad: 

Begin message: 

As President Asad knows, I have been meeting with the Israeli 
Government’ in a major effort to get it to revise its position to take ac- 
count of the considerations you outlined to me yesterday. I hope to be 
able to return to Damascus quickly for a continuation of our negotia- 
tions. The President should know, however, that all of Israel is cur- 
rently and emotionally preoccupied with the incident in the Galilee 
area involving a threat to the lives of 85 Israeli children.* The President 
will remember how often I have talked with him about my hopes of im- 
proving Arab-American relations and bringing to Americans a better 
understanding of Arab policy and aspirations. Nothing could be more 
destructive of my efforts in this regard than incidents such as that now 
taking place. 


American public opinion will never understand the holding of 
children as hostages and threatening their lives. The Secretary appeals 
to President Asad on a personal basis to use all his influence to bring 
abouta satisfactory end to the current incident.° The Secretary is certain 
that President Asad and the Syrian people, with their strong sense of 
humanity which the President has often described to him, in no way 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1183, Ha- 
rold H. Saunders Files, Middle East Peace Negotiations, May 1-12, 1974. Secret; Exdis 
(Distribute as Nodis/Cherokee); Flash. Repeated Immediate to the Department of State. 


? The meeting between Kissinger and the Israeli negotiating team took place on 
May 14 from 8:15 until 10:27 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memo- 
randum of conversation; ibid., Box 1029, Presidential/ HAK Memcons, May 8-31, 1974, 
Folder 3) 


3 See Document 57. 


“In the early morning hours of May 15, three members of the Democratic Front for 
the Liberation of Palestine crossed from Lebanon into Israel dressed in Israeli Defense 
Force uniforms. They first attacked a van carrying Arab women returning from work, 
killing two women and wounding one. The DFLP members then entered the Israeli town 
of Maalot, killing a husband, wife, and child in their apartment. They seized control of a 
school and took approximately 90 students and 4 teachers hostage. On the morning of 
May 16, the DFLP members demanded Israeli officials release 26 Palestinian prisoners in 
Israeli jails in exchange for the hostages. 

5 Around 5:45 p.m. on May 16, after hours of negotiations, Israeli commandos 
stormed the school and killed the 3 DFLP members, but not before 21 students were 
killed and 68 were wounded. 


280 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


condone incidents such as this. He wants to say to the President with all 
sincerity that anything the President can do to disassociate Syria in the 
public mind from this incident would help the cause of the Arabs and 
of Syrian-American relations in the United States more than anything 
else he can think of.° 


End message. 


Kissinger 


6 According to Kissinger’s memoirs, Asad never replied to this message. (Years of 
Upheaval, p. 1078) 


59. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 15, 1974. 


I thought you should have the following analysis which Secretary 
Kissinger has sent me regarding the current situation and a cutoff of aid 
to Israel. He now plans to spend all day today in Israel and to go back to 
Damascus tomorrow. 


“With respect to your recent message on cutting off Israel’s aid,” I 
must tell you as strongly as I can that such a course would be disastrous 
in terms of the immediate negotiation, the long-term evolution and the 
U.S. position in the Middle East. 


“On an immediate tactical level an ultimatum such as you describe 
would lead to an explosion here. With 85 Israeli children held by ter- 
rorists and three Katyusha rockets found at the outskirts of Jerusalem 
this morning a cutoff of U.S. aid would produce hysteria and maybe a 
military outburst. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive, Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 

? According to Kissinger’s memoirs, Nixon phoned Scowcroft twice on May 15, be- 
fore hearing of the Maalot hostage crisis, and ordered Scowcroft to cease U.S. aid to Israel 
unless it altered its negotiating position, without specifying what he expected Israel to 
change in its stance. (Years of Upheaval, p. 1078) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 281 


“Moreover, the situation has improved in the last ten hours. After 
meeting with the Israeli negotiation team until the early hours’ they 
agreed to review their position and are meeting now. The change they 
contemplate will not meet all Syrian demands but it is a significant step 
forward. I shall take it to Damascus as soon as we have the details 
worked out. It should prevent a break-up today. 


“The Israeli position, while tough and shortsighted, falls short of 
the intransigence that would warrant the contemplated step. There are 
many issues of which the line is only one: disengagement zone, thin- 
ning out, UN status, etc. On all of them there are disagreements of vari- 
ous sorts. The Syrians while being more moderate than four months 
ago are far from being helpful. It would be a grotesque error to put all 
the blame on Israel. It would be unjust and contrary to facts. 


“A public disassociation from Israel would have the following 
consequences: 


“(A) Despair might provoke a suicidal Israeli move. 

“(B) Syrian demands would immediately escalate so that we 
would be back in another stalemate. 

“(C) Sadat would suffer because he would appear as having set- 
tled too easily. A radical Arab Government would have achieved more 
U.S. support than Egypt. 

“(D) The Soviet Union—as in 1956—would enter the arena 
full-face with heavy-handed pressure both diplomatic and military. 


“T do not exclude pressure on Israel—indeed you will recall that I 
have proposed certain steps even prior to the President’s messages. 
However, it must be carefully prepared, discussed in the Government 
and based on Congressional support. Above all it must be related to ac- 
tions which can be taken and decisions which can be made by the Is- 
raeli Government. 

“For all these reasons I must request that the actions contemplated 
not be undertaken. It is essential also that Washington maintain an atti- 
tude of public and private calm. A crisis atmosphere of meetings, leaks 
and innuendoes will ruin the last chance we have to bring this off.” 


3 No record of a meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger on May 
15 has been found. According to Kissinger’s memoirs, he only spoke with Israeli Ambas- 
sador Simcha Dinitz and Golda Meir in private conversations that day. (Years of Upheaval, 
pp. 1076-1079) 


282 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


60. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 16, 1974. 


The following is a report of Secretary Kissinger’s latest discussions 
in Israel. 

“This has been a difficult day for the Israelis which wound up with 
forces having to storm a schoolroom to kill three terrorists, but not until 
after twenty children had been killed by them and about fifty 
wounded.” 

“However, despite this tragic event, I had several talks with the 
Prime Minister.° The Israeli Cabinet is meeting in a very late night ses- 
sion with a view to making a further adjustment in their position on 
disengagement to meet in a substantial way the latest Syrian views. My 
understanding is that there is a good chance that the Cabinet will agree 
to a new Israeli defensive line around Quneitra, both north and south, 
which will go close to 9/10ths of the way to meeting the Syrian pro- 
posals for this area. 

“You will recall that the latest Syrian position was that the line 
should be drawn through the peaks of the hills west of Quneitra. The 
Israeli leadership is making a major effort tonight within the Cabinet to 
alter their defensive line so that it will be drawn close to the base of 
these hills and embracing some of the smaller hills north of Quneitra. 

“You will recall also from my previous messages that in Asad’s 
latest proposal he would like to see the Israelis make some further ad- 
justment in the southern part of the line so as to include a number of 
Syrian villages. I do not expect that the Israelis will be able to make this 
change, and I believe the reasons they give are both logical and under- 
standing. The Israelis have explained that if they move the line in the 
south so as to turn over a number of the villages to the Syrians, there is 
great danger that these villages will become populated with Saiqa Fed- 
ayeen. These villages are located on the plains close to a number of Is- 
raeli settlements. This would be a made-to-order situation for guaran- 
teeing terrorist incidents of the kind which would place in jeopardy any 
disengagement agreement achieved. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. Secret; Sen- 
sitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 

2 See footnote 5, Document 58. 

3 See footnote 2, Document 58, and footnote 3, Document 59. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 283 


“Tam encouraged by these developments. I will be meeting with 
Prime Minister Meir and her colleagues early Thursday* morning to re- 
ceive the definitive views of the Cabinet. If the above position is ap- 
proved, as I hope, I believe I will be carrying a reasonable Israeli propo- 
sition to Asad and it will then be up to him to show flexibility and 
compromise. If we can achieve agreement on the line, I would hope 
then to make a major effort to try to resolve the remaining issues— 
zones of limitation, buffer zone, UN presence, etc. 

“T will be going to Damascus Thursday afternoon and be returning 
to Jerusalem Thursday night to bring back the Syrian response.” 


4 May 16. 


61. Telegram From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National 
Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger’ 


Washington, May 16, 1974, 1352Z. 


Tohak 212/WH 41358. Deliver immediately upon receipt. 

1. The President called me in after reading your latest report 
(Hakto 97). He said to pass to you the following thoughts which you 
could use as you see fit. 

2. The President said that, while no one believed that Syria was in- 
volved in the latest terrorist incident,? he foresaw enormous sympathy 
for the Israeli position as a result. The President’s analysis is that 
Congress would now be fully supportive of Israel in the event a disen- 
gagement is not worked out, whereas previously there was great sym- 
pathy for the Arabs in the face of Israeli reluctance to compromise. 

3. It is the President’s personal opinion that in view of these latest 
developments, failure to achieve a disengagement will now be blamed 
on Syria and that this would reduce the ability of the United States to be 
usefully involved in efforts toward a permanent peace. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, TOHAK 161-245, April 28-May 31, 1974. 
Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Flash. 

? The text of Hakto 97 is in Document 60. 

3 See footnotes 4 and 5, Document 58. 


284 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


4. The President also suggests reemphasizing that the disengage- 
ment arrangements in our eyes represent only a temporary arrange- 
ment, a beginning toward a permanent just settlement in the area. 


5. Once again, the President said to use these thoughts if, and in 
any manner, you think they would be useful in your discussions with 
Asad. 


Warm regards. 


62. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)' 


May 17, 1974, 0115Z. 


Hakto 99. Please pass the following message to the President: 


1. It is clear from my four hour discussion today with Mrs. Meir 
and her Cabinet and eight hours of talks with Asad* that neither side 
wants to break off the talks; indeed, whenever a recess is mentioned, 
they plead with me to persevere. At the same time, while there has been 
some give by each side, it has not been enough to bridge the remaining 
Sap. 

2. Based on my informal consultations with various Israeli Min- 
isters and in conversation alone with Mrs. Meir, | was encouraged to in- 
troduce some new proposal of my own even though the Israeli Cabinet 
had not been able to come to any agreement in a formal way on modi- 
fying its position. 

3. I therefore put the following proposal to Asad today making it 
clear that it was an American proposal and reflected my judgement of 
what might be possible to achieve with the Israelis. I said to him I 
thought there was a chance of getting something along the following 
lines if he were in a position to accept: 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—-May 31, 1974. Se- 
cret; Sensitive; Immediate. 


? Kissinger met with the Israeli negotiating team on May 16 from 9:45 until 11:30 
a.m. at the Foreign Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; 
ibid., Box 1029, Presidential/ HAK Memcons, May 8-31, 1974, Folder 3) He also met pri- 
vately that day with Meir from 12:05 until 1:30 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s Residence in 
Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 
1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, June 1974) No memorandum of conversation with Asad 
on May 16 has been found. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 285 


A. The line around Kuneitra would move about 200 meters west 
with the distance between this line and the western hills (about one and 
a half kilometers) demilitarized under UN supervision. 


B. The hills themselves would be under Israeli control with strict 
limitations on their military dispositions which the United States 
would guarantee bilaterally to Syria. 

C. The Israeli line of control would be moved one kilometer back to 
the north and south of Kuneitra so as to meet Asad’s concern about re- 
turning civilian population to Kuneitra while the city was enclosed too 
closely on three sides by Israeli forces. 

4, While doing everything possible to prevent a break in the talks, 
Asad nevertheless continued to insist that at a minimum the line of con- 
trol should run along the ridge of hills west of Kuneitra, with UN ob- 
servers on top and Israelis and Syrians in control of the western and 
eastern slopes respectively. He later modified this somewhat by saying 
that the western side of the hill could be Israeli, the eastern side under 
the UN as well as the slope, and he added that neither Israelis nor Syri- 
ans should expect to cultivate the fields between the western hills and 
the outer edge of Kuneitra. 

5. My judgement is that there is a chance that I might prevail on the 
Israelis to accept my proposal but there is little or no chance that the Is- 
raelis will accept Asad’s formulation. 

6. I will spend all day Friday* discussing the matter with the Is- 
raelis who undoubtedly will have to convene another Cabinet meeting. 
I will then take whatever I get to Damascus on Saturday with possi- 
bility of agreement on my proposal but more likely a suspension of 
talks for a few weeks. 

7. While I naturally would like very much to get agreement on the 
line and then make an all out effort over the next few days to get agree- 
ment on all other related matters, Iam convinced that even if there is a 
suspension we will have gained great ground in our overall Syrian- 
American relationships, and have preserved our position in the Arab 
world without affecting adversely our relationships with Israel. 

8. could stay over a few more days if there is a real prospect for an 
agreement. Otherwise, I will overnight Saturday in Cairo and be back 
in Washington Sunday evening. 

End message 

Warm regards. 


3 May 17. 


286 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


63. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 18, 1974, 0925Z. 


Hakto 102. Please pass the following message to the President: 

1. [had a four hour discussion with Prime Minister Meir and her 
Cabinet colleagues on Friday” which produced some further Israeli 
flexibility which I will be taking to Damascus Saturday morning for 
what will probably prove to be a final effort resulting in either a break 
in the impasse on the question of the line of disengagement or agree- 
ment on a pause in the negotiations which would resume in a few 
weeks. 

2. As you know, the principal focus of difficulty remains the line of 
disengagement as it relates to the area of Kuneitra. Yesterday I went 
over in detail with Mrs. Meir and her key Cabinet members some 
American ideas on how to loosen the situation around Kuneitra to ease 
some of Asad’s concerns that he could not return Syrian civilians there 
with Israeli forces so closely hemming the city. [had explored in a gen- 
eral way these ideas with Asad on the previous evening,’ and I have 
now been authorized by the key Cabinet members to put forward an 
American proposal on the understanding that if Asad accepts it, Mrs. 
Meir will make a major effort to push it formally through her Cabinet. 

3. In substance, the proposal I will put to Asad this morning is the 
movement of the Israeli line of control west of Kuneitra a few hundred 
meters outside the city limits, with a demilitarized zone under UN su- 
pervision between this line and the big hills west of Kuneitra. On the 
hills themselves, the Israelis have agreed to limit themselves to light 
arms designed to meet air attacks but none that could shoot straight 
into Kuneitra. In addition, in order to give the Syrians more assurance 
that its civilians in Kuneitra would not be under Israeli guns, the Israe- 
lis have agreed to move the line of control one kilometer north and 
south of the line of Kuneitra. 

4.1 am not sanguine that Asad will accept this proposal since in a 
variety of ways in my previous talks with him he concentrated on pro- 
posals designed to get Israelis off the big hills west of Kuneitra. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—May 31, 1974. 
Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Immediate. 

? Kissinger met with the Israeli negotiating team on May 17 from 1:25 until 3:55 p.m. 
at the Foreign Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 
RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 1) 

3 May 16. No memorandum of conversation was found. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 287 


5. Of course, I hope he will accept this, and I would then press in- 
tensively over the next couple of days to complete the agreement. How- 
ever, if as far more likely, he decides on a breathing period in the nego- 
tiations, I will work out with him a statement on suspension of talks 
which will protect our position in the area, keep manageable for a pe- 
riod of time any Arab buildup of pressures on us, hopefully assure that 
the June 1 Oil Ministers meeting will not reimpose the embargo, and 
provide the basis for an early resumption of the talks. 

End text. 


6. Warm regards. 


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


Washington, May 18, 1974. 


Following is Secretary Kissinger’s report of his Saturday meeting 
with President Assad:? 


“In my message yesterday,’ I described to you the proposal which 
I planned on making as an American proposal in order to break the im- 
passe over the differences relating to the Kuneitra area. You will recall 
my proposal was designed to give the Syrians some assurance that the 
Israeli defense line could be drawn in such a way that Assad would not 
feel that civilians in the town were completely hemmed in. The pro- 
posal would also require Assad to agree that the Israelis would retain 
control of the big hills west of Kuneitra. 


“T presented this proposal to Assad and I am pleased to report that 
he has accepted it and we have therefore achieved a significant break- 
through on the question of the line which now gives me hope that an 
agreement can be achieved. In accepting this proposal, Assad made it 
clear that he was doing so almost exclusively because of his confidence 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. 

? Kissinger met with Asad on May 18 from 4:05 until 6:50 p.m. at the Presidential 
Palace in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kiss- 
inger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 5) 

3 Document 63. 


288 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


in the United States and the role that it is playing in the Middle East to 
achieve permanent peace. 


“At the urging of Assad, I have decided to extend my stay in the 
area in order to try to conclude the agreement during the course of next 
week. While there are a number of other issues which will cause serious 
difficulties, I am of the view that if I can get the Israelis to accept the 
American proposal on the line that this should be possible with major 
effort. If it is, it will give further impetus to the trends in the Middle 
East which we have been developing. Assad clearly made this decision 
in the hopes that this will bring further developments in the new trends 
in the area and closer relationships with the United States. To use his 
words, ‘it is not for Israel but for the U.S. that Iam doing this.’ 


“T will make a major effort with Prime Minister Meir and her col- 
leagues tonight and tomorrow, and I intend to be as firm as is necessary 
now that Assad has made what I consider to be a courageous decision. 


“T have deferred my Cairo stop and will be cancelling a number of 
appointments with various Foreign Ministers in Washington next 
week, and I am asking Rush to lead the delegation at the CENTO meet- 
ing which convenes on Tuesday and Wednesday.” 


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


Washington, May 20, 1974. 


Following is a report from Secretary Kissinger of his Sunday dis- 
cussions in Jerusalem. 


“The stage is set for a climactic effort over the next several days to 
bring to a successful fruition the Syrian-Israeli disengagement agree- 
ment. After long, tedious and difficult discussions with Prime Minister 
Meir and her key Cabinet colleagues,” I will be bringing to Damascus 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 


? Kissinger’s discussions with the Israeli negotiating team occurred over the course 
of three meetings. Kissinger met with the negotiating team on May 18-19 from 10:30 p.m. 
to 12:15 a.m. at the Foreign Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem (Memorandum of conver- 
sation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 
1974, Folder 5); on May 19 from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 
Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1029, Presidential/HAK Memcons, May 
8-31, 1974, Folder 2); and finally on May 19 from 9:50 until 11:30 p.m. (Memorandum of 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 289 


Monday? an Israeli map which reflects the American proposal relating 
to the Quneitra area which has broken the impasse. 

“Today we had lengthy talks on all the key elements of the agree- 
ment including the area of separation, the area of limitations, the nature 
and mandate of the UN presence, the prisoner of war issue, the timing 
relationship between various segments of the agreement, and the sce- 
nario for signing the agreement within the framework of the military 
working group at Geneva, hopefully early next week. 

“We are, of course, not entirely out of the woods since I can foresee 
at least several issues on which it will be difficult to achieve common 
ground. The Israelis and the Syrians have rather marked differences, 
which I hope can be bridged, on the zones of limitation and the UN 
presence. Nevertheless, I believe each side has now decided that an in- 
tensive effort should be made over the next several days to conclude 
this negotiation successfully and I am, therefore, hopeful of the results. 

“T am assuming, Mr. President, that as an integral part of the 
overall agreement I can proceed along the lines of your instructions to 
develop certain written assurances in the form of letters from you to 
President Asad and Prime Minister Meir in the same way in which you 
provided assurances in the context of the Egyptian-Israeli agreement. 
The following letters will be necessary: 


“(A) A letter would spell out the Israeli assurance to us as to the 
nature of the limitation of its forces on the big hills west of Quneitra. 

“(B) An assurance to Asad that we will continue our efforts in the 
next stage to achieve a durable and stable peace in the area. 

“(C) An assurance to Israel regarding long-term military supply 
along the lines of your various messages to me. 


“For the next several days I will be shuttling between Jerusalem 
and Damascus. I am keeping the other key Arabs as well as the Shah in- 
formed as well as both the Soviets and the Chinese. I am pleased to re- 
port that both the Syrians and the Israelis agree that at any signing cere- 
mony in Geneva within the framework of the military working group 
there are no objections to the US and Soviets observing the signing. 
There will also be some technical details on implementation of this 
agreement that the Israelis and Syrians will have to work out within the 
military working group at Geneva, but this will not afford the Soviets 
an opportunity to inject themselves in a harmful manner. 

“T would appreciate confirmation regarding the various letters of 
assurance.” 


conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, 
May 1974, Folder 5). 
3 May 20. 


290 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


66. Telegram From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National 
Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger’ 


Washington, May 21, 1974, 1431Z. 


Tohak 263/WH 41432. The President called me out of staff meeting 
this morning.” He has a message for you, which he had written out 
longhand and which he half read and half ad-libbed to me. The mes- 
sage is as follows: 

“As Tam returning to Washington from Florida I am writing this 
personal message for Brent to transmit to you. 

“Of all your superb accomplishments since we have worked to- 
gether, the Syrian/ Israeli breakthrough, regardless of what comes out 
in the odds and ends of bargaining which still lies ahead, must be con- 
sidered one of the greatest diplomatic negotiations of all time. I know 
well how hard you have worked, how discouraged you must have 
been at times, and I just wanted you to know how personally grateful I 
am for this example of diplomatic service far beyond the call of duty, 
which has become your trademark. 

“T believe we should follow up this development with a trip to the 
Middle East at the earliest possible time. We will thereby be able to seal 
in concrete those new relationships which are essential if we are to be 
successful in building a permanent structure of peace in the area. 

“It is of course vital to constantly reassure our Israeli friends. The 
hardware-software analogy plus the implied U.S. commitment to hold 
the ring against great powers should they ever threaten Israel’s 
existence should be conclusive to a realist like Rabin. 

“On a personal note, I thought you would be interested to know 
that nowhere in the transcripts or the tapes, and I had Len Garment 
listen to the three in question, did I ever use the terms ‘Jew boy’ or 
‘wop.” The New York Times following its usual practice nevertheless 
refuses to retract. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, TOHAK 246-310, April 28-May 31, 1974. 
Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Black Patch; Immediate. 

? According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon met with Scowcroft on May 21 
from 8:50 until 9:13 a.m. in the Oval Office. (Ibid., White House Central Files) 

3In a May 12 article in the New York Times, Seymour Hersh wrote that in secret 
taped conversations, Nixon called Judge John J. Sirica a “wop” and referred to “Jew 
boys” in the Securities and Exchange Commission. (New York Times, May 12, 1974, p. 1) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 291 


“When you return I would like to have a long conference with you, 
if convenient for both of us at Camp David this weekend, before we 
have a briefing of the leadership next week.* 

“Pat joins me in sending Nancy and you our warmest personal 
regards.” 

