203. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

White House please pass San Clemente for Secretary Rogers and Kissinger from Sisco.

146306. Subj: Soviet Démarche on Middle East and U.S. reply.

Soviet Chargé Vorontsov called urgently afternoon September 5 on Assistant Secretary Sisco to present démarche re alleged Israeli intention to mount air attack on UAR regions beyond ceasefire zone on September 6 which is identical to démarche received in Moscow (Moscow 5122).2
Sisco said we had just received the Soviet message which was passed to our Embassy by Soviet Foreign Ministry official Zinchuk in Moscow. Suggesting Vorontsov note his following remarks, Sisco stated Soviet message will be studied. In U.S. view, if cause is removed, then danger would be removed. This situation has been brought about by violations of ceasefire/standstill agreement which were brought to attention of Soviet Government in specific detail over past days, most recently on September 3.
Sisco continued that way to remove danger is for situation to be rectified immediately. We have provided specific locations of violations to Soviet Government. There have been serious violations in our view of at least three kinds: (A) construction which has increased total number of sites, (B) number of SA–2 and SA–3 missiles have been installed where there were none before ceasefire, and (C) missile sites have been