348. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

134. Department please pass White House.

This morning at 10 a.m. I was called by USUN COMSEC and advised that request had been made by Sov mission for urgent meeting with me by Amb Dobrynin. I asked that USUN COMSEC immediately call and advise Sov mission I would be willing to meet with Amb Dobrynin at his convenience this morning. Call was made and 12 noon at USUN was fixed for time and place of meeting. I met with Amb Dobrynin alone for one hour and ten minutes. He stated to me that his call was aftermath of his meeting with Secy Rusk yesterday and was designed to explore whether there would be common ground between Sovs and US for compromise res to wind up Assembly.

I said that throughout whole Middle East crisis we had been seeking common ground with Sov Union to restore peace and stability to Middle East but that up to now we had been unsuccessful in working out common language to this end. I reminded Amb Dobrynin that at the last meeting between Secy Rusk and FonMin Gromyko at which I was present both Secy and I had referred to language of Kosygin speech to GA where he had spoken in terms of common language but that until [Page 624] now there had been no effort by Sov del to explore with US possibility of common agreement.

Amb Dobrynin then said that this was their present desire and I said that we welcomed this effort and would be glad to hear any concrete proposal on his part. Amb Dobrynin said he had no concrete language to offer but that in general he wondered whether the ideas he had put forth to the Secy yesterday provided basis for common understanding.

I told him there was nothing I really could add very much to what Secy had said to him yesterday with respect to his general ideas and I thought Secy had made it very clear that US feels it very important that both Sov Union and ourselves be very clear that in order to restore conditions of peace in ME an equal-handed approach addressed both to Israel and Arab nations was required. This, as Secy stated and as the President made clear at Glassboro to Chairman Kosygin, involved on one hand withdrawal of troops by Israel and on other hand termination by Arab States of their state or claim to belligerency.

Amb Dobrynin then inquired whether we were fixed to the word “belligerency”. I said we were not attached to the word. We were however dedicated to principle that time had come for permanent peace in ME and not merely the fragile patchwork of fragile armistice agreements within the context of belligerency which had produced three wars in 20 years.

Amb Dobrynin then inquired as to whether I thought there was any possibility in a res such as suggested to the Secy that contemplated Israeli withdrawal and referral to SC for further consideration detailed examination of other points which were involved in ME crisis.

I said this was the approach in Yugo res and that I did not believe this offered any possibility of common ground. I emphasized that in our view this would not bring about peace and indeed realistically it would not bring about Israeli withdrawal. I repeated to him what President had said at Glassboro and what Secy has frequently said that while we were prepared to use our influence with Israel and the Arab countries involved, none of these countries was puppet of US and we could not dictate terms obviously unacceptable. He at this point interjected that Arab States were not puppets of Sov Union and I said I recognized this but that real question was whether Sov Union and US were prepared to take stand in this Assembly which might have impact upon various parties concerned.

Amb Dobrynin then said language had been discussed with LA’s presumably emanating from Spanish del about some prohibition against use of force. I in turn replied that this language was taken almost verbatim from Armistice Agreements and that we conceived this [Page 625] approach to be merely reformulation of language in Yugo res calling for observance of General Armistice Agreements. I read to Amb Dobrynin from 1951 SC res which contained fol passage: “Considering that since the Armistice Agreement which has been in existence for nearly two and a half years is of a permanent character, neither party can reasonably assert that it is actively belligerent.” I pointed out that if this was true in 1951 in a res which the Sovs had supported, it was obviously true in 1967.

Amb Dobrynin then inquired as to whether I had any language ideas in mind. I said that I did and if the word “belligerency” was stumbling block we were prepared to consider with them another formulation as follows:

  • “(A) Without delay, withdrawal by Israel of its forces from territories occupied by them;
  • “(B) Without delay, recognition by Arab States that Israel enjoys the right to maintain an independent national state of its own and to live in peace and security, and renunciation of all claims and acts inconsistent therewith.”

I pointed out that para (B) was very close paraphrase from Chairman Kosygin’s speech to GA.2 Dobrynin aptly said, and I did not dispute this, that this was a more refined way of saying that Arab States could not profess state of war against Israel, and he added in this connection that while he did not argue that this was correct interpretation of Chairman’s statement, nevertheless it would not be acceptable to Arabs. Again I reminded him in turn that para (A) would not be acceptable to Israel and that we were nevertheless prepared to support this even-handed approach.

Amb Dobrynin then inquired as to whether it is fair summary for him to report to Gromyko that we were in disagreement as the principles which might be formulated in final substantive res to Assembly. I said that based upon our exchange of views and his exchange of views with Secy as well as conversation President had at Glassboro and subsequent conversation between Secy and Gromyko, this was correct assessment unless at this stage Sovs were prepared to move in direction of recognizing that peace would not exist in ME with parties in area professing right to make war against each other.

Dobrynin then asked whether LA res had represented our essential position. I said to him that despite doubt which appeared in his facial expression, LA res had been developed without participation on our part and that from our stand point it was compromise res. US basic [Page 626] view was expressed by President in his five points but nevertheless we had supported LA res as at least recognizing interrelationship between elements of withdrawal, belligerency and other problems in the area. In this connection I told him that President, as he had indicated to Kosygin, was still very much interested in pursuing with him regardless of outcome at Assembly question of arms limitation in ME. I reminded him of Kosygin’s statement in his speech about this. He made no reply to me on this subject.

