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Kissinger Minimizes Soviet Objection to New Accord, Defends Presence of U.S. Personnel in Sinai

September 10, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger today minimized “Soviet objections” to the new Israeli-Egyptian interim accord, defended the proposed presence of American technicians in Sinai as essential to monitor the agreement and contended that it was not “detrimental” to the Soviet Union or “advan- tageous” to the United States.

Addressing a press conference at the State Department, the Secretary stressed that the “essential interests” of the two superpowers are “not in any sense incompatible” with the agreement and that Soviet objections “seem to concern procedure more than substance.”

He said that “The United States recognizes that in a final settlement in the Middle East the Soviet role will be important and not only procedural but substantive.” Kissinger also discussed the Administration’s projected sale of a $350 million “Hawk” missile defense system to Jordan and aid to Israel. (See separate stories)

Kissinger reiterated that the U.S. role in the Sinai was at the request of Egypt and Israel. “It was not proposed” by the U.S. and “we were not particularly anxious to have it,” he said, adding that the U.S. is not seeking unilateral advantage in the area. He said it was up to the Soviet Union to have a similar presence in the area should “the parties” ask Moscow to play a similar role.


One consideration taken into account by those who have misgivings over the American presence in Sinai is that it could result in a Soviet presence on the Golan Heights. Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Yigal Allon have indicated that Israel would never agree, should Syria wish to have Soviet personnel on the Heights.

Kissinger conceded that U.S.-Soviet detente has made less progress in areas like the Middle East than in such spheres as arms control or the reduction of tensions in Europe. He said he would meet Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Washington later, this month to discuss the planned summit meeting between President Ford and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in, Washington before the end of the year.


When a reporter asked about an alleged Defense Department report to the effect that “satellites or airborne intelligence” could be used in Sinai instead of American personnel, Kissinger replied that “those Pentagon officials have not shared their judgement with me or the President.” He said the National Security Council had made a “unanimous” decision that included the Pentagon, that American technicians would go into Sinai as “a last resort” to bring about an Egyptian-Israeli agreement.

He minimized the PLO threat to shoot at Americans in Sinai, noting that the technicians would be between Israeli and Egyptian forces, surrounded by UN forces in an area with no population. “Once immediate passions die down,” the Arabs will “see that it (the agreement) is the only step that can be taken as an alternative to stalemate,” Kissinger said.

Kissinger implied that the establishment of an American presence is being studied on an “urgent basis” and that one of the questions under study is whether American Jews will be permitted to participate, but “Jewish” was not mentioned specifically in Kissinger’s remarks or in the reporter’s question that elicited them.

He said it would be decided in about 10 days whether the American technicians would be provided by a private organization or a governmental group but stressed that it will definitely not be under the Defense Department. He said the Americans would not be in Sinai before about five and-a-half months since the agreement itself must first be implemented by Egypt and Israel.

The issue of who would provide the personnel and the implication about the possibility of Jews among them arose when a reporter asked whether the Vinnel Corp. or some other company method would be followed in selecting personnel. Vinnel, a Los Angeles-based firm, was disclosed several months ago to be hiring retired American military personnel to train the Saudi Arabian national guard under State Department aegis.

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