481. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

1676. 1. Amb. Goldberg, accompanied by Sisco and Pedersen, had a long and friendly two and one-half hour conversation October 21 on ME with Kuznetsov, Fedorenko, Mendelevich, and Shevchenko. Principal points which emerged are:

Kuznetsov continues to maintain that both versions I and II contain June 5 dates:2 Goldberg said this was totally unnecessary argument as it could be resolved on basis documents. Requested Soviets check their own files to find handwritten copy of version I handed to Dobrynin at time and later confirmed as correct by Dobrynin to Goldberg and which did not contain that date.3
Goldberg said in response to question US supported version I (without date) subject to common interpretation at time, and on ad referendum basis subject to consultation with principal parties concerned.
Kuznetsov maintained Sov support for version I (with date), but without common interpretation subject Arab approval and “as basis” for current action. He also avoided confirming Sov support for version II (we also avoided this). Kuznetsov said, if any other res submitted, paras 2A and B of US–USSR text should be included.
With above underbrush having been gone over Amb. Goldberg and Kuznetsov agreed we would await efforts of non-perm members to see what they develop. Goldberg having Kuznetsov to dinner Wednesday.

[Page 922]

2. Ambassador Goldberg said he had requested meeting Kuznetsov for two reasons: To discuss two versions of US–USSR ESSGA text; and review where we are and where we wish to go on Middle Eastern question at UN. Goldberg said it important in our bilateral relationships to avoid misunderstandings and recriminations. We attach considerable importance, as we know Sovs do, to privacy and confidential nature of our discussions. He realized we both operating under pressure in last days of ESSGA, but whatever difference there may be regarding interpretations, there should be no disagreement about documents or drafts on which common ground achieved. We understand Dobrynin gave Secretary on Oct. 19 two versions, both containing June 5 date, and Fedorenko gave these texts to SC Pres. (Tsuruoka) with indication that USSR did not consider these confidential documents. If this is case, we would like to know since we have refused to reveal to SC Pres such private information.

3. We note that version I left with the Secretary and with SC Pres contained June 5 date. This is not what was agreed to between US in July: There was no date in version I. Two versions were written out by hand by Amb. Pedersen at meeting with Dobrynin and handed to him. We suggest therefore that Sovs check own files to find hand-written texts Goldberg gave Dobrynin, and later confirmed telephonically as correct by Amb. Dobrynin after checking with Gromyko. Goldberg made clear we not charging bad faith, but expressed hope matter could be clarified since he did not believe it was dignified for US to reveal documentation and charge that texts given out are falsified.

4. Goldberg said he also wished to raise question on ground rules of discussions between us. When each of us had reviewed texts, does this mean they become non-confidential and public in character? For example, SC Pres asked us for these documents, but we refused to give them to him. As Kuznetsov knows, we and they have had confidential discussions within context of US–USSR relations, and for our part, we do not recognize competence of SC to cross-examine us on them.

5. Kuznetsov, speaking slowly and deliberately through an interpreter, noted with satisfaction opportunity for exchange of views on this important problem. He considered it absolutely right that our meetings and others of this character should be carried out in business-like and frank manner. Sov experience in negotiations shows results can be obtained only when discussions are frank and business-like, and where no side seeks to outflank other and play with arguments. Regarding Middle Eastern question, USSR, its government, and its delegation have been trying and will, by all necessary steps, continue to take measures in order to achieve solution corresponding to interests of parties concerned and directed toward consideration of peace in Middle East and [Page 923]lessening of tensions elsewhere. Sov ready to unite with other states, fully understanding importance of US role, to seek solution of ME question. This, in large measure, will depend upon extent to which there is mutual understanding and a mutual approach between US and USSR. During three or four days he has been in New York, Kuznetsov has tried to understand atmosphere and mood of delegations. He wished to share his impressions with Amb. Goldberg. He has had meetings with Arabs, primarily with UAR, which have provided him with belief UAR approach is now characterized by more understanding and realism than at end of ESSGA. He has same impressions from his conversations with Jordanians and Iraqis and believes this would be a positive factor which should be considered when attention is given to best way to settle ME problem. His impression, objectively and candidly, is that there is a more favorable possibility for a solution acceptable to all parties concerned and for preparation and adoption of an SC or GA res.

6. Kuznetsov continued he had second impression. While Arabs were taking more realistic approach, other side moving toward more unacceptable requirements leading away from a peaceful solution.

7. Kuznetsov said he would be as open and frank as Amb. Goldberg had been regarding two versions discussed at end of session. Sovs also have certain documents and info from which they derive certain impressions. He was aware that some called it an American draft, others an LA draft, and others a Sov-American draft. He confirmed their acceptance of US–USSR [draft] had been subject to Arab agreement. Draft (Kuznetsov at times used word “draft” in singular and other times in plural) contained balanced provisions. He said first version contained provision for withdrawal of Israeli forces to positions occupied before June 5 and a second provision called for discontinuance of the state of war, and a provision for settlement of questions by peaceful means in accordance with international law, including freedom of shipping, and solution of refugee problem. Unfortunately, that draft did not command support, and he need not dwell on reasons. He said now Arab states are more interested in a solution, agree to support this draft, taking it as a basis for a solution and for resolution to be adopted by SC or GA. If now other side, and above all US, remains at same point as it was at end of ESSGA, it would not be difficult to reach agreement on that text and make a contribution to a solution.

