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

2331. Middle East.

Goldberg saw Riad at his request at 3:15 this afternoon. Mohammed Riad, El Kony, and new person whose name we do not know, were present for UAR. Sisco, Buffum, and Pedersen with Goldberg.
Riad opened conversation by saying that he had seen Lord Caradon this morning. Understood Caradon was introducing res. Said he had given Caradon his comments. It was still his feeling withdrawal language was not specific enough in UK text, as was case in US text. Problem remained at same point. Question of withdrawal must be specific if we are to avoid problems in future. Are we to have full or vague withdrawal. If it is vague, nothing is being accomplished.
Goldberg noted he had stated US policy explicitly yesterday in SC.2 Asked Riad whether he found anything in that statement of policy that caused him difficulty. Riad said yes, withdrawal statement was difficulty. Goldberg said he regretted Riad had not come to Arab working group meeting yesterday. Lebanese FonMin had referred to Arab understanding there would be border adjustments and wondered why US had not spoken of this. Goldberg replied that he did not feel US had right to say anything that would prejudice Arab or Israeli positions. Riad repeated that vagueness on withdrawal was problem. Said he would make short statement this afternoon to make UAR position clear, how withdrawal must be behind June 5 line. He thought it very important to know, when UN rep comes, on what basis he comes. Principle of no territorial gains must be very clear; withdrawal must be very clear. UAR plans must be based on principle of no territorial gains. It was up to SC to decide on res.
Goldberg said that on behalf of USG he had tried hard to produce an acceptable formula. Fahmy had approached MisOff with certain comments yesterday. These comments had not been dissimilar from [Page 1038] conversation with Riad on Sunday (Nov. 12).3 From them both he understood that only difficulties on our text were withdrawal language and possibly word “mutual”. Fahmy had asked question what our reaction would be if certain changes proposed. He had replied to Fahmy that we want a workable text and that he did not expect either UAR or Israel to give up its position. We were striving for cooperation with a UN rep to bring peace to area.
Goldberg then said that if Riad was saying that his govt would be prepared to cooperate under US text with changes in only those two areas, he also prepared to give it constructive thought. Riad asked what were our ideas. Goldberg said he was talking about our text and he wanted to know if these (withdrawal language and word “mutual”) were the sole two areas of UAR concern. Riad said there were no other problems, only these two. Goldberg then said that US of course would not send armies but that we would do our best to work out a peaceful settlement if we could come to an understanding. We had stated our position; UAR had stated its; Israel had stated its. If Riad thought it was worthwhile in this framework he had a personal thought not yet communicated to Washington. If in his view as FonMin he really thought we could come to terms he could advance this thought and if FonMin thought it was worthwhile he would put it to govt. But we could not start from beginning and could not deal with other words. Riad said yes, we should talk without record, without putting forward writing.
Goldberg then said we thought withdrawal language, which was what we had worked out with Soviets in summer, might be substituted for present withdrawal language. We would suggest picking up language from version one of that text exactly in words then used in following form: “Withdrawal by the parties to the conflict of their forces from territories occupied by them, in keeping with the inadmissibility of the conquest of territory by war.” We said everything else in US res would remain the same.
Riad said so it is addition of this principle. My first reaction is that it is the same. Exactly the same as present US text. Goldberg replied that it was just personal thought and perhaps we should forget it. Riad then said it was of course good to add such a phrase and that it was of [Page 1039] course an improvement. This was not time for arguments. He thought he would not repeat language to anyone else, not even other Arabs.
Goldberg said that for him to put the language to his govt would be a serious step. He did not wish to embark upon it unless Riad was receptive. We could not deal with parts of proposal. It would have to be dealt with as whole thing. Otherwise we should go ahead with discussions in SC. We would not circulate idea as it was a personal one.
Riad asked whether we could make any additional changes in US text. Goldberg said no. Riad said that we should keep in contact, and meeting adjourned.
Subsequently, Sisco told Mohammed Riad we had been greatly disappointed at Riad’s reaction and that we thought there was no point in going further. Riad replied that they had not meant to terminate matter and that they would be giving suggestion very careful consideration. He subsequently came back to ask whether we would agree in these circumstances to deletion of word “mutual”. Sisco conveyed back that he would reiterate again that these were personal ideas that would be put to Washington only if Riad found them agreeable. Mohammed Riad said they understood this entirely.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Received at 12:03 a.m.
  2. The text of Goldberg’s November 15 statement in the Security Council is printed in Department of State Bulletin, December 18, 1967, pp. 836–841.
  3. Telegram 2193 from USUN, November 12, reported on Goldberg’s November 12 meeting with Foreign Minister Riad, in which Riad commented on the U.S. draft resolution. He argued that the withdrawal paragraph should refer explicitly to withdrawal to the June 4 line, and he questioned the term “mutual recognition,” arguing that it was not clear whether this meant recognition of Israel’s right to exist, which the UAR could accept, or diplomatic recognition, which he could not accept. Goldberg assured him that diplomatic recognition was not intended. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN)