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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968
Volume XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967, Document 521


521. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon11. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Popper, cleared by Battle, and approved by Acting Secretary Katzenbach.

68061. For Anderson from Under Secretary.

1. Following are contingency instructions referred to in Flash message you have received.22. Telegram 68058 to Beirut, November 12, for Anderson from Katzenbach, stated that the Department was sending him contingency instructions to be used if a high-level review of the desirability of his prompt return to Cairo resulted in an affirmative decision. (Ibid.)

2. You should tell Ghaleb that US move to hear UAR and Israel prior to members of SC was strictly in accordance with rules and practice of SC for 20 years. US move was to permit both to be heard, with UAR speaking first. That was course of equity. Failure SC to support this position set Arab cause back because it resulted in unusual and inequitable procedure and made Israel aggrieved party. It also created rancorous atmosphere instead of reasonable one. You should tell him that neither UAR nor Jordanian Dels had any objection to Israel speaking in customary position and that Sovs and Indians are to be blamed for producing such a bad result for Arabs. You should say US took initiative because we believe in equity, would have done so likewise if situation had been reversed, and because issue was sprung in SC one minute before meeting had opened, members previously having been informed that first two speakers would be UAR and Israel. (Preferable you get this issue out of way with Ghaleb so you do not have to raise it in Cairo.)

3. We would like you to tell Nasser that US res before SC is a serious proposal which we are convinced contains best prospects for peaceful solution in ME. Indians res on other hand is unworkable, cannot be made workable by tinkering, and would not produce real progress in area even if it had nine votes, which we doubt. You should leave him in no doubt that US would not use its influence in implementation of such a res.

4. You should also tell him that US has continued to give careful consideration to views of Arab Dels in New York as to their problems and concerns. While we have never thought we could produce text completely satisfactory either to Arabs or to Israel, we have endeavored to cover each important element of current situation. Taking into account legitimate Arab concerns and suggestions, Amb Goldberg yesterday told King Hussein that US would be willing to add word “Israeli” before “Armed Forces” in first operative paragraph. USG took this decision with considerable hesitation at strong Arab urging. You should also point out that US had previously made another significant change in text by substituting word “territories” for “territory,” which we had also done on basis of concerns and advice of our Arab friends.

5. In addition, Amb Goldberg had been instructed to make in SC a specific statement of diplomatic support which US would extend in interests of a successful outcome under US res. This had followed private statements of which President Nasser must be aware. Specifically, Amb Goldberg stated following: “On behalf of my government, I pledge to SC and to parties concerned that our diplomatic and political influence would be exerted under this draft res in support of efforts of UN rep to achieve a fair and equitable settlement so that all in area can live in peace, security and tranquillity.”33. Goldberg said this in a statement before the Security Council on November 9. For text, see the Department of State Bulletin, December 18, 1967, pp. 834–836.

6. Amb. Goldberg also made in SC on behalf of USG following significant statement with respect to method of achieving objectives of res and to positions of those directly concerned:

“How these objectives can be achieved in practice, what modalities, methods, and steps may be can only be worked out in consultations with parties, which special rep would undertake.

“In our view all objectives must be taken fully into account in concept and in practice in achievement of common aim. Furthermore, text of US res does not prejudice positions of those directly concerned.”

7. USG feels it has now gone extra mile in meeting Arab concerns, taking into account that objective is not just a res but to set into motion a process of diplomatic action within framework of UN with which States in area would be expected to cooperate. Further efforts of verbalism will only endanger entire project and set back whole process of movement towards honorable peace. Much more significant for Arabs in current context is that this res contains basic principles critical to them, if not in exact words they would wish, while also having two major plus factors which would not follow from texts more perfectly worded from UAR point of view: commitment of US political backing and prospects of Israeli cooperation with reps in spite of its basic view that there should only be direct negotiations.

8. You should, therefore, strongly urge Nasser to instruct Riad to accept res as modified and in concert with Rifai (Jordan) seek to assure its passage in SC.

9. If Nasser objects to fact of US sponsorship you should say US had told Arabs when we first gave text to them that it need not have US sponsorship. We were compelled to move ourselves only when UAR suddenly called SC mtg and India submitted its text; we are not interested in credit but in results.

10. You should not negotiate on texts on grounds you have a message but no authority to discuss language. If Nasser should suggest any further changes you should repeat that your advice is to take res as it would now be modified, noting that it would be tragedy for opportunity now available with full US support to be missed, that same opportunity would not likely be there two months from now, and that we are convinced further verbal efforts will jeopardize everything. FYI Only. Israelis have said in New York that their Cabinet has taken policy decision against inclusion of words “all” or “occupied in the recent conflict” as applied to territories, words Nasser would be most likely to request. Our own assessment is that we have reached end of road with Israel on wording of any major importance to UAR. End FYI.

