307. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1
7571. Jarring Mission.
Summary: In meeting with Wiggins last night Jarring said he expects written Israeli reply today and in addition piece of paper for Jordan. Thought Israeli reply would not go far enough, said Arabs would continue to insist on Israeli statement of willingness to withdraw from “all” Arab territories; said Riad intended to reply very promptly; thought Riad and Rifai both then likely to return home for consultations, would not break talks off but was doubtful if they would come back; feared protracted period of diplomatic stalemate (several months) would result during which military engagements likely to increase in [Page 608] area; said new factor of Syrian participation in settlement had been introduced (presumably by UAR); and expressed concern at greater rigidities in situation he had experienced with all parties yesterday. While expressing above views he also indicated he did not believe situation had come to an end, and gave no indication he intended to throw in towel himself. Jarring listened carefully but made no commitments to our suggestions (a) that key effort now was to assure UAR reply contained some substantive comments on UAR position, and (b) that he might consider putting forward questions to parties himself, possibly with suggested answers, as next round of negotiating process if this one comes to an end. Did say he would speak to Sovs again today (with view to their help in keeping Fon Mins here if possible and in encouraging constructive UAR response).
- Jarring asked to see Wiggins yesterday afternoon after talking to Eban, Riad and Rifai because things were “not very good.” Arrangements made to meet late last night after respective dinners. Sisco and Pedersen accompanied Wiggins.
- Jarring had talked to all three Fon Mins yesterday and was concerned with rigidities he had detected and probability early departure Arab Fon Mins accompanied by extended diplomatic stalemate and danger increasing military incidents in area.
- He said his conversation with Eban had been cordial, and he believed Eban was doing his best. Eban had promised written reply today2 and also to deliver paper for Jordan as well. Nevertheless, Jarring knew Israeli reply would not be satisfactory to Arabs. Eban had not talked of “functional” approach to Jarring but had said Israel would express its interests in Sinai as being security and “guarantees” of freedom of navigation in Straits. He had left it to Jarring to “guess” what guarantee they might require, which he did not intend to do. From conversation with Riad he was clear UAR would oppose any “guarantees,” while saying UAR would be willing to commit itself to freedom of navigation. Eban had also spoken of connection between withdrawal and secure and recognized boundaries. When queried whether Eban had used word “withdrawal” Jarring said yes, but when he had told Tekoah at elevators they must use it in written reply, Tekoah said they would have to speak of “disposition of forces.” At our urging Jarring said he would make another effort on this directly with Eban. Jarring said Arabs had clearly shifted emphasis from implementation to withdrawal, [Page 609] and from “all” Arab territories. He felt though that they might accept Israeli statement of willingness to withdraw “in principle.”
- Jarring said Rifai was particularly discouraged and in a difficult situation. He did not want to return to Amman to have to make a public report of no progress. On other hand he had been sitting here with little to do. If Riad returned Rifai would be in even more difficult situation. Jarring thought he could then stay here only if King told him to do so.
- Jarring said he had urged Riad to hold any reply to Israeli note until after his consultations in Cairo (in context Riad insistence on returning) with hope this would produce more considered reply. Riad made clear he would reply to Israeli note promptly and before he returned.3
- Jarring also said it was clear in last few days that Syria again being brought into picture by Arabs as part of settlement. He did not speculate why but obviously regarded this as complicating factor.
- Again expressed view Israeli Govt would not give him any details on their boundary ideas, though as victors it should be their obligation to make first move on this, because of Cabinet divisions and because any statement on UAR front would require shortly thereafter statement on Jordanian border.
- Wiggins told Jarring we had been making major effort with Israelis. We did not know any more than he did about Israeli position at this point. We would have liked to see them more forthcoming on boundaries and on res. UAR military operation on Canal on 26th had been highly unfortunate complicating factor which had interfered with Cabinet discussions and Eban’s effort to get more negotiating room. Sisco added that Arabs should of course understand that Israel would [Page 610] not put forward its final position at outset. Jarring replied that Arabs accepted that US was making serious effort with Israelis and felt this was change from earlier US attitude. Question was whether results would be enough.
- Pedersen commented that we now seemed to be faced with situation where whatever influences could be used on Israeli reply had been expended. While Eban written document would not meet Arab views it was likely to go some distance beyond last document, and the two together would contain considerable amount of substantive statements of Israeli views. To keep issue moving it was now critical to influence UAR reply to include not just a new demand for Israeli views on withdrawal but as much substance as possible. Otherwise it would be most difficult to make any further progress in Israel. Suggested Rifai, who had been helpful to get final para in last UAR reply, might be helpful. Jarring indicated this was general intention behind his effort to get Riad not to reply right away. Said he expected Israeli reply to “accept” Res along lines March 10 formula and to include something on implementation and agreement, with emphasis on latter. Still felt Arabs would insist on Israeli commitment to withdrawal.
- Sisco raised question of next steps if current round of written exchanges came to end through deficiencies of Israeli reply and another unsatisfactory UAR reply like last one. For example, had Jarring thought about possibility posing questions himself to both UAR and Israel, possibly also with suggested answers. Key issue to Israel was nature of permanent peace; this might be put to UAR. Key issue to UAR was boundary and withdrawal; this might be put to Israel. Jarring said he had of course thought about this possibility a lot. In fact he had put number of questions in past but not formally. Indicated he would think about matter, though did not commit himself.
- Wiggins asked whether Jarring had seen Sovs recently, indicating they might be helpful in encouraging Riad to remain in New York and/or responding constructively to Israeli paper. Jarring said he had not talked to them in last few days but agreed they might be helpful at this point and indicated he would ask to see Semenov.
- At conclusion of meeting Wiggins expressed continued concern about critical nature of present situation and about Jarring’s assessment of current state of mind on both sides. Jarring then assured Wiggins he had asked for early meeting in order to share his concern. Stressed he did not believe Riad would “break off” talks with him, but repeated his concern rather was that situation could go into protracted diplomatic stalemate for several months, which would be hard to break, and that consequences in area would be increased violence and military clashes. He felt, for instance, that UAR reaction to Israeli success in recent retaliation more likely to be to hit back itself than to make [Page 611] more determined effort for settlement. He did not refer at all to possibility he might himself throw sponge in.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Amman.↩
- The text of the Israeli paper handed to Jarring on November 5 was transmitted to the Department in telegram 7582 from USUN, November 5. The Israeli position outlined in the paper was in essence as presented by Eban to Rusk on November 3; see Document 302.↩
- On November 6 Wiggins, Sisco, Buffum, and Pedersen met with Foreign Minister Riad to urge that the UAR view the Israeli paper in the most positive light and respond accordingly. They pointed to the specific Israeli reference to withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries and also noted the Israeli emphasis upon security as the governing principle relating to the question of withdrawal. Riad was inclined to dismiss the Israeli paper as another “Israeli maneuver,” but agreed to consider returning a substantive reply. Riad indicated that he was planning to return to Cairo on November 7, but that did not mean that the UAR was breaking off the talks in New York. He said that the UAR wanted the Jarring Mission to continue and would cooperate with Jarring to that end. (Telegram 7604 from USUN, November 6; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR) A UAR paper, addressed to Jarring and handed to him on November 7, indicated that the UAR found nothing in the Israeli paper to move the search for a peace settlement forward. The UAR took the position that Israel still refused to implement Resolution 242 and was actively attempting to integrate captured Arab territory into Israel. Until Israel was prepared to withdraw from all captured Arab territory, the UAR did not see that peace was possible. The text of the paper was transmitted to the Department in telegram 7628 from USUN, November 7. (Ibid.)↩