435. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

1033. 1. In course my conversation with Gromyko today, I raised Middle East situation, expressing hope US and USSR could reach understanding on problem. This connection, I recalled US-Soviet draft resolution of last July, and wondered if Arabs still opposed to it.

2. Gromyko recalled Kosygin had said to President, and he himself to Secretary and Goldberg, that US position too one-sided although they had transmitted it to the Arabs. Soviets had given Goldberg list of considerations which should be taken into account in seeking solution. He said that the Soviet Govt would like very much to find a solution, and attaches great importance to this matter. Soviet Govt believes neither US nor USSR interested in tensions in Middle East; this, of course, based on assumption Soviet reading US position accurate. Gromyko continued that any solution must be sought on realistic basis. Israel claims not realistic and pull rug from under search for solution. It must be realized that 100 million Arabs must be allowed to live. As to Israel’s existence, Soviet position well known and should not raise doubts in anybody’s mind. Yet, Israeli ultimata did not help. Gromyko maintained that key to solution was in US hands. If withdrawal Israeli troops can be secured, solution can be found. He said he would be glad hear US views on problem in New York and elsewhere; USSR prepared not only to listen but also to take certain steps to facilitate solution.

3. I said we did not think July draft resolution was pro-Israel, stressing that withdrawal must be connected with recognition Israel’s right to exist. On other hand, I noted we regarded Yugoslav proposal as being one-sided and unrealistic in that it separates the two problems. I said I was sure Secretary would want discuss this matter with him and noted solution should be sought on urgent basis since situation might deteriorate.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to USUN and Tel Aviv. Received at 2150Z.