444. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Battle) to Secretary of State Rusk1
- Ambassador Pachachi’s Conversation with Mr. Robert Anderson
Mr. Robert Anderson called me to report that Ambassador Pachachi of Iraq had called on him Thursday2 for a full review of the Middle Eastern situation. During the special session of the General Assembly, Mr. Pachachi was the spokesman for a group of moderate Arabs with Mr. Anderson and others.
Mr. Pachachi, basing his comments on a meeting of his group (although UAR and others are not yet in New York), said that there was general concern because the Arabs did not believe they knew the position of the United States. The United States has not been explicit, they felt, in describing that position. There is some concern that this stems from U.S. support of the Israeli desire that nothing happen for a time since the Israelis are convinced that time is on their side. The moderate Arabs hope that our position is not also one of inaction as they consider that there must be an early settlement to the difficulties. If there is not an early settlement, U.S.-Arab relations will suffer considerably.
The moderate Arabs do not consider that their dialogue with the U.S. is adequate. They believe that there should be more contact with Ambassador Goldberg (which I urged during the last Assembly and urged today). Representatives of the group would like to meet with me, [Page 841] and I have agreed to get together with them the early part of next week in New York.
Ambassador Pachachi was asked how far the Arabs were prepared to go at this time. He replied that they were willing to accept “almost complete rights of passage” in the waterways. There is no problem on Aqaba, and the Suez Canal could be opened to all but Israeli flagships. When Mr. Anderson expressed doubt that the Israelis would accept such an arrangement, Mr. Pachachi replied that, while he could not speak for Nasser, it was even possible that the Canal could be opened to Israeli flagships if necessary to obtain a settlement.
The Arabs are willing to guarantee all borders, but they must have retreat from occupied territories.
Withdrawal from Sinai could be coupled with a demilitarization arrangement.
They would accept demilitarization of the Syrian Heights under United Nations direction.
They will accept a unified Jerusalem provided there is some kind of administration by the Arabs (presumably the Jordanians) over the old Arab quarter.
Mr. Pachachi remarked that the Russians will “go as far as the Arabs want them to go provided the United States will join.” The Eastern Bloc is, according to Pachachi, largely pro-Israel in attitude and the Russians cannot ignore this feeling on the part of satellite countries.
The Arabs are willing to accept a declaration of the end of a state of belligerency in some form.
They cannot accept direct negotiations alone with the Israelis. They will accept, if necessary, negotiations with a third party in the room. They would prefer to have the Arabs in one room, the Israelis in a second room, and a representative of the third country in a room between the two. They admit, however, that there is some precedent for them to sit at the same table provided a third party is present.
Comment: The foregoing is the most forthcoming offer yet reported. As I told Mr. Anderson, it is possible that Pachachi will be more open with him than he would be with a Government official. I would suspect that Pachachi’s position with Mr. Anderson will not be fully reflected in an official talk, but I will try to find out during the next few days. If the Arabs are willing to make a deal along the foregoing lines, this is very encouraging.