87. Telegram From the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State1
Cairo, February 19, 1968, 1500Z.
1686. Ref: Cairo’s 1675.2
- Mohamed Riad asked me call 12:30 today (Feb 19) receive answers to questions I had posed Feb 17. Riad opened conversation by repeating two questions I had put, viz.: (A) Did GUAR accept Nov 22 resolution and (B) assuming that both UAR and Israel accepted resolution, how did UAR envisage next steps? Riad then proceeded to read verbatim from lengthy statement which he had drafted and which he said he had that morning read to his FonMin who had approved it. I took full notes and will forward detailed memcon3 in next pouch. Since most of statement was of historical nature, however, only necessary telegraph highlights.
- In response to my first question, Mohamed gave lengthy historical excursus beginning from fact that since my return to Egypt GUAR had made it a point keep me fully informed of all its activities re Middle East crisis and to indicate that it was seeking peaceful solution. Mohamed then quoted excerpts from various conversations with Jarring indicate that GUAR “insisted” on implementation of SC resolution in its entirety. Riad then cited information received by GUAR from me and others to effect that USG felt Israel had not clearly stated its acceptance resolution and that USG urging Israel so to do.
- Riad then specifically referred to third para of SC resolution and said USG should have no doubt as to UAR position. When GUAR said it accepted resolution as a whole and that it should be treated as an entity, UAR has made its position very clear. Riad cited US-UAR discussions in New York prior to passage resolution where UAR accepted concept of treating resolution as a whole. He said in light of all this Egyptians asked themselves why there was any doubt in mind USG re UAR position.
- Mohamed then turned to second question re what UAR envisaged as next step in case Israel accepts SC resolution. Mohamed said GUAR believed this was hypothetical question. He said GUAR believed it within its right to know what was Israel’s position vis-a-vis [Page 179] resolution. As for method of implementing resolution, this was something GUAR would state after it knew Israel’s reply.
- Notwithstanding this, continued Mohamed, Egyptians had told Jarring several times and specifically in their last meeting that re method of implementing resolution, UAR was ready discuss this with Jarring. Egyptians assumed Israel would also submit its suggestions. Mohamed reiterated portions of last conversation with Jarring to effect that GUAR ready terminate belligerency, assume obligations in SC resolution relating to navigation, etc.
- Mohamed then said “Now we ask you, what do you want? We still remember that on the record you made a statement in SC in which Ambassador Goldberg declared that US would put all its weight behind resolution and that it would in due course request parties to implement it. When I speak about the resolution we mean the resolution as adopted by the Council taking into consideration all consultations that took place prior to the adoption. We also take into consideration that US accepted from the beginning that there would be no negotiations and no peace treaty. The question is what your position will be if Israel continues in its present position of refusing to accept the resolution. This will mean the stringing out of Jarring’s mission. We believe that the big powers should, at some moment if Israel persists, convene the SC for the sake of putting pressure on Israel. We think that the situation should be clarified before long and certainly before the General Assembly resumes its session in April.”
- I said I would report foregoing. I asked if Mohamed had used word “negotiations” in preceding paragraph advisedly. While it was true resolution had not referred to “direct negotiations,” seemed equally valid that resolution envisaged some kind of discussion among parties as only feasible means of implementation. Mohamed made no comment.
- Comment: Mohamed’s presentation, although bordering on the tendentious at times, was throughout couched in polite and dignified language. At the same time it was made abundantly clear that GUAR suspects that USG, having encountered resistance on part Israel to principle of acceptance of SC resolution, is casting about for ways and means welsh on its November commitments. For some reason Egyptians appear sublimely and genuinely confident that Jarring is on their side in present controversy.