168. Telegram From the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State 1

2353. 1. Mohamed Riad called me to FonOff today to make following presentation on behalf his Minister.

2. FonMin has received telegram from El Kony reporting conversation at social gathering in New York between Ambassador Battle and El Kony on or about May 6.

3. El Kony reported Battle had made eleven points:

He recalled US commitment to Israel re Aqaba in 1957 which Egypt had accepted but later violated. This limited US role in Middle East crisis.
There had been understanding since submission of SC Nov 22 Resolution that it implied sort of negots between Arabs and Israelis at some stage and in some form under Jarring auspices. Therefore Israel’s insistence on direct negots was wrong and UAR’s insistence on no negots also wrong.
He does not understand UAR position exactly since it obscure. Israel position also obscure.
SC Res is based on fact that it one entity but Arabs insist only on withdrawal.
Solution Jerusalem problem very difficult. US recognizes neither Jordan sovereignty nor Israel annexation. It must have special status.
Arabs accept many important concessions only after the opportune time which in fact affects those concessions.
Question secure and recognized boundaries would be clarified when negots start between two parties.
Battle showed interest and concern in demilitarized zones and rectification of frontiers between Jordan and Israel.
Declarations by Arab leaders now do not show they desire a peaceful solution.
US position is to support what Arabs and Israelis accept.
If SC seized again of question it will confine itself to adoption of Res similar to that of Nov 22.

4. Mohamed said FonMin had read this account and wanted me be informed he very surprised at Battle’s position. Reason for his surprise and astonishment was that he believed we had already crossed period of generalities and reached period of defined positions. FonMin had heard exactly what Battle was saying now six months ago when situation still fluid and before adoption SC resolution.

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5. Battle said GUAR position obscure and he didn’t understand it. If such was case, why didn’t he ask Bergus ask FonOff for clarification? If there any obscurity, GUAR not responsible for it.

6. FonMin regretted even more what Battle said on point D above. Battle must know UAR position on that point. Does this mean Ass’t Sec’y NEA does not read all records our conversations in Cairo in which we have consistently told Bergus that UAR accepts resolution as whole and as one entity? FonMin says this raises fundamental question as to how GUAR could cooperate with USG. FonMin would like ask Battle through Bergus if USG being fair or just? Would actions of this kind inspire confidence?

7. Mohamed then said that of course we have something in mind. At this point he read from lengthy memorandum submitted by Ashraf Ghorbal.

8. Memorandum states that Tekoah met Goldberg March 18. Tekoah reported that Eban met Jarring March 8. Jarring said Jordan refused his formula in its present form but might accept it if it indicated readiness parties accept and implement resolution. Eban said to Jarring that aim of UAR was withdrawal without peace, negots, agreement, or navigation. Eban quoted Jarring as saying that was exactly UAR position. Eban suggested two alternatives: A) acceptance of Jarring formula in its present form with indication Israel would accept if Egypt accepted; or B) “to seek agreement re its implementation and accordingly come to conference.”

9. Memorandum continues that Goldberg told Washington of foregoing and Washington sent report to “all of its Missions including Jordan.” On March 20 Symmes met Rifai and told him of Tekoah-Goldberg conversation. On same day Jarring arrived Jordan and spoke to Rifai who indicated Jordan did not accept his formula. Jarring did not refer to any alternative by Israel.

10. Memorandum continues that Symmes then informed Washington as Dept suspected that Jarring had not conveyed Eban’s suggestions for one reason or another. Dept sought clarification through two channels: A) Bunche who stated Jarring had reported he had never heard this language; B) Israel which indicated Eban did not really submit any suggestions or alternatives but was thinking out loud.

11. Mohamed said FonMin’s conclusion was that Tekoah gives info which USG distributes to all its missions. It is wrong information and US reps under false impressions.

