372. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

258. Early this afternoon I received a telephone call from the Soviet mission stating that Amb Dobrynin would like to meet with me later this afternoon. We arranged a meeting for 4 p.m. at the US mission. Amb. Dobrynin and I then met for approximately 50 minutes.

Amb. Dobrynin opened the conversation by asking me whether the United States desired a constructive result from the Assembly which might lead to a peaceful composition of differences in the ME. I replied that the answer to this was evident. We had been trying since the very inception of the extraordinary session of the Assembly to concert with the Soviet Union and all others in the effort to bring about a just and lasting peace in the ME. I further said that any rumors he had heard to the contrary were unfounded. I added that if it was the Sov’s notion that we desired the Assembly to adjourn without adopting any res, this also was unfounded. As proof of this I pointed out that on Sunday, July 9, I had offered alternative suggestions to him both of a substantive and procedural character looking towards a constructive conclusion of the Assembly.2 I also pointed out that on July 5 and today I had agreed with Sov requests for additional time to permit further consultation about an appropriate res.

Amb Dobrynin replied that he was glad to get this reassurance about our point of view and that he wld convey this through FonMin Gromyko to his govt. He then said they were puzzled that we had not participated in the discussions that the LA’s had been holding with the Sovs during the past several days, and inferred that the Sovs assumed from this that we were disinterested in the outcome.

I told him that this inference was completely without any foundation. I said that in my conversation with him a week ago Sunday, I had specifically stressed that we wld be glad to meet again with the Sov del to explore further the possibilities of either a substantive or procedural res which might be mutually acceptable. I emphasized the fact that we had heard nothing from them during the past week indicating any desire on their part to resume discussions with us. With respect to the mtgs with the LA’s, I stated that the Sov del had sought the mtgs with [Page 675] the LA’s and that we had not been invited either by the Sov Union or the LA’s to these discussions. I did not see how we cld invite ourselves to these mtgs, absent an invitation from either of the participants. Amb Dobrynin then observed that the LA’s had made several references in the course of their discussions with the Sov del about US positions and that he had no doubt that the LA’s conferred with us about these mtgs. I replied that I had no doubt that the LA’s did refer to our position which was entirely natural since our position was a matter of public record and acknowledged that the LA’s, following their several mtgs with the Sov del, had advised us of the course of the discussions.3

I reminded him of my earlier comments to him that the LA’s had developed their draft without consultation with us and that we supported it notwithstanding that it did not fully meet our views for reasons which I had explained to the Assembly. I then reaffirmed that I and the members of my del were ready and willing to have additional further talks with FonMin Gromyko himself, and other members of the Sov del about the outcome of the Assembly.

Amb Dobrynin then turned to the LA text of July 14. He made the initial observation that LA text of July 14th was somewhat different from other LA texts which had been circulated. I said I did not know specifically what other texts he had in mind but that it was my understanding that the LA text of July 14 represented the agreed LA view of what a final substantive res shld contain.

Amb Dobrynin then inquired whether we would object to adding the words “without delay” to para 2 of the LA text affirming the principle that the withdrawal of Israeli forces to their original position is expected. I replied that we would have no objection to this if the words “without delay” were likewise added to para 3 which stated that the termination of a state or claims of belligerency by all states in the Middle East is expected. Amb. Dobrynin then observed that this of course was consistent with our established position and I acknowledged that it was.

Amb. Dobrynin then inquired whether we could dispense with the language relating to belligerence in para 3. I answered by saying this was a basic concept and that we could not dispense with the concept although we had demonstrated by my former proposal to him as reported in USUN 1344 that we agree to different language incorporating the same concept. He then reminded me that he thought our revised [Page 676] language would be most difficult for the Arabs to accept and I in turn reminded him of my own observations about this.