After reading-dictating the above, the President commented fur- 
ther on your fantastic ability to glean the framework of agreement from 
seemingly unreconcilable positions. He asked again for your views 
about a trip. I told him you would want to make a discussion of that a 
first order of business following your return. He said he understood 
and he wanted no discussion of a trip with anyone but he wanted, in 
order to get his own thoughts in order, your ideas for him alone on 
timing and itinerary in the event a trip should take place. He asked me, 
working alone, to start thinking about what a schedule might look like. 
While he stresses the tentative nature of the trip situation and the need 
to keep discussion confined to the three of us, it seems apparent where 
his inclination lies. Any tentative thoughts that you could give me just 
for him would greatly facilitate maintaining the present relaxed and 
composed atmosphere. I would continue, as I have thus far, to stress 
the tentative nature of any thinking along these lines until you return 
and discuss it thoroughly with him. 

Warm regards. 


4 See Document 91. 


67. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 21, 1974, 2115Z. 


Hakto 124. Please pass the following message to the President: 


1. I have just completed a five hour meeting with Assad* which 
was the most difficult of any that I have had with him. While some 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—May 31, 1974. Se- 
cret; Sensitive; Immediate. 

? The meeting between Asad and Kissinger took place on May 21 from 5:45 until 
9:45 p.m. at the Presidential Palace in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 
RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 7) 


292 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


progress was made in certain areas, the remaining differences are se- 
rious enough to lead me to believe that an agreement may not be 
achievable. 


2. The Syrians and Israelis are agreed on the line of demarcation. 
They are agreed with the arrangements in and around Kuneitra which 
gives Assad some breathing room so that he can bring in civilians. 
There is agreement in principle between the two sides that there should 
be zones of limitation and a buffer zone between the two main defense 
lines. There is also agreement in principle that there should be a UN 
role to help keep the cease fire and check on the agreement. 

3. However, there are serious remaining differences. These are: 

A. Syria insisted on taking over the positions in the Mount 
Hermon area; Israel is willing to give up all the positions on Mount 
Hermon to the UN except the one it maintains it took prior to the 
cease-fire going into effect. 

B. Syria is insisting that its forward defense line more or less coin- 
cide with the October 6 line. Israel has been holding to the position that 
this line should be six to eight kilometers eastward, though it has made 
clear it is willing to consider advancing it provided it is satisfied with 
the arrangements regarding the zones of limitations. 

C. Syria and Israel have different conceptions regarding the zones 
of limitations. Assad is thinking in terms of a narrow five kilometer 
zone east and west of the respective defense lines with only limited re- 
strictions. Israel wants much more far reaching restrictions which the 
Syrians insist would require an actual pullback of a substantial part of 
their armed forces. Israel is also insisting that in a twenty five kilometer 
zone there be no weapons placed that can reach the defense line of the 
other side. Up to this point, Assad has not been willing to agree to any 
such restrictions. His Foreign Minister told me that to accede to these 
requests would lead to Assad’s overthrow. 

D. While the nature of the mandate for the UN presence can be 
compromised to meet the essential needs of both sides there is a large 
gap in the numbers with Israel insisting on about three thousand and 
Syria talking in terms of no more than three hundred observers. We 
know there is some give in these positions but whether there is enough 
flexibility cannot be determined too clearly at this point. 

4, Apart from the aforementioned details there is a more funda- 
mental consideration which seems involved in the current negotia- 
tions. Assad has underscored frequently that if he goes beyond his 
present position that he will not be able to sell the disengagement 
agreement internally. We have no real way of judging this since if he 
decides to go ahead, he can certainly point to a substantial Israeli with- 
drawal as a first step towards an eventual settlement. Israel is deeply 
suspicious and with the transition from the outgoing to the incoming 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 293 


government few of the leaders, if any, seem able to take a broader view 
of matters. 


5. Regardless of whether we achieve the agreement or not, I believe 
we have made sufficient progress that the talks could be suspended in 
such a way that no seriously adverse repercussions on our overall posi- 
tion would take place in the short-run, though the long-range implica- 
tions of failing to achieve an agreement now are wotrisome. 

6. My judgment would continue to be that a trip by you to the 
Middle East would be favorably received. I expect to pass through 
Cairo on the way home and I would want to get President Sadat’s judg- 
ment on this so that you and I can discuss it fully upon my return. 


Warm regards. 


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


Washington, May 22, 1974. 


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.” The Syrians pro- 
pose 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 ex- 
isting resolutions and never recognized by the US. No Syrian president 
can accept this. The settlements under the Syrian scheme would be no 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for action. 

? 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. (Mem- 
orandum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, 
Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 8) 


294 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


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 be- 
fore the end of business today in Washington.” 

Dr. Kissinger thought you may wish to draft such a letter yourself. 
A letter could appropriately state that you have studied Kissinger’s re- 
ports 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 mis- 
sion. You could outline those consequences in terms of our ability to 
play an active and constructive role in the Middle East and of our con- 
tinuing 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. 


3 Document 69. 


69. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir! 


Washington, May 22, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 

Since the beginning of Secretary Kissinger’s current mission to as- 
sist in bringing about a disengagement of forces on the northern front, I 
have studied carefully the many complex elements of this difficult 
problem. It is clear that compromise involves terribly difficult deci- 
sions—the antagonisms on both sides are deep and are based upon 
years of mistrust that are not easily overcome. Continued violence 
makes more difficult the requirement to view this moment in perspec- 
tive and to recognize how heavily the future peace and security of Is- 
rael turns on decisions taken now. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. No classifi- 
cation marking. A covering letter from Scowcroft to Minister Shalev notes that the letter 
was delivered to Shalev at 6:15 p.m. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 295 


As you know, Madame Prime Minister, the United States has been 
Israel’s closest friend and ally. Our relationship has endured for more 
than a generation in a spirit of mutual trust, understanding and con- 
cern. It is in this spirit that I read with deepest concern the recent report 
by Secretary Kissinger that the disengagement talks are in danger of 
breaking down over the thinning out of zones along the disengagement 
line as well as other issues which, however important, cannot but seem 
minor in relation to the severe consequences of such a breakdown. 

I am therefore writing this personal message to you in order to in- 
sure that you and your Cabinet fully comprehend the detrimental effect 
of a breakdown or recess of the talks for which public opinion might 
judge Israel to be responsible. As a very long time personal and official 
friend of Israel, I urge in the strongest terms the modification of your 
position so as to avert a cessation or recess of the talks under these 
circumstances. 

After these long and difficult negotiations which you and your col- 
leagues have so wisely pursued and the hopes which have been raised 
of progress toward a settlement, a setback would indeed be a tragedy. 
Besides the thwarting of hopes for a major move towards peace, I fear it 
would lead inevitably to a deterioration of Congressional support, re- 
newed opportunities for Soviet intervention, and massive pressure for 
a reassessment of United States policy toward Israel. That is an out- 
come which neither you nor I wish, jeopardizing as it would the ability 
of the United States to play an active and constructive role in the 
Middle East and to continue to assist in meeting Israel’s needs. 

Madame Prime Minister, in the conviction that we stand at a his- 
toric threshold in the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle 
East, I urge that you and your Cabinet make a supreme effort to seek a 
compromise which would permit an agreement on the disengagement 
of forces on the Golan Heights and enable us to move another step 
away from strife and bloodshed and toward that peace to which we are 
both dedicated. 


Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon 


296 ‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


70. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 23, 1974. 


Following is Secretary Kissinger’s report of his Thursday morning 
talks with the Israelis. 


“T have just completed a three-hour session with the Israeli Cab- 
inet.” They have now moved to a slightly more flexible position on the 
issue of the thinned out forces. I hope this may enable me to make some 
further progress in Damascus. 


“Tam now flying to Damascus where I will make one more major 
effort with Asad. I will report again this evening.” 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. 


? The meeting between the Israeli negotiating team and Kissinger took place on 
May 23 from 9:05 to 11:50 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. (Memorandum 
of conversation; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1029, Presidential/ 
HAK Memcons, May 8-31, 1974, Folder 1) 


71. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 24, 1974. 


The following is the report of Secretary Kissinger’s meeting with 
President Assad on Thursday. 


“T have just completed another five-hour meeting with President 
Assad.” Enough progress was made to justify another round of talks, so 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 144, Country Files, Middle East, President’s Trip to Middle East, June 1974. 
Secret; Sensitive. A handwritten notation at the top of the page reads, “The President has 
seen.” 

? The meeting between Asad and Kissinger took place on May 23 from 6 until 11:30 
p-m. at the Presidential Palace in Damascus. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., RG 59, 
Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 9) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 297 


I will spend most if not all of Friday in Israel and probably return to Da- 
mascus early Saturday. 


“Tonight’s meeting produced an understanding of a concept of 
limitations on armament behind the disengagement lines that I think 
can now provide a realistic basis of negotiation on this subject. Specifi- 
cally, we now have Assad’s agreement to put SAMs and the longest 
range (130 mm) artillery 25 kilometers from the disengagement line. 
This is an important achievement, but we still have to get agreement to 
limit the medium range (122 mm) artillery and tanks. 

“My approach will be to try Friday in Israel to formulate what can 
be presented in Damascus as a U.S. proposal on limitations. This, you 
will recall, was the approach we used in the Egyptian-Israeli disen- 
gagement. In addition to major problems in reaching agreement with 
the key leaders in Israel on numbers of weapons and men in the limita- 
tions area, there will have to be a cabinet meeting. 

“Besides the issue of limitations on which we are now concen- 
trating, there seems to be tentative agreement on how to handle the 
separation of forces in the strategic Mount Hermon area. But on the size 
of the UN force, Israel is holding out for at least 2,000 and the Syrians 
want less than 1,000. Each of these items could take considerable time 
because a major problem in conducting these negotiations is that each 
issue becomes the subject of intensive bargaining over every detail. It is 
very different from the Egyptian negotiations when Sadat laid aside de- 
tails in the interest of quick agreement. In order to put an end to this 
bargaining, I have tried to tell Assad that I must return to Washington. 


“My plan is to return Monday evening at the latest.” 


72. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 25, 1974. 


The following is Secretary Kissinger’s report of his discussions 
Friday in Israel: 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 155, Geo- 
political File, Israel, May 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes only. 


298 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“T have completed hours of discussions here in Israel with Prime 
Minister Meir and her key cabinet members’ as a prelude to my final ef- 
fort tomorrow in Damascus to bring about an agreement. I remain 
doubtful that the remaining issues can be resolved. For one thing, this 
situation is different than the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agree- 
ment. In that instance Sadat in particular had made a fundamental deci- 
sion not to permit marginal details to sidetrack the agreement. In this 
particular negotiation, both sides are negotiating hard and tenaciously 
on every principal specific point, a reflection of the deep suspicion that 
exists between them. 


“Assad sees disengagement as a pause that will retain for him ei- 
ther the war or the peace option and therefore is negotiating doggedly 
to give him an agreement with as much flexibility as possible to move 
either way. 


“The discussions now are focusing on individual specific details, 
no one of which should be a breaking point, but when taken together as 
a group could require weeks more of negotiations unless more flexi- 
bility will develop in the next 24 hours. Without getting too technical, 
here are some examples: In the ten kilometer disengagement zone Is- 
rael is insisting on no artillery while Syria insists on 54 short-range ar- 
tillery pieces. The numbers are also at issue. In the 10 to 25 kilometer 
area Assad refuses to agree to any limitation on military personnel or 
tanks which the Israelis want. We have his agreement to position SAMs 
and long-range artillery outside the zone. Assad is insisting that his de- 
fense line be advanced more westward than where it is presently 
placed. Israel is giving us a new map tonight moving the line west- 
ward, but whether this will be enough for Assad or not is problemati- 
cal. Ironically, with all of the difficulties the Israelis have had in the past 
with the UN, it is pressing for a much more effective UN presence both 
in numbers and in mandate than Assad seems willing to allow at the 
present. 


“There are a number of other similar issues which I will also seek 
to sort out in a climactic effort tomorrow. I will report promptly after 
my meeting with Assad.” 


? On Friday, May 24, Kissinger met with the Israeli negotiating team from 9:50 a.m. 
until 12:40 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem (memorandum of conversa- 
tion; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis 
Memcons, May 1974, Folder 9) and with Prime Minister Meir from 5:25 until 7:30 p.m. at 
the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem (memorandum of conversation; ibid.). 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 299 


73. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s 
Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)! 


May 25, 1974, 2045Z. 


Hakto 150. Please pass the following message to the President: 

Begin message: 

1. Both sides gave evidence today of a small amount of give in their 
respective positions which has provided the opportunity to keep the 
negotiation alive.” We are approaching an agreement on thinned out 
zones but the going is tough. There was some progress on other issues. 

2. The critical difference which I will try to bridge in the next 
twenty-four hours is the question of how far forward the Syrian de- 
fense line should be. Assad is insisting that it be moved up anywhere 
between four to six kilometers to coincide with the October 6 line, while 
Israel has resisted this on the understandable ground that it will leave 
only a small two kilometer buffer and bring Syrian guns close to Israeli 
guns. I told Assad that I would make one more effort, that he will have 
to make a final decision tomorrow when I return on the assumption 
that I will be able to bring back Israeli agreement to some movement 
forward on the part of his defense line but not as far as he wants. I am 
meeting with Mrs. Meir and her Cabinet colleagues tomorrow morning 
and will return to Damascus late tomorrow afternoon. 

3. There are still issues to be resolved regarding the size of the UN 
force and the nature of limitations in the zone beyond the ten kilometer 
zone. 

4. This negotiation could go either way in the next twenty-four 
hours. I would feel more confident if I was not faced with an outgoing 
Cabinet in Israel in the last twenty-four hours of its life and an Assad 
who, while being very intelligent, is negotiating tenaciously every 
point as if he had a record to make—very much unlike Sadat who 
didn’t bother with many of the marginal points. 

End message 

Warm regards. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East, HAKTO 1-179, April 28—-May 31, 1974. Se- 
cret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Immediate. 

2 No records of conversations on May 25 between Asad and Kissinger or the Israeli 
negotiating team and Kissinger have been found. 


300 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


74, Memorandum of Conversation! 


Damascus, May 27, 1974, 12:15-2:22 a.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


President Hafez al-Asad 

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Isa Sabbagh, Interpreter 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Kissinger: Well, we have had a long night, Mr. President. I shall 
miss our almost daily chats. [Laughter] But I respect the way you have 
conducted the negotiations. It is a very difficult step for you. 

Asad: While we have reached [something], particularly with re- 
gard to the red line, we have not really solved the complicated ques- 
tion. Because this agreement will be published. Even the map will be 
published. Some papers have already published it. 

Kissinger: In Israel? 

Asad: No, even Arab ones. Lebanese papers and magazines. Of 


course, as I mentioned before, we have to present it to everybody. 
Apart from this subject ... 


Kissinger: Yes, I know. 

Asad: Is there an American letter or not? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: Because three days ago you said you would have one. 
Kissinger: About what? 

Asad: About the second phase. 


Kissinger: First, I told the President it would be sent two weeks 
after. I would leave him a draft, but the actual letter would be sent 
two-to-three weeks after. For the reasons which I gave. 


Asad: You said it would be about a week after your appearance be- 
fore Congress. About a week. 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 21, 
Classified External Memcons, November 1974, Folder 2. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was 
held in the Presidential Palace and occurred on May 27, not May 26-27 as indicated on 
the original. Brackets are in the original. Previously, on May 26, Kissinger met with the 
Israeli negotiating team from 9:15 a.m. until noon at the Prime Minister’s office in Jeru- 
salem (memorandum of conversation; ibid., Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 10) 
and with Asad from 9 p.m. to midnight in Damascus (memorandum of conversation; Li- 
brary of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 193, Peace Negotiations, 
Israeli-Syrian Relations, Negotiation Books, Volume III, May 1974, Folder 2). In these 
meetings, the final details of the agreement were discussed. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 301 


Kissinger: That is fine. That amounts to about two to three weeks. 

Asad: Then we started discussing the content, and you never com- 
pleted it. 

Kissinger: Let me say, first, especially if the agreement is com- 
pleted, there is a good chance the President will personally come to this 
area, and I believe the two Presidents will probably reach a rather satis- 
factory understanding about the second phase. 

Asad: Of course, this is apart from the letter. 

Kissinger: Yes. In letter, what we have in mind is something along 
the lines I discussed with the President yesterday: that within the year, 
we will engage ourselves to an active sustained effort to bring about the 
implementation of Security Council Resolution 338. 

Asad: We will start within the year? 

Kissinger: Yes. And that this will include the legitimate interests of 
the Palestinian people. 

Asad: You think things will remain so stable for a year? If within 
twelve months from now we will start this, when will it be carried out? 

Kissinger: No, it will be started well before. I gave the President 
my estimate. We can have a preliminary discussion during the 
summer, and the start of active pressure in December, January. 

Asad: In your estimate, when do you think Resolution 338 will be 
carried out? 

Kissinger: I have to give you an estimate? 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: Sometime during 1975. 

Asad: Don’t you think developments that would have come about 
in the area—psychological, military, social—would create different cir- 
cumstances in the area? 

Kissinger: Different from what? 

Asad: You think things will remain stable in the area for a long 
time? 

Kissinger: No, absolutely not. 

Asad: I do not believe the situation in the area will remain for a pe- 
riod of a year if Israeli occupation is not ended. This is my own 
analysis. 

Kissinger: It is my own analysis too. I can tell the President that I 
told the Israeli Prime Minister I thought there would be a war within a 
year if there is not progress towards a solution. 

Asad: Yes, you are right. 


2 See footnote 6, Document 7. 


302 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


So a letter along these general lines would not solve our problem, I 
think. Sure, I know the United States does not want any change in the 
area; a letter, of course, would have implied therein a moral 
commitment. 

Kissinger: But if we did not want a change, we wouldn’t be here. 
Why should the United States care about disengagement? Why should 
we care about Line A, Line B? This is nonsense from the American 
point of view—unless we wanted to start a movement toward a 
resolution. 


Asad: That is true. 


Kissinger: If we wanted to protect Israel, we could give it military 
protection on its present line. 


Asad: You are protecting Israel. 
Kissinger: But if we did not have a larger objective in mind ... 


Asad: We have to speak frankly. This kind of action by itself is ca- 
pable of various interpretations and could be seen from various points 
of view. For instance, I evaluate this action as not necessarily in the in- 
terests of the Arabs. Maybe. 


Kissinger: But this was always the President’s view. 


Asad: That is why I cannot from it alone or from it per se derive an 
indelible conclusion that America is moving in that direction. 

Kissinger: I think if we put all the actions together ... 

Asad: I want to go a step further and say this is the way it looks: 
With this action you have somehow contributed to removing pressure 
from Israel. I do not mean Syrian disengagement, but the whole picture 
of disengagement, including Egypt and Syria. Of course, it has other 
facets, but I am talking about it from this point. The disengagement 
concept itself, as seen from the Arab point of view, has been like de- 
flating various balloons, taking away the certainty of the preparedness, 
the readiness, the unison of the Arabs. We know the Israelis could come 
to this point. But this is a difficult point of the Arabs—military, polit- 
ical. What the Arabs were beginning to achieve by not having disen- 
gagement, by having them alert—this concept of disengagement 
would cause them to slacken. 

That is why we can in summary say that acts of disengagement 
now could be explained as not being in the interests of the Arabs, could 
be explained from a certain angle as in the interests of Israel, and in any 
case need not be taken as an exclusive indication of America’s intention 
for the future. 


We have to separate these things when speaking of it. I for one am 
optimistic about the new trend we discern in the United States, but not 
necessarily based on that. Because perhaps it is the result derived from 
the consensus of our discussions, discussions which touched on other 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 303 


subjects wider than disengagement. But were I to shut my mind off 
from those positive indications I got from those discussions, and wider 
considerations, and concentrate on disengagement, I must say I feel in 
an uneasy mood, neither optimism nor pessimism. 
Now we have gotten used to each other and have to speak frankly. 
Kissinger: No, I appreciate it. I consider it a sign of confidence. 


Asad: Therefore, I say this subject itself remains inadequate. And 
on this basis, I as the leader in this country cannot help but to continue 
to prepare militarily, economically, and look for friends, supporters, 
because this is not an adequate indication, (a) for me, and (b) for me to 
prepare my people for the new trend in America’s intentions. This is 
the way I frankly evaluate the thing. I would like to go back to that 
point so you will rest assured that my personal result of these discus- 
sions is optimism. But who can guarantee? Because Israel is strong in 
America. She might turn things up side down. 

Frankly speaking, our discussions here on disengagement have 
strengthened that belief that I have, and strengthened my conviction 
that Israel is as far away from wanting to pursue the path of peace as 
ever. For instance, Israel is standing firm on a few points as if that terri- 
tory belonged to her from the start of creation. With all due respect for 
what Dr. Kissinger has said about if the United States wanted to give 
protection, if every country in the world gave that protection, unless Is- 
rael learns to live as a Middle East country, it will not work. The Arabs 
are an ancient nation in this area. They are the first nation to present 
civilization to the world—the sciences, writing—whereas Israel as a po- 
litical event is a new development here. There is no historic nation 
called Israel in the area. There are Jews, yes. It is not a question of a na- 
tion Iam talking about. The Arabs have among them the Christian, the 
Jew, the Moslem. But to these Arabs, to them belongs this ancient civili- 
zation. But Zionism does not have this ancient civilization. 

Religion is not the basis for a nation. Christians do not form a na- 
tion; Moslems do not form a nation; and the Jews in the world are not 
one nation. Moslem nations fight one another. A Syrian Jew is different 
from a Soviet Jew, from an American Jew. It is true that Zionism is 
trying to form a nation from religion, but this is a view which is con- 
trary to logic and history and will never prevail. Especially when 
formed against the interests of other people. I do not mean the Arabs, I 
mean at the expense of all other people. For example, when Zionism 
tries to extricate a French Jew from his country, France, that is a loss to 
France and to him. 

