182. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1
- The Moscow Communiqué on Nasser’s Visit
The joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of Nasser’s 19–day visit to the Soviet Union (attached)2 concentrates most heavily on the Middle East situation, although there are references to other major world problems. Typical of such pronouncements, the communiqué is a carefully worded document reaffirming mutual support and friendship and shedding very little light on what actually transpired during Nasser’s extended talks with the Soviet leaders. One of its more [Page 563] significant aspects is the fact that the communiqué appears to align the UAR with the USSR on a global basis although not in every detail nor in every way.
The Middle East
There is almost no hint of conclusions reached and the U.S. initiative is not even mentioned.
On the terms of a settlement, it is a standard reiteration of the Egyptian position which the Soviets have long supported. The line is the usual insistence that the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East can only be realized by the adoption of measures insuring the cessation of Israeli “aggression” and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied territory as well as the full implementation of the November 1967 Security Council resolution and the application of UN resolutions pertaining to the Palestinian refugees.
On further Soviet aid to the UAR, there are no details. Continuation of assistance is affirmed in general terms, and there is one reference to the need for “urgent measures” to compel the Israelis to withdraw.
For the most part, however, the general tone is relatively calm, unemotional and non-belligerent. There are, of course, some of the usual references to “aggressive imperialistic forces” and their plots and Israelis “aggressive and expansionist policy” supported by the U.S., but this is not overdone. More notable is the recurrent stress on peaceful settlement.
It may be notable that, in addition to omitting any mention of the U.S. initiative, there is no effort to respond to our statements from San Clemente.3
If anything, this statement seems to support the conclusion that we will get at least a qualified reply to our initiative rather than a flat rejection.
One of the more interesting aspects of the communiqué is its breadth in mentioning a wide range of international issues.
On these other issues, it is substantively a rather routine document, broadly alining Nasser with the Soviets but still preserving a good deal of distance between the UAR and the USSR. In particular, on European questions, while the UAR joins the Soviets in applauding those who have recognized the “sovereignty and independence” of both the FRG and the GDR as well as approving post-war European [Page 564] borders (not mentioned by name, incidentally), Nasser is specifically not cited as endorsing Soviet proposals for a European security conference. Nor is there in the communiqué an overall attack on NATO, as would be normal between the USSR and a Communist satellite. On the other hand, on subjects of long-standing Soviet-UAR agreement—anti-colonialism, Rhodesia, South Africa—the communiqué records the usual congruence of views. The U.S. is attacked only once—for supporting Israel. SALT is not mentioned, but the disarmament negotiations in Geneva in which the UAR has generally supported the Soviets—and in which our differences with the Soviets are not as great as in the past—are referred to favorably.
The portion of the statement dealing with Indochina appears to be merely pro forma and even somewhat moderate in some of its formulations. While it reiterates the customary attacks on U.S. “interference” and “aggression” it does not support the more extreme Hanoi position. It merely describes Hanoi’s ten points as a “a good basis” for a political settlement. This could be attributed to a Soviet desire at this point to distance itself somewhat from Hanoi’s diplomatic moves, or might be designed to conform to the general tone and content of the Soviet-UAR communiqué itself.