8. From what Amb. Goldberg had said, Kuznetsov understands US has problem with June 5 date. Without going into details, Sovs have two versions and both mention June 5 date. US did not deny fact that in one version date is included. Sovs had to think why US attached so much importance to date, what lay behind this: maybe US seeking to go back on its position. If both of us proceeded from fact that Israeli forces should [Page 924]be withdrawn to positions occupied before June 5, then there is no problem. Dropping date Kuznetsov argued could only create opinion that US favors solution not requiring full liberation of Arab territories and leaving certain territories under Israeli occupation so that withdrawal would be incomplete. This position would not contribute to settlement in spirit necessary for ME solution. It would be dangerous step. ME situation would not be conducive to lessening of tensions, good neighborliness, establishment of peace. In passing, he would point out that all resolutions put to vote at ESSGA stated definitely that Israelis should withdraw troops to positions they occupied before the aggression.

9. Amb. Goldberg said at outset Kuznetsov expressed common Sov-American view. We agree our efforts should be used in and out of UN to help bring parties to an understanding leading to durable peace. Both of us have expressed this as a common conviction and goal. It serves neither US nor USSR national interests to have lack of stability in area. US hoped to do everything it could to achieve a peaceful solution in concert with Sovs. But unfortunately, as famous jurist once said, “Concrete cases cannot be decided without general propositions.” Nevertheless there ought not be any difference on what we agreed to ad referendum regarding drafts. Amb. Goldberg repeated he was not charging bad faith or that USSR did not stand by its agreements, but he believed it was important to know what we agreed: he could say flatly and categorically that Soviet first version, which included date, was not what was agreed. He urged again that Sovs check their own files for hand-written text handed to Dobrynin which would show no date in version I. In looking at paras 2(A) and (B) of versions I and II, which Sovs had given us (both containing date), Goldberg pointed out these documents were also incomplete since full document contained preambular material in addition to an important para 3 calling for the “guarantee” of Suez Canal and making reference to refugee problem. Goldberg then read following para from USUN’s 314, rptd Moscow, dated July 22,4 referring to conversation with Dobrynin: “In course conversation we checked text of res as it had been circulated to Arabs and Sov Bloc by Sovs. In process discovered that Sovs had introduced reference to June 5 date in version I. I told Dobrynin this was not acceptable and that it had not been included in that version as given to him yesterday by US and as reported to Washington.”

10. Goldberg also reviewed in detail discussions between Gromyko and himself to highlight joint character of Sov and US participation in development of draft res and contributions each made. He informed Kuznetsov that Gromyko himself suggested some of ideas in draft and [Page 925]that “there were two parents to language,” though admittedly, he did not know who father was and mother was. Goldberg recalled first meeting with Dobrynin in early July. Dobrynin said USSR could accept basic concept of LA res but asked whether other words could be used for belligerency. Nothing more happened until US meetings with FonMin Gromyko. At that time, US made clear that we were firm in concepts, though flexible re language, and wording and ideas contained in 2(B) were discussed between Goldberg and Gromyko. At one point, Gromyko had asked whether the word “guarantee” could be replaced by word “consider” in para 3. Amb. Goldberg rejected this suggestion on ground that renunciation of belligerency in para 2(B) opened waterways as matter of principle and that under para 3 of draft res, SC role formula, came primarily from LA-Soviet talks and was largely LA formulation. Second version, unlike first, contained date, but did not have such strong words as “without delay” as contained in version I. Finally, Amb. Goldberg said at no time during those conversations was there ever asserted by Sovs a linkage between opening of Suez Canal and solution of refugee question. This was new factor Sovs had subsequently introduced.

11. Goldberg recalled that discussion with Sovs also focused on how and what “affirmative acts” would be required by parties. We had asked what renunciation of belligerency and recognition of Israel would encompass. In one of our conversations Gromyko had referred to a document which had been signed by Japanese and Sovs in which state of war was renounced. In later conversation with Dobrynin, Goldberg discussed such a document as an example of a possible declaration and affirmative act by parties that could be taken in connection with renunciation of belligerency.

12. Amb. Goldberg then reviewed last conversation he had with Dobrynin in October at which time latter confirmed negotiations between us in future were ad referendum, subject to Sov check with Arabs, and US consultation with principal parties concerned. In this same conversation with Dobrynin, Goldberg had indicated that what he had said constituted US reply to Gromyko’s questions.