Zionism is not just an offense to Arabs alone but to others. In my 
evaluation, Zionism will not triumph. And this is a fact which in my 
opinion as an Arab and as an Arab individual, will not be changed, as I 


304 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


said before, by Israel being protected by the Soviet Union or the United 
States. 

Circumstances do change, and Dr. Kissinger as a political scientist 
knows there have been historic circumstances when the United States 
did not support Israel. Eisenhower did not; the Soviet Union once did, 
and now is not. There was a period when France was supporting Israel 
very deeply, and has now changed. 

Kissinger: France is still the second largest weapon supplier to 
Israel. 

Asad: At one time, there was one organic union between France 
and Israel—witness the 1956 invasion of Egypt. Is this circumstance 
still obtaining? No. Arab citizens, I don’t think it will be possible to 
sway them by temporary considerations. That is why it is in the interest 
of Israel, the deep interest of Israel, to rush to follow the path of peace 
when the opportunity presents itself. 


Kissinger: Let me make a few observations on what the President 
has said. First, l agree essentially with your analysis. I agree Israel must 
learn to live in the Arab world or it cannot live at all. I agree it is not 
possible to pursue a colonial policy, at all, but especially among a 
people as intellectually advanced as the Arab people. I agree it is abso- 
lutely imperative for Israel to seek the road of peace. And I have said so 
at every occasion, in Israel and publicly. 

Now, in terms of the evolution of American policy: Of course both 
Zionism and Israel are strong in America, or America would never 
have started supporting Israel. That is a reality with which we must 
live, and with which I as a political leader must cope. 

The President in his own experience must have come up against 
times when the least effective way to achieve something is a frontal as- 
sault on the pattern that is to be changed. And sometimes it is necessary 
to surround the problem rather than make a frontal attack. I do not 
think I have to give lessons in political leadership to the man who has 
led Syria the longest in its recent history. 

Now, with respect to the current situation, I had made the current 
conclusion I gave to the President before October 6 war, that is to say, 
on the necessity of peace. I said that to the Arab Foreign Ministers to 
whom I spoke in New York.’ But it is also clear we would almost cer- 
tainly have failed, without the October 6 war. I have considered the Oc- 
tober 6 war a strategic defeat for Israel. They achieved some tactical 
successes, but no strategic successes. I concluded from the very begin- 


3 Secretary Kissinger hosted a lunch for Arab Foreign Ministers and Permanent 
Representatives to the UN in New York on September 25. A report is in telegram 3416 
from USUN, September 26, 1973. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 305 


ning of the war that the war should be used as an opportunity to move 
towards peace. And therefore I have given much of my energy to 
bringing about a crucial first step towards peace. 

The President is absolutely right about the long-term trends. But 
many things can happen before long-term trends express themselves. 
And therefore it has been the intention of our policy to accelerate this 
process by American pressure and to bring about a reorientation of Is- 
raeli thinking and an alteration in American attitudes. 


I believe we have been quite successful in this. If the President’s 
analysis is correct, and I believe it is, then no new line can be perma- 
nent. Because the same factors that produced the October 6 war are cer- 
tain to produce other confrontations, and nations that were ready to go 
to war when the impression was that Israel was invincible will certainly 
go to war when they have gained their military self-respect. And it is 
for this reason that the United States has embarked on this process and 
is determined to pursue it. 

Now there are many other forces in the world, and to the degree 
they have no direct responsibility or ability to do anything, they can af- 
ford to make big pronouncements. But we are engaged on a course we 
consider inexorable, the early stages of which will be painful and diffi- 
cult, but which will gain its own momentum after a certain point. 

It is, of course, entirely up to the President to conclude what he will 
do about United States intentions. It is entirely up to him what he wants 
to tell his people about it. We believe it is in the interest of [solutions to] 
the problems we discussed to create the best possible relations between 
Syria and the United States. But the pace of this progress has to be left 
to the President. 

So I think a thoughtful analysis of the totality of our action can 
leave no doubt about our intention. 

Asad: That is precisely what I meant when I said when I look at the 
total picture of American interests and actions, I am optimistic. 

Kissinger: What have I done in the last four weeks? I have, every 
time I went to Israel, asked for more concessions. I have sometimes told 
His Excellency I thought I had reached the limit of what could be done. 
But never once have I proposed something whose trend went the other 
way. This is the first time the United States has done this 
systematically. 

And I have done it in a period of extraordinary domestic difficulty 
for the United States. Some of our newsmen were told by some 
low-level Syrian officials that it was the Syrian Government’s assess- 
ment that our present domestic difficulties made it easier for us to press 
Israel. The argument of these Syrians was that I needed to come home 
with a success. 


306 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: That complicated formula, I rarely understood it myself. The 
situation is exactly opposite of what you just said—[in] the responsible 
Syrian analysis. Not only I, but I mean by responsible Syrian circles the 
political leaders working in this, the political current in this country: 
The Syrian analysis is that Israel is taking advantage of the compara- 
tively weak domestic situation in the United States to intimidate the 
United States into freezing its efforts and energies so that it would not 
show its new intentions in the area. This is my analysis. Yesterday at 
Headquarters I said this. I said it was my feeling that the United States 
was wishing to do more but that—and that is what I added—the in- 
ternal situation in the United States does not allow the United States to 
exercise more pressure up to what you call the explosive point. Plus the 
pressure of the Zionist movement in the United States. 

Kissinger: This is fair enough. I think the President may not suffi- 
ciently understand and give credit for the enormous change we have 
already produced in American public attitudes in the last six months. 
We have in the public mind ended the polarization in the Middle East. 
Americans are no longer uncritical supporters of Israel but they take 
pride in the way the United States is participating and taking the lead 
in the move towards peace in the Middle East. And this is gaining more 
and more momentum. Very soon a point will be reached where Amer- 
icans would feel if we did not contribute toward peace in the Middle 
East, we would not be doing our national duty. 

When I started, there were very few Americans—politically active 
Americans—who believed we should engage ourselves in what they 
thought was a hopeless enterprise. And today in America it is quite dif- 
ferent. And this is a big defeat for the extreme Zionism in America. Be- 
cause to the extent that America engages itself for peace, it must be in 
the direction of removal of the occupied territories. It must bring about 
conditions in which the process will accelerate very dramatically. And 
whenever the President [Nixon] comes here—whether in two or three 
weeks or two or three months—this will give tremendous momentum 
to this public consciousness. [Asad nods yes]. 

So I would say His Excellency should appreciate this totality of 
events. The American people simply would not understand any more 
if, having gone this far, we would go no further. [Asad nods yes.] 

Asad: I am going to give instructions to the Foreign Minister to tell 
Gromyko to come later at night. [He presses button to summon aide.] 


Kissinger: Monday night. 


“ Gromyko arrived in Damascus on Monday, May 27. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 307 


Asad: I told him to come Monday. We will tell him to arrive about 
10 o’clock. Of course I will then not be so free to see him, because I will 
be busy. He will arrive at night but I will not be able to see him. 

Kissinger: Let me explain our relationship with the Soviet Union. 
We cooperate with them in many areas. First, if | were the Syrian Presi- 
dent, I would take as many arms from them as I could get. 

[The aide comes in, and the President gives instructions con- 
cerning Gromyko. He then turns to Kissinger. ] 

Asad: About 10 o’clock. 


Kissinger: That way I can meet him at the airport. I can come from 
Israel. [Laughter]. I am joking. I do not think I will come back. Unless 
there is an overwhelming emergency. It would not be good if I were 
here and did not meet him. But I will not be here. 

Asad: If you come, you can go to Palmyra. [Laughter] 

Kissinger: It is not necessary. It is not necessary. Under no conceiv- 
able improvement of U.S.-Syrian relations could we give you the quan- 
tity of arms that the Soviet Union gives you. So I don’t want to mislead 
the President. We realize it creates certain political realities also. Our 
concern with the Soviet Union has been that they seem to us to be more 
interested in form than in substance. And especially about their own 
participation. In an almost childish way. And in terms of strategic posi- 
tions, as far as we are concerned, we have no strategic objective in the 
Middle East. We do not want any military bases and we do not want 
any military participation with us in any Middle East country. We do 
have an interest in better relations with the Arab countries for a variety 
of reasons. But we are not in a position of confrontation with the Soviet 
Union. We just do not like to be pushed when there is no practical ob- 
jective. We do not see why we should talk to Brezhnev when we can 
talk to you or Sadat or Faisal. That is our only occasional difference. I 
mean, occasionally they ask us “what is your policy?” My view is: If we 
tell them our views, they have two choices: They can make an agree- 
ment with us without telling you and impose it on you, or they can go 
to you and ask your opinion. We do not have much confidence in im- 
posed solutions. We think Syria is a lousy candidate for it anyway. 
[Laughter]. And if we wanted to ask your opinion, we can ask it 
directly. 

And some of these travels, I frankly consider them irrelevant. They 
do not help anything and they do not hurt anything. I do not oppose 
them; I do not support them. And when the President [Nixon] and 
Brezhnev meet at the summit, they will have an irrelevant discussion 
about the Middle East but Brezhnev will make a lot of noise. 


5 An ancient city in Syria. 


308 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


So that is our relationship, as far as the Middle East is concerned, 
with the Soviet Union. In many other areas, we have close cooperation. 
In the Middle East, we have a certain measure of cooperation but 
mainly on procedural issues. 

Asad: You are in agreement on the Geneva Conference? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: When? 


Kissinger: Oh, about a month after disengagement is completed. 
But do you think much is going to happen in Geneva? 


Asad: The cause must be moved somehow. 
Kissinger: And it is useful for that. 


Asad: It doesn’t mean that people will go to Geneva only to have 
their pictures taken. I believe, mark my word, if there is no solution, 
there will be a war within a year. 

Kissinger: I agree. 

Asad: So how do we move our energies in the direction of peace? 

Kissinger: No, I believe Geneva is not bad. Iam not opposed to Ge- 


neva. I believe we should talk privately, and have it come together at 
Geneva. I have told Gromyko privately that I am in favor of Geneva. 


Asad: It is useful. And your utterances are convincing. 


Let us go back now to the subject of the letter, therefore. Have you 
drafted it? Have you given it some thought? 


Kissinger: I have drafted something along the lines of what I have 
told the President. 


Asad: Where are your views on withdrawal? Is it limited by “se- 
cure borders?” 


Kissinger: My personal view on withdrawal is, no Arab state will 
accept a peace settlement short of the ’67 frontiers. 
Asad: That is true. 


Kissinger: And I consider that a reality. I do not know any Arab 
state that would settle for less. 


Asad: Does the United States, is it its view that a solution should 
come about for less than this, the ’67 frontiers? 


Kissinger: No. 

Asad: These questions are not just thrown at you academically. 

Kissinger: No, I know. 

Asad: This is important to evaluate the present trend of American 
thinking. It is very important to us. Why can’t this sense be incorpo- 
rated in the letter? 

Kissinger: Because we cannot have the President sign a letter that 
he cannot politically live with if it is published. Whatever the assur- 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 309 


ances. When we reach the position of negotiation for final borders, then 
a new situation arises. 

Asad: Then the original subject of the letter will be about 338 and 
the interests of the Palestinians. 

Kissinger: And within a year ... 

Asad: Full implementation of 338. 

Kissinger: In all its parts. And a U.S. commitment to engage itself 
in that within a year. 

Sabbagh [explains]: Within a year—between one month and 12 
months. 

Asad: If the language could be made clearer, something like this: 
The United States commits itself to the full implementation of Resolu- 
tion 338 within 12 months. In this sense there would be nothing 
harmful to the United States. Then there would be some moral commit- 
ment on the part of the United States. 

Kissinger: Let me check this tonight. And I will let you know to- 
morrow morning. 

Asad: I will jot down His Excellency’s specific language so I can 
study it. 

About the rights of the Palestinians, have you any specific 
language? 

Kissinger: I have told His Excellency: We should take fully into ac- 
count the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people. A settlement 
should. 

Asad: What is the difference between “rights” and “interests” in 
this particular context? I understand some, but ... 

Kissinger: “Interests” means we have an obligation to consult the 
views of the Palestinians. “Rights” means we know what their interests 
are. But “legitimate,” in any event, implies the notion of rights. And 
“legitimate rights” is a tautology. 

Asad: And what I think is an advance of it. 

Kissinger: No, it is “legitimate interests.” I checked it last night. 

Asad: In actual fact, the word “interests” could go in various direc- 
tions. It could be interpreted as money, compensation. Of course, the 
Arabs are not looking in this direction. 

Kissinger: No, in my view, the Arabs are looking for a Palestinian 
political entity, in one way or another. 

Asad: Yes, the Palestinians themselves, this is what they want. In 
various ways. So this is where the meaning of rights fits in, in this con- 
cept. But “interests” would be a bit more confused. 

You have not started any new contacts with the Palestinians? 


310 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: No, but I have told the President that after this disen- 
gagement we will establish contact at a political level. We have sent 
them a message, which you may know, in Beirut, about two weeks ago, 
that we took seriously their legitimate concerns.° But we have not fol- 
lowed it up. But I think they understand us. When we reach this point, 
we would appreciate the advice of His Excellency [about] with whom 
we deal. 

Asad [nods yes]: But my question is, do you insist on having the 
word “interests” and not “rights” included in the letter? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: Number one, I want to say the Palestinians cannot believe 
that in all our discussions we are not discussing them. Of course, I am 
telling them, wherever the occasion presents itself, that we always use 
the expression “Palestinian rights.” We are not guardians over the Pal- 
estinians, but they cannot believe we are not discussing them. 

Kissinger: I have no objection to His Excellency telling them some 
of our discussions here. 

Asad: Does the United States have a specific concept of Palestinian 
rights? This is not for publication or announcement. 

Kissinger: We are speaking personally and not officially: I have 
always thought there could be a Palestinian entity, on the West Bank, 
which could be connected with Gaza. 

Asad: But Israel is hanging on tenaciously to parts of the West 
Bank. They want the river, they want... 

Kissinger: This is one of the problems in the second phase. 

Asad: You think the Israelis would agree to give the Palestinians a 
corridor between the West Bank and Gaza? 

Kissinger: If you want my opinion on how to do it—which you will 
not like—my idea would be to let the Jordanians deal with Israel about 
the West Bank, and then let the Palestinians deal with Jordan. 

Asad: On the West Bank? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: How about Gaza and the corridor? 

Kissinger: And on that basis one could have Gaza and the corridor. 

Asad: Because we have not expressed any view on the subject, 
whether to King Hussein or to the Palestinians. A lot has gone on be- 
tween the King and the Palestinians. 


6 Telegram 89704 to Beirut, May 12, transmitted a message from Acting Secretary of 
State Kenneth Rush reported that the Palestinian role in the settling of the Arab-Israeli 
dispute “has been and remains very much on our mind.” (Library of Congress, Manu- 
script Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 189, Geopolitical File, Middle East, Palestinians 
Contact Message Book, 1973-75) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 311 


Kissinger: I noticed that! 

Asad: How can they solve it when they are estranged and there is a 
lot of resentment? 

Kissinger: Maybe the Syrians could play a role there. 

Asad: They seem to have unanimity not to be back under King 
Hussein’s rule. There has been a massacre, and it is like milk curdling 
between them. We tried before the war. And the one responsible for 
this estrangement is King Hussein. Because he used to take one step 
forward and pull back. So we have come to a very complicated pass. 

Kissinger: What is His Excellency’s view on how to solve the 
problem? 

Asad: Honestly, we haven’t come to any clearly defined concept. 

Kissinger: That is our problem. We haven’t either. 

Asad: There are many concepts in the works. But I have advised 
them not to quarrel about anything. Because in any case, Israel is still 
having the West Bank. My advice is, let us first get that which we have 
lost and then sort things out. It is sort of ridiculous to quarrel with King 
Hussein about the West Bank when Israel still has it. 

Kissinger: That is my view. 

Asad: Back to the letter. Do you think it is not useful, or is it pos- 
sible, to mention the United States recognizes there will be no real solu- 
tion to the Middle East unless going back to the borders of 1967, from 
the point of view of the Arabs? 


Kissinger: This I have pointed out would be a problem. But when 
the President comes here, you will find you have a useful discussion. 


Asad: Is there anything else you would like to discuss? When we 
have finished discussing these other things, we could go back to that. 


Kissinger: Yes. 
Asad: Of course you should rest a little too! 


Kissinger: But this is important. It is also important because it will 
be impossible to explain, having spent four weeks in the Middle East, 
why it failed at the last moment. 


[An aide comes in.] 
Asad: The maps are here. The maps of scale 1:25,000. 


Kissinger: Good. How does His Excellency visualize proceeding 
concretely in U.S.-Syrian relations? Because that is part of the strategy. 


Asad: What I have in mind is that, within a period, we should 
restore relations. Without graduation; not gradually, but 
straightforward. 


Kissinger: In what period? 
Asad: Not before the carrying out of disengagement, but after. 


312 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: That is a good idea. 

Asad: Of course restoration of relations will help to increase our 
contacts, to have occasional exchange of visits. Personal contact is very 
important. These are my views on the subject, how we can start going 
about things. 

Kissinger: Yes. We will establish, as President Boumediene may 
have told you, a Cooperation Commission with Algeria. For economic 
and technical cooperation. And we will do it also, as you know, with 
Saudi Arabia. And probably with Egypt. We would be prepared to do 
the same with Syria whenever the President [Asad] was ready. It 
should not be the first thing; it should be in some months. And the Pres- 
ident can in general assume that whatever we do with any Arab 
country we would be prepared to do with Syria. We may not propose it 
specifically because we do not want to seem to have an unending desire 
to make proposals. 

Asad: This is fine. As long as we have the intent to develop rela- 
tions in the right direction. 

Now back to the disengagement subject. There are three points, as 
I understand it. 

The question of Kuneitra is finished as far as I am concerned. 
About tanks, etc. Although I knew they knew I have asked for this and 
am insisting on it, they have broadcast it. 

Kissinger: I am embarrassed. 

Asad: My thought is, it is natural from their point of view to know 
I have asked for it. Because it is absurd for people to exist between two 
enemies. Of course, within this context, I do not think we will expend a 
great effort in returning people to their places. I do not think they them- 
selves [the Israelis] would go back under such conditions. Because no 
one would send their family there. The Israelis, whose homes are be- 
hind them, want us to pull our guns back. In spite of the fact that we 
have similar villagers ourselves. So the position of the villagers in Ku- 
neitra will be a very bad one. 

The two points are: The United Nations, and (2), the red line. 

On the question of the United Nations—okay, it too, we can give 
and take on it. But on the question of the red line, once again I say it is 
impossible. Because this map is going to be published and the inhabi- 
tants whose villages are going to be in front of the red line have an un- 
tenable position too. Apart from everything else, it would look like 
something that is imposed on us by force. It has no clear justification we 
can use. So that is why I believe this subject must be discussed further 
and something must be done about it. 

Kissinger: But how can something be done about it? 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 313 


Asad: You said you expected their Council of Ministers [Cabinet] 
to meet. For them, it is not a very important thing, but for us it is impor- 
tant. Why this adamance on their part? Because we have really given in 
on a lot of things, things we have insisted on in the past. 

Kissinger: Their adamance, as you say, derives from the fact that 
they think they are pulling their forces back 37 kilometers. 

[They get up and look at the map.]’ 

Asad: Their original defensive lines are here [October 6 lines]. 

Because all their defense lines here [in the salient] are temporary. 
Because there was not enough stability to establish defense lines in the 
bulge. This is their defense line [the October 6 line]. They worked hard 
on it, and established it. 

Kissinger: And you penetrated it. 

Asad: There is no defense line in the world that cannot be 
penetrated. 

Kissinger: Exactly. 

Asad: Every man knows it. It is a mistake if they think they are 
impregnable, because no matter how strong they make it, an enemy can 
put together a sufficient force and break it. 

Kissinger: That is the lesson of military history. Their Council of 
Ministers will meet, but they will never agree. This Cabinet will not. 
They might change a kilometer in here, but it does not change your 
basic problem. 

The only other thing that has occurred to me, Mr. President, was 
the point General Shihabi made. Because it had occurred to me also that 
we count the artillery line from here [the October 6 line] and not from 
here [the red line]. And for that we would have to get the approval of 
the Israeli Cabinet. I have no basis for it. 

Asad: Of course, this is a positive point. 

Kissinger: Why should I bargain with the President? I am like a 
doctor; Iam trying to gauge what is possible without breaking it. I can 
tell you, at the end of the meeting today I did not get a satisfactory 
change in the red line. I went to Rabin, and Allon, and Eban, and said to 
them: It does not seem absolutely fair to me to count the artillery from 
here. If Icome back from Damascus and say the artillery has to be from 
here, from 20 kilometers—the 10 kilometers has to be from here [the red 
line]—would you agree with it? And they said they cannot say yes. But 
I am assuming they would do it. So if we want to get it concluded to- 
morrow, and we have to be realistic, I could probably on my authority 


” The map is not attached, but a final status map is printed in Appendix B, map 2. 


314 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


get that done. And I could probably, based on the same sort of conver- 
sation, get another kilometer in here. 

Asad: I really cannot explain this line away. What do I say about it? 
Ihave already told my people we are going back to the October 6 line. I 
explained it on the map, even, to the leadership of the party, the day be- 
fore yesterday. The zone of limitation, the thinning-out zone, 6-plus kil- 
ometers, plus 10 kilometers here, and here of course it will stretch 
along. 

Kissinger: But then the second 10 would be only 4 kilometers here, 
if they accept my theory. 

Asad: Then that would be the advantage to the Syrian side? It 
would be a very limited advantage. 

Kissinger: You would save these six kilometers. 

Asad: The net result. For all. I imagine if you applied a little more 
pressure ... 

Kissinger: No, I have tried it, believe me. They will not do it. I 
know they will not do it. The mistake I made was, they wanted to do it 
all the way down here [in the south] and I refused. 

Sabbagh: The Syrians want it all the way up here. The reverse. The 
red line. 

Asad: I do not really know how to express it. Because I know very 
definitely you spent four weeks. I certainly appreciate all you have 
done. This is an imposition by force, so to speak. 

Kissinger: Not by force. 

Sabbagh: Not by physical force, but an enforced result. 

Asad: It is very difficult that the ceasefire would remain stable in 
this kind of condition. 

Kissinger: Why? 

Asad: Because neither people nor officers would put up with 
seeing this kind of line, arrangement. 

