207. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

196580. Subj: Jarring Mission. Ref: State 195670.2

Under Secretary Rostow called in Dobrynin July 3 to convey certain US views on Jarring mission prior Nasser visit to Moscow (it had not proved possible for Ball to make approach to Malik in time).
Rostow told Dobrynin we wished to exchange views prior to Nasser’s visit. He referred to Thompson talk with Gromyko June 5 (Moscow 4113)3 saying we were struck by several aspects of it, but in particular by Gromyko’s formulation of timetable idea which he described as Egyptian position. We were also of course glad to follow Gromyko’s suggestion that we exchange views on ME, which could only be helpful.
Rostow then said that we saw three key issues in Jarring peacemaking process. First was question of agreement. He said that Riad’s acceptance of resolution as a whole on May 9 had seemed to us important step forward. Question was, however, whether UAR in accepting resolution as package included paragraph 3, with its reference to agreement. We considered paragraph 3 required agreement of parties and issue of whether UAR accepted this concept was important. Timetable as described by Gromyko seemed to assume need for prior agreement of parties and confirmation of this could be critical.
Dobrynin said Gromyko description seemed to him quite clear on this point and he wondered what we wanted Soviets to do vis-a-vis Nasser. Rostow said Egyptian position was not at all clear to us; we sometimes had impression they wanted to have issue returned to SC for agreement on timetable which would then be imposed. It was pointed out to Dobrynin that we were not so much interested in confirmation of details of timetable as outlined by Gromyko but rather in confirmation that UAR accepts need for agreement among parties as stated in paragraph 3 of resolution. Rostow said that confirmation of this sort could help remove our doubts regarding Egyptian intentions. He also said we were not sure that Jarring understood Egyptian position as it had been stated by Gromyko. On this latter point Dobrynin said he believed Jarring was informed.
Dobrynin commented that US had been very cool to whole idea of timetable in past, and he wondered if our interest in Gromyko idea reflected change in this attitude. Rostow replied that there was no change in our position. Our impression from UAR had been that timetable was to be imposed by SC as substitute for agreement of parties. In this sense, timetable was not acceptable to us. We had never objected to a timetable of implementation flowing from agreement of parties. We are now questioning whether UAR had moved from this position to acceptance of principle of agreement.
Rostow then said that second important issue seemed to us to be how agreement was reached. President had said a year ago that no method should be excluded. Direct talks seemed to us to be normal way of seeking agreement, but we understood problem they pose for Arabs. At same time concept of direct talks is acute political symbol for Israel of Arab will for peace. It was our hope that clear confirmation by UAR that it accepted idea of agreement would make it easier to deal with question of modalities. Perhaps Rhodes formula would be way to proceed. Dobrynin observed there were many interpretations of Rhodes formula. Rostow said we meant by it that no form of discussion was excluded. We understood that at Rhodes there were formal meetings only at beginning and end.
Rostow continued, saying that third critical question was form agreement would take. He noted that while Israeli position insisted on peace treaty and UAR stood on Khartoum formula we had suggested Soviet-Japanese declaration4 as example. We would be interested to know what Nasser and Sovs think of that. We had made clear to Israel, he said, that there was more than one way to frame agreement.
Dobrynin referred to Rostow statement that UAR at times seemed desirous of returning to SC, and said this was because Israel did not accept resolution. Rostow said this was not our view of Israeli position. Israelis had accepted Jarring March 10 formula. We were pressing Israel to be flexible, but this hard to do outside negotiating context. Problems of peace were acute political issues in Israel. They were not worth pressing in the abstract. Dobrynin said Sovs believed US supported Israel on direct talks, to which Rostow replied this was certainly not Israeli impression. Rostow said we wanted no means excluded.
Dobrynin said he would convey points to Moscow. He commented however that US had seemed very inactive for past months. Rostow said this not at all the case. We had worked hard to achieve March 10 and May 9 decisions, but were disappointed that thus far there had been no movement towards substance of settlement.
Dobrynin turned to question of NPT, asking why Israel had not signed when Syria and UAR had signed in Moscow. Rostow said we have impression Israeli position on NPT was related to progress on settlement. The matter was under discussion. He commented also that Israeli policy on security issue bound to be related to level of conventional armament in area. Dobrynin said he believed Israelis realized they could not achieve security through nuclear weapons.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Day, cleared by Acting Country Director for Soviet Union Affairs Adolph Dubs and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Malcolm Toon, and approved by Eugene Rostow. Repeated to USUN, Tel Aviv, London, Amman, and Cairo.
  2. Telegram 195670 to USUN, July 3, instructed Ambassador Ball to explore with Soviet Permanent Representative Malik the details of a proposed solution to the Middle East problem outlined by Gromyko in Moscow on June 5, especially Gromyko’s proposal for a timetable. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 4113 from Moscow, June 5, reported that Gromyko discussed with Thompson the problems experienced by the Jarring Mission. Gromyko endorsed the UAR proposal of May 9 for a timetable for the implementation of Resolution 242 and said that, as explained to him, the timetable would be agreed upon by the parties to the dispute and would be implemented gradually. (Ibid.)
  4. Reference is to the joint declaration signed at Moscow on October 19, 1956, which marked an end to World War II hostilities between the Soviet Union and Japan. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1956, pp. 819–821.