11. For full background on our current thinking, please read USUN's 2305,44. The reference is in error; telegram 2305 from USUN is dated November 15. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN) Amb. Goldberg's Nov 9 statement in SC sent all ME posts, and Secy's circular message to all Ambs (Deptel 67978)55. Circular telegram 67978, November 10, transmitted a message from Rusk to all ambassadors instructing them to stress that the key to a political solution in the Middle East lay in the five principles in the President's June 19 statement and the U.S. resolution. It stated that the United States was convinced that the principal parties concerned could cooperate without insuperable difficulties with a Special UN Representative to work out a political solution on the basis of the U.S. resolution, that it had made it clear to the principal parties concerned that U.S. influence would be exerted under that resolution for a fair and equitable settlement, and that the Indian resolution was not workable, since Israel had already publicly rejected it. (Ibid.) before you see Nasser.

12. In summary the guts of the American position in the UN is simply that any solution of problems in the Middle East will have to be worked out in detail by the countries involved with the assistance of a special UN representative and cannot be negotiated in advance in the Security Council. Therefore, any resolution in the SC which attempts to tip the scales in such a way as to make the UN special representative unacceptable to Israel or to key Arab states will have no result whatsoever in terms of any solution of the basic problems. We cannot overemphasize that the USG will not support in the SC or subsequently any resolution with which the parties will not cooperate. You should know that the Israelis do not like the current US resolution and that it represents maximum with which they will cooperate. Our effort is to get a UN representative with whom the parties will talk and if this can be accomplished, we will give our full diplomatic support to his mission. The Indian or similar resolutions are sure non-starters in substantive terms and we will not be associated now or later with their failure to achieve peace.

13. Please report by Flash tel repeated to USUN any observations Nasser has. These will be very helpful and appreciated.

14. You are authorized at your discretion to draw upon the above material in conferring with any Arab official whether or not a further meeting with Nasser is approved.66. Anderson was not authorized to return to Cairo. Instead, Bergus, acting on instructions from Washington, conveyed the substance of paragraphs 3–8, 12, and 13 in writing to Salah Hassan of the UAR Foreign Office and discussed it with him in detail. Salah Hassan later telephoned Bergus to tell him that the message had been delivered to Acting Foreign Minister Feki. (Telegram 950 from Cairo, November 14; ibid., POL 27 ARAB–ISR) Telegram 68090 to Cairo, November 13, had instructed Bergus to deliver the substance of the message. (Ibid., TRV ANDERSON, ROBERT B.)

Rusk

1 Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Popper, cleared by Battle, and approved by Acting Secretary Katzenbach.

2 Telegram 68058 to Beirut, November 12, for Anderson from Katzenbach, stated that the Department was sending him contingency instructions to be used if a high-level review of the desirability of his prompt return to Cairo resulted in an affirmative decision. (Ibid.)

3 Goldberg said this in a statement before the Security Council on November 9. For text, see the Department of State Bulletin, December 18, 1967, pp. 834–836.

4 The reference is in error; telegram 2305 from USUN is dated November 15. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)

5 Circular telegram 67978, November 10, transmitted a message from Rusk to all ambassadors instructing them to stress that the key to a political solution in the Middle East lay in the five principles in the President's June 19 statement and the U.S. resolution. It stated that the United States was convinced that the principal parties concerned could cooperate without insuperable difficulties with a Special UN Representative to work out a political solution on the basis of the U.S. resolution, that it had made it clear to the principal parties concerned that U.S. influence would be exerted under that resolution for a fair and equitable settlement, and that the Indian resolution was not workable, since Israel had already publicly rejected it. (Ibid.)

6 Anderson was not authorized to return to Cairo. Instead, Bergus, acting on instructions from Washington, conveyed the substance of paragraphs 3–8, 12, and 13 in writing to Salah Hassan of the UAR Foreign Office and discussed it with him in detail. Salah Hassan later telephoned Bergus to tell him that the message had been delivered to Acting Foreign Minister Feki. (Telegram 950 from Cairo, November 14; ibid., POL 27 ARAB–ISR) Telegram 68090 to Cairo, November 13, had instructed Bergus to deliver the substance of the message. (Ibid., TRV ANDERSON, ROBERT B.)