Sabbagh [to Kissinger]: I was wondering if there could be some 
sort of time frame, a bilateral understanding. 

Kissinger: [to Sabbagh:] His problem is he has to publish this map. 

Asad: It is inescapable. 

Kissinger: If he doesn’t, the Israelis will. 

This has not been published yet? 

Asad: The same concept, but not line by line. 

A number of factors are accumulating which would not be helpful 
to stabilizing the ceasefire. The major factor is we have not defined a 
limited distance between us. So from a practical point of view, when 
they move one step forward, we will hit them, and if we move one step 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 315 


forward they will shoot at us. That is one important factor: that they do 
not have a defined distance between. 

Normally when two armies face one another, there is a certain dis- 
tance defined in which they cannot move. 100, 200 meters. As the case 
used to be before October 6. For instance, our authority stretches to the 
blue line. Can we really go up to the blue line where they happen to be? 
Ibelieve our people will find some excuse to go to the blue line, because 
it is in the agreement. But they [the Israelis] will not permit this. This is 
a kind of irritation-type situation. For instance, around Kuneitra, they 
will establish themselves on the blue line, and already the border is the 
blue line. You can imagine this. This is clear? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: There is no belt: a soldier here, a soldier here. 

These things as they can appear have confirmed rather than dis- 
missed the aggressive intentions of Israel. 

Kissinger: I do not think this is quite fair, Mr. President, because 
many of these confusions resulted from our pressure, and our pressure 
in turn was to give the maximum civilian authority to Syria. 

Asad [thinks]: Yes, but of course it should be known that we will 
have to establish points—if we are not going to establish a defense line, 
we are bound to establish military anchors and observation posts. 

Kissinger: Yes. Mr. President, I do not think you are unreasonable. 
Ihave told you from the beginning, I would do it differently, if I were to 
negotiate. I might not negotiate; I might decide on war. But if I were to 
negotiate, I would do it generously. And not grudgingly. 

It depends on what line one publishes. If one publishes the line of 
civilian control, it is a forward movement of Syrian authority. I am 
thinking of the presentation. 

Asad: No, the people on the lines—because these are military lines. 
When people think of lines, administrative lines, they immediately 
think of soldiers on that line. 

Maybe you should rest up. And tomorrow we will discuss. 

Kissinger: All right. What time should we meet tomorrow? 

Asad: At your convenience. 

Kissinger: What time is it now? 2:15? 

Sabbagh: Yes, sir. 2:15. 

Kissinger: 9:30? In fact, let us say 9:00, so I can get back. 9:00, 9:30. 

Asad: 9:30. 

Kissinger: Tomorrow is my birthday, Mr. President. I am going to 
debate the hills of Kuneitra. But it is worthwhile. I understand the Pres- 
ident’s problem. I really understand it. 

Asad: There is not one of the military people who likes this. 


316 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Let us sleep on it. 

[Dr. Kissinger and President Asad get up] 

Kissinger: Where are my people? 

Sabbagh: With Khaddam. 

Kissinger: Tell them to meet me in the Guest House in 5-10 
minutes. 

[Before the Secretary left, the two maps of scale 1:25,000 were 
given over. Asad asked to look at them first. He and the Secretary 
spread them out on the table and examined them. They were then 
folded up again and given to Mr. Rodman to carry back to Israel.] 


75. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Damascus, May 27, 1974, 9:50 a.m.—1:15 p.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Hafiz al-Asad, President of Syrian Arab Republic 
Press Counsellor Elias 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Isa Sabbagh, Interpreter 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


(Photographers were admitted briefly at the opening of the 
meeting.) 

Asad: I saw the negotiating team after you left. 

Kissinger: And I saw the negotiating team on our side also. 

Asad: The Syrian side told me they were given documents for sur- 
render. This is how they described them. 

Kissinger: We talked among ourselves. It is a... see, the difficulty 
is, we started out this negotiation with a gap that was too wide. And 
perhaps I should not have come out here until the conditions were a 
little more propitious, or until I understood a little better what the 
problems were. So I blame myself largely for having started this whole 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 21, 
Classified External Memcons, November 1974, Folder 2. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. The 
meeting was held at the Presidential Palace in Damascus. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 317 


process. See, some of the documents we show you are about a tenth of 
what the Israelis ask us to show you. 

Asad: Why should we be obliged to agree to them? 

Kissinger: No, we are not bringing you Israeli documents. 

Asad: We are not dealing with human beings if those are their de- 
mands. There is no historic precedent to our agreeing to any of this 
kind of language. 

Kissinger: What in particular? 

Asad: Everything that occurred in the documents. We never in the 
past agreed to this kind of an arrangement. Nor would we ever agree in 
the future to anything we had not agreed to in the past. No, they seem 
to be real enemies. 

Last night and this morning, their radio said we were discussing 
the question of the fedayeen—though we had refused to discuss it. 
Those who want to discuss the question of the fedayeen should discuss 
it with their organizations. Any Arab leader who thinks he is the 
guardian of the fedayeen is the worst type of leader, and anyone who 
does it will be smashed and deserves to be smashed. They are a de- 
prived people and entitled to defend themselves. 

Kissinger: Well, I do not know what Israeli radio reported. 

Asad: We were forced—I ordered a denial to be issued. Because 
the people must know the facts. Because, as you know, we have refused 
to discuss it. 

Kissinger: I have tried for four weeks to get the Israelis to control 
their radio. I was specifically assured yesterday that there would be no 
problems while I am here. But they may have a different definition of 
“problems.” 

I must tell you honestly that in my judgment there is really no basis 
at this time to conclude the relatively few things that remain to be done. 

Asad: Yes, that may be the case. 

Kissinger: It’s a tragedy to come this close and fail. And it’s an ex- 
perience to which Iam not used to in these negotiations. I have told His 
Excellency—and I know he agrees—why it would have been a very im- 
portant step had we succeeded. But I also understand there are limits 
beyond which either side cannot go. 

Asad: Yes, of course. 

Kissinger: So what is His Excellency’s view on what should 
happen now? 

Asad: Our position is clear. The remaining points were: the red 
line—the question of the United Nations can be sorted out; differences 
in the positions. 

Kissinger: I am not worried about that. 


318 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: The question of Kuneitra, which I do not consider simple, 
but which could be settled. The question of the red line is the basic 
thing. And our attitude in this regard is not new, as you well know. 

Kissinger: And there are some aspects in the documents. 

Asad: We discussed the documents in the past, but yesterday I was 
presented with new things in the documents which were not there in 
the past. We did not think they would be incorporated in the docu- 
ments that were brought to me yesterday. We agreed on one document, 
the basic agreement. There were not important differences. 

Kissinger: I agree. 

Asad: We discussed the American proposal,” and there were not 
important differences there. And we agreed the American proposal 
should only be about the restricted zone. Whereas yesterday, I was told 
there are new things in the American proposal. 

The agreement, the American proposal, and the map—those were 
the three things we discussed in the past. We had no serious 
difficulties. 

Kissinger: On the American proposal, the part that concerned His 
Excellency was the part that described what would happen in the de- 
militarized area. 


Asad: No, several other points. 

Kissinger: Like what? 

Asad: Like the fedayeen crossing the line. 

Kissinger: But all those are in the section on the demilitarized zone. 


Asad: When it comes to the fedayeen, it would not be limited to 
one segment. It belongs to the people. 

Kissinger: I am trying to isolate in the document. On the thinning- 
out zone in the American proposal, no disagreement. 

Asad: Some textual questions. 

Kissinger: But no problem. The problem arises in the other docu- 
ment, on the demilitarized zone. 

Asad: There are eight points. Three we discussed before; five new 
points. Maybe they all belong to the demilitarized zone. 

Kissinger: They belong to the demilitarized zone. I have looked it 
over. Of those five, several are not important—like who gets the fortifi- 
cations which the Israelis abandon. I mean, that is not a major point. 

But let me first explain to the President why we put it into that sec- 
tion, rather than into some other. 


? Kissinger introduced an American proposal on May 16. See Document 62. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 319 


We first thought there might be a separate protocol on the demili- 
tarized area, and that the Foreign Minister refused, and I understand 
why. 

Asad: Never did it occur in our discussions, nor were we given to 
understand that the area was to be treated separately. All we knew was 
there would not be major forces in that area, specifically, artillery and 
tanks—this is what I myself said—and that our authority over it would 
be complete. Yesterday what I saw was new. 

Kissinger: We had taken the idea of the buffer zone—maybe we 
never understood what a buffer zone is—but a demilitarized area 
under Syrian civil administration. 

Asad: Why should we take it when it is going to be demilitarized? 
We agree it was just that one and a half kilometers. 

Kissinger: But what was the idea when His Excellency sent me the 
idea of the buffer zone? What was his idea? 

Asad: It was to have been west of the southern part of the front, the 
line which we agreed on, and to a distance one-to-three kilometers, de- 
void of people, which it is. Even so, with people in it, to the west of 
southern Golan. 

Elias: The western half of Golan. 

Kissinger: I think, Mr. President, what we should need is a few 
weeks to restudy this problem. Because we think we are close enough 
to a solution to be able to do something, although it is impossible to do 
something today, in time I have left. And I do not think we can do it 
with this present (Israeli) government. And what we should do is either 
ask two or three of the leaders to come to Washington or if the Presi- 
dent should come to the Middle East, on that occasion to attempt an- 
other discussion on the subject. 

Asad: That is possible, 

Kissinger: Because I think it is primarily a problem of the red line, 
and for the other issues the President raises, we could probably find a 
compromise solution. 

(Elias says something to Asad, goes out.) 

Kissinger: I hope this does not declare me persona non grata while 
I am in the country. 

Asad: No, this is the statement about the fedayeen, denying the Is- 
raeli report and saying we never entered into it and whoever wants to 
discuss the fedayeen should go to their organizations. This is necessary. 

Kissinger: I understand. 

Asad: None of it touches you. 

Kissinger: No, of course. 

Asad: We have never made such statements. 


320 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: No, it is a great disappointment to both of us that this 
negotiation has not succeeded. 

Asad: The fedayeen? 

Kissinger: No, both of us. But I want the President to know we be- 
lieve he has behaved in a decent, honorable, and constructive way. We 
have no complaints about the conduct of the Syrian side, nor shall we 
make any criticism of the Syrian side. 

Asad: For our part, we will never say anything but good about Dr. 
Kissinger’s work and efforts and energy. Because this is a fact. The Is- 
raelis have not left much of a breathing space. 

Kissinger: The Syrians will surely say something about the Israelis. 
But if some space, a month, could be left before all-out criticism starts, it 
would help the negotiations. 

Asad: Generally speaking, our information media will remain 
pragmatic and objective. 

Kissinger: Now, what should we say? 

I have some ideas on the red line, but there is no sense negotiating 
with you, going back to Israel, and having a three-day Cabinet crisis. 
When we start again, we will start from a new position. I would rather 
make a fresh start with the new Israeli Cabinet in two weeks’ time. 

Asad: How will you start? 

Kissinger: To resolve these few remaining issues. 

Asad: I agree with that. 

Kissinger: I will try to do two things: I will have the Prime Min- 
ister, Defense Minister, and Foreign Minister come to Washington and 
talk with the President and me, or conceivably use the occasion if the 
President comes to the Middle East, if he now comes to the Middle East, 
to make further progress. 

Can I ask the President, as a friend? What is his idea of the Presi- 
dent's trip to the Middle East under these circumstances? Honestly. 

Asad: I myself welcome it. But I think, in the circumstances—and 
that is the key sentence—a visit would be complicated. And I think, as 
the President of the United States of America, he should come in more 
auspicious circumstances, for his own dignity and that of the United 
States. This is the way I look at it. 

Kissinger: No, I speak to you as a friend. 

Asad: Of course, personally, I welcome seeing him anytime. 

Kissinger: May I ask, again as a friend, this question? If, on the ad- 
vice of the other Arabs or for other reasons, he should decide to come 
anyway, should he include Syria? 

Asad: This is left entirely up to his own inclination and desire. I 
would welcome him any time. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 321 


Kissinger: Even in the absence of an agreement? 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: Let me sum up, so I can reflect views I will give only or- 
ally: The President feels that, as a friend, he would recommend it 
would not be fully consistent with the dignity of the President of the 
United States to visit the area under these circumstances. 

Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: And to wait for more auspicious time. However, if the 
President (Nixon) should decide, because he makes a different judg- 
ment or on the advice of other Arab leaders, then he (Asad) would be 
delighted to receive him in Damascus. 

Asad: (nods): Yes. 

Kissinger: This is a fair statement. And I will add on my account 
that I know Syrian hospitality. You do not have to say that; that goes 
with being in Damascus. Is that a fair statement? 

Asad: Yes. Exactly. This is my thinking. 

Kissinger: May I see whether a statement, which is similar to what 
we drafted the other day, would be appropriate to issue? 

Asad: Okay. 


Kissinger (reads from draft at Tab A):° “President Hafez Asad and 
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger today concluded a series of talks on 
the separation of forces between Syria and Israel.” That is a fact. 
(Laughter) “They agreed to recess the talks for a few weeks and allow 
both sides to study the problems involved. President Asad expressed 
his deep appreciation for the efforts of the United States and for the ini- 
tiative and determination of the Secretary of State. He believes the talks 
have been conducted in a cordial, friendly and impartial manner. Sec- 
retary Kissinger in turn has expressed his thanks to President Asad and 
his government for the positive spirit in which these talks have been 
pursued.” His only complaint is the 5 kilos he put on while in Da- 
mascus. (Laughter) That I added. “He also thanked the President on be- 
half of his colleagues for the warm hospitality extended to them in 
Syria. 

“President Asad and Secretary Kissinger agreed that very consid- 
erable progress has been made toward an agreement on disengage- 
ment of forces, including the matter of the disengagement line. How- 
ever, a number of other complex and related issues remain, which will 
require further time to resolve. 


3 Tab A attached but not printed. 


322 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“They therefore agreed that during the period in which the talks 
will be briefly recessed, diplomatic contact designed to bridge the re- 
maining differences will continue.” 

I’ve added a sentence at the end, but it is up to the President: “To 
this end President Asad plans to send a personal emissary to Wash- 
ington soon to continue the discussions with Secretary Kissinger.” 

Asad: This last one wouldn’t be very useful. 

Kissinger: All right. 

Asad: One person in Washington. We could say we could send 
someone to Washington for any other purpose. If we here couldn’t do 
it, one person in Washington couldn’t do it. 

Kissinger: We could have a sentence: “President Asad agreed these 
talks have helped Syrian-U.S. relations, and to further these, he will 
send an emissary to Washington.” Or “both agree.” 

Asad: The thoughts I agree with in principle, although I may have 
one or two adjustments in the text. I suggest a recess for a half hour; I 
will talk to the Syrian side and maybe come up with a statement. 

Kissinger: Add that sentence, Mr. Elias: “Both sides agreed that 
these talks have contributed to U.S.-Syrian relations. In order to further 
develop these, the Syrian side will send an emissary to Washington.” 

We have two dangers, Mr. President: (1), that the American people 
shouldn’t get discouraged with this effort. Because I am determined to 
continue and I need public support. Secondly, it is important that the 
American people retain the improving attitude towards Syria. And 
therefore, if, independent of a joint communiqué, the President could 
find it possible to say something friendly about our mission ... 

Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: It would ease the attacks which are going inevitably to 
start on me now. I want to tell the President now: For the next three 
weeks, you will see many attacks on me. Because all the Israeli sup- 
porters, who feel I’ve tormented them in recent weeks, will now take 
their revenge. You’ve seen it already this weekend: There are ten ar- 
ticles saying I’m neglecting my duties in Washington. And that can’t be 
an accident. Nevertheless, I do not fight stupid domestic battles. And I 
will overcome them. And I—speaking to you as a friend—am not in the 
same position as the President. So I can mobilize my support. I am just 
saying this to the President so he doesn’t get nervous. 

Asad: That is the one point that is paramount in my thoughts. Be- 
cause after having established this nice human personal contact, then 
out of loyalty, out of fondness, when we look at the imperative of 
Syrian-American relations, I’m particularly looking at the need not to 
harm you. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 323 


In your views, how far could the red line be moved? When it can 
be moved. Let’s speak openly. 

Kissinger: I’m in Never-Never Land, Mr. President. I’ll tell you 
what I thought last night—for which I have no authority. I think the 
President and I went through the same process last night; we con- 
cluded it was extremely difficult if not impossible. So I tried to see what 
could I imagine—without any authority. 

And let me say one other thing, again speaking personally and as 
friends: I don’t want to do anything that would hurt President Asad. If 
the President accepted something that was extremely difficult for him 
and caused complications later for him, we would have defeated an im- 
portant American purpose. So I don’t want to be responsible for having 
made the President—through persuasiveness—do something that will 
later on hurt him. Because that would be a tactical success but a stra- 
tegic defeat. 

I want to say this about my view. 

Asad: I appreciate this. The sincerity of this. 

Kissinger: The President will see, in the context of our other discus- 
sions, that we’ll give concrete proof of this. Within our limited 
capabilities. 

But let me tell you what occurred to me. But I have no knowledge 
whatever whether the Israelis would accept it. 

(They get up to look at the map.)* 

One is, I think we can get another kilometer here (in the north). But 
that’s not the key issue. But what I think—absolutely without authori- 
zation—just like the 20-kilometer thing, but that I discussed with three 
Israelis and have some support. What I discuss now I’ve never dis- 
cussed with any Israelis. I give my personal word of honor. If we meas- 
ure ten kilometers from each side of the October 6 line, but within the 
Syrian 10-kilometer zone, the area forward of the red line would be— 
whatever we call it—demilitarized, no tanks, whatever. So one would 
have this only as a dotted line, like this dotted line. 

Asad: I didn’t quite understand this. You mean ten kilometers 
from this? 

Kissinger: There are two problems with the red line. One is, it 
starts the ten-kilometer zone from a point further back from the Syrian 
line of control. The second is the symbolic aspect of Syria just leaving 
this territory in an undefined nature, and the problem of explaining 
this to the public. 


4 The map is not attached, but a final status map is printed in Appendix B, map 2. 


324 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Practically I don’t think it is so decisive because Syria could still 
defend this area from here. (Indicates) But symbolically ... 

Asad: Your analysis is correct. 

Kissinger: I’m just giving the President my analysis. 

When I couldn’t sleep last night (Laughter), I was thinking what 
conceivably could be done in a matter of weeks. Suppose we say in the 
agreement that an area ten kilometers west of the blue line will be 
thinned out and an area ten kilometers east of the purple line will be 
thinned out. With 6,000 men, 75 tanks, 36 artillery pieces. 

Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: However, in a separate understanding, the Syrian side 
agrees not to station forces forward of this line—or whatever line we fi- 
nally agree to as the red line. (Asad studies the map.) For example, I 
could not get that accepted today, I can tell you that. (Asad studies the 
map.) 

Asad: As to there being three to four kilometers east of the red line, 
the new zone. 

Kissinger: Yes. Instead of ten kilometers. And down here there is 
no problem. It’s my imagination, Mr. President. 

Asad: Would it be possible to agree to something like this: Out of 
two brigades we were thinking of ... (Sabbagh, in translating, in- 
tending to say “the President says,” says by mistake “the Ambassador 
says,” and then corrects himself.) 

Kissinger: (to Sabbagh) Tell the President what you demoted him 
to! (to Asad) I certainly will not take responsibility. I need a victim. 
Sisco looks like a victim. Bunker is respectable. But I have a theory: 
Sabbagh and you were carrying on a conversation unrelated to our 
negotiation. 

Sabbagh: There is an Arabic saying “Wipe it in my beard,” 
meaning a scapegoat. 

Kissinger: It’s a new theory. 

Asad: Out of two brigades, we would position a small propor- 
tion—say no more than half of these two brigades, in front of that red 
line. We could probably position them in certain locations. And from a 
practical point of view, our positioning them in certain locations would 
have more of a moral, psychological impact than anything else. 

Kissinger: The whole thing is crazy. Even if you put 6,000 men here 
(on the October 6 line) you’d either attack with 100,000 men or not at 
all. 

Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: So we’re talking politics. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 325 


Asad: This kind of suggestion they might crack into their thick 
skulls and realize its importance that is moral, psychological, that no at- 
tack is designed. Because one brigade is ... 

Another suggestion: Cut this distance in half, a little bit (between 
the October 6 line and the red line). 

Kissinger: Then you would accept the red line? 

Asad: If they could make some kind of pockets around these three 
villages. 

Kissinger: I’ll bet 100 to 1 those three villages are on hilltops. 

Asad: Yes, there is a hill. 

Kissinger: Here, they’re indented. 

Asad: As far as the hills are concerned, they’re not gaining any- 
thing. We want it for observation purposes. We use hills for observa- 
tion. Whether the line be here or there, we'll still be observing. We have 
our people there. They’re not going to prevent our observing. These 
hills will be used in our interest. We have these hills at our disposal. 
From this point of view, we’re not gaining anything. 

Kissinger: Suppose the line went here. (Closer to the Oct. 6 line) 

Asad: Yes. With two pockets. 

Kissinger: How about this road in between? They’ll certainly want 
to keep it non-military. 

Asad: Line or no line, the road should be in the middle, civilian. 

Kissinger: Suppose here. 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: You talk about hills to the Israelis! Well, assuming it can 
be done. 

Asad: I will bear the brunt of the other side. If this can be done, I 
will take it upon myself to do the other. This line will do us injury; if not 
on the October 6 line, but with this new suggestion, if the red line could 
be as you pointed out, I will myself take the responsibility. We'll find a 
justification for why the red line has to be where it is. 

Kissinger: But then everything has to be counted from the red line, 
because my suggestion couldn’t be done. 

Asad: Okay. 

Kissinger: But then the Israelis won’t agree to it. I’d like nothing 
better than an agreement the President is happy with. Now we’re down 
to 1,000 meters again. 

Asad: You could present this as an American compromise pro- 
posal. Because it really is a problem. For only this, to balk and throw the 
rest down the drain ... 

Kissinger: But what happens to the documents? 


326 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: I understood from you those problems could be sorted out. 

Kissinger: But both of us have to do something. (Laughter) The 
President’s idea is that I sort everything out! 

Asad: They amount to obligations on the part of Syria to the 
United States. 

