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D. Seven hours you were telling us and then we receive a letter that didn't say a word about the alert. It was widely publicized.
K. Whether you ever believe it or not it is not important now. I am telling you it was not ... we were convinced you were planning something unilateral. We were as outraged. We thought the tone in that letter ...
D. You were pretty sure we would do it. If you were so sure, you could have waited one hour to get some additional information from Brezhnev. But you didn't want to have it.
K. That isn't true. I was very tough. Don't pressure us. I sent you two or three messages to please don't do anything unilateral.
K. You could have said what makes you think we will do anything unilateral. We have no intention of taking action.
D. What you said was to wait for a reply. I sent four telegrams to Moscow—this was a unique situation—to wait for a reply from the President. What did they receive? This is not ... Someday in Moscow ... much more easy to discuss.
K. We very truly thought you were threatening us out of the ...
D. Exactly, you have it with us. Wait for the reply. By the way nothing was said. Then you are trying to make it look like it was a Cuban or Hanoi crisis.
K. Don't remind me of that. It was not well done.
D. It was done badly. It was unbelievable. He won't believe he compared it ... More things are involved for both sides. There is no need to discuss this. What was done was done. We will now have to look forward. This message is oral to the President and to you in connection with Soviet/ American observers. I was instructed to tell you in a written message ... that the Secretary General would like to say that we ... substance of yesterday's message from ... about Soviet/ American observers.?
K. I know of one. You sent me on discussions.
6 Nixon's October 25 message; see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 274. Nixon informed Brezhnev that joint action was not appropriate at that time, and that Nixon had no information regarding the violation of the ceasefire. Nixon emphasized that Soviet suggestions of unilateral action caused great concern and would be a violation of both the Basic Principles and the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War. However, he was willing to support a joint Truce Supervisory Organization report.
7 The text of the message, read during the October 25 telephone conversation at 2:40 p.m. between Kissinger and Dobrynin, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 23, Chronological File. It is printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 360–361.
D. We also ... from the promise that the Soviet and American observers ... will ask as a contingent of the observer force of the UN. We want to stress that we consider it very important that the American observers will start the dispatch of their forces, having in mind that it should give the USSR and US the possibility of getting authentic information.
We expect that the US on its part will also take necessary steps before the UN ... The American said that ... to Egypt front about of ... and the President Nixon in his letter ... that a number of the American officers should be there to oversee the ceasefire. On the same day we informed the President of the dispatch of 70 Soviet observers to ... and sent them immediately to the line.' It would mean that this understanding reached with us would be broken. We would hope that ...
K. Don't you think the President answered it yesterday. We are prepared to send observers as soon as the Secretary General requests them and we have told him he should request them.
D. You should mention it to him again. He said that Scali ...
K. I thought they were talking about some number yesterday. Let me call Scali.
D. Send out U.S. observers and I will ...
K. I will call you back within an hour. Why don't we get together on Mondaył0 and review just what went wrong.
D. What time would you like?
D. I will try. Fulbright would like to have me for lunch. Maybe I could switch it on Tuesday.
K. I also have a lunch. It was either a deliberate ... of thinking by you and of thinking by us or it was a horrible misunderstanding. I can assure you from our side it was not deliberate ...
D. I will ask Fulbright to postpone Monday.
K. Too much is at stake for us to be angry with each other. Let's not have it fester. As a friend ...
D. For two days I was mad. I know that anger in Moscow is still very high.
Probably a reference to Nixon's October 25 letter.
K. As a friend, one thing about yesterday evening that can only be explained in terms of emotional stress over a domestic situation."
D. I understand.
K. This was not well chosen and not deliberate. General Haig called you immediately.
D. I know.
K. We are in a difficult period between the two of us now. If you had no intention of acting unilaterally our letter was a mistake. I should have warned you but I was outraged.
D.... I simply asked you if you could tell me 15 hours. That is all right with me. You really think that I was pressing you to get an answer. I simply asked you the usual question—when I could expect an answer, sometime today, sometime tomorrow. You immediately qualified that as a pressure. That I usually do, did before, and will again.
