178. Telegram From the Department of State to the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic 1
Washington, May 21, 1968, 1549Z.
167634. Ref.: Cairo 2448.2
- Since term “timetable” can mean many things to many people, it would perhaps be useful define in other terms what we consider unacceptable and why, as well as what would seem unobjectionable.
- We are opposed to attempting to arrive at settlement by imposing terms or by applying terms in phases. Unwillingness to consider imposed solution has been central to our policy toward settlement from beginning and was enunciated in President’s June 19 statement. Our view on phased settlement has also been basic to our position and is fundamental to November 22 res.
- Re imposed solution, aside from probable unalterable Israeli opposition to procedure which ab initio requires surrender on what to Israel are matters of substance, concept of externally imposed settlement is incompatible with USG position that an active association of the parties in some form of agreement essential if peace is to endure. The USG is not “signed on” to Israeli objectives of a peace treaty arrived at through direct negotiations but in light of experience with 1957 expedients believes that to abandon principle that Arabs should accept responsibility of entering into some form of negotiation leading to agreement in favor of “imposed arrangement” would make later disavowal [Page 350] by Arabs of such arrangement that much easier. Although the word “negotiation” appears nowhere in the Resolution, it has seemed inherent in the situation that there must be a negotiating process of some sort.
- Genesis of timetable idea makes clear that at least some of major proponents intend that it provide alternative to common understanding and agreement among parties. In Egyptian usage it seems to be outgrowth of “protocol of implementation,” which embodied whole concept expressed by slogan “implement the resolution.” Latter idea we considered to be reflective of desire avoid acceptance of responsibility for negotiation and settlement. Re relationship to phased settlement, timetable of course contains phasing idea inherently. Moreover, as it was expressed in early stages (e.g., by UAR Amb. in Moscow), it seemed explicitly to include some form of phasing. From background information previously provided, you are also aware of role of French and Soviets in pushing idea of an imposed timetable for implementation of resolution.
- Word “timetable” itself need not mean mechanistic procedure and could represent mode of operation compatible with our position. We note Jarring has referred to “calendar” he is considering using in next phase; he may have in mind something other than imposed or phased settlement in unacceptable sense. As pointed out in State 165831,3 timing of steps to be taken in implementing SC resolution must obviously be part of any agreement between parties. Emphasis here is on fact that timetable would be derived through discussions involving parties and would be result of common understanding. We have not given detailed consideration to precise manner in which negotiations could be carried on, but obviously one method could involve an initial outline of sequence in which elements of settlement would be dealt with. Drawing up of outline would, of course, have substantive impact and thus would have to be done by and with parties, whatever particular method might be chosen to initiate the process. To discuss timing of steps one must also discuss nature of steps, and in this sense also timing and substance are closely related.
- We concerned that idea of timetable could become obstacle to progress if it actually constitutes new wrapping for old Arab position or if Israelis think it does—witness role of essentially harmless term “implement.” We hope therefore that there will be no attempt by parties or others to get agreement on its adoption, in abstract, as way of proceeding. This in part is reason for our determined efforts to discourage what appeared to be mushrooming support for it. In last analysis [Page 351] acceptability of particular “timetable” proposal can only be determined by examining proposal itself as it emerges, if it does, in process of Jarring talks.
- Re your query about “secret agreement,” there is, of course, no such agreement with or commitment to Israel. We have made no secret of the fact that, as President said last June 19, we believe that “… the parties to the conflict must be the parties to the peace. Sooner or later it is they who must make a settlement in the area.” It is essentially this concept which underlies understanding as to how we are proceeding on question of talks. It is understanding we have made equally clear to both Arabs and Israelis.