271. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1
New York, October 3, 1968, 1552Z.
6819. Subj: Middle East.
- In lengthy conversation held by Buffum and Sisco with Jarring at latter’s request Oct 2, Jarring advanced new and interesting concept of approach to settlement for US informal consideration, indicating he not yet prepared to advance this to parties and requesting we discuss these ideas with no one, particularly Israelis.
- Jarring said he now inclined believe most productive approach wld be to separate out key elements of problem which are susceptible to early agreement, putting others like Jerusalem and refugees aside for further study and agreement at later stage. (He noted Sovs have similar idea re Jerusalem and said he has not yet raised it specifically with Jordan because he regards it as most intractable of all elements in problem.) He envisaged possibility of breaking out following elements; withdrawal of troops; secure and recognized boundaries; free passage through international waterways. He thought there might be some hope in such combination since so many nations, particularly UAR and Asians, keenly interested in reopening Suez Canal. Moreover, he felt territorial issues between UAR and Israel were minimal. Therefore, he conceived of approach which would include Israeli withdrawal from UAR, with Sinai demilitarized (possibly with UN presence) with UAR undertaking binding commitment (not clear whether between parties) to terminate belligerency and permitting Israeli free passage through Suez and Gulf of Aqaba.
- Jarring seemed more sure than before that he could get UAR signature on some kind of a document that would in effect legally bind them to carry out their obligations under the agreement. He also felt that UAR might be able to swallow agreement to let Israeli ships through Suez provided Israelis would not make an ostentatious display when their first ship goes through. As part of above arrangement, Israelis would be expected as first step to withdraw about 30-40 kilometers from Suez. As for Gaza, he adheres to earlier thought that this might be put under UN supervision for lengthy period, possibly going later to Jordan. Latter could capitalize on acquisition of Gaza to prove that even if some of their territory goes to Israel they wld [Page 541] not suffer a net loss of land in process. He did not consider Israelis would have legitimate claim in saying Gaza constitutes security problem if Sinai demilitarized. Gaza of course consists primarily of refugees, and solution of Gaza cld be considered largely as refugee problem rather than territorial or security problem. He considered that such approach would give Israelis most of what they want vis-a-vis UAR.
- Jarring recognized that at moment Israelis not disposed to seek separate agreement with Cairo since they consider UAR does not sincerely want peace and that they are giving priority to efforts at an accommodation with Jordan. Re latter, he complained that whereas Israelis say Jordanians have clear picture of what they mean by secure boundaries with Jordan, they have refused to tell him what they mean by it, which continues to preclude him from playing significant role in advancing that aspect of problem.
- Sisco recalled Israelis had authorized us to tell Jordanians they cld expect to get back most of West Bank, although he pointed out statements by Allon and others may well have left Jordanians confused as to what Israelis’ real intentions are.
- Jarring indicated he keeps pressing Eban for info on this, saying he cannot face Rifai again, who is in increasingly pessimistic mood unless he has clearer notion of Israeli intentions. He said Eban yesterday asked to be given “two more days.”
- Dept should be aware that Jarring is in the beginning of an intense round of consultations. He is really in high gear; yesterday delegates poured in and out of his office. He sees next few weeks as critical and made plain he will probably want our specific help on specific points with Israelis in next few days.
- He feels strongly that now that he is so deeply in middle of substantive exploration, that to revert back to a formula such as Caradon’s2 would be to return to the previous procedural impasse. For example, he does not see the Caradon formula really different from his own March 10 proposal. He also in last day has looked to see whether the [Page 542] May 1 Tekoah acceptance formula could be reworked and reused and has concluded it would be hopeless to move back this way.3
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to Tel Aviv, Amman, and Cairo.↩
- On October 2 British Permanent Representative Lord Caradon told Secretary Rusk that, based on soundings taken by the British Embassy in Jordan with King Hussein, he felt certain that Jordan was prepared to negotiate with Israel if Israel would make a simple declaration that it was prepared to implement the November 22 resolution. (Telegram 6804 from USUN, October 2; ibid., POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM) Foreign Secretary Stewart subsequently revised this formula, proposing a joint U.S.-British effort to press Israel not only to make a statement declaring its intention to implement Resolution 242 but also to declare a willingness to discuss with Jarring a timetable for implementation. (Telegram 6949 from USUN, October 8; ibid., POL 27 ARAB-ISR)↩
- The Department applauded the proposed initiative by Jarring. In telegram 251458 to USUN, October 8, the Department expressed the hope that Jarring’s vigorous initiative would lead to a breakthrough and proposed an extensive list of suggestions and revisions to the approach Jarring had outlined. There is no evidence that Jarring adopted the suggestions. (Ibid.)↩