13. Question was, Goldberg said, how we make progress. US had met with UAR FonMin and Jordanian Dep FonMin, on several occasions. Riad had asked whether we objected to non-perm SC members making an effort to develop SC res; our response had been that we had no objection on understanding, of course, that we would be fully consulted by them. On timing, we said we were ready to go ahead in SC promptly, provided there was an understanding on a constructive course of action. In these conversations we had stressed need for precision in SC res and had asked whether non-belligerency would include opening Suez; Riad’s response had been no UAR Govt could last if it [Page 926]took this step. He had indicated, however, that UAR would be willing to consider res which included principles based on June 19 statement of President and which called for appointment of a UN rep. Our impression from these discussions was that UAR willing to consider general statement of principles in SC res for mandate of UN rep. We had impression from Riad that it would be less difficult for them if they were not called upon by SC res to do specific things. We stood ready to approach SC res from point of view of appointment of a UN rep with broad guidelines. Such statement of principles would not require interpretation or acceptance by parties other than expression their willingness to cooperate with UN rep. We were now waiting to see what emerged from non-perm members discussions.

14. Kuznetsov, referring to history and drafts of July 19 and 20, stated USSR had carefully examined that question and wished to assure the US it was not Sov intention to distort or display what was agreed to in wrong light. He said we have all the records, and what we have given you are genuine versions. Sovs agree, of course, that drafts include preambular and other points. On basis question of June 5 date, Kuznetsov repeated USSR continues to support version I (with date) and asserted that draft remained good basis for a consequent solution and is position to which USSR adheres. He asked whether US supporting that draft and if not, what was US position. Sovs did not feel they had answer to this question.

15. Amb. Goldberg responded very precisely: US supports proper formulation of version I, with common interpretation discussed with Sovs and on understanding it is ad referendum in relationship to parties. US could not support version I in a vacuum.

16. Kuznetsov asked if US supported any version that contains a date and asked again if US refused to support it. Goldberg replied no, US supported proper version of I on agreed basis; there was never a date.

17. Fedorenko then asked about version II. Amb. Goldberg said this academic since Kuznetsov has just said that the Sovs support version I with a date. Amb. Goldberg asked for Sov position on version II. Kuznetsov smiled and said he had asked first. Fedorenko interjected that version II was US draft. Amb. Goldberg responded that it was not and that it was largely LA draft.

18. Kuznetsov said Sovs could now see from discussion that US is taking steps to depart from draft agreed to on July 20. US wants to hamper carrying out a constructive solution and Sovs still adhere to position that drafts of July 19 and 20 are and can be good basis for a solution; if other side (meaning US) retreats from that position then we have to consider what can be done now. USSR also aware non-perms trying to prepare [Page 927]something and would welcome any steps and measures towards a solution which would be acceptable to all parties. If another draft res is developed, formulation contained in July 19–20 draft should be included.

19. Amb. Goldberg replied that we did not want to get into polemical argument. However, we do not accept concept that we have re-treated from anything; there were common understandings as to meaning. We agree that we should now await results of Sov efforts.

20. Kuznetsov again returned to question of date and asked why US against date. Amb. Goldberg replied this has long history. Date being used to roll everything back to conditions existing before war. If you revert to pre-June 5 situation, you return to unstable conditions of armistice agreements; Canal and Straits can be closed at whim of UAR; armies confront one another on frontiers; and there are no demilitarized zones.

21. Kuznetsov said that date refers only to territory occupied and not to other problems. He asked if US favored Israel retaining territory. Amb. Goldberg said US not in favor of territorial aggrandizement or restoration of old conditions. Question where forces would withdraw would have to be cleared up in discussions among parties. Kuznetsov said if no date included in res, other side may not withdraw from all Arab territories. This would aggravate situation and become permanent source of discord. Amb. Goldberg asked whether Kuznetsov agreed withdrawal should take place in context of peace. Kuznetsov did not respond directly but said Sovs support July 19–20 draft. He said there should be withdrawal of Israeli troops to pre-June 5 positions and other problems should be considered in accordance with this res.

22. Amb. Goldberg asked Kuznetsov for his interpretation of para 2(B)-what did it mean and what did it require the parties to do. Text called for acknowledgments and renunciations, which were positive actions. What did Sovs conceive these meant? Kuznetsov refused to interpret it. Amb. Goldberg said it is important we know what US and USSR understand is meaning of such para. For example, FonMin Gromyko had made clear even though word “belligerency” was not mentioned, para 2(B) did in fact mean renunciation of belligerency. Kuznetsov said question of interpretation was a new problem and a complication. Amb. Goldberg said all he was asking was confirmation of understanding achieved.

23. Meeting concluded in expectation we would continue conversation at Wednesday5 dinner meeting, if not sooner.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to Moscow Priority and to Tel Aviv and Amman. Received at 0338Z.
  2. In a meeting with Rusk on October 19, Dobrynin gave him two pieces of paper, both dated July 20, headed “1st version” and “2nd version.” The first consists of paragraph 2 of the first version of the U.S.-Soviet draft resolution, as transmitted in Document 380, except that in sub-paragraph 2.a, the words “to the positions they occupied before June 5, 1967” are substituted for the words “from territories occupied by them.” The second consists of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the second version of the draft resolution as transmitted in Document 380. The two pieces of paper are attached to a memorandum of October 20 from Read to Rusk, which also forwarded a copy of Version I as transmitted in Document 380 and states that the first version text Dobrynin had given Rusk the previous day was clearly an altered form of the July version. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR) No record of Rusk’s October 19 meeting with Dobrynin has been found.
  3. See Document 380.
  4. Document 384.
  5. October 25.