K. OK. Lunch at Monday at 1:00.12
Presumably a reference to the growing Watergate investigation.
12 No record of this meeting was found, but Dobrynin gave Kissinger Brezhnev's letter, Document 149.
149. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President
Moscow, October 28, 1973.
Dear Mr. President,
In my yesterday's message to you? in connection with President Sadat's request—which he, as I know now, made simultaneously to you and to us—to permit a convoy of non-military supply for the Egyptian 3rd Army, I did fulfil the request of President Sadat. On my own
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Country Files—Europe-USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 20, October 12-November 21, 1973. No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the page reads, “Handed to HAK by D 1:00 pm 10/29/73."
2 See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 288.
part I asked you to take decisive (moreover, at that time I thoughtfinal) measures to influence Israel not only with the aim of giving mercy in the form of permitting necessary food, medicine, blood for wounded and dying people, but to take measures in order to put an end to all kind of adventurist actions on the lines which were at the time of adoption of the well-known Security Council decisions.3
I would not have addressed to-day myself to you with this message, since to my yesterday's communication I received a prompt reply* from you which said in particular that you were happy to inform us that you were able during the night to arrange for talks between Israel and Egypt regarding the implementation of the Security Council Resolutions and that Major General E. Siilasvuo' at the moment of your communication was arranging these talks and that Israel had also agreed to permit a convoy of non-military supply to reach the Egyptian
You expressed in your letter a hope to continue to work closely and cooperatively with us in resolving the Middle East crisis. You stressed that we were now well on the road to the achievement of a true cease-fire which will make it possible for the parties, with our help, to arrive at a just settlement and a lasting peace in the Middle East.
Such a reply on your part was received by me with satisfaction. However one and a half days later I again received a communication from Cairo (as I understood, a similar communication had been sent by the Egyptian side also to you, Mr. President) that up till now Israeli military, who are now on the seized by them territory, put roadblocks stopping the convoy, and that part of this convoy of supply was shot at crossing at the canal.
Informing you about this I must-however reluctantly-tell you frankly and straightforwardly, as I always did, the following.
I personally and my colleagues have reached a point of crisis of confidence that the whole exchange of messages during a week time and all assurances both to us and to the Egyptian side that all measures are being taken for cessation of firing and for fulfilment of the Security
3 UN Security Council Resolutions 338, 339, and 340. For Resolution 338, see footnote 6, Document 143. For Resolution 339, see footnote 3, Document 146. Resolution 340 was proposed by eight powers and adopted on October 25. It recalled the earlier resolutions, regretted the alleged cease-fire violations, demanded an immediate and complete cease-fire, requested the increase of UN observers, established a UN Emergency Force, and requested the cooperation of member states. For the full text of the resolution, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1973, p. 213.
See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Documents 290 and 292.
5 Major General Ensio Siilasvuo from Finland was Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force, which was dispatched to Cairo to observe and enforce the cease-fire.
Council Resolutions, especially under our with you auspices about which we were given a written confirmation on behalf of the President, is in fact a support for Israeli military clique who continue to act provocatively with an obvious, I would say-naked aim which is now absolutely clear to the wide world public opinion.
I can assume that all this happens as a result of a false information to you and even a deceit aimed at, on the one hand, encouraging the aggression and worsening as far as possible the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and, on the other hand, at undermining personal mutual confidence between us.
I am deeply convinced that we should not allow such kind of actions, including elements of confrontation, to happen, because it does not correspond to the interests of our peoples and states, as well as to the interests of the cause of peace.
Such wishes can be implemented, of course, only with mutual agreement in which I do believe.
Addressing these words to you and also taking into account communications to you from the Egyptian leadership, and looking—as I said it above-at the whole picture of events which happened during the past week both at the front and in various exchanges of messages, I am asking you to inform me in the nearest hours of your firm decision which you will take with the aim of real cease-fire and implementation by Israelis of all adopted Security Council Resolutions and of our understanding with Kissinger in Moscow, which as you communicated to me is an understanding with you personally, so that we in the Soviet Union can determine our decisions on this matter.
L. Brezhnev 6
Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.