423. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

23795. Subject: US-Israeli Talks on Proposed ME Resolution.

Goldberg, Rostow, Battle and Popper had long talk late August 17 with Israeli Charge Evron, Israeli UN Ambassador Rafael and Cahana of Israeli UN Mission to continue talks begun Aug. 10 on tentative US–UK draft resolution.
Tone was much milder than in Barbour Tel Aviv report on the Israeli instructions (Tel Aviv 483).2 Essentially Israeli position was that we must not compromise on principles contained in President’s June 19 speech; that Russians had been seriously weakened by Middle East developments; that basic Israeli posture was and should be to sit tight on present positions until the Arabs would directly negotiate with them a general settlement which would give both sides peace and security; and that latest Soviet-American and US–UK draft resolutions seemed to Israelis to depart from President’s principles and thus to open way to third party activity which would weaken the Israeli position.
Goldberg and Rostow warned against underestimating Soviet potentialities for consolidating their influence in Arab world at expense of Israel; denied new draft resolution departed from our principles; refused to accept view that direct Arab-Israel negotiation was the only road to peace; and emphasized the need for close and candid Israeli-US consultation in handling tactical problems at the UN.
It was agreed to continue discussion, focusing on specific terminology, during week beginning August 28. Full report follows septel.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Popper, cleared by Battle, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Also sent Immediate to London, Moscow, and USUN.
  2. Document 420. Barbour commented in telegram 526 from Tel Aviv, August 21, that the tone of the conversation in Washington was milder but that the substance was largely identical. He noted that Bitan had talked to him “from extensive notes which he said closely reflected Eshkol and Eban’s comments.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR)
  3. Telegram 23821 to Tel Aviv, August 19, states that Goldberg began the discussion by stating that Barbour’s report of his conversation with Bitan indicated Israeli misconceptions concerning their discussions. U.S. thoughts concerning tactics in the United Nations had been put forward only to the British and the Israelis. The terms used in the Israeli response were “not appropriate and hardly acceptable. We were seeking a decent peace settlement, probing for ways to reach it, and we expected frank and sympathetic response from them.” He stated that the President’s statement of June 19 remained the basis of U.S. policy, and U.S. relations with Israel would continue to be based on full and frank consultation. When Rafael stated that the Israeli assessment was that it was best to sit tight and do nothing in the United Nations, Rostow “disagreed profoundly”, stating that the best way to a settlement was to use the draft resolution as a means of facilitating agreement, otherwise “we would be faced with greater pressures to accept less palatable solutions.” (Ibid., POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)