96. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel 1

123868. Ref: State 114277.2

Ambassador Rabin February 29 delivered Eban’s reply3 to Secretary’s letter of February 13. Summary follows. Text by pouch.
Jarring mission and modalities—Eban summarizes Israeli steps to advance Jarring mission, including agenda for peace, their most recent language on acceptance of UNSC Res and their willingness for Jarring to convene parties according to Rhodes formula of 1949. Eban agrees interruption of Jarring mission by UN debate would be unfortunate but adds Israel on basis its record would face world opinion in confident mood.
Eban emphasizes it would be counterproductive to pursue semantic wrangle any further on acceptance of UNSC Res. In his opinion [Page 198] UAR has either raised this issue as parliamentary or propaganda maneuver or as means of securing parallel, informal, and noncommittal implementation of Resolution without direct negotiations, agreement or recognition. Eban says Israel insists on (1) face-to-face negotiations, (2) contractual agreement, and (3) permanent peace, not mere suspension of belligerency.
In accepting Rhodes formula, Eban says Israel would not allow its representative to go to Cyprus hotel for purpose of being ostracized and shunned by Arabs but would expect to meet them together and constantly with Jarring. At Rhodes in 1949, Eban asserts, UN Representative firmly insisted on latter procedure.
Jerusalem—Eban reiterates Israeli position that Jerusalem should not again be divided but does not foreclose hopes of meaningful accommodation to any legitimate interest. “In conversation with Ambassador Barbour on 14 July 1967,4 Prime Minister Eshkol indicated a possible opening.” (We cannot locate report of this conversation here and would appreciate transmission of identifying reference or Embassy’s record.) Eban also refers to possible access agreement with Jordan. Criticizing GOJ behavior in former Jordanian sector of Jerusalem Eban rejects Jordan’s search for veto on municipal development while refusing negotiations and agreement. Eban suggests Jordan would benefit with respect to Jerusalem and regional cooperation from direct talks with Israel.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Precht on March 1; cleared by Officer in Charge of UN Political Affairs Betty Jane Jones (IO/UNP), Assistant Legal Adviser for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Donald A. Wehmeyer, Atherton, Bovis, and Wiley; and approved by Davies. Repeated to Amman, Cairo, and USUN.
  2. Document 79.
  3. The full text of Eban’s reply was forwarded to Rusk on March 1 under cover of a joint memorandum from Handley and Sisco. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)
  4. This conversation was summarized in telegram 167 from Tel Aviv, July 14, 1967. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. VIII)