Kissinger: The remaining. 

Asad: Yes. Because there are certain topics which touch inextri- 
cably on a radical solution to the entire problem. The problem with the 
Palestinians is separate unto themselves. 

Kissinger: The problem of the Palestinians is this—I’m speaking 
openly. There were periods when the demarcation line was quiet be- 
tween Syria and Israel. And that could not have been an accident. 

Asad: That was the will of both sides; that is what I imagine. The 
question of the fedayeen. In those days there were no fedayeen. 

Kissinger: This is a huge political problem in Israel. They’re asking 
10,000, 20,000 Syrians to come here. Supposing they’re all Saiqa? 

Asad: They have the Israeli army there, and observers must be 
closer to the blue line. 

Kissinger: What we need, as a minimum, is some vague language. 
Then we're prepared to say something privately to the Israelis about 
helping them patrol this line. I mean, giving them mines—I don’t know 
what we can say to them. They have them anyway. 

Asad: They can put all they want. It might sober them (the fed- 
ayeen) up. It’s up to them (the Israelis) to defend it. How can we assure 
their security and defense? They claim not to be able to defend them- 
selves? Frankly speaking, the question is not dependent on our desire. 
Even if we had agreed to this. 

Kissinger: Why not compromise? You need ten brigades to protect 
the fedayeen, and if you give ten brigades you'll keep the fedayeen 
out—Why can we not use the phrase that ... 

Asad: Even if we’d lined them up, 6,000 soldiers, along the 80 kilo- 
meters, even those wouldn’t be adequate prevention. 

Kissinger: If we said something like, “Syria will refrain from hos- 
tile action.” Not “paramilitary,” but “hostile.” Not “prevent,” but “re- 
frain.” If it’s “prevent,” then Syria has to keep the others from doing. 
When it is “refrain,” then it is what is under the political, governmental 
control of Syria. 

Asad: The word “hostile” is wider and has a wider application 
than “military.” 

Kissinger: That is true. 

Asad: This applies to anything pertaining to the state of belliger- 
ency, the state of war. This expression pertains even to information 


policy. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 327 


Kissinger: Let’s forget that now. If we can find a phrase, an 
adjective ... 

Asad: Then it would go in the direction of the fedayeen. It would 
be very serious. Very serious. 

Kissinger: Then the President could maintain the position that he 
has agreed to only stop things which are under the governmental con- 
trol of Syria. 

Asad: We could say something like, in Article A-1, that Syrian 
armed forces will scrupulously observe the ceasefire, or something like 
that. My desire is that the thinking of the average citizen not to go off on 
a tangent in the direction of something not in our authority, that is, in 
the direction of the fedayeen. 

Kissinger: Let me ask the President this: I’m trying to see if a solu- 
tion is possible. He won’t like it. Something like this paragraph, and the 
United States then said we understand Israel’s desire to protect itself 
against fedayeen attacks as a part of the cease-fire. 

Asad: As a statement. 

Kissinger: As an American statement. 

Asad: No problem. 

Kissinger: What if we made it publicly? 

Asad: In America? 

Kissinger: And they would want to tell it to their Parliament. 

Asad: As long as there is no connection to us. 

Kissinger: And you won’t attack us for it. 


Asad: (Laughing) Future American performance could really 
create a good impression with the fedayeen. There are some who are 
interested. 


Kissinger: How about some who want to shoot down my airplane? 
Asad: Some of them do. But not only yours! 


Kissinger: I just want to be sure that if they capture me, the Presi- 
dent will put in a good word for me. 


Asad: No, because then they won’t have a good word for me! 
Kissinger: No, I know the responsible ones won't. 


Asad: And inside our country I can’t imagine anything happening 
because they know the penalty, and it would be catastrophic for them 
individually and for the organizations. 


Kissinger: No, I’ve felt absolutely secure in your country. 
Asad: (Laughing) I’m going to meet Arafat today. 
Kissinger: I expect to meet Arafat eventually. 

Asad: It’s independent of our discussions. 

Kissinger: You can speak to him of my views. 


328 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: Maybe on King Hussein, Arafat has a different view from 
yours. 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: Although there was once a time when they had contact. 

Kissinger: Arafat and Hussein? 

Let me sum up. If we can redraw the line and loop it around these 
villages, the President will accept it. 

Asad: Yes. Yes. 

Kissinger: Advancing the red line a little bit. 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: All I need is a coup d’etat in Israel! And on the Pales- 
tinians, you would accept an American public statement saying it is the 
American interpretation that as part of the cease-fire Israel has the right 
to protect itself against fedayeen attacks and to take measures to defeat 
them, or whatever. 

Asad: On the basis that this is an American view, not ours. 

Kissinger: No, it is an American view. The implication would be 
that America would support Israel against fedayeen attacks from Syria. 
As an American statement. You don’t have to say anything. 

Asad: On the basis that this is an American opinion and that it was 
not discussed with us. 

Kissinger: We will not say we discussed it with you. But we don’t 
want to do it if it ruins Syrian-American relations. 

Asad: It won't. 

Kissinger: That is a possibility: If we make a public statement to 
that effect. 

Asad: Any statement expressing an American opinion would not 
adversely affect Syrian-American relations. 

Kissinger: All right. 

Asad: Since it would not bear any relation to the agreement. 

Kissinger: We would say the agreement doesn’t prevent that, in 
our interpretation. It is no Syrian obligation. 


Asad: No problem. Of course, Israel naturally has the right to de- 
fend itself. 


Kissinger: Can we take a half-hour break while I discuss it with my 
colleagues? 

Asad: Yes. At the Guest House? 

Kissinger: Where they are. They are there. Can I just come back 
anytime I’m ready? 

Asad: Oh yes. 

Kissinger: I’ll call you. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 329 


Asad: Of course, American forces won’t take part against the 
fedayeen. 

Kissinger: Oh no. (Laughter) 

Asad: I was joking. 

Kissinger: No, I will make a statement publicly there will be no 
American forces in the Middle East. I will do it within two weeks after I 
return to America. 

Sabbagh: You have great courage. 

Kissinger: No, I will volunteer it. 

There will be no American troops in the Middle East—except to 
fight Russian troops. We won’t fight Arab troops! 

Asad: If there is peace, there is no need for Russian troops. 

Kissinger: We are here to disengage, not to engage! 

(At 11:25 a.m. Secretary Kissinger departed the Presidential Palace 
for the Residence, where he conferred with the staff. At 12:35 his pri- 
vate conversation resumed at the Palace with the President:) 

Kissinger: I want to have a discussion in principle of what perhaps 
can be done. 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: What you are asking for is two very fundamental 
changes in two very fundamental Israeli positions. One is the red line; 
the other is—especially in light of recent weeks—the problem of the 
fedayeen, or however you call it. Now, to sum up my understanding of 
what the President is saying: If we move the red line some distance 
towards the blue line—I have to tell him right away that half way will 
be impossible. 

Asad: And the pockets. 

Kissinger: And make two pockets, sausages, to include the vil- 
lages, then the President will accept the red line. 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: Secondly, if we drop the disguised reference to the fed- 
ayeen in the first paragraph, the President will oppose—or to put it an- 
other way—it will not affect Syrian-U.S. relations if the United States 
makes a very strong public—not secret—statement, that it understands 
that Israel as part of the cease-fire will take measures to protect itself 
against fedayeen attack. 

Asad: “Has the right to.” 

Kissinger: “Has the right to.” And that the United States will sup- 
port such measures. Politically. We’re not talking about militarily. 

Asad: On the basis that this subject is not a common stand, and has 
not been discussed with you. 


330 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: No, it is a U.S. statement. But we have to have an under- 
standing that the President will not agitate among other Arabs against 
such a U.S. statement. Obviously you won't agree with it. 

Honestly, I have the gravest doubts whether it is possible to suc- 
ceed with the Israeli Cabinet. But I’m prepared to ask for a meeting of 
the Israeli Cabinet for 7:00 tonight. But, the only way this can succeed, 
the only way this can succeed, is that we finish all the documents in a 
satisfactory manner and that I take all the documents to Israel and say: 
“This is it; the Syrians accept all this here except the red line.” 

Asad: There are no other points. 

Kissinger: What I would then propose to the President, if he ac- 
cepts this procedure, is that I leave him again for an hour, then I go over 
the documents with my colleagues and then I go over them with him. 

Asad: There are no big issues. The fortifications. 

Kissinger: I want to be absolutely sure there are no disagreements 
except the red line and the first paragraph. I’ve already ordered a plane 
from the U.S. I will have the Israelis put the new lines on a map. I'll 
have Sisco come up here with the map. 

Asad: Taking into account the differences we discussed yesterday. 

Kissinger: No, the blue line will be adjusted so it is consistent with 
the overlay. 500 yards here. (in the Southern sector). 

Asad: These three. And here (in the north). 

Kissinger: Those three things will be changed in the blue line. 

Asad: Four things, as I remember. 

Kissinger: Yes, four things. Peter, will you write these down? (He 
and Asad point them out on the map.) The Kuneitra area. Rafid; five 
hundred yards. And two points to the south on the blue line. 

Sabbagh: Meters. 

Kissinger: So there is no misunderstanding, the ten-kilometer zone 
and the twenty-kilometer zone would be counted from this red line, I 
mean moved forward a bit. 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: Good. 

Asad: But explain it to them that it’s more than ten and more than 
twenty. 

Kissinger: Yes, but I don’t want to complicate it. Inow propose we 
take an hour recess. I’ll go over the documents with my colleagues. I 
will then come here with my colleagues. And I agree with you, there 
shouldn’t be much. But let’s just get every detail one hundred percent. 
(Asad nods yes.) Then I can go to the Israelis and say: “It’s all con- 
cluded; these are the documents, except for those two points.” I’ll send 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 331 


Sisco here. Then we can announce tomorrow that it’s agreed. Sisco un- 
fortunately won't have the authority to negotiate. It won't be necessary. 
Maybe Ill send him in the middle of the night. So he can reach me. 

Asad: It is better. 

Kissinger: You won’t shoot him down! 

Asad: We only need thirty minutes. 

Kissinger: Then I'll stay in Israel overnight. 

Asad: That is better. 

Kissinger: That way is best. 

Asad: Because after all this time and effort, it shouldn’t fail. It 
would be very bad. Very bad. 

Kissinger: I agree. Let me ask one more question. I’m trying to 
think of everything. Supposing there are hills there, in these two vil- 
lages. (Laughter) I’m just... 

Asad: I understand. 

Kissinger: Would the President authorize me, as a last resort, just 
as we did with the two hills behind Kuneitra, to give a personal letter to 
the Israelis that the Syrians will not station guns on top of these hills 
that will fire into Israeli civilians? 


Asad: Yes. Direct? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Asad: If there is a hill in front of a village, for instance? 

Kissinger: I mean from the top of hills you don’t shoot into the set- 
tlements. Direct. 

Sabbagh: Direct at populated areas. 

Kissinger: You can use artillery to shoot from behind. 

Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: No weapons that can shoot in a direct line at populated 
areas. 

Asad: Yes. 

Kissinger: All right. Now then... 

Asad: This is not necessary to be included in the American pro- 
posal to us in writing. 

Kissinger: No, no. I write it in a personal letter to the Israelis. “Pres- 
ident Asad has assured me ...” 

I have two other problems, then Ill take a recess. One, which may 
be embarrassing to the President, is the Gromyko problem. It would be 
easier in Israel if it were not presented in Israel as if Gromyko had any- 
thing to do with it. I don’t care; I really don’t care. If he could be de- 
layed until tomorrow, it would be easier. But I don’t want to embarrass 
the President. I won’t make an issue of it. 


332 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: He may be on his way. 

Kissinger: It takes only three hours. 

Asad: Now, it would be very embarrassing. It would even appear 
impolite. 

Kissinger: Then don’t do it. 

Asad: From the point of view of character. 

Kissinger: Character. What I want to avoid in America—again I’m 
speaking as a friend—is if the Israelis are able to make the Syrians ap- 
pear as a Soviet tool, the second phase will be more difficult. My 
strategy in America is to say that Syria is difficult, very proud, very in- 
dependent; it certainly takes Soviet weapons for its own purposes pur- 
suing its own policy; and we cooperate with Syria when Syrian and 
American interests coincide. And where Syrian and Soviet interests 
coincide, obviously they cooperate. But it’s not a matter of principle 
with the Syrians. 

Asad: This is my opinion too. 

Kissinger: That’s why I'd like not to have it appear as a concession 
to the Soviet Union. 

Asad: An American concession to the Soviet Union? 

Kissinger: What happens tonight. Whatever happens with Gro- 
myko, whatever is discussed, it would be better if it was related to the 
second phase. You will handle it. If the meetings could take place after 
Sisco is here, it would be better. 

Asad: After Sisco is come and gone. 

Kissinger: I’ll make him come tonight. 

Asad: Sisco must come tonight. If he comes in the morning, what 
time can he come? 

Kissinger: There is a one-hour difference. It may take a little time to 
prepare the maps. 

Asad: If he can’t come tonight and if he can only come in the 
morning, I’d rather he arrive at our airport at 7:30 so he arrives here at 
8:00. 

Sabbagh: The President will receive him at 8:00. 

Kissinger: The trouble is he’d have to leave Jerusalem at 5:30. I’ll 
send him as soon as humanly possible. 

Asad: I'll be receiving Gromyko after 10:00 in the morning. If you 
could make it as early as possible. 

Kissinger: If you make it at 11:00, I’ll make sure he has come and 
gone. 

Asad: There is no hiding Dr. Kissinger’s intense efforts. Every day 
I’m following your news anyway. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 333 


Kissinger: It’s a stupid publicity problem. I’m not worried. Anyone 
who knows the reality ... 

Asad: Even babies. 

Kissinger: Babies? 

Asad: You're a household name. 

Sabbagh: I swear, a friend of mine was telling me, there is a certain 
sour plum here. His daughter said, get me a couple of Dr. Kissinger’s. 
(Laughter) 

Asad: This whole business goes beyond this. 

Kissinger: Mr. Scotes has a favorite taxi driver who calls me a 
prophet, wonderworker. You should introduce him to our press. 

Asad: Because these piddly little things won’t have any effect. 

Kissinger: One other question. When we restore diplomatic rela- 
tions—whenever that is, one month from now, two months—I want the 
President’s judgment about the choice of Ambassador. My problem is, I 
could appoint a more senior person, a better known person, or I could 
appoint Scotes who is a more junior person but is known here. It is not 
usual to ask the President of another country whom to appoint, but I 
wanted our relations to be good. 

Asad: Number one, the person should have your confidence. 
Number two, such a person should be objective. In other words, if he’s 
not with us, he shouldn’t be against us. He shouldn’t be pro-Israel. If he 
arrives and his emotions are against us from the start, he won’t work 
for an improvement in our relations, and his information will be dif- 
ferent from the facts. These are my two qualifications. 

Kissinger: How does Scotes fit this? 

Asad: Scotes has been in touch with Mr. Elias, with my secretary, 
with General Shihabi, and with the Foreign Minister, and of course he 
may be competent. 

Kissinger: I will repeat nothing that is said here. I’d like a person 
who has the confidence of the President. It will certainly be somebody 
who has my full confidence, because we’ll have very sensitive things to 
discuss. 

Asad: Yes. 


Kissinger: And it will certainly be somebody who, while repre- 
senting the American point of view, will be sympathetic to the policy 
I’ve outlined. 

Asad: That will be better. I only saw Scotes once before yesterday. 
The impression I got is good. It is good. 

Kissinger: I will review all the candidates. If I conclude that he, 
while junior, is really the best man, you will not consider that an of- 
fense to the President? 


334 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Asad: No. 

Kissinger: I may send somebody else. 

Asad: It doesn’t really matter to us. 

Kissinger: I don’t have to exclude Scotes from consideration, in the 
President’s judgment. 

Asad: Yes. He gave me the impression he is good. 

Kissinger: I can’t judge his personal relations, but he writes bril- 
liant reports about Syria. Seriously. The best reports of any Ambas- 
sador in an Arab country. Why? Every Ambassador sends reports on 
what he’s told. But he sends me reports every two days—every day 
when I’m here—about the mood in Damascus: When Arabs say some- 
thing, what they mean. He did one once—I'll show it to you some- 
time—about, when Arabs use a mediator, what they expect of him. It 
proved to be true. 

Asad: He’d be the Ambassador. 

Kissinger: He’d be called Ambassador. We’d promote him fast. 
There may be a delay because of regulations, but... 

Asad: The one we're sending, do you have any requirements? 

Kissinger: I want someone who has the President’s personal confi- 
dence. I thought yesterday that you would want to send somebody 
anyway for a general exchange. He will see all the exchanges with the 
Soviets and the Egyptians during the October 6 war. Because we will 
deal with you honestly. You won't like everything we said. But you 
knew our strategy. 

Why don’t we meet in one hour? Then we plan to arrive in Israel at 
6:00. 

The President understands I haven’t any idea Israel will accept 
this. 

Asad: I know. I know. 

Kissinger: I don’t want to mislead him. 

Asad: I know. But the statement about the fedayeen we issued, I 
trust Dr. Kissinger has seen it. 

Kissinger: Yes. It wasn’t bad. You had no choice. 

(The meeting broke at 1:15 p.m.) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 335 


76. Memorandum of Conversation‘ 


Jerusalem, May 28, 1974, 12:40-2:30 a.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mrs. Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 

Yitzhak Rabin, Minister of Labor and Prime Minister-Designate 
Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister 

Abba Eban, Minister of Foreign Affairs 

Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Shimon Peres, Minister of Information 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the United States 

Mordechai Gazit, Director, Prime Minister’s Office 

Lt. General Mordechai Gur, Army Chief of Staff 

Avraham Kidron, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Col. Aryeh Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 

Eli Mizrachi, Assistant Director, Prime Minister’s Office 

Col. Dov Sion 

Lt. General David Leor, Military Assistant to the Prime Minister 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Amb. Kenneth B. Keating, U.S. Ambassador to Israel 

Mr. Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Amb. Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large and Chief U.S. Delegate to 
Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East 

Amb. Robert J. McCloskey, Ambassador at Large 

Mr. Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and 
South Asian Affairs 

Mr. Carlyle E. Maw, Legal Adviser 

Mr. Harold H. Saunders, NSC Senior Staff 

Amb. Robert Anderson, Special Assistant to Secretary for Press Relations 

Mr. Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


Secretary Kissinger: The best thing to do is to give you a report 
chronologically, and what the issues are as they now present 
themselves. 


1Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, 
Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 10. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the Prime 
Minister’s office and took place on May 28, not May 27-28 as indicated on the original. 
Brackets are in the original. Meir and members of the Israeli negotiating team also met 
with Kissinger on May 28 from 2 until 4 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s office after the Israeli 
Cabinet met and agreed to the text of the agreement with the same minor modifications. 
However, the Israeli cabinet wanted Kissinger to get an assurance from Asad that Syria 
would not allow paramilitary groups to operate in Syrian territory and attack Israel. Kiss- 
inger agreed to raise the issue with Asad that evening. (Memorandum of conversation; 
ibid.) 


336 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


First, last evening I spent about 5% hours altogether with him, 
until about 3:00 in the morning.’ It concerned mostly the Palestinians 
and the lines and the thinning out. On thinning out—you can’t really 
say “no problem” because that doesn’t exist—but it went roughly along 
the lines we had discussed. 

Then we went into the blue line, and he found four discrepancies 
in your blue line, from the overlay. I told them there was no cheating, 
and we both had the same overlay. They just put the overlay over your 
map and it does show some slight discrepancies. Also it doesn’t show 
those 500 yards in the Rafid area. That’s one of the four. The other three 
are just discrepancies produced by the overlay. 

Then, on the red line. That produced a horrendous argument. It 
just wouldn’t stop. He called in his military commanders and they 
went over the red line and wouldn't stop either. They seemed to be ar- 
guing with Asad. The basic problem is how can they publish in their 
newspapers something that has a demilitarized zone in Syrian 
territory. 

Then, the two villages: How could those two villages be forward of 
the red line. 

Then there was an hour’s brawl] about the Palestinians, and he ar- 
gued that it was impossible to say anything about the Palestinians. He 
asked to see me alone, and the others went off with Khaddam to draft 
the basic documents. I spent two and one half hours with him alone, all 
designed to get me to sign a private statement that I supported the 1967 
borders and the legitimate rights of the Palestinians. I went into a stall 
and explained why the most we could do was a statement of support 
for Resolution 338—I didn’t mention 242. By that time it was three 
o’clock in the morning. I met my colleagues who had had a session with 
Khaddam, who were hung up on every point. There was no issue they 
weren’t hung up on. 

So we decided among ourselves that it was finished. We left it at 
night that we would meet again with Asad at 9:30 a. m. I was so certain 
we were finished that I told you we could meet at noon. 

He called and said he wanted to meet alone. He explained he had a 
domestic situation as you did. He had told his military commanders 
he’d get the salient back. It was impossible for them to say anything 
about the Palestinians. He said this with some eloquence and some 
emotion. He said he really wanted an agreement.° 


2 See Document 74. 
3 See Document 75. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 337 


So we started drafting—it’s my best weapon—my departure state- 
ment. It was more or less agreed. We were discussing the President’s 
visit. 

Then he said if we really both make an extra effort, could anything 
be done about the red line? I said I didn’t think so. I didn’t give him that 
extra kilometer, because I didn’t think it would make any difference. 

I did mention, at night, the idea—as my idea—of measuring the 
distances from the blue line. He said it would help, but not enough. 


On the Palestinians, he said he had kept the front quiet in the past 
and this wasn’t his method of fighting. He couldn’t do it in a statement. 
I said that after Ma’alot no American could say anything to the Israelis 
about terrorism. I said the only thing we could do is leave out the refer- 
ences to “hostile” in the first paragraph, and make a U.S. statement— 
publicly, not secret—that Israel has a right to take measures against ter- 
rorists. And we would support it politically, and by other means. I told 
him, “We don’t have to say you agree to it, but just don’t agitate about 
it; 

I’m getting the actual protocol typed up so you can see it. 

He said he wouldn’t agitate against it. If on the day the agreement 
is announced, if we could permit the Israeli Government to state the 
U.S. interpretation of it. I’m not recommending it to you. He only ex- 
pects me to present it. He said he’d accept this. 

