115. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1
Washington, March 16, 1968, 2216Z.
- Goldberg, Sisco and Davies called in Evron (Rabin not available) to urge Israeli acceptance of formula outlined in Amman reftel.
- Goldberg observed that, as he had emphasized before, reports from each capital re Jarring Mission were somewhat colored. He did not mean this as criticism; it was quite natural and was due in part to Jarring’s own presentations. Jarring himself said his role was not to place blame on any party. It seemed clear, Goldberg continued, that Jarring will not submit to SYG report saying Israel was in the right and UAR in the wrong. Sisco interjected that reports of last few days had made this increasingly clear. Goldberg pointed out Jarring was very precise and if Israel had not said in so many words that it accepted the resolution he would not report that it had done so.
- Goldberg then reviewed highlights of Amman report re Jarring Mar 13 meeting in Amman, as he had done previous day for Tekoah. He noted in particular following points. Jarring, according to Jordanian report, had not characterized UAR response as negative (Jarring’s conception of his role would not permit such characterization in any case). Jarring had said Cairo put strong emphasis on implementing resolution and putting it into action. Jarring had said he was pessimistic, not just because of Cairo’s reaction but because of atmosphere in totality, implication being, Goldberg added, that his pessimism also based on Israeli position. According to Jordanians, Jarring said Eban had told him he thought Israeli cabinet could be persuaded to accept resolution. However, Jarring had said he could not get statement from Eban that Israel would implement it. Jarring had said he was not taking one side or other, but if deadlock continued he would have to report to SYG. [Page 236] Goldberg then described modification of formula proposed by Jordanians.
- Goldberg told Evron Israel must be careful not to put itself in political box. Israel had enjoyed good political position for past few days because of its affirmative reaction to Jarring formula, but now we had new situation with introduction of Jordanian modification. Goldberg urged that Israel say “yes” to this formula but at same time protect itself by rephrasing second element concerning implementation. Israel could say it understood that Rhodes-type talks were intended and that implementation would come about pursuant to para 3 of SC resolution, meaning there would have to be an agreed settlement. Sisco noted this would amount to tying in acceptance and implementation with pursuing these through Rhodes-type negotiations and in accordance with para 3 of resolution. He said this would take teeth out of idea that implementation could come by fiat without negotiation. Goldberg said his proposal, in capsule, was that there must be agreed implementation-agreed between parties. Sisco commented Israel should build on Jordanian statement that Jordan has always accepted resolution as package. He said if our suggestion followed, there no way Israel could get hurt.
- Evron said his off-hand reaction was that Israel would be taking very dangerous course to do this. UAR still said withdrawal came first. Sisco said Israel would reject that. Evron continued that if Jarring said he would not blame either side, Israel was then boxed in. If all Jarring did was report two views without saying which was in accord with resolution, Israeli position would be eroded. Sisco reiterated that formula we proposed would not hook Israel and Israel would not find U.S. taking position that it did. With respect to Jarring statement that it not his job to blame either side, Sisco noted that factual accounting by Jarring would show where balance lay. Goldberg pointed out Jarring no arbitrator; he would not interpret resolution for SC. Israel must see to it that its political position was protected and affirmative. He noted Israel had crossed a bridge when it said it could take first part of formula-acceptance; it should not let implementation trip it up now. Goldberg concluded with comment that there were many ways to write formula that would protect Israel and that with such formula he did not see how Israelis could be vulnerable.4
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Day, cleared in substance by Davies and Sisco, and approved by Day. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, London, and USUN.↩
- On March 15 Abdul Munim Rifai told Symmes about a meeting on March 14 between Jarring and members of the Jordanian Government. In an attempt to try to break the impasse between Israel and the Arab states, Jordan proposed that Jarring’s formula for agreement on Resolution 242 be revised to read that the parties would declare their “acceptance of the resolution and their readiness to implement it.” (Telegram 3839 from Amman, March 15; ibid.)↩
- Telegram 4165 from USUN, March 16, reported on a conversation between Goldberg and Israeli UN Representative Tekoah in which Goldberg urged that Israel give serious thought to accepting the revised Jarring formula as reported from Amman. (Ibid.)↩
- Barbour pressed the Israeli Government to accept the revised formula, but the Israeli response was that the word implementation had taken on a specific meaning in Arab pronouncements and that without language agreeing to negotiations as well, Israel could not endorse the proposed formula. (Telegram 2918 from Tel Aviv, March 17; ibid.)↩