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

203. Mid-East Crisis.

Riad (UAR) met with Sisco again today as follow-up to confidential discussions of yesterday. Riad said he had some comments to make regarding Sisco’s queries of yesterday as to whether UAR in position now to renounce belligerency, and that if gap on substantive res unbridgeable whether UAR would believe time propitious for GA to decide upon some high level rep to make contact with parties.

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Riad’s response to belligerency point consisted of a reversion to three points which Fawzi made to Secy in his last conversation.2 Riad recalled that Fawzi had informed Secy that UAR is prepared to acquiesce tacitly to freedom of passage of all ships through strait and that this information had been conveyed to UK, USSR and France as well. Secondly, Riad recalled that Fawzi had stressed that UAR is “determined to return to state of quiet”. Riad said he would not wish to relate this terminology to other terminology being discussed in corridors but UAR seriously meant return to state of quiet. Third, Riad recalled that Fawzi and Secy had talked about possibilities of placement of UNEF or UN presence and that he wished to make clear on behalf of Fawzi that Egypt would definitely accept UNEF presence provided it was on both sides of line.

Riad said they unable to mention belligerency in res because of its implications with respect to Suez Canal.

Riad said that before he gave any specific answer to willingness accept third party they wished to see how present discussions on possible substantive compromise works out. He indicated that UAR had informed non-aligneds of its willingness to go along with draft presented by Malacela last night to Latinos. (This is draft contained in Annex B of USUN 1983 and which we informed LAs this morning was clearly unacceptable to US.)

During course of day there appeared shift in UAR position. About 4 p.m. this afternoon Riad sought out Sisco to inform him that it might be possible for UAR to accept word “belligerency” in res provided it is appropriately modified. In saying this Riad was referring to fol Indian formulation which we have already informed Indians is not acceptable to US.

“Further affirms that the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states in the Middle East allow them a rightful freedom from threats or acts of belligerency and consequently urges all states in the Middle East to refrain and desist from threats or acts of war.”

Sisco focused principally on advantages to everybody concerned in closing down GA promptly so that principal parties could begin to address themselves realistically to serious questions and arrangements that must be sorted out if durable peace is to be achieved in ME. Sisco said as long as public debate continues it will be difficult for parties to begin discussions, indirect or otherwise, and that in our judgment since gap between two substantive positions has been found unbridgeable it [Page 646] would be well to get matter back to SC for further consideration at some appropriate stage. Sisco stressed too advantages of getting some third party involved so that there can be realistic focus on fundamental elements of settlement. Riad did not disagree with this view but dwelt at some length on some need for “something to come out of GA” and in particular expression by Assembly in favor of withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Conversation then turned to internal situation in UAR. Riad said situation very difficult indeed, particularly from economic view. However he felt progress was being made in “reshaping military” and that he personally felt it was very important for influence of US to return to area at earliest possible moment. He said somewhat emotionally that this was in everybody’s interests, including US. Implication of what Riad said was concern over possible expansion of Sov influence in area.

Riad concluded by saying Fawzi felt it important that we keep in touch on regular basis. Sisco agreed and said he readily available at any time.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Received on July 13 at 10:34 p.m.
  2. See Document 327.
  3. Telegram 198 from USUN, July 13; not printed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)