He said, “Our basic decision is whether we want to go to war or 
not. If we do, none of this is going to make any difference.” 

I said I wanted to consult my colleagues for a half hour. I said, 
“You tell me what you must have. Then I want to finish the documents. 
Then I will take the documents to the Israelis, whatever state they’re in. 
Tomorrow I will send Sisco, with no authority, with an Israeli answer. 
If the Israelis agree, we have an agreement. If the Israelis don’t agree, 
we don’t have an agreement. So we should spend the afternoon fin- 
ishing the documents so we know what Syria will do—not what it 
might do—and is prepared to sign provided these various adjustments 
are made.” He agreed to this procedure. 

His first proposal was to split the difference between the October 6 
line and the present red line in the part north of those two bulges. 
Knowing I had your agreement to that one kilometer, I said I didn’t 
think it was doable. I said some movement west and some “sausages” 
that would include these two villages. And he would agree I could give 
you a letter of assurance of his—if the villages were on the hilltops— 
that no weapons would be there that could fire on a direct line on the 
settlements, on populated areas. I would get as much movement as 
possible, plus two fingers to include these two villages. 


We then went through the documents. On the basic agreement ... 
You would have to read it. I don’t think there is a problem, except the 


338 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


first paragraph which doesn’t include “paramilitary.” But it would go 
with a public—not secret—assurance. It’s basically the agreement 
we've been working on. 


There are a few points left open. They would like to shorten the 
time of withdrawal, but they left it to me to put in the figure I thought. 
If you could shave a day or two, it would be good psychology. But Sisco 
will take it. 

He didn’t want to phrase the release of prisoners as if disengage- 
ment was conditional on release of prisoners. We found this formula: 
“The prisoners will be released the morning after the conclusion of the 
work of the Working Group.” It’s actually less than twenty-four hours. 
And twenty-four hours after the conclusion of work of the Working 
Group, disengagement begins. It was 48 hours. We said the major 
reason for 48 and 24 was so disengagement began afterwards. And he 
proposed this. 

Mrs. Meir: All of them? 

Secretary Kissinger: The wounded will be released 24 hours after 
the signing. If it works out, the signing will be by the 30th. Then by 
Friday afternoon,’ the wounded are released. All the remaining pris- 
oners, including the three captured during subsequent events, would 
be released the moming after signature of the Working Group 
agreement. 

Mrs. Meir: Including the Lebanese? 

Secretary Kissinger: The Lebanese we have to do separately. I 
didn’t want him to raise again all the Palestinians imprisoned here. He 
had said he’d give us a list and hasn’t done it yet. 

On the Working Group agreement, he wants five days, and will 
settle for seven. I told him it’s up to him to speed it up. From what I’ve 
seen, it will take seven months. 

Otherwise, I think there are only drafting problems. 

Incidentally, they’re very sensitive about the word “initialing”. 
Can you avoid saying that on the radio? Can we say “agreement has 
been reached?” They want, I think, to avoid saying they signed some- 
thing in the capitals. But they’re perfectly happy to say an agreement 
was reached and will be signed. They’re perfectly happy to initial it. 

On the United Nations, they agree to a United Nations Disengage- 
ment Observer Force. 

Mr. Sisco: You remember they had objected to the word “Force;” 
but they accepted it. 

Mts. Meir: Did they agree to the terms of reference? 


4 May 31. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 339 


Mr. Sisco: I think you'll find ... 

Mrs. Meir: Now we have UNEF, UNTSO, and UNDOF. 

Secretary Kissinger: They wanted to add something about that 
UNDOF couldn’t operate in the towns and villages, which took an hour 
and a half to get rid of. They did agree to mobile ... 

Mr. Allon: And the right to defend themselves? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. They agree to 1250. 

Ambassador Dinitz: The 50 is for your father! 

Secretary Kissinger: Wise guys. I wanted to get 1286, so you would 
go into a frenzy trying to figure out how I arrived at it. 

The UN mandate—there are no policy problems. We'll leave them 
with you. If there are any policy problems... 

Now we come to the most difficult one, limitation of forces. 

They agree to have it as a U.S. Proposal. 

Incidentally, their treatment of Gromyko was unbelievable. Unbe- 
lievable. He was supposed to come at 1:00. Then Asad at midnight 
switched it to 10:00, on the theory that I would be out by then. I told 
him I didn’t want the Soviet plane photographed with my plane. And I 
didn’t want anything to do with him. So they had the Deputy Foreign 
Minister meet him, and towed his plane way out. And kept him there 
until my motorcade went. And said Asad won’t see him until Joe has 
left. 

Mts. Meir: TASS says he’s going at the request of Asad. 

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t know what'’s true. But he’s said Gro- 
myko asked. 

On the military provisions, we have no problem. They’re very 
good. On the ten-kilometer zone it’s precisely described, and will be in- 
spected by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. One 
thing I said—if there is any monkeying with the red line, then the 
twenty kilometers could not be counted from the October 6 line but ev- 
erything had to be counted from the red line. And that is now in the 
agreement. Both the ten- and twenty-kilometer zones are counted from 
the red line in the agreement. The twenty-kilometer zone is accurately 
described and there will be no 162 mm. artillery, no SAMs, and so on. 
This is what we agreed to. 

They agreed to put into writing that the United States can do aerial 
inspection of the provisions of the agreement. 

Where we get into massive problems—and what cost me three 
hours—were the civilians on Mount Hermon and the police in the de- 
militarized zone. They say they cannot accept anything that implies 
they don’t have jurisdiction over their civilians. 

Mrs. Meir: Civilians on Mount Hermon? 


340 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: Anything that puts restrictions on what the ci- 
vilians will do. The maximum they’re willing to say on Mount Hermon 
is, first, that the UNDOF takes over the Mount Hermon area, and no 
military observation of any kind can be conducted there, and the UN 
can inspect it. I said what about a shepherd? He said, if the UN thinks 
he’s engaged in observation, it’s prohibited. 

On the number of police—on the assumption that this document, 
although secret, will become public—they don’t want restrictions on ci- 
vilian authority. They’re willing to say “no police except comparable to 
those in comparable cities and towns in Syria.” They won’t put in the 
number, but they would give me a number for six months, after which 
if there are more civilians in Kuneitra, it may have to be adjusted. They 
said I should give them a number. 

So there are four policy issues I can identify ... 

Minister Dayan: Did they accept the character of vehicles? 

Secretary Kissinger: No armored cars. Not in writing. 

You have no idea how long it took to do all of this. 

Minister Dayan: What do you mean we have no idea? It’s 1:30. 
[Laughter] We all have watches. 

Secretary Kissinger: There are four issues: On “paramilitary,” the 
American public assurance released on the day of the agreement can 
substitute. Second, what can be done about the red line. 

Mrs. Meir: What can be done about the red line after the one 
kilometer? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. I will show you what he asked for, and 
what might conceivably work. In my view if he got one kilometer and 
sausages, that would work. 

Mrs. Meir: You offered him the one kilometer? 

Secretary Kissinger: No. I think the one kilometer and sausages ... 
He asked for half the distance, so I think a little more than one kilo- 
meter. We should calibrate what can carry it, and I’d give you my best 
judgment. 

Terrorism, the red line, Mount Hermon, and police. 

Mrs. Meir: What does he want with civilians on Mount Hermon? 

Secretary Kissinger: He doesn’t want civilians on Mount Hermon; 
he doesn’t want to say the United Nations is the only and exclusive 
presence on Mount Hermon. That would take Mount Hermon away 
from Syria. He said, “what is it that worries the Israelis?” I said, “obser- 
vation from there.” So he said there will be no military observation and 
the UN can inspect. 

So where we are is this: What will gain acceptance is these docu- 
ments and whatever we can work out. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 341 


Mts. Meir: Is the language on “first step” the same as in the Egyp- 
tian agreement? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

Minister Eban: Except the “Geneva Conference.” 

Secretary Kissinger: I didn’t think we needed that. 

Minister Eban: It’s their business to ask for it. 

Secretary Kissinger: My view is it’s Gromyko’s strategy to go back 
to Geneva, to raise the Palestinian issue, to raise the most comprehen- 
sive issues. My strategy—of course with your agreement, which we 
should discuss—is to turn Geneva into a talkfest. 

The UN charter and the basic agreement—you make the judgment 
on “paramilitary”—are in my judgment signable. 

We have to discuss the red line. 

Minister Dayan: Why did they agree for Kuneitra to be in the de- 
militarized zone, but in two villages, to have forces there? What is the 
reasoning? 

Secretary Kissinger: The first is, Kuneitra is a new acquisition and 
that he can explain. The other two villages, he says: It is one thing to 
lose control from 1967 on, everyone is used to it. Now when the people 
look at the map, they'll say he’s given up more territory. He wants 
some military there. “Sausages” is his word. 

Mrs. Meir: What is his concept of military forces in the villages? 

Secretary Kissinger: They would be under the 6,000-man ceiling. 
He did agree not to station weapons in these villages that have a direct 
line to your settlements. 

Mrs. Meir: Are they on the hills? 

General Gur: Yes. The trouble is they’re both very close to our posi- 
tions. Eight hundred yards. Between these villages and our positions. 
That’s why I don’t think ... 

Secretary Kissinger: He says if you’re worried about observa- 
tion... 

General Gur: The observations he can do with civilians. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

[Gur shows on the map.]° 

General Gur: The last houses to the west are 800 yards from our 
positions. To make the sausage like that is very complicated. 

Secretary Kissinger: My own estimation is this: If we can straighten 
this a little bit and say this is it, he’ll take it. 

General Gur: That’s a political matter. 


5 The map is not attached, but a final status map is printed in Appendix B, map 2. 


342 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: I can’t go up there again, and Joe can't 
negotiate. 

Mr. Sisco: I’m glad. 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think it’s in our interest to get into an- 
other haggle. We should go up and say this is it. 

I’m assuming on the overlay there is no problem. 

He also asked for a 1:25,000 map. 

General Gur: We have one. 

Secretary Kissinger: We also need one of the old kind, but the offi- 
cial map will be 1:25,000. 

I think we should check the overlay now. I told them there was no 
attempt to cheat them. 

Mts. Meir: Especially since they caught on. 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think it’s a substantive point. We’re 
talking about 200 yards here and there. 

General Gur: In favor of whom? 

Secretary Kissinger: They say it’s all in your favor. Then there were 
the 500 yards. They’re haggling also for a few hundred meters also on 
the Mount Hermon red line, saying you’d drawn it where they already 
are. 

Mrs. Meir: Mr. Sisco tomorrow can go to Mount Hermon. 

Mr. Sisco: She’s suggesting I go to Hermon. 

Mts. Meir: It’s beautiful. 

Secretary Kissinger: This is where we stand. If we change the red 
line, we can send Sisco up and show it to them. One kilometer here— 
that’s the minimum we can show them. 

Minister Dayan: It may be too late. If there is a question of interpre- 
tation of the agreement, can there be an agreement on who is author- 
ized to interpret the agreement? 

Mts. Meir: Interpretation of what? 

Minister Dayan: Any paragraph of the agreement. If there are dif- 
ferences of opinion, there used to be in the Armistice Agreements that 
the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission would do it. 

Secretary Kissinger: There is no provision in the Egyptian agree- 
ment. Seeing these people work, we have this choice. If there is a clause 
that’s manageable, we can risk it. 

My judgment is, if we can give them one of these sausages, the 
other might go. 

On the text of the agreement, I’d under no circumstances, unless it 
was overwhelmingly important, raise a new paragraph. And they 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 343 


would raise a new paragraph. And Joe can’t negotiate it, or shouldn’t 
negotiate it. And we’d go on forever. 

It seems to me the basic decision is to go ahead. 

Let me say, first of all: You’ve gone a long way. If you decide 
against it, no one on the American side will feel you were unreason- 
able, so that shouldn’t enter into it. What should enter into it is the basic 
merits of the consequences of an agreement against the consequences 
of no agreement, with a country whose basic reliability is uncertain but 
whose reliability is no more certain without the agreement. 

Minister Eban: What is the nature of the American undertaking on 
terrorism? 

Secretary Kissinger: The United States will declare that the first 
paragraph of the agreement gives Israel the right to take measures in 
self-defense against irregular attacks across the demarcation line, that if 
Israel takes such measures, the United States will support Israel. He 
asked me “militarily?” I said politically, but the U.S. will support Israel. 
And publicly, because you'll say it in the Knesset. If this is breached by 
the fedayeen and Israel retaliates, the United States would feel obliged 
to veto a resolution in the UN that condemns Israel. 

Minister Dayan: You mentioned before that your interpretation of 
the first clause would include also paramilitary. It’s your interpretation 
but not his. 

Secretary Kissinger: I would say we interpret the first paragraph to 
mean that it in no way precludes Israel’s right of self-defense against ir- 
regular attacks. 

Minister Dayan: But you don’t interpret it as binding the Syrians 
against letting terrorists across but you do interpret it as allowing Israel 
to fight it. It’s a cease-fire but ... 

Secretary Kissinger: I think it’s in our interest to do something that 
the Syrians will not do a rejoinder to. We have a promise that the 
Syrians will not rejoinder. 

Mr. Allon: Otherwise it allows the guerrillas to fight and us to 
fight. That we don’t want. 

Minister Eban: If self-defense is legitimate, the thing against which 
you defend yourself is illegitimate. 

Mts. Meir: There will be some reference to Article 1. 

Secretary Kissinger: What we have is what I read to you. 

Mr. Allon: This could be read as permission to the guerrillas. 

Ambassador Dinitz: You say you don’t consider the Israeli action a 
violation, but you don’t say you consider the Syrian action a violation 
of the ceasefire. 


344 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mrs. Meir: The reason we held your lunch up one hour on Sunday® 
was for Cabinet discussion of this. None of us can change this final po- 
sition of the Cabinet. So, tomorrow we will have a Cabinet meeting at 
9:00. 

Secretary Kissinger: Could it be earlier? 

Mrs. Meir: Eight-thirty. 

Minister Dayan: The question is not when it begins but when it 
ends! 

Secretary Kissinger: We have a concrete problem, which is that 
Asad promised not to see Gromyko until Sisco has been there—but that 
won't hold the whole day. 

[They discuss notifying the Cabinet members now of a change in 
the time of the meeting.] 

Secretary Kissinger: Should we reformulate the assurance now? So 
you'll have it. 

Mrs. Meir: Yes. 

Mr. Allon: I wonder if a few sentences excluded from the agree- 
ment could be in the American assurance? 

Secretary Kissinger: I agree it should be expressed positively. 

Minister Eban: There is no need to use euphemisms in the Amer- 
ican statement. 

Secretary Kissinger: We shouldn’t use “paramilitary” because that 
caused ... Can you say “raids by armed groups or individuals across 
the cease-fire line are violations, and Israeli action in self-defense .. .”? 

Minister Eban: The words “self-defense” are terribly important in 
our context. 

Secretary Kissinger: I told him that a private assurance was not 
enough. 

Mrs. Meir: We’ve committed ourselves to the Knesset. They 
wanted us to bring it before any signing. We refused, because under 
our law we have the right to negotiate. But between the initialing and 
signing, we committed ourself. Does he know this? 

Secretary Kissinger: He knows this. Your radio has said ... Can 
you do anything about the radio? 

Mrs. Meir: We can change the red line, the blue line, but not the 
radio. 

Minister Rabin: Not the radio line. 


6 May 26. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 345 


Secretary Kissinger: Can you stop discussing what the issues are? 
Radio Israel broadcast four times that I went there to discuss the fed- 
ayeen issue. This cost us one hour. 

Minister Peres: For twenty-four hours we can do something. 

Secretary Kissinger: They don’t insist on initialing. They’re willing 
to make an announcement tomorrow or Wednesday that agreement 
has been reached and will be signed. I told them you needed a day for 
the Knesset. 

Assuming we can get the red line accepted and get Sisco off, then 
tomorrow we can have an announcement. How long would the Cab- 
inet take? With Gromyko there. 

Mrs. Meir: I’ve cut people off. 

Secretary Kissinger: I suggest letting Sisco leave at noon at 
Ben-Gurion. That means not seeing Asad until 2:30, but that’s all we 
can do. 

Minister Dayan: The BBC says there will be 70,000 going back to 
Kuneitra. 

Secretary Kissinger: He says he wants 20-30,000 there but first he 
has to send people there to clear the rubble. Seventy-thousand looks 
very high to me. 

Minister Rabin: What is the number of policemen there? 

Secretary Kissinger: I have to give him a figure. When I said 75, 
they had a heart attack. 

Mr. Allon: A positive result anyway. 

Secretary Kissinger: They said they’d accept the same number you 
had in Tiberias. 

Minister Dayan: And the same class too. 

Mrs. Meir: Unless they sleep in the street, he can’t bring 25,000 
people into Kuneitra. 

Secretary Kissinger: He’s expected some figure other than 75. I 
don’t think 25 more or less, or 50 more or less, will determine the fate of 
this agreement. If he goes to war, he won’t do it with policemen. Please 
be a little generous, since he invited me to give the figure. 

I'll give Dinitz the American resolution. 

Ambassador Dinitz: We need the documents, the points. 

Secretary Kissinger: If you think these documents aren’t satisfac- 
tory, you can reject them. But these are the best that could be achieved. 
No one who hasn’t experienced it knows what it’s like. To the extent 
that the defects can be solved by American assurances, assume they can 
be done. 

Minister Dayan: The definition of what they want on Mount 
Hermon. 


346 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: “No military observation of any kind will be 
permitted.” “Of any kind.” 


Mr. Allon: And the UN will determine. 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

Minister Dayan: What is demilitarization? 

Mr. Sisco: There is a sentence, that also refers to Mount Hermon. 


Secretary Kissinger: “The area of separation between line A and 
line B will be demilitarized.” Then there is a separate paragraph which 
reads, “The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force will take 
over the positions in the Mount Hermon area. No military observa- 
tion ...” 


Minister Dayan: Observation and personnel. 


Secretary Kissinger: No observation of any kind, not just military 
personnel. They wanted “no military observation posts.” We rejected 
that. It doesn’t say by whom. It’s the best we could get. On Mount 
Hermon their normal frenzy is heightened. 


May I suggest my feel for what they want on the red line. 
[They get up and look at the maps.] 


Since he made a number of these points in front of his military 
commanders, whether he wins or loses has some significance. 


If you can shave anything here, two hundred yards. 


He claims his forces are 300 yards from the peak; that you're 
cheating him, and he says to write into the agreement that the UN will 
determine the red line by military positions. I didn’t accept that be- 
cause it would start the damnedest brawl on top of Mount Hermon. 


Mts. Meir: It’s a dangerous place! 

Secretary Kissinger: Shave a few hundred yards here. 

Mrs. Meir: Did you ever see the 1947 map with the kissing points? 

Secretary Kissinger: Yes. 

Mrs. Meir: Three people were killed there yesterday. 

Secretary Kissinger: It will certainly stop with the signing. 

I can send a message. But I’m not going there again. 

Mrs. Meir: But it is possible that the Cabinet will not accept the 
sausage. 

Mr. Allon: It’s not Kosher. 

Secretary Kissinger: Then it may fail. 

Mrs. Meir: But can I say to the Cabinet—what drives people mad 
is, we are on the way to Geneva, and with the shooting going on. 

Mr. Allon: While debating in the Cabinet, with the shooting going 
on. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 347 


Secretary Kissinger: Please give Sisco a minimum of messages. I 
believe it will probably be agreeable. I didn’t mention it today. I’ll have 
Sisco mention it tomorrow. It is a reasonable proposal. 

Mr. Gazit: It’s what the Egyptians did. 

Secretary Kissinger: That’s the worst possible argument. 

Minister Peres: In the American declaration, will it say “military 
and paramilitary?” 

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think we should use the word 
“paramilitary.” 

Minister Eban: I think “paramilitary” is bad. 

Minister Peres: What do you have? 

Secretary Kissinger: “Crossing by armed groups or individuals . ..” 

Minister Peres: Yes. 

Secretary Kissinger: I think that is the way it should be phrased. It 
shouldn’t mention fedayeen or paramilitary. Use Aubrey’s phrase. 

Minister Eban: “Crossing by armed groups or individuals.” 
“Crossings and armed attacks.” 

Secretary Kissinger: “Armed attacks across the demarcation line 
by groups or individuals.” For whatever it’s worth, this one kilometer 
will not do it on the red line. A little more than that one kilometer, and 
if at all possible, a very thin sausage. 

[Sisco and Kissinger show the overlay and blue line to Gur.] 

Secretary Kissinger: On their map it didn’t touch the old blue line. 

General Gur: They’re right. 

Secretary Kissinger: What should we say to the press? At Da- 
mascus I said President Asad and I discussed all aspects of disengage- 
ment and I would send Sisco back to Damascus. 

Minister Rabin: You didn’t say the specific issues. 

Secretary Kissinger: On the plane, on background, I did say that 
the thinning out and the UN are essentially settled—which is true—but 
I gave no figures. 

Minister Peres: That is a problem, because they'll speculate. 

Minister Rabin: Let them speculate. 

Mrs. Meir: The Secretary brought us considerations from Da- 
mascus, the Cabinet will meet tomorrow for a final decision, and we 
will give you an answer. 

Secretary Kissinger: I did say that some drafts exist with disagreed 
points. 

Minister Peres: That is a problem. Because our press will speculate 
on the Palestinian issue. Here we must deviate. 


348 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Secretary Kissinger: Can’t you have your press shut up about the 
Palestinian issue for 24 hours? 


Minister Peres: I can try and ask them to not speculate about the 
Palestinian issue. 


[The meeting then ended.] 


77. Memorandum of Conversation! 


Damascus, May 28, 1974, 8:15 p.m.—midnight. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Hafiz al-Asad, President of Syria 

‘Abd al-Halim Khaddam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs 
General Mustafa Tlas, Minister of Defense 

General Najd Tamil, Air Force Chief of Staff 

Brigadier Hikmat Shihabi, Chief of Army Intelligence 

Press Adviser Elias 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South 
Asian Affairs 

Harold H. Saunders, NSC Senior Staff 

Robert Anderson, Special Assistant to the Secretary for Press Relations 

Isa Sabbagh, Interpreter 

Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff 


[The Secretary and President Asad conferred alone from 
8:15-10:50 p.m. At this point, the larger group was admitted and 
introduced.] 

