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

19237. Subject: Re Kulebiakin Approach.2

We are interested in fact Kulebiakin approach seems to indicate Sovs concerned about opening Canal and may be willing accept necessity all vessels, including Israeli, going through canal as the price. Whether this is Sov policy or simply a feeler is not yet clear.

However, we do not want to shift from res discussed with Gromyko at end of GA, under which canal opening would be included among much wider objectives. Consequently suggest reply be conveyed to Kulebiakin along following lines:

Dept has noted with interest Kulebiakin indication Sov recognition opening of canal would have to involve freedom of navigation for ships of all states, including Israel. We wonder whether Sovs have any indication UAR views on this point. (We will be especially interested, without showing interest ourselves, in Kulebiakin’s reaction to such comment, e.g., whether he backs away, or gives any indication Sovs may in fact be thinking of something less, such as cargoes and not flagships, etc.)
We also note with satisfaction indication Sov interest in continuing consultations with US in interests maintaining peace in area. As Sovs aware our objective remains to establish a permanent peace in ME, not to revert simply to an armistice or absence of war, which has not been a success, and hope Sovs will also work for this objective.
Kulebiakin may not be aware that when Dobrynin returned to Moscow he carried message from Secty to Gromyko 3 stressing we had gone as far as we could go at end of GA in text upon which US and Sov Dels had reached agreement at that time, and urging that Sovs should continue to stand on that policy. We indicated also our willingness to [Page 770] continue consultations on ME. USG is awaiting response to that message as next appropriate step in our consultations. (We do not wish to proceed on other levels until that reply received.)

Please report on any observations Kulebiakin makes in response to this reply.4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Sisco on August 10. Cleared by Battle and James W. Pratt (EUR/SOV), approved by Eugene Rostow, and repeated to Moscow and Tel Aviv.
  2. The approach by fourth-ranking Soviet representative N.P. Kulebyakin to Pedersen was reported in telegram 413 from USUN, August 8, which summarized his main points as the desire to clear the Suez Canal for traffic through a partial Israeli pullback, with Israeli traffic to go through the canal, the desire to have a U.S.-Soviet agreement before the next Security Council session and to ensure it dealt with broad Middle East issues or with the Canal rather than with Jerusalem, and an expression of approval of a resumption of U.S.-UAR diplomatic relations. (Ibid., POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)
  3. See Document 392.
  4. Pedersen reported in telegram 449 from USUN, August 11, that he met with Kulebyakin that day. He commented that his impression was that the Soviets were thinking about the possibilities of solving specific issues, possibly because of Arab opposition to a broader approach, that they were not thinking of moving ahead on anything unless they had substantial Arab support, and that they were not clear how far they could bring the Arabs along either on a generalized approach or on specific issues. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR)