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

3029. 1. Atherton and I spent over two hours with Mohamed Riad of FonOff evening 27th.

2. Atherton said he assumed from UAR discussions with other Arabs, particularly Jordanians, that Egyptians already had good feel of Ball talks in ME. Riad agreed.

3. Atherton emphasized that Ball talks within context pre-UNGA UN consultations and essentially fact-finding. He emphasized continuing USG desire assist Jarring in his efforts find areas agreement within framework Nov 22 resolution.

4. In course discussion, Atherton emphasized Ball’s efforts move beyond present doctrinal impasse: viz. Arab commitment to Khartoum and Israel commitment to direct negots, in effort get pragmatic negotiating process started. This connection Atherton made points set forth Deptel 207803.2

5. Commenting on short range problems, i.e. avoiding abortion of Jarring Mission and keeping problem out of SC, Riad indicated UAR’s agreement. As to long range, he kept reiterating GUAR acceptance of Nov 22 resolution in its entirety, including concept of agreed settlement, with all its implications. He said this meant GUAR had no intention returning to pre-June 5 situation.

6. Stating that GUAR had received text Israel’s “two questions” from Jordanians, he said he did not feel this anything new but said GUAR would not “be bashful” in responding and posing questions of its own. Riad said GUAR had given Jarring some substantive ideas of its position on free passage, borders and demilitarized zones without any response from GOI. Long before GOI, it had also taken initiative in posing question to GOI through Jarring—namely, what was Israeli concept of “secure and recognized boundaries.” GOI had not responded. Atherton commented that GOI and UARG had each posed hardest question for other side and neither should expect immediate [Page 442] full and direct answer. Important point was that this could provide beginning of substantive engagement of parties which offered best hope of breaking present impasse.

7. As to procedural impasse, Riad said Rifai had communicated to GUAR view of Ball that direct negots necessary at some point. Speaking very carefully, Riad said UAR at this stage could not take position other than opposition to direct negots. We said that at this stage important thing was to get process started. We did not see how direct negots at some stage could be avoided but that was not immediate issue and we had some hope Israelis now more flexible this point. When Jarring presented his formulation of “two questions” we hoped UAR would take opportunity engage Israelis in substantive dialog.

8. I then reiterated seriatim points in last sentence para 13 and remainder of State 207803 to Mohamed who took notes.

Bergus
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis.
  2. Telegram 207803 to Cairo, July 24, instructed Bergus to draw on Ball’s exchanges with the Israelis to make the point that Israel had responded to the U.S. initiative and was willing to engage in an exchange of views without insisting on direct negotiations. Bergus was also instructed to note that there was deep skepticism in Israel that the UAR was sincerely interested in peace. (Ibid.)
  3. The last sentence of paragraph 1 of telegram 207803 to Cairo instructed Bergus not to preempt Jarring by conveying the substance of the two questions the Israeli Government had asked Jarring to put to the UAR Government.