He then asked whether any other word than belligerency could be used and I said perhaps another formulation could be employed with the understanding that the concept would be the same, and I then suggested this formulation in para 3: “Termination of all states of war and any and all claims thereto is expected”. He in turn inquired if we could accept words which he said had been suggested by Amb. Ruda of Argentina “Renunciation of the legal capacity to wage acts of war by such states is expected.” I told him that this language was not appropriate and could lead to great confusion. In fact, I pointed out that it might be construed as a disarmament measure which would not be acceptable to either of the parties and indeed to the Soviets. I added that we had proposed registration and limitation of arms and had not been supported by the Soviets and certainly not by the Arab states or Israel. Amb. Dobrynin contended that this was not the intention of the language to deal with disarmament. I said that in the English version this was a logical interpretation. Moreover, I said that what had to be understood was the concept that all states of war and any and all claims thereto had to be terminated rather than renunciation of the concept of waging “acts of war”.

I reminded Amb. Dobrynin that FM Gromyko had stated to Secy Rusk 5 that the Soviet Union and Japan had on October 19, 1956, entered into an agreement terminating the war and re-establishing peace and friendly good neighbor relations between them,6 notwithstanding that they did not and have not yet signed a permanent peace treaty. I said that this was the basic concept we had in mind, and read to him the text of the joint declaration signed on that date at Moscow by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the PM of Japan. He followed the text with considerable interest and I then commented that if both of our countries supported such a development which did not have to be exactly in the same form, this in my view was an essential step in bringing about peace and security in the Middle East.

Amb. Dobrynin then turned to the language of the LA text relating to guaranteeing freedom of transit through international waterways. He then inquired whether instead of “guaranteeing” we could accept the language “settling the question of transit through international waterways”. I said this would be unsatisfactory because it would not [Page 677] expressly acknowledge the principle on which I thought both our govts were in agreement—that the innocent right of passage through international waterways should be guaranteed and protected. I added that if a state of war or belligerency were to be renounced or terminated, then the only problem to settle in the SC would be to guarantee freedom of transit through some appropriate means.

In summing up, Amb Dobrynin inquired whether we regarded the LA text with the change I suggested which was semantic rather than substantive to be the irreducible minimum insofar as we were concerned today. I said that it was, although as I previously pointed out I did not exclude further conversations with the Sov del if they desired further mtgs, and believed them to be fruitful.

I then asked Amb Dobrynin if there was any difference in Sov terminology between a state of war and state of belligerency, and he replied that there was and gave me the foll Russian words to indicate this difference: “state of war—sostoyaniye voyny. State of belligerency—sostoyaniye vrazhdebnosti”.

Amb Dobrynin then said that he would communicate my thoughts to his FonMin and I in turn reiterated once again that I wld be glad to meet with the FonMin at any time convenient to him and I wld be glad to call upon him at the Sov mission since Amb Dobrynin now on three occasions had done me the courtesy of calling upon me at the US mission. I also emphasized that our govt was quite prepared to extend any appropriate type of hospitality to FonMin Gromyko and his party during their continued stay here.

Amb Dobrynin said he wld be glad to communicate the substance of our entire talk as well as this hospitable gesture to FonMin Gromyko and to the Sov Government.

Comment: It seems obvious from my conversation with Amb. Dobrynin as reported above that Amb. Dobrynin was conducting a probing operation rather than a genuine negotiation. But this may not be the last word. In the announcement made by Pres Pazhwak, Soviets have until Thurs morning to make further moves and their disposition to wait until the last minute is well known.

Additional comment: I briefed Amb. Rafael on the substance of the above.

Any comment AmEmb Moscow would wish to make on above would be appreciated.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to Moscow, Tel Aviv, and the White House. Received at 8:58 p.m. and passed to the White House at 11:18 p.m.
  2. See Document 348.
  3. Circular telegram 242 from USUN, July 16, reported a meeting between Goldberg and a Latin American negotiating committee concerning discussions between the Latin Americans and the Soviets and conveyed the texts of Latin American and Soviet draft resolutions. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)
  4. Document 348.
  5. On June 23; see Document 321.
  6. For text of the Joint Declaration signed by Japan and the Soviet Union on October 19, 1956, which terminated the state of war between them and restored diplomatic relations, see 263 UNTS 99.