184. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Middle East


  • The Secretary
  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador
  • Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
  • Adolph Dubs, Country Director, Soviet Union Affairs

Ambassador Dobrynin, at his initiative, called on the Secretary to present an oral statement on the Middle East.

The oral statement, a text of which in both the English and Russian languages was handed to the Secretary after Dobrynin’s presentation, reads as follows:

Begin text

“The Soviet Union, as the Government of the United States is well aware, from the very start of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East has consistently sought a settlement of this conflict through political means on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolution of November 22, 1967. With this aim in mind the Soviet Union repeatedly introduced proposals directed towards practical implementation of this Resolution.

“The U.S. Government declares now that it agrees to a resumption of the mission of Ambassador Jarring, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the Middle East. It is well known that the Soviet Government has always insisted on the necessity of carrying out the mission entrusted with Ambassador Jarring, that it put forward appropriate proposals to this end and made efforts so that his mission be effective enough.

“That is why the Soviet side not only holds no objections to this effect but, on the contrary, it reiterates its position with regard to the necessity of resumption by Ambassador Jarring of his mission. Positively evaluating the possibilities in Ambassador Jarring’s mission, we are ready to go on making contribution in the future as well so that [Page 570] contacts between the sides through Jarring which could be resumed in the nearest future could produce positive results.

“As we know, the Governments of the UAR and Jordan have expressed their readiness to cease fire for a definite period of time if Israel also takes upon herself the same obligation. The Soviet Government’s attitude to this is positive.

“Undoubtedly, the success of Ambassador Jarring’s activities requires that both sides unequivocally declare their readiness to implement the above mentioned Resolution of the Security Council in all its parts. The Soviet side hopes that the American side is being guided by the same motivations. The Governments of the UAR and Jordan have repeatedly stated and are confirming now that they are ready to implement the Resolution in all its parts. Therefore it is necessary that Israel should also clearly state her readiness to implement this Resolution. Otherwise the sides would find themselves in an unequal position: one of them does recognize the November Resolution of the Security Council and expresses its readiness to implement it while the other side ignores it.

“At the same time in the interests of success of Jarring’s mission it is important that he should have a definite enough understanding as to the basis upon which contacts should take place between the sides in search of ways to implement the Resolution of the Security Council. For the success of Jarring’s mission first of all a direction is required on the main questions of settlement—the withdrawal by Israel from the Arab territories occupied during the conflict of 1967, including the question of secure and recognized boundaries along the lines which existed prior to the conflict in June 1967, and the simultaneous establishment of a just and stable peace in the Middle East. The U.S. Government, on its part, has also repeatedly emphasized the utmost importance of the above mentioned questions. Both of these questions are organically connected with each other and should be considered jointly. Appropriate proposals to this effect have been put forward by the Soviet Government in the course of Soviet-American exchange of opinion on June 22 and also at the four-sided consultants in New York. The American side has not given so far its reply to the above mentioned proposals—neither in the course of bilateral exchange of opinion nor at the four-sided consultations. Yet these proposals are in complete conformity with the Security Council Resolution and the Soviet Government is expecting a reply from the U.S. Government.

“Parallel to the resumption of activities by Jarring and the initiation through him of contacts between the parties the four-sided consultations [Page 571] in New York should be made more active to work out agreed guidelines for Jarring. The Soviet Government on its part will be doing its best to facilitate it.” End text

After making his oral statement, Dobrynin commented as follows, presumably on instructions from his Government:

“Our statement has been made in the expectation that the American Government will, indeed, make necessary efforts towards achieving a just political settlement of the Middle East problem and will exert due influence upon Israel.

“Besides, we are taking into consideration the clarifications by the American side that—with Jarring’s activities resumed—the bilateral consultations will continue and that the American side will show an active and constructive approach to the discussion of matters of settlement in the Middle East both in the course of the four-sided and of the bilateral consultations.”

After thanking Dobrynin, the Secretary recalled that one of the important considerations in our proposal regarding a ceasefire was that each side would commit itself not to improve its military position. The Secretary said we assume that a military standstill as part of the cease-fire is also acceptable to the Soviet Union. Dobrynin responded affirmatively adding, “Yes, of course.” It was his understanding that Foreign Minister Riad’s statement to the Secretary covered this point.

The Secretary asked whether the Soviet side saw any objections to releasing the Arab response to our initiative. Dobrynin replied that it was his understanding that the UAR did not intend to publicize its response. In any event, he suggested that this matter be raised with the Egyptians. The Secretary said it would be helpful from our standpoint to make public the simple UAR statement accepting our proposal. He understood Dobrynin’s remarks to mean that publicizing the response would be acceptable to the USSR if this matter could be worked out with the UAR. Dobrynin said that he did not anticipate any objections from the Soviet side.

The Secretary added that the U.S. would do its part in support of Jarring to bring about a settlement, and he indicated our willingness to continue the Two and Four-Power talks. The Secretary said that he viewed the Soviet’s response as an indication that the USSR was interested in a peaceful settlement. Such a settlement would be in the mutual US–USSR interest and in the interest of the world community.

Dobrynin stressed that the USSR has no objections whatsoever to having Jarring resume his mission in a few days. He wanted to be sure that the U.S. understood that the comment in the oral statement referring to the absence of a U.S. reply to the Soviet June 2nd proposals was not meant to be a Soviet precondition for resumption of Jarring’s mission.

[Page 572]

Dobrynin asked whether the U.S. Government had had any reply from Israel. The Secretary indicated that we would inform Dobrynin as soon as we could regarding his query.

(An official translation of the text of the Soviet oral statement3 is attached. The official translation does not vary in any substantive respect from the English translation made by the Soviet Embassy.)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1155, Saunders File, U.S. Peace Initiative for Middle East, 6/10/70–7/23/70, Vol. 1, 5 of 5. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Dubs and cleared by Sisco in draft. The conversation was held in the Secretary’s office. The memorandum is part I of III.
  2. See Document 159.
  3. Attached but not printed.