Kissinger: Our two Syrian friends, while Gromyko was here,” were 
waiting for the love call of the Siberian woodbird. They have never 
heard it. 

Asad: He only sings it in your presence. [Laughter] 

Kissinger: Wait for his departure statement! [Laughter] 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 194, Geo- 
political File; Middle East, Peace Negotiations, Israeli-Syrian Relations, Negotiation 
Books, Volume III, March—May 1974. The meeting was held at the Presidential Palace in 
Damascus. Brackets are in the original. 


? Gromyko arrived in Damascus on May 27. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 349 


Khaddam: They have a draft joint Syrian-Soviet communiqué all 
ready. It will have to depend: I have waited to see how this goes before 
I decide what it will be. 

Kissinger: Are you trying to blackmail me? 

Asad: Not at all. [Laughter] 

Kissinger: Does it mention imperialism? 

Khaddam: Imperialism, Zionism, and reaction. [Laughter] 

Kissinger: What do you do when Saqqaf comes here? 

Khaddam: The one who attacks imperialism and reactionaries the 
most at meetings is Saqgaf! [Laughter] I will show you the memcons. 

Kissinger: I thought the Foreign Minister has an all-purpose com- 
muniqué, and he just fills in the blanks. 

Asad: The question of prisoners remains. They haven’t sent a com- 
plete list of prisoners. 

Kissinger: I’ll take care of that tonight. 

Asad: Including the PLA. 

Kissinger: I’ll talk to them tonight. 

Asad: And about those in the Israeli jails? There are four or five. 

Kissinger: You were going to give me a list. 

[Asad summons an aide.] 

I’m getting worried about getting back to Israel. 

Asad: We can sit down. I’m worried about your lover Gromyko. 

Kissinger: We'll depart the airport in an hour and fifteen minutes. 
[Sisco goes out to make these arrangements.] I need an hour or two in 
Israel. I’ll just skip Gromyko. I don’t have the time. 

[The group goes in to dinner. They are joined at dinner by Minister 
of Defense Mustafa Tlas, Air Force Chief of Staff Najd Tamil, Press Ad- 
viser Elias, and Chief of Army Intelligence Brigadier Hikmat Shihabi.] 

Kissinger: The Foreign Minister planned this dinner so I would 
miss Gromyko. 

Asad: There is a phenomenon today that warrants attention—that 
Dr. Kissinger didn’t want Mr. Sisco to come here alone! 

Kissinger: I wasn’t afraid he’d fail—I was afraid he’d succeed. 
[Laughter] 

Asad: We’re witnessing an historic fact. Sisco is born for achieve- 
ment. Perhaps if you would let him, he would do great things. 

Kissinger: It’s an epic poem. [Laughter] He got it from the Defense 
Minister. As long as this group lives, it will know it has done something 
that has not been done in 6,000 years of recorded history: There has 
never been an organization called UNDOF. [Laughter] 


Asad: These were my sentiments yesterday. 


350 = Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Kissinger: I’ve never heard the Defense Minister’s poetry. 

Shihabi: I have; the difference in comprehension is the same. 
[Laughter] 

Sisco: The Israeli Chief of Staff writes children’s books. 

Tlas: He’s planting in the minds of children hatred of the Arabs. 

Asad: They are not military? 

Shihabi: I have read it. 

Kissinger: I have not. General Tlas recites his own, or others’ 
poetry? 

Asad: He knows very much poetry. But he’s the author of a book 
on guerrilla warfare. The trouble is the fedayeen are attempting to 
apply his book. [Laughter] 

Kissinger: On the Lebanese front. 

Khaddam: The Israelis in 1969 in a raid in southern Lebanon cap- 
tured 50 copies of General Tlas’s book. They said they’d captured Gen- 
eral Tlas! They’d captured only his book. [Laughter] This reveals their 
evil intentions! We should have his name on our list of prisoners they 
hold. 

Sisco: The press says you and Gromyko met last night at the 
airport. 

Khaddam: How often have you met him? 

Kissinger: Five to six times a year. I make jokes about him but he is 
very able. 

Tlas: There is a story about a Khalif whose court poets were 
sticklers for meter and dividing up meter precisely. That’s why Dr. 
Kissinger wanted the poem in the agreement! 

[The Defense Minister then recited a nonsense poem in Arabic 
which Isa Sabbagh insisted was impossible to translate.] 

Sisco: It sounds like the chirping of birds. 

Kissinger: Then Khaddam should recite it to Gromyko. [Laughter] 

[At 11:45 the group reconvenes in the meeting room and Asad 
shows the map to his generals. The Army Chief of Staff Shakkour, and 
other generals come in. The generals take a copy of the map across the 
room to another table and study it. Secretary Kissinger, President Asad, 
Minister Khaddam and Under Secretary Sisco confer on the procedural 
details. ] 

[The President and Secretary Kissinger then agreed on the text of 
the following announcement: 

“The discussions conducted by U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry 
A. Kissinger with the Syrians and the Israelis have led to an agreement 
on the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces. The agreement will 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 351 


be signed in the Egyptian-Israeli Military Working Group of the Ge- 
neva Conference on Friday, May 31, 1974 in Geneva.” ] 

[They agreed it would be released at 7:00 p.m. Damascus time, 6:00 
p-m. Jerusalem time, and at 12:00 noon Washington time.] 

[President Asad gives Secretary Kissinger the names of the PLA 
prisoners held in Israel.] 

Kissinger: I will raise it as a personal question. 

Asad: Some time ago we released the people who had been in jail 
accused of cooperating with the Israelis. Those are some accused of co- 
operation with us. They are a mixture of Syrians and Druzes. 

Kissinger: I will raise it with them. 

The announcement of the fact of the agreement will be made to- 
morrow in Washington, and you can pick it up. [Asad nods yes.] 

If there is no way of stopping publication, then the agreement, the 
protocol, and the map will be public at 8:00 a.m. Thursday Damascus 
time. The U.S. proposal will not be published. 

Asad: No, it will not. 

Kissinger: It will remain secret. 

Asad: It will not even be referred to. 

Kissinger: I will send you tomorrow the map. 

Asad: 1/25000. 

Kissinger: Yes, late in the afternoon, and one of the letters, broken 
down into two. I'll say “These are the letters, and we will get you the 
original.” And if there are any questions about the other, send it back 
and we will rewrite it. It will be done in a way that strengthens our 
relations. 

And there is a good chance the President will be coming here and 
that will be a good time to discuss it. It may be the best time to give it to 
you. 

Asad: When will it be? 

Kissinger: In about two weeks. 

I have to get back to Israel. I may not be able to convince them. 
There is one consideration we discussed. But Iam hopeful. The texts we 
don’t have to worry about. 

I’d better see Gromyko for ten minutes. I’ll meet the Foreign Min- 
ister at the Guest House afterwards. Or I'll sing out a love call. 
[Laughter] 

[The Secretary and Mr. Sisco thereupon departed for a courtesy 
call on Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko.] 


352 ‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


78. Memorandum of Conversation!‘ 


Jerusalem, May 29, 1974, 2:45-3:45 a.m. 


PARTICIPANTS 


Mrs. Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 

Yitzhak Rabin, Minister of Labor and Prime-Minister-designate 
Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister 

Abba Eban, Minister of Foreign Affairs 

Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defense 

Shimon Peres, Minister of Information 

Simcha Dinitz, Ambassador to the United States 

Mordechai Gazit, Director, Prime Minister’s Office 

Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur, Army Chief of Staff 

Avraham Kidron, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Ephraim Evron, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Col. Aryeh Bar-On, Aide to Dayan 

Eli Mizrachi, Assistant Director, Prime Minister’s Office 

Col. Dov Sion 

Lt. Gen. David Leor, Military Assistant to the Prime Minister 


Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs 

Ambassador Kenneth B. Keating, U.S. Ambassador to Israel 

Mr. Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 

Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador at Large and Chief U.S. Delegate to 
Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East 

Ambassador Robert J. McCloskey, Ambassador at Large 

Mr. Carlyle E. Maw, Legal Adviser 

Mr. Harold H. Saunders, National Security Council Senior Staff 

Ambassador Robert Anderson, Special Assistant to the Secretary for Press 
Relations 

Mr. Peter W. Rodman, National Security Council Staff 


Kissinger: Let me report on my meeting with Asad.” It took 4% 
hours. I won’t go into all the issues but just the central issues. 


There was an endless discussion about the red line. He took violent 
exception to the fact what he said about foreign troops appeared in 
Ha’aretz and the Arabic service of Kol Yisrael.* He said it was impos- 
sible to have confidence in Israel. 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, 
Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 10. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the Prime 
Minister’s office in Jerusalem, and took place on May 29, not May 28-29 as indicated on 
the original. Brackets are in the original. Kissinger met with Meir right before this 
meeting from 2:10 until 2:45 a.m. at the Prime Minister’s office. (Memorandum of conver- 
sation; ibid.) 

? See Document 77. 

3 Ha‘aretz is an Israeli daily newspaper and Kol Yisrael is an Israeli public radio 
service. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 353 


Let me talk about the fedayeen. I told him, first, ... frankly, I went 
there in order to be able to construct a letter to you saying that I told 
him what Israel’s concerns were and that he understood them. I told 
the Prime Minister before I went what I thought was attainable. 


I told him first what I was going to say publicly: If there are attacks 
across the line, the ceasefire can’t survive. If the line turns into a fed- 
ayeen front, I, as the one who took the responsibility for getting Israel 
this far, couldn’t ask them to take the last step unless I knew what his 
intentions were. 

I talked to him only with my interpreter; there was no one else 
there. I asked my interpreter to write down the essence of the conversa- 
tion as he understood it, and I made some notes as he was talking. And 
I also told him I couldn’t allow 25,000 civilians returning to Kuneitra 
and then have it turn into a fedayeen base. 

First, he made a long explanation of why the question of the Pales- 
tinians is a particular problem for Syria. First, as a people without a 
country, without identity, without support from the world commu- 
nity—Damascus as the center of Arab nationalism couldn’t dissociate 
itself publicly from them. 

“There is a feeling of despair among them which leads to certain 
radical actions, some of which can be tempered by moderate elements 
with whom Syria is in contact.” I said I had to repeat again that it was 
not consistent with the cease-fire. He said, “We have committed our- 
selves to the cease-fire; we will be extremely careful about border areas. 
Specifically, there will be no firing across the lines by anyone. There is 
no possibility for organized armed bands to cross into Israel. No fed- 
ayeen can be stationed in the front areas. We can’t guarantee against in- 
dividuals sneaking through, but we can insure they won’t start from 
the border areas.” He said these are assurances he gives me. 

This is from my interpreter’s notes. I checked it with my own 
notes, that said the same thing. “Crossing won’t happen.” “Groups will 
not cross.” “Individuals might cross—they are harder to stop.” 

Mts. Meir: I understand you told him you'd convey it to us. 


Kissinger: Yes, but he cannot. This is what he tells me. If it becomes 
public, it will be very difficult. 


Allon: This is going to be in a letter from Asad to you. This is part 
of the protocol. 

Kissinger: No. That’s all it is. 

Allon: It was an oral conversation of which minutes were taken? 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Mrs. Meir: That you'll convey to us, in addition to a public 
statement. 

[Silence] 


354 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mrs. Meir: Israelis don’t talk? 

Allon: A change! 

Eban: That is obviously the maximum we’re going to get on this 
issue, and we’re going to meet and decide tomorrow. 

[Silence] 

Kissinger: The thing I find amazing is yesterday I was asked to 
bring back a paper saying I told him and he understood it.* Now I bring 
back that he spells it out in great detail and more than I ever expected. 

Peres: You asked us to keep quiet, and we have. [Laughter] 

Keating [to Peres]: You did very skillfully avoiding the details on 
TV. 

Peres: That’s my profession. 

Allon: Of course, when one compares this to what we were given 
yesterday, there is progress. The only problem is, if eventually—as is 
bound to happen—this sort of thing leaks out, he will deny it. This is an 
open security. 

Kissinger: I would have thought if a responsible Israeli cared about 
substance rather than publicity, he’d keep it secret. Unless it’s violated, 
which is a different problem. 

I was told this agreement was legitimizing terrorism—the stranger 
it seemed as I thought about it. You won't take this position; you'll have 
an American public statement; and third, you have these assurances in 
infinitely more detail than expected. 

Dayan: Can we get a letter from you that you have reason to be- 
lieve the Syrians so and so? The Syrian understanding of the cease-fire 
has no crossing, etc. 

Kissinger: I’m prepared to put what I have here in a letter to the 
Prime Minister, and to add that if there is a violation, the U.S. would 
feel an obligation to call it to account. But as a secret letter. 

Dayan: The Prime Minister will be asked what is the Syrian atti- 
tude. Can she say in public she has reason to believe Syrians under- 
stand the cease-fire means no crossing? 

Kissinger: They’ve promised not to rebut my public statement. 
They’re very sensitive to seem to have colluded with you against the 
Palestinians. 

If you can omit the Syrians. Say “assurances” as if it is additional 
American assurances. 

Mrs. Meir: I will say in rebuttal to Begin and Sharon that it is incon- 
ceivable the U.S. will say this to us without having reason to believe it. 


4 See Document 76. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 355 


Kissinger: You can say it’s inconceivable they would say these to 
us without saying this to others as well. Because it’s a public statement. 
You can say there are assurances as long as you don’t mention Syria. 


Dayan: Can she say she has assurances that it is the only interpre- 
tation of the cease-fire? 


Mts. Meir: It is inconceivable you would authorize us to read out 
such a statement without a basis for it. 


Kissinger: You want to say you’ve been given additional 
assurances? 


Mts. Meir: Can we say that to the Knesset? That would be good. 


Kissinger: They promise not to rebut. Maybe they won’t keep their 
promise. 


Mts. Meir [to Dayan]: Moshe, to the Foreign Affairs Committee we 
have to get all the details. 


Kissinger: If it leaks before signing, it will blow skyhigh. 


Dayan: On TV last night they had the whole agreement—numbers, 
forces, everything. 


Peres: It was from Haaretz. They left out only the Palestinians. 
Dayan: But if it leaks it won’t be an official leak. 
Eban: Suppose it is signed Friday afternoon.° 


Dayan: The Prime Minister can say further details were given to 
the Committee. 


Mrs. Meir: Oh yes, I wouldn’t say any more. 


Dayan: If you said that besides the American letter further details 
will be given to the Foreign Affairs Committee ... 


Kissinger: That would be by far the best. 
Dayan: See what happens to me at 3:00! 
Kissinger: You have a good idea. 


Keating: That doesn’t solve the problem of a leak from the 
Committee. 


Kissinger: That you have anyway. 
Dayan: No one from the Committee will do it officially. 


Mrs. Meir: Because this is security, pure security, can’t there be 
censorship? 


Gur: I was discussing this just before with the spokesman and the 
official censor. The answer is no. Especially if it will be published 
abroad. 


Kissinger: But the secret letter never will. 


5 May 31. 


356 ~—- Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Allon: Other foreign papers print it and the next morning ours pre- 
tend to copy it. 

Mrs. Meir: We will do everything possible. 

Kissinger: That’s all you can do. 

Mrs. Meir: And will say further details will be given to the 
Committee. 

Dayan: Last time we did eventually give them documents, so we 
can manage it. 

Mts. Meir: We'll think it over. One thing you can be sure is that 
we'll do everything possible. 

Kissinger: I am confident. 

Allon: Once you say there are further details, the entire public and 
press will search for what they are. 

Mrs. Meir: “All details have been brought to the Foreign Affairs 
Committee.” 

Dinitz: I value very much if we move the signature to Thursday. 

Mrs. Meir: We discussed that before. 

Kissinger: The first problem is, when will we know when the Cab- 
inet has decided? 

Mrs. Meir: We meet at 7:30 in the morning. 

Gur: In four hours. 


Kissinger: What will the Cabinet announce? It can’t say an agree- 
ment has been reached. Unless you want to be killed in Washington, 
and in Damascus. 


Allon: What do you want us to say? 


Kissinger: That we will convey the answer to Damascus and await 
their reply, and there will be a later announcement. 


Dayan: There was an announcement from Damascus that an 
agreement was reached on the principles, but someone was left behind 
to complete the work. 


Kissinger: I made no statement. 

Dayan: This was a Syrian statement. 

Kissinger: That was not unhelpful. 

Allon: Let’s say “we are very close to a successful conclusion to the 
negotiations and are expecting further clarification, and in a few hours 
we will make an announcement.” 

Kissinger: On the signing, if we are going to consider signing 
Thursday, we have got to get a lot of things moving fast. 

Sisco: It is technically possible. 

Kissinger: Asad would welcome it because he was very unhappy 
to publish the documents a day and a half before the signing. He didn’t 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 357 


want a debate in Syria before it was signed. Therefore, he implored me 
to implore you to have the Knesset session secret. [Laughter] 


His concerns are to get the documents—the Agreement, the UN 
protocol and map—published only on the day of the signing. Second, 
he wishes not to have the U.S. proposal published. Third, he has the dif- 
ficulties I have read to you. So these are his concerns. 


If we are thinking of signing Thursday, we had better get a cable 
off to him today. Then the documents will be public. 


When you bring something to the Knesset, how do you do it? 
Mrs. Meir: A speech. 


Kissinger: You don’t hand it? I think he would most prefer to get 
them published after the signature. 


Mts. Meir: That is impossible. We could send our delegation to Ge- 
neva Thursday, with instructions that they don’t sign until they get the 
signal after the Knesset debate. The debate will be... 

Peres: 10 hours. [All say no] 


Mrs. Meir: If it is a four-hour debate, it means six hours. I have to 
introduce the debate, and someone has to close it, and that is not in- 
cluded. Then there is a vote. 


We can start at 11:00. 

Peres: Even 10:00. 

Mrs. Meir: If it starts at 11:00, it will finish at 5:00 p.m. 

Dinitz: Which is 4:00 Geneva time. 

Mrs. Meir: Our people will be there, so they don’t have to travel. 


Kissinger: Then we’d better get a cable off to Asad tonight that in 
view of his great concern that the documents will be published the 
same day, we should have it Thursday. It should help his concerns. 


Mrs. Meir: When do we get the wounded? 


Kissinger: Twenty-four hours after. The other prisoners are re- 
leased the morning after. 


Mrs. Meir: I got permission from Burg [the NRP Minister]° for even 
doing it Saturday. 


Five o’clock Geneva time, 6 o’clock here. 
Gazit: That is too tight. 
Kissinger: Six o’clock Geneva time. 


Joe, you realize none of this can be set in motion until tomorrow af- 
ternoon. Can we do it? 


Sisco: Yes. 


° Yosef Burg was a founding member of the National Religious Party (NRP). 


358 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Maw: We can have the mechanics done. 

Dinitz: It will be a secret covenant openly arrived at. 

Sisco: You'll have to send a cable shortly before the announcement. 

Mts. Meir: Do the UN people go from New York? 

Sisco: They have people there. 

Kissinger: What worries me is ... 

Eban: What difference is it if there is a flurry in Geneva on a contin- 
gency basis? 

Kissinger: It is a concern to people I have to worry about. Simcha 
can explain. 

Mts. Meir: It is only Wednesday. 

Kissinger: I’ll send a cable to Asad tonight. We'll have an answer 
by the time a Cabinet decision is made. 

Sisco is a national hero in Syria since I made the joke that he is out 
to get my job. 

They postponed the dinner for Gromyko every two hours, then 
they cancelled. 

Dinitz: That is why Gromyko was so unpleasant. 

Kissinger: Gromyko was ... very worrisome. He made a violent 
speech on the Palestinians, worse than anything Asad has made at his 
worst. On the other hand, he was playing a very pathetic role there. 


Allon: According to the press, he had a meeting with Arafat there. 

Kissinger: Yes. 

Allon: This may explain his interest in that. 

Kissinger: No, the Russian strategy is to get everything to Geneva, 
to lump everything together, to pick an issue on which the U.S. can’t do 
anything for the Arabs and on which other Arabs have to support 
them, in order to push us out of our role. That is the Russian strategy. 

Mts. Meir: I want to tell you, since we are exchanging compliments 
around the table, I feel terribly guilty, since we urged you to go to 
Damascus. 

Kissinger: It was worth it. I was dubious but it was the right thing 
to do. 


Keating: Asad kissed Sisco tonight. 


Kissinger: You will then make an announcement that at least 
leaves the final decision open. 


Gur: There should be a working group tomorrow about the maps. 

Kissinger: Oh yes. I promised I would send up your map with 
1:25000 [scale]. 

Gur: It is done already. There is a difference between the Syrian 
map and our map. So there should be a working group. Sisco and 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 359 


Motta Mottke [Gazit] should sit with Dovele [Sion]. There is a differ- 
ence in the old purple line. This is a difference we had before. But it has 
no importance regarding the changes we did now. 

Kissinger: They are eager to get the map. I told him any discus- 
sions about it should take place in the Military Working Group. But he 
said he would appreciate having it in Damascus—not in Geneva—be- 
fore his Generals left. 

Sisco: These copies are different? 

Gur: Because it is on our map. 

Kissinger: But I understand this doesn’t affect areas affected by 
this negotiation. It is between you and the Syrians. As long as the Rafid 
salient doesn’t disappear. 

Dinitz: There was one sentence in the U.S. Proposal. 

Kissinger: They wanted the same language in the Agreement as in 
the U. S. Proposal. It should say, “will not have any military forces” in- 
stead of “demilitarized.” One, to have the same language, and second, 
because they say it translates badly. Everything else remains exactly the 
same. 

The Syrians are sending a General and a Colonel. 

The U. S. Proposal will be signed by their Chief of Staff, the U. S. 
Proposal about the thinning out. Their Chief of Staff will sign it in Da- 
mascus. Our Chief of our Interests Section will deliver the signed docu- 
ment to him. 

Mrs. Meir: All documents will be signed by military. Is that right? 

Kissinger: Yes. The one in Geneva will be signed by a General. The 
thinning-out agreement, the U.S. Proposal, will be signed by the Chief 
of Staff in Damascus. 

Dinitz: In the Egyptian agreement, the President signed it. 

Kissinger: They want to treat it as a military document. I had it at 
the Foreign Minister’s level but Khaddam protested so violently that he 
wasn’t the competent official on thinning out. 

Dayan: The Red Cross should be alerted. 

