242. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

224669. Subj: Jarring Mission. Ref: Tel Aviv 5004.2


Israeli Min Argov called to convey to Asst Secty Battle following oral communication:

Begin Text:

The FonMin is surprised by the assumption expressed by US officers that there has been any change in the position which he and his colleagues outlined to Amb Ball and Asst Secty Sisco in Jerusalem. There is not the slightest justification or foundation for this assumption. In his conversation with Amb Jarring in London on Aug 9 Mr. Eban gave an account of Israel’s views on the Jarring Mission in terms which were identical verbatim with those expressed to Amb Ball in Jerusalem. Indeed he read the relevant part of the Protocol of the Jerusalem talks. It is disturbing that a totally inaccurate view about a change of position should have been propagated within the US Administration, and even outside.

Israel’s position remains precisely as stated to Amb Ball and Asst Secty Sisco. We do not believe that binding engagements will be reached and signed on the basis of obstruction and refusal to meet. On the other hand our belief in the principle of normal negotiation does not exclude the preliminary exchange of views and clarifications through Jarring and otherwise of some of the main principles involved in the establishment of peace. Thus we have tried to initiate a dialogue with the UAR on the juridical and political implications of the term “just and lasting peace.” We shall try to maintain this dialogue and to avoid a diplomatic vacuum. This principle applied to Jordan as well. We have noted Jordan’s reported willingness to hold joint meetings with Israel in Jarring’s presence. On the other hand Jordan wishes to learn Israel’s approach to the problem of “secure and recognized [Page 473] boundary.” As was said to Amb Jarring we are ready to clarify our conception of this point to Jordan through various channels and procedures well before the opening of the GA.

FonMin Eban has very recently ascertained that these opportunities have not been affected by recent frontier clashes. It is however essential that the utmost discretion be maintained on Israel’s efforts to diversify its methods of informal communication and that what was said to Amb Ball be taken on trust. Israel did not share the view expressed in April that the Jarring Mission was in danger of early liquidation and we do not now believe it impossible to carry the mission on to the UNGA when greater possibilities of meaningful communication may present themselves. End Text.

Battle said he would see that Amb Ball and Asst Secty Sisco were apprised of the message. He emphasized, however, that important thing was that Jarring have clear understanding GOI position. Argov asked if we believed Jarring had different view of GOI position than that given Ball and Sisco by Eban. Battle said this was our impression. From what we understood, Jarring seemed not to see degree of flexibility in GOI position that Ball and Sisco had believed existed following their talks with Eban. Battle urged that Israelis see that Jarring fully understands their position in this respect.
Argov asked whether matter now cleared up. Battle said he couldn’t say that it was, as neither he nor Argov present at Ball-Sisco-Eban talks. We would be in touch after matter discussed with Ball and Sisco.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Bahti (NEA/IAI), cleared by Day, and approved by Battle. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, London, Moscow, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 5004 from Tel Aviv, August 20, reported on Foreign Minister Eban’s reaction when Ambassador Barbour taxed him with following an inconsistent policy, as Barbour was instructed to do in telegram 223117 to Tel Aviv. Eban “responded vehemently expressing surprise and resentment” that the United States had concluded on the basis of insufficient facts and faulty understanding that Eban had gone back on the policy he had outlined to Ball and Sisco of Israeli willingness to deal indirectly on substance with both Jordan and the UAR. Eban insisted that Israeli policy had not changed and that he had outlined the policy precisely in his conversation with Jarring in London. (Both ibid.)