Amb Dobrynin then asked me if my assessment was that if we could not agree on substantive res whether, notwithstanding, the Assembly would agree. I then said that despite their intensive lobbying, to which he interjected, “and your own”, I did not see that situation had changed the basic position of parties.

Dobrynin inquired as to whether res could be redrafted in terms of principles. I replied that indeed it could provided both principles were incorporated into res. Specifically I said res could declare (1) that no state could continue to maintain forces on territory other than its own or (2) pursue policy of war or other threat or use of force against sovereign existence of another state. This declaration of principles could be then followed by referral of matter to SC to implement. I added however that we could not support declaration which would call upon Israel for withdrawal as specific act and then follow it with mere declaration of principle that state of non-belligerence should exist without calling upon Arab States to implement this principle. Dobrynin then correctly commented that this meant again that our basic positions remained unchanged and I again agreed.

Dobrynin then asked whether we had any ideas about procedural disposition of Assembly’s work if it turned out it would be impossible to have substantive res. I asked whether he had and he said he had no language to suggest. I then said we had further considered matter and we did have some ideas about procedural res and handed him copy of fol procedural res:

“The GA,

Taking note of the views expressed and the resolutions considered by the GA in its extraordinary session,

Requests the SYG to appoint a UN mediator for the ME;
Empowers the mediator to perform the following functions:
To use his good offices with the parties concerned for the restoration and consolidation of peace and security in the ME;
To assure the protection of the Holy places, religious buildings and sites in Jerusalem;
To promote a peaceful adjustment of the future situation in the area;
To assure that the parties fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter, and in particular,
That they shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered, and
That they shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN Charter.
Requests the mediator to report periodically through the SYG to the SC and members of the UN.
Transmits the records of the proceedings of the session to the SC for its further consideration of the matter and request the SC to deal with the situation as a matter of urgency.”

After reading res Dobrynin asked me whether we had any further thoughts about who mediator ought to be.

I reminded him of our prior conversation in which Wahlen had been suggested but stated that in conversation I had with SYG3 he had indicated that Wahlen in his view would not be appropriate. I then said Jarring, the Swedish Amb in Moscow, had been mentioned. Dobrynin asked whether we had suggested him. I said we had not, that I did not exactly remember how his name had entered the discussion but I did recall that SYG indicated high regard for Jarring. Dobrynin then observed that he shared that high regard.

Dobrynin then asked about origins of procedural res. I said we took it largely from general mandate given to Count Bernadotte in 1948. He seemed to note this with some interest but then said that as things now stand he did not believe that mandate was explicit enough. I asked in what respects. He replied it did not refer to withdrawal to which I replied that if it referred to withdrawal it would also have to refer to belligerency and we would then be going around in circles.

He then made very interesting observation that perhaps it would be best for us to consider together procedural res when it would be clear that Assembly could not at resumed session on Wednesday agree upon substantive res. I said that we were quite agreeable to talk with them at any time about either substantive or procedural res to which he replied that by our exchange it would not appear that we could agree upon substantive [Page 628] res but that we should reserve further consultations on procedural res if Assembly took no further action on substance. I said this was agreeable and again repeated we would be glad to consult with them at any time. Dobrynin suggested that perhaps in the procedural res the reference back to SC could refer to peaceful ways and means for solution of problems underlying situation, legal, political and humanitarian. This obviously was taken from Yugo res. I said that in procedural res we would be glad to negotiate with him on precise language.

Comment: As always with Dobrynin conversation was very cordial in tone and frank in its appraisal of situation. It is quite apparent however that they will continue their lobbying in attempt to obtain reversal of votes taken last week and it is also quite apparent they understand we will continue to stand on position we have taken. How successful they or we will be will depend upon LA’s. If LA’s remain firm it is my view they will not press for another vote. If however LA’s fall into disarray then we can anticipate another res which will reflect views of so-called Spanish draft as possibly revised by some LA’s. It is also apparent that Dobrynin really did not expect us to change our position and that he had reached this conclusion following his conversation with Secy yesterday. In any event exercise was useful one since (1) we gave him alternative draft which did not use word “belligerency” but which as I pointed out is nevertheless unacceptable [acceptable], and (2) it would indicate willingness to explore procedural disposition with us in event Assembly takes no further action on substance.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East, Middle East Crisis, Vol. VII. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to Moscow. Received at the White House at 2353. The telegram was sent to the President on July 10 at 8:30 a.m. with a covering memorandum from Walt Rostow that reads: “Herewith Dobrynin, having sounded out Sec. Rusk on the steadiness of our position, probes Amb. Goldberg in a highly civilized way, looking for one compromise or another on a Middle East resolution.” (Ibid.) A handwritten “L” on the telegram indicates the President saw it.
  2. An extract from Kosygin’s June 19 address before the General Assembly is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 534–537.
  3. Goldberg’s July 5 conversation with Secretary-General Thant was reported in telegram 59 from USUN, July 5. Thant said he would prefer a resolution rather than a statement such as Goldberg had suggested to Dobrynin in their meeting that morning reported in Document 342. He was consulting with various delegations and would be prepared to act pursuant to an appropriate resolution, which he agreed should avoid substantive elements in order to be feasible. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)