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

2449. Dept pass to Moscow.

Goldberg, accompanied by Sisco, Buffum and Pedersen, had dinner with Kuznetsov Nov 20 who had with him Fedorenko, Mendelevich, Morozov, Shevchenko, and Kulebiakin. With exception of brief discussion at end of dinner, evening primarily social. Only brief reference in support of Sov position on non-use of nuclear weapons was made during evening and remainder focused exclusively on Middle East.

Kuznetsov, making very little reference to USSR draft, concentrated on Sov desire for “improvement in UK text.” To this end, he suggested that at least word “all” be added to withdrawal para in UK text, if not “withdrawal to positions before June 5.” Kuznetsov seemingly ran through his brief in a perfunctory and low key manner, made above suggestions within the context of statement that USSR and US are basically in agreement on general principles, and that USSR wants a peaceful settlement of the ME question. Stressed need for clear terms of reference and contended that question of “balance” in res depended on vantage point from which one looked at res.
Amb Goldberg restated our position and said our response has been given to Kosygin in Pres Johnson’s letter. This constitutes our mandate and instructions here. Amb Goldberg expressed hope USSR would support UK res and that no further delay in SC action would take place. Amb Goldberg placed particular stress on fact there is now broad consensus in SC, that UK draft should be adopted promptly, and that it constitutes equitable balance, indeed razor edge balance, which has acquiescence of both sides and embraces indications by them of willingness to cooperate with UN rep. As was case in Sun2 night conversation, Kuznetsov did not challenge this assessment; in fact he said openly there are “a number of good things” in UK draft, but that it could be improved by the addition of word “all”, thereby making mandate clearer with respect to withdrawal of Israeli forces. So as not to give encouragement to Kuznetsov, Goldberg said response given to Kosygin was our final and firm position. Kuznetsov gave every sign that he expected this response from us.
Fedorenko told Sisco after dinner, and Shevchenko said same to Pedersen, that USSR expected SC action to be completed at Wed’s meeting.
Comment: Our overall impression from above is that Kuznetsov, while getting a response he expected, is likely to discuss matter further with Arabs, and that whether he puts forward an amendment to withdrawal para will depend in considerable measure on Arab attitude. Fact that press report Kosygin has written to Nasser, if accurate, indicates we not out of woods yet, but we remain vigilant, active, and hopeful that we will be at our home rather than Security Council table for Thanksgiving dinner.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR/UN. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Received at 12:38 p.m.
  2. November 19.