30. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)1

SUBJECT

  • Status Report on the Jarring Mission—For Your Talk with Evron 2

Eppie probably just wants to set the stage for Eshkol’s visit, but you ought to know how the Jarring mission stands before you see him. The Israelis presumably know all of this, although they may not know how much we know. We got some of it from the Egyptians.

Jarring hasn’t had much luck so far. On the plus side, he has gotten the Israelis to release 500 Egyptian prisoner and apparently has talked Nasser into letting the ships trapped during the Six Day War leave the Suez Canal. On the minus side, no one has moved from the positions of two months ago on the major issues of settlement.

The Israelis are still taking the position that peace treaties have to be negotiated. They outlined their stand in a letter to Jarring which he passed on to the Egyptians.3 The Israelis have not come out with any specific solution to problems, but the letter to Jarring mentions agreed boundaries, normal economic relations, free navigation and recognition without mentioning the refugee problem.

The UAR is holding to the line that Israel must withdraw its troops as the first step. There is no indication that Nasser is willing to talk directly to the Israelis.4

The Jordanians also are pushing for an Israeli withdrawal, but haven’t revealed their position on the specifics of a solution.

The Lebanese appear willing to accept almost any solution, but they’re the least of Jarring’s problems.

The Syrians won’t talk to Jarring.

In sum, Jarring has managed to get a highly indirect dialogue going between the Israelis and the Arabs, both sides still say they want [Page 58]peace, and positions have not hardened during his travels. He is certainly no farther from a solution than when he started, but Jarring himself says he doesn’t expect too much. It looks as if the next job may be how to help Jarring break through to some meaningful exchanges.

I think the main point with Eppie is to get pre-Eshkol atmospherics from him.

Hal
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. VIII, Cables and Memos, 12/67-2/68. Secret.
  2. No record of Rostow’s meeting with Evron has been found.
  3. The text of this letter was transmitted to the Department in telegram 1276 from Cairo, January 1. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Israel, Vol. VIII, Cables and Memos, 12/67-2/68)
  4. The UAR position was outlined in an aide-memoire handed to Jarring by Foreign Minister Raid on December 30. The text was transmitted to the Department on January 1 in telegram 1275 from Cairo. (Ibid.)