490. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1
New York, October 26, 1967, 1816Z.
1754. Dept pass to White House and Moscow (Immediate).
At dinner given for Kuznetsov by Amb. Goldberg following significant points emerged. Sisco, Buffum and Pedersen also present on US side; Fedorenko and Shevchenko for USSR. Dobrynin bowed out during course of day giving as reason pressing business with State Dept. Conversation was friendly, business-like, avoided entirely past differences over text and interpretation, and focused exclusively on where we go from here.
- Kuznetsov stressed Sov concern over situation in the area, as reflected in incidents of the last few days, and Sov desire to cooperate with US in SC action that will move matter towards peaceful resolution. In discussing dangers current situation he said Sov Govt seriously concerned Israelis are planning to take further military action against Arabs, and in particular that they might make attack across Suez Canal. (Interesting that his concern related to UAR while in July it related to Syria.)
- Goldberg pointed out that US even before hostilities broke out and at all times since has been using its influence to counsel restraint on part of all concerned. Goldberg said that it would be helpful in this connection if Sovs in their public declarations were as even-handed as US had been in calling upon all parties to discontinue all military activities. Goldberg made specific reference to SC meeting of last few days. In this meeting US said that violation of cease fire could not be countenanced by any of parties. On other hand Sov statements in SC would seem to ignore military activities on part of UAR which undoubtedly contributed to tension in the area. It was helpful for Sovs to vote for the res but in addition to voting for res it is necessary for both USSR and US to use their respective influences publicly and privately in interest of maintaining peaceful conditions. Kuznetsov did not reply to this presentation although he implied acceptance of validity of our argument by emphasizing that USSR had voted for a res which encompassed violations by both sides.
- Kuznetsov then inquired as to what our thoughts were about facilitating progress at UN towards a resolution on ME problem. In [Page 951] response to Kuznetsov inquiry Goldberg stated that there was no point in reviewing or renewing past differences as to Sov and US discussions at ESSGA. Goldberg said that Sovs knew our position on this matter but that the important consideration now was how to proceed at present juncture in pursuit of what should be common objective, namely just, durable and permanent peace in the Middle East. Goldberg emphasized that problem was not merely getting words into UN res but rather obtaining cooperation of parties without which such peace could not be maintained. Kuznetsov agreed and then renewed his inquiry as to what our views were now as to how we should proceed at UN. Amb Goldberg then made principal pitch in favor of US and USSR getting together promptly on basis of Danish text, which he felt was even-handed and consistent with US and USSR common views expressed last July and would achieve objective which we assumed we and Sovs share in common, to get both sides to cooperate in efforts of UN rep to achieve a peaceful settlement.
- Kuznetsov in turn said that he believed that US and USSR could use Indian draft as basis for discussion and possible SC action. He also almost by way of passing added that US–USSR draft of ESSGA (and this time he described it in terms of version one) could be discussed but touched on this only lightly and concentrated on Indian draft. Kuznetsov referring to recent high level exchange between us, saying that whatever differences of view there were, their letter and our response were mutual indications that we both wished to work together in trying to achieve a constructive result in SC. He made no real pitch to retain June 5 date mentioning possibility of reference to Israeli withdrawal “from territories it had occupied.” In response to Goldberg statement that UAR had not recently talked about date to us, Kuznetsov replied that UAR had “mentioned” date to them. Our impression is that while Sovs and Arabs will seek its inclusion, Sovs would agree to its exclusion. We also believe UAR would not make this breaking point, although Jordan feels much more strongly.
- Goldberg’s response was affirmative and positive but explicit that Danish draft rather than Indian should be basis for joint discussion on ground that it most closely approximated President’s five points and also past joint conversations. Kuznetsov did not preclude consideration of Danish draft, though expressed what is unusual for Kuznetsov, a strong personal dislike for Tabor, whom he said he distrusted because he had on several occasions misrepresented his position to other dels, particularly Arabs, in last few days.
- Goldberg expressed complete willingness to continue discussions with Sovs and suggested that these might resume Thursday [Page 952] morning2 to discuss all drafts. Kuznetsov while agreeing that discussions should go on expressed preference to see first if non-permanent members would come up with draft on Thursday. Kuznetsov however expressly reserved option of US and USSR getting together on basis of whatever texts had been thrown into non-permanent group hopper. Goldberg said he was sure and Kuznetsov agreed that whatever text or texts which emerged from non-permanent meeting, agreement of US and USSR would be necessary and that any text to be helpful should have as a minimum acquiescence of parties. While Kuznetsov did not demur, our impression is that Sovs hope that Indians will drag LAs along on their draft and set stage for final negotiation on basis of text most favorable to them and to Arabs. In this connection Kuznetsov confirmed that Indian text had been cleared by Arabs. Our impression also is that if Indians and LAs disagree on text Sovs will be prepared to discuss with US seriously Danish text.
- Kuznetsov said his instructions were to work closely with us to achieve constructive solution in interest of peace in ME. Said these instructions had just recently been renewed. Goldberg said our instructions were to make every effort consistent with American position as stated by President on June 19 and expressed at Glassboro to agree with Sovs on basic policy and to achieve agreement promptly on SC res which could help move parties toward peace.
- Goldberg stressed problems which existed in Arab group and necessity paying attention principally to states directly concerned, notably UAR and Jordan. Kuznetsov agreed.
- We found the meeting a very satisfactory one, and importance attached by Kuznetsov to exchange at high levels came through loud and clear.
- Confirming Secretary-Sisco telcon,3 we will make clear to Eban this morning serious consequences we feel could ensue and adverse effect on Israeli position here if further military action is taken by them in further retaliation over Elath sinking.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, United Nations, Vol. 7. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Walt Rostow forwarded this telegram to the President with an October 27 covering memorandum.↩
- October 26.↩
- The conversation took place at 9:25 a.m. on October 26. (Notes of telephone conversation prepared by Mildred Asbjornson; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls)↩