21. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State 1
Hammarskjold said it was a “tall order”. And he would have to study our views before responding to our suggestions. He was sure of one thing. He said, that what we ask to be done cannot be done in time to head off proposed Arab-Asian action. Arabs have already asked informally for meeting, and he doubted meeting would be avoided.
Hammarskjold then said he wished to make some general points. He said it was very easy to be forceful and “wreck the whole show”, but it much more difficult to play it quietly as he did during his negotiations leading to the freeing of American prisoners in China.
Hammarskjold said he is in process sharpening issues with Fawzi, he has pushed Fawzi hard. And before Fawzi has exercised his influence in Cairo. He said that Egyptians are taking extremely hard position on Israeli withdrawal. Egyptians are maintaining they cannot negotiate Canal settlements until Israelis are out of Sinai. Egyptians see Israeli withdrawal as correction of a legal situation. Moreover, they do not believe settlement question is comparable to question of Israeli withdrawals. They maintain Canal settlement is not an isolated issue. They link Canal settlement. Though not as precondition, with the question of lifting of embargo on its assets and the question of war damages. Hammarskjold sees the unfreezing of assets as a consequence of settlement. Hammarskjold stressed that Egyptians want assurance that question of unfreezing assets and war damages be included as part of basic settlement Suez problem.
Hammarskjold said he asked Egyptians whether he should interpret their initiative in GA re war damages as desire on their part to have SYG take initiative in getting four parties together to discuss matter. Fawzi has refused to formalize this request because this in effect would mean writing off the resolution on war damages already submitted, though not pressed, in GA. Fawzi has confirmed orally, however, to Hammarskjold Egyptian willingness to drop GA action if SYG can make progress on war damages issues.[Page 33]
During course conversation, Hammarskjold emphasized delicacy and complexity of negotiations he is pursuing. He would think over points raised in Deptels 507 and 511 and let us know.