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President Ford Letter to Prime Minister Rabin Threatening Reassessment of Policy

(March 21, 1975)

Washington, March 21, 1975.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:1

Secretary Kissinger has just reported on the imminent suspension of his mission2 whose objective was to achieve an interim second-stage agreement between Egypt and Israel.

I am writing to convey my deep disappointment over the position taken by Israel during the course of the negotiations. You know from our conversations, as well as my conversations with the Foreign Minister, the importance I have attached to the success of the efforts of the United States to achieve constructive results, as well as the framework that seemed reasonable to me. Secretary Kissinger’s mission, which your government strongly encouraged, involved the vital interests of the United States in the area. The failure to achieve an agreement is bound to have far-reaching effects in the area and on our relations.

I have directed an immediate reassessment of U.S. policy in the area, including our relations with Israel, with a view to assuring that the overall interests of America in the Middle East and globally will be protected.

You will be informed of our decisions.3


Gerald R. Ford

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 157, Geopolitical File, Israel, March 1975. Secret.
  2. See Memo From Scowcroft to President Ford On Egypt Talks.
  3. Rabin replied to Ford’s letter on March 30, writing that he shared Ford’s “deep disappointment over the failure of the negotiations,” but that Egypt’s desire to make an agreement of “an essentially military character” instead of a political agreement that would end the state of war between Egypt and Israel made it impossible for Israel to conclude an agreement. Rabin argued that Israel had exhausted “every possible avenue for a positive outcome.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, TS–29, February 12–December 22, 1975)