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

193. Riad (UAR) buttonholed Sisco in back of GA hall and asked to speak to him very privately and confidentially. He said he was concerned there had been insufficient contact between US and UAR since last discussion between Secty and Fawzi and felt it would be well for two of us to take a current reading on where matters stand at GA.

Said he wished to describe candidly how American position is being portrayed to them in corridors. It was being said that we wanted no res, that this Assembly was an unwanted Assembly called by the Sov Union and that US wanted to deny Sovs any possibility that something constructive would come out of GA. He said we felt that time would be required before any solution could be achieved, and that we wanted nothing to come out of Assembly in meantime. He concluded by saying our policy was being characterized as one designed to topple Arab regimes in ME.

Sisco said we have not been and are not against a GA res as a matter of principle. Principal, though not only, problem had been that in all [Page 641] of negots non-aligneds, in their discussions with LAs during this past week’s recess had been unwilling to accept as a matter of equity a para in which a call on Israel to withdraw would be balanced by a call to Arab States to renounce belligerency. Sisco pointed out it had not been possible to bridge this gap, and that we had been told by numerous dels that it was because UAR, Syria and Jordan unwilling or felt unable to renounce a state of belligerency. Sisco asked Riad whether this is an accurate assessment of the Egyptian position, whether in fact it could renounce belligerency in a res at this time. Sisco added that if LAs and non-aligneds could not agree on principles to be included in a substantive res, we would be prepared to support a simple procedural res devoid of substance, requesting SYG to designate a world statesman to make contact with the parties and to discuss whole situation. What was Egyptian position on this point?

We have been receiving conflicting info but most delegates have stressed unwillingness of Egypt to consider this kind of a suggestion.

Alternatively if in fact Egypt and other Arab States do not want this kind of a proposal to come out of GA, would a simple referral of records of GA to SC for further consideration be a possibility?

Finally, Sisco rejected view that our policy is to topple Arab regimes and said that our policy remains unchanged: We wish to have friendly relations with all countries in area, and we are prepared to do what we can to help bring about a durable and stable peace, as Pres Johnson indicated in his June 19 statement.

Riad asked whether there was some other form of words which might be agreed to on belligerency question. Sisco said if Riad was referring to the Spanish text, LAs had not accepted this proposal, and we felt it fell far short of mark. In particular, it did not contain kind of balance described above.

Sisco said important thing is what are Egyptian intentions. Are they prepared to renounce belligerency and all that this implies and to agree to it explicitly in a res?

Riad urged that Sisco get together with Fawzi and Riad later this evening to see if language could be worked out. Sisco said that we, of course, are always ready to talk and to consider any suggestions from any dels, including UAR. However, negots on this matter were presently in hands of LAs who were meeting with non-aligneds and that any suggestions which Egyptians might have might better be funneled though that channel.

In response to Riad’s query as to whether he should seek responses from Fawzi to questions raised, Sisco said he was not asking Riad to do so but if Fawzi could shed some light on these points it might be helpful, if not in the present tactical situation at least at some future [Page 642] time. Sisco concluded by saying he available to continue to exchange views should Riad have any further thoughts on matter.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Confidential; Limdis. Received at 10:14 p.m. on July 12.