12. Mohamed then returned to Ghorbal memorandum to report that Israelis told Barbour March 10 that Jarring had told them March 7 that Egyptians did not accept his formula and insisted on withdrawal as preceding anything else. Eban then met Barbour March 16 and said Egyptians trying by all means affect withdrawal without any conditions [Page 332] and then to open Canal for all ships except Israel. Eban said Washington had made Israelis believe UAR’s position was more tolerant than reality.

13. Memorandum continues that in discussion March 15 Rifai told Symmes: A) Jarring had stated that he had not conveyed to Israel any negative position as set forth by UAR FonMin; B) “Cairo stressing not only implementation but also that Israel must accept putting resolution into action and want withdrawal start before anything else.” (End of memorandum.)

14. Mohamed said UAR had spoken to Amman re para 13. Rifai believes there contradiction between points A) and B). Rifai had asked Symmes about this. Symmes expressed belief there had been misunderstanding.

15. Mohamed said all these reports make FonMin very uneasy. He returned to what Battle had said. In point B he said both Egypt and Israel were wrong. What did this mean?

16. FonMin could not understand Battle’s point F. He reiterated that UAR had accepted resolution. Before acceptance,UAR had insisted on unconditional withdrawal, it now accepted withdrawal under conditions. UAR had accepted SC Res which involved important concessions.

17. FonMin turned to point I. It is again regrettable because in every speech Nasser made he spoke of a peaceful solution, even in his speech to the military. Battle should be aware that whenever Nasser met important American personalities he insisted on a peaceful solution. Whenever FonMin met Jarring he spoke of peaceful solution.

18. As to Battle’s point J, what does this mean when it is said at a time that the potentialities of both sides are not equal? Israel is occupying Arab land and has declared its annexation of Jerusalem and Gaza. US position as expressed by Battle can only mean supporting Israel’s imposition of its demands. Arabs cannot accept cession of parts of their lands.

19. FonMin asks if in these circumstances he concludes US supporting Israel. Is he wrong? Such declarations and actions do not help in bringing peace to the area and do not help at all in establishing better relations between US and the Arabs. FonMin concluded that he reacted so strongly to this report because it quoted Battle for whom he has highest personal regard. If it had come from somebody else in USG, he would not have cared.

20. I said I greatly regretted being subjected to this confusing mass of detail. I detested arguments ad personam. They could only lead to difficulties in personal relationships which were essential to improving [Page 333] relations between states. I was at least glad that this time GUAR chose to complain directly to us. I was extremely tired of hearing complaints re US position and actions made to third countries. What bothered me most about foregoing was timing of this demarche.

21. At this point Mohamed said “Stop right there.” He said, “I know you are going to say Jarring is coming tomorrow. I say to you again stop right there. All I will say about Jarring is that I will give you a full briefing not later than Saturday morning.”

22. Comment: I think above tirade shows tendentious, neurotically suspicious, and basically pedestrian mentality of FonMin. I think we should respond to it briefly, and in general and high-flown terms, if at all.2 It may be something like the present Vietcong offensive on the eve of the Paris talks. The only legitimate gripe Egyptians have is alleged remark that Arabs insist only on withdrawal, if such remark was really made. On March 21 I conveyed, under instruction, gratification USG that UAR no longer insisting on withdrawal as condition precedent. (State 1338023 and Cairo 1949.4)

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis.
  2. Battle instructed Bergus to convey to Mahmoud Riad Battle’s surprise and regret that “what had seemed to me to be extremely useful and friendly conversation with al-Kony on May 6 has been intrepreted by him as evidence of US hostility to UAR.” Battle declined to address the questions raised by Riad. (Telegram 162710 to Cairo, May 11; ibid.)
  3. Telegram 133802 to Cairo, March 21, instructed Bergus to tell Mohamed Riad that the United States was grateful that the UAR had not reverted to insistence on withdrawal as a condition precedent and welcomed reassurances that the UAR was prepared to work toward a settlement based on Resolution 242. (Ibid.)
  4. Dated March 21. (Ibid.)