Kissinger: The wounded will be exchanged 24 hours after the 
signing. I’ve got the names of four Arabs he wants released. They look 
like hard cases. 

Dayan: Ihave four Arabs I want to give him. Maybe the same ones! 

Kissinger: They have not exactly short sentences. [He reads from a 
paper]: Twenty years, 10 years—a bicycle thief. [He hands it over] I 
have now transmitted it. 

He said he doesn’t know them but there was an appeal published 
in a Beirut paper. 

Can I see you five seconds alone? 


360 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


Mts. Meir: Sure. The young people want to go to sleep. 

Should we move the Knesset forward an hour, so we can get the 
prisoners back? 

Dayan: Nine o’clock is all right. 

Kissinger: Then make the signing at 5:00 p.m. in Geneva? 


[Mrs. Meir and Secretary Kissinger conferred alone from 3:45-4:00 
a.m. The rest of the party departed for the hotel at 3:45 a.m.] 


79. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 29, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger asked that I pass you the following report. 


“T have just received word that the Israeli Cabinet has approved 
the agreement.” The Cabinet will reconvene at 9:00 a.m. Washington 
time today to give the impression that it is still considering the question 
in order to prevent any leaks. That session will run until shortly after 
10:00 a.m. Washington time. To meet this timing I believe it is essential 
that you make the announcement of the agreement a few minutes be- 
fore 10:00 a.m. Washington time but in no case later than 10:00 a.m. 


“The text of the announcement which has been agreed upon reads 
as follows: 


‘The discussions conducted by United States Secretary of State Dr. 
Henry Kissinger with Syria and Israel have led to an agreement on the 
disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces. The agreement will be 
signed by Syrian and Israeli military representatives in the Egyptian- 
Israeli Military Working Group of the Geneva Conference on 
Thursday, May 30, 1974 in Geneva.’”* 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 155, Geo- 
political File, Israel, May 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for 
information. 

? Kissinger met with Meir on May 29 from 1:10 until 2:30 p.m. at the Prime Min- 
ister’s Residence. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Records of 
Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 8, Nodis Memcons, May 1974, Folder 10) 

3 The President read the statement on nationwide radio and television at 1:02 p.m. 
on May 31. For text of his remarks about the significance of the agreement, see Public 
Papers: Nixon, 1974, pp. 463-464. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 361 


80. Letter From Secretary of State Kissinger to Syrian President 
Asad! 


Washington, May 29, 1974. 


Dear Mr. President: 

Ihave the honor to transmit the following text of a letter from Pres- 
ident Nixon: 

Dear Mr. President: 

As you begin to rebuild and repopulate Quneitra, I want you to 
know that the United States is prepared to consider how it might assist 
in the rehabilitation of that area. One important objective we share in 
seeking a lasting peace in the Middle East is to help people return to 
normal lives. It is a source of great satisfaction to me to know that the 
agreement on the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces will make 
it possible for some of the people displaced by war to return to their 
homes. 

Sincerely, 

(Richard Nixon) 

The signed original of this letter will be forwarded to you. 

Sincerely, 


Henry A. Kissinger 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 32, Briefing Book: 
Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Documents, Under Secretary Sisco. Secret. 


81. Letter From President Nixon to Syrian President Asad! 


Washington, undated. 


Dear Mr. President: 


I want to express to you my gratification at the conclusion of the 
agreement for the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces, and to af- 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 32, Briefing Book: 
Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Documents, Under Secretary Sisco. Secret. According to 
Kissinger’s memoirs, all documents associated with the agreement had to be complete by 
May 29. (Years of Upheaval, p. 1106) 


362 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


firm that the United States considers this agreement only a first step 
toward a just and durable peace. You have my assurance that the 
United States will give full, and continuing support, including our ac- 
tive involvement within the year in the next stages of the negotiations, 
to the achievement of the full implementation of Security Council Reso- 
lution 338 in all of its parts. 

In our view, the peace settlement should be in accordance with the 
interests of all the states in the area, consistent with their independence 
and sovereignty, and should take fully into account the legitimate in- 
terests of the Palestinian people. 

Sincerely, 


Richard Nixon? 


? Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. 


82. Letter From Secretary of State Kissinger to Syrian President 
Asad! 


Washington, undated. 


Dear Mr. President: 


I have the honor to transmit the text of a letter from President 
Nixon. The signed original will be forwarded to you. 


Dear Mr. President: 


In connection with the agreement between Syria and Israel on the 
disengagement of their forces, the Government of the United States has 
received the assurances below from the Government of Israel with re- 
spect to the Israeli presence on Tell abou Nida and Tell el Aaram, the 
two hills just to the west of Quneitra. 


First, Israel will scrupulously observe the ceasefire, including ob- 
servance with respect to the people and city of Quneitra. 

Second, there will be no Israeli forces or weapons on the eastern 
slopes of the two hills. 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 33, Briefing Book: 
Syrian-Israeli Disengagement, 1974, Folder 2. No classification marking. According to 
Kissinger’s memoirs, all documents associated with the agreement had to be complete by 
May 29. (Years of Upheaval, p. 1106) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 363 


Third, there will be no weapons on top of these hills which can fire 
into Quneitra. 

I want to assure you, Mr. President, that the United States will do 
its utmost to assure that these conditions are scrupulously observed. 

As you begin to rebuild and repopulate Quneitra, I want you to 
know also that the United States is prepared to consider how it might 
assist in the rehabilitation of that area. 

Sincerely, 

(Richard Nixon) 

Sincerely, 


Henry A. Kissinger’ 


? Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. 


83. U.S. Proposal! 


Jerusalem, May 29, 1974. 


U.S. PROPOSAL 


In order to facilitate agreement between Israel and Syria and in im- 
plementation of that agreement, and to assist in maintaining scru- 
pulous observance of the ceasefire on land, air and sea, the United 
States proposes the following provisions: 


(1) That the area of limitation in armament and forces west of Line 
A and east of Line B will be 10 kilometers in width. In each area, respec- 
tively, the following are permitted: (a) two brigades of armed forces, in- 
cluding 75 tanks and 36 pieces of short-range 122-mm artillery; and (b) 
the entire force of each party shall not exceed 6,000 men. The United 
Nations Disengagement Observer Force will inspect these provisions in 
the 10 kilometer zone. 


(2) That in the area between 10 and 20 kilometers west of Line A 
and east of Line B: (a) there will be no artillery pieces whose range ex- 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 32, Briefing Book: 
Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Documents, Under Secretary Sisco. Secret. Eban wrote the 
city and date by hand to the left of his signature. Another copy of the U.S. Proposal, sent 
to Syria, is signed by Lieutenant General Youssef Shakkut, Chief of Staff of the Syrian 
Arab Army. (Ibid.) 


364 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


ceeds 20 kilometers; and (b) the total number of artillery pieces per- 
mitted is 162 with a range of not exceeding 20 kilometers; and (c) sur- 
face-to-air missiles will be stationed no closer than 25 kilometers west 
of Line A and east of Line B. 

(3) Inspection of the provisions in paragraph 2 above will be per- 
formed by the U. S. aerial reconnaissance and the results will be pro- 
vided to both sides. 

(4) The area of separation between Lines A and B will not have any 
military forces. In the towns and villages in the area there will be sta- 
tioned police forces of a size and character similar to those stationed in 
other Syrian towns and villages of comparable size. 

(5) The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force will take 
over the positions in the area of separation on Mount Hermon. No mili- 
tary observation of any kind may be conducted in that area. 


Abba Eban 
Minister of Foreign Affairs 


84. Memorandum of Understanding’ 


Undated. 


MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED 
STATES GOVERNMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL 


(1) The United States position is that withdrawal of the United Na- 
tions Disengagement Observer Forces agreed upon under the Israeli- 
Syrian Disengagement Agreement will require the consent of both 
sides. Should the matter of the withdrawal of the United Nations Dis- 
engagement Observer Forces or a change in its mandate be proposed 
before the United Nations Security Council without the consent of Is- 
rael or the United States, the United States will vote against such with- 
drawal or any change of mandate which would, in our mutual judg- 
ment, affect adversely the present operation of the Force. 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 192, Geo- 
political File, Middle East, Peace Negotiations, Israeli-Syrian Relations, Disengagement 
Agreement, May to September 1974. Secret. Initialed by Henry Kissinger and Simcha 
Dinitz, apparently on May 29 or 30 in Israel before Kissinger departed for Egypt on May 
30. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 365 


(2) The United States will oppose supervision of Israeli held areas 
by U.N. personnel from the Soviet Union, from other communist coun- 
tries, or from countries which have no diplomatic relations with Israel. 
With respect to the deployment of forces in the area of separation, the 
United States will approach the United Nations Secretary General or 
directly Syria with a view to working out arrangements whereunder no 
units or personnel of nations which do not have diplomatic relations 
with Israel will (a) be deployed adjacent to the Israeli line, or (b) partici- 
pate in the inspection of the Israeli area of limited forces and 
armaments. 


(3) The United States has informed the Governments of Israel and 
Syria that it will perform aerial reconnaissance missions over the areas 
covered by the Disengagement Agreement at a frequency of about one 
mission every ten days or two weeks, including special missions on re- 
quest, and will forward the photographs to both Israel and Syria as 
soon as they are ready. In the event aerial reconnaissance detects viola- 
tions, the United States will take this up diplomatically with Syria to 
bring about a rectification. 

(4) The United States informs Israel that Egypt has informed the 
United States that it will support the disengagement agreement with 
Syria and that it is a fair agreement. It is the United States’ under- 
standing, from its discussions with Egypt, that Egypt has not com- 
mitted itself to participate militarily in support of Syria if Syria violates 
the agreement by reopening hostilities or beginning a war against 
Israel. 

(5) Recognizing the defense responsibilities of the Government of 
Israel following redeployment of its forces under the Disengagement 
Agreement the United States reaffirms that it will make every effort to 
be fully responsive on a continuing and long-term basis to Israel’s mili- 
tary equipment requirements. 

(6) It is the policy of the United States that implementation of the 
Disengagement Agreement should take precedence over the under- 
taking of new commitments by the parties related to subsequent phases 
of the Geneva Conference. The United States will do its best to help fa- 
cilitate the Conference proceeding at a pace agreed upon by Israel and 
the United States. 

(7) In case of a meaningful Syrian violation of any of the provisions 
of the Disengagement Agreement, or any of its attachments, the United 
States Government will immediately consult Israel regarding the nec- 
essary reaction and with a view to giving appropriate diplomatic sup- 
port to Israel. 


HK 
S.D. 


366 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


85. Letter from Secretary of State Kissinger to Israeli Prime 
Minister Meir! 


Washington, May 30, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 


This is to inform you that the assurances with respect to guerilla 
action from Syria conveyed to the Israeli Government’ have the fol- 
lowing characteristics: 


1. They were made to the Secretary of State by President Asad on 
the condition that there would be no publicity whatsoever. 


2. President Asad emphasized that any publicity would force him 
to make a public statement contradicting the assurances and perhaps 
make it impossible for him to maintain them. 


Best wishes, 


Henry A. Kissinger 


1 Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 155, Geo- 
political File, Israel, May 1974. No classification marking. 


? These assurances were presented as a U.S. text provided to the Israeli Govern- 
ment. The text reads, “The position of the United States with respect to the first para- 
graph of the Agreement between Israel and Syria on Military Disengagement is as 
follows: Raids by armed groups or individuals across the demarcation line are contrary 
to the ceasefire. Israel in the exercise of its right of self-defense may act to prevent such 
actions by all available means. The United States will not consider such actions by Israel 
as violations of the ceasefire and will support them politically.” (National Archives, RG 
59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 32, Briefing Book: Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Docu- 
ments, Under Secretary Sisco) 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 367 


86. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for 
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon! 


Washington, May 30, 1974. 


Secretary Kissinger asked me to pass the following message to you 
regarding his meeting with President Sadat: 

“Thad an extremely warm and satisfying talk with President Sadat 
this afternoon in Cairo including a private luncheon and a two-and 
a-half hour meeting afterward.” 

“T presented him with a copy of the Syria-Israeli disengagement 
agreement,’ with a large map and related documents. I explained to 
him the arrangement we had reached with Assad for Mrs. Meir to refer 
publicly to a U.S. view that terrorist attacks across the line were viola- 
tions of the ceasefire. Sadat believed this was a good way to handle the 
issue and would not unduly provoke the Palestinians. 

“He recommended that we establish covert medium-level contact 
with the Palestinians soon, in order to encourage the moderate ele- 
ment—Arafat—whom he was trying to build into the main force of the 
movement. I stressed how politically damaging the terrorist attacks 
were in both Israel and America. He agreed completely, and assured 
me these were the work of dissident fringe elements. He would do his 
best to put a stop to terrorism. 

“We then discussed your trip, U.S.-Egyptian relations, and the 
idea of a joint cooperation commission, on which I have already re- 
ported to you. We agreed to prepare as soon as possible an agenda of 
bilateral issues and projects that could be finalized on the occasion of 
your visit. 

“Sadat was very eager for our assessment of the new Israeli Gov- 
ernment and the prospects for the next phase of Israeli-Egyptian nego- 
tiations. We agreed the time was not yet ripe for beginning a negotia- 
tion, but that we should use the next few months to think ourselves 
about possible approaches. This will be one of the major topics he 
wants to discuss with you on your visit. 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 45, HAK Trip Files, Middle East Memos and Security, April 28—-May 31, 
1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. 

? The meeting between Sadat and Kissinger took place on May 30 from 3 until 5:30 
p-m. at the President’s Giza Residence in Cairo. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., RG 
59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, Box 21, Classified External Memcons, 
May-—November 1974, Folder 2) 

3 Document 88. 


368 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


“Sadat had no desire to accommodate the Soviets by reconvening 
the Geneva Conference. In any case, he himself would not be ready for 
it until September. He suggested—and then said to the press after- 
ward—that the Arabs would need much time for mutual consultations, 
etc., before proposing resumption of Geneva. 

“Sadat also wants to discuss the Soviet problem with you when 
you come to Cairo. 

“When our meeting ended, he invited in the press and made some 
extremely warm statements about you, and about the American role in 
the achievement of disengagement and the search for a just peace in the 
Middle East. Comments have been sent to Scowcroft and Ziegler.” 


87. Letter From President Nixon to Israeli Prime Minister Meir! 


Washington, May 31, 1974. 


Dear Madame Prime Minister: 


The Secretary of State has brought to my attention your letter 
dated May 12, in which you have outlined your country’s major con- 
cerns. Let me assure you, Madame Prime Minister, that I read it with 
great attention and understanding, for you know that during my entire 
Administration I have given concrete evidence of my own feelings for 
and commitment to Israel’s continued survival in peace and security. I 
would like now to refer to those items which you raised. 


With regard to your request to enter with the United States into a 
long-range military arrangement which will assure Israel the supply of 
the necessary military equipment for the next ten years, you have my 
full backing. I have noted the figures that you have quoted, and I un- 
derstand your basic needs. With respect to modern aircraft, I under- 
stand that preliminary talks have already been held with Secretary 
Schlesinger, and I recognize your need to move into the new generation 
of aircraft. With respect to ground-to-ground missiles, I agree that Is- 
rael should be equipped with weapons similar to those supplied by the 


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Of- 
fice Files, Box 136, Country Files, Middle East, Dinitz, January 1-July 1, 1974. Secret. A 
handwritten notation at the top of the first page reads, “Peter Rodman hand delivered to 
Min. Shalev 6/9/74, 5:00 p.m.” A handwritten notation at the bottom of the second page 
reads, “I shall look forward to seeing you in a few days.” 


2 The letter has not been found. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 369 


Russians to both the Egyptians and the Syrians. I assure you of my sup- 
port in this program. 

I suggest that a mission from your country come to Washington in 
the month of June to work out all concrete details. This will give me the 
opportunity to review the specifics sympathetically and within the 
framework of the aforementioned principles. 

I realize that such a long-range military program will entail a 
heavy financial burden. I was mindful of this fact when I proposed spe- 
cial emergency assistance of $2.2 billion subsequent to the October war. 
I fully realize that substantial U.S. financial assistance will be needed to 
support this program, and I intend to ask Congress to provide such 
support. 

I fully understand your concern for working out a contingency 
plan to provide Israel with military supplies, both ammunition and re- 
placement of major equipment, in case of emergency. I have authorized 
our appropriate agencies to work with your officials to devise such a 
plan. 

I noted your particular concern with regard to the continued 
supply of oil to Israel, in case any interruption occurs resulting from 
change of circumstances or other development. I suggest that appro- 
priate representatives of our two countries meet in order to devise a 
plan whose objective would be to assure uninterrupted oil supply to 
Israel. 

Madame Prime Minister, as you leave office, I want to pay tribute 
to the strong and effective leadership which you have given to Israel 
and its people. 

Warmest regards, 


Richard Nixon 


370 ‘Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


88.  Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement! 


Geneva, May 31, 1974. 


AGREEMENT ON DISENGAGEMENT BETWEEN ISRAELI AND 
SYRIAN FORCES 


A. Israel and Syria will scrupulously observe the ceasefire on land, 
sea and air and will refrain from all military actions against each other, 
from the time of the signing of this document, in implementation of 
United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 dated October 22, 
1973. 

B. The military forces of Israel and Syria will be separated in 
accordance with the following principles: 

1. All Israeli military forces will be west of the line designated as 
Line A on the map attached hereto, except in the Quneitra area, where 
they will be west of Line A-1. 

2. All territory east of Line A will be under Syrian administration, 
and Syrian civilians will return to this territory. 

3. The area between Line A and the line designated as Line B on the 
attached map will be an area of separation. In this area will be stationed 
the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force established in ac- 
cordance with the accompanying protocol. 


4. All Syrian military forces will be east of the line designated as 
Line B on the attached map. 

5. There will be two equal areas of limitation in armament and 
forces, one west of Line A and one east of Line B as agreed upon. 

6. Air Forces of the two sides will be permitted to operate up to 
their respective lines without interference from the other side. 


C. In the area between Line A and Line A-1 on the attached map 
there shall be no military forces. 


D. This agreement and the attached map will be signed by the mili- 
tary representatives of Israel and Syria in Geneva not later than May 31, 
1974, in the Egyptian-Israeli Military Working Group of the Geneva 
Peace Conference under the aegis of the United Nations, after that 
group has been joined by a Syrian military representative, and with the 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 32, Briefing Book: 
Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Documents, Under Secretary Sisco. No classification 
marking. All three signers, Shafir, Shihabi, Siilasvuo, initialed each page. The agreement, 
accompanying protocol (Document 89), and attached map (Document 90) were pub- 
lished in the New York Times, May 31, 1974. For the final map agreed to by the Syrians and 
the Israelis, see Appendix B, Map 2. 


Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement 371 


participation of representatives of the United States and the Soviet 
Union. The precise delineation of a detailed map and a plan for the im- 
plementation of the disengagement of forces will be worked out by mil- 
itary representatives of Israel and Syria in the Egyptian-Israeli Military 
Working Group who will agree on the stages of this process. The Mili- 
tary Working Group described above will start their work for this pur- 
pose in Geneva under the aegis of the United Nations within 24 hours 
after the signing of this agreement. They will complete this task within 
five days. Disengagement will begin within 24 hours after the comple- 
tion of the task of the Military Working Group. The process of disen- 
gagement will be completed not later than twenty days after it begins. 

E. The provisions of paragraphs A, B and C shall be inspected by 
personnel of the United Nations comprising the United Nations Disen- 
gagement Observer Force under this agreement. 

F. Within 24 hours after the signing of this agreement in Geneva all 
wounded prisoners of war which each side holds of the other as certi- 
fied by the ICRC will be repatriated. The morning after the completion 
of the task of the Military Working Group, all remaining prisoners of 
war will be repatriated. 

G. The bodies of all dead soldiers held by either side will be re- 
turned for burial in their respective countries within ten days after the 
signing of this agreement. 

H. This agreement is not a peace agreement. It is a step toward a 
just and durable peace on the basis of Security Council Resolution 338 
dated October 22, 1973. 


For Israel: 

Herzl Shafir 

Maj. Gen. 

For Syria: 

Hikmat al-Shibabi 


Witness for the United Nations: 
Ensio Siilasvuo* 


? General Siilasvuo wrote “Geneva 31 May 1974” after his signature, and General 
Shihabi’s signature is is Arabic. 


372 Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XXVI 


89. Protocol to the Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement! 


Geneva, May 31, 1974. 


PROTOCOL TO AGREEMENT ON DISENGAGEMENT BETWEEN 
ISRAELI AND SYRIAN FORCES 


Concerning the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force 


Israel and Syria agree that: 


The function of the United Nations Disengagement Observer 
Force (UNDOF) under the Agreement will be to use its best efforts to 
maintain the ceasefire and to see that it is scrupulously observed. It will 
supervise the Agreement and protocol thereto with regard to the areas 
of separation and limitation. In carrying out its mission, it will comply 
with generally applicable Syrian laws and regulations and will not 
hamper the functioning of local civil administration. It will enjoy free- 
dom of movement and communication and other facilities that are nec- 
essary for its mission. It will be mobile and provided with personal 
weapons of a defensive character and shall use such weapons only in 
self-defense. The number of the UNDOF shall be about 1,250, who will 
be selected by the Secretary General of the United Nations in consulta- 
tion with the parties from members of the United Nations who are not 
permanent members of the Security Council. 


The UNDOF will be under the command of the United Nations, 
vested in the Secretary General, under the authority of the Security 
Council. 


The UNDOF shall carry out inspections under the Agreement, and 
report thereon to the parties, on a regular basis, not less often than once 
every fifteen days, and, in addition, when requested by either party. It 
shall mark on the ground the respective lines shown on the map at- 
tached to the Agreement. 


Israel and Syria will support a resolution of the United Nations Se- 
curity Council which will provide for the UNDOF contemplated by the 


1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Box 32, Briefing Book: 
Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Documents, Under Secretary Sisco. No classification 
marking. All three signers, Shafir, Shihabi, and Siilasvuo, initialed each page. There is an 
addendum to the protocol sent from President Nixon to Prime Minister Meir that states 
“the Government of Syria agrees to the following on a reciprocal and identical basis: 1. It 
will refrain from placing any weapons, including SAM’s, which can reach the defense 
line of the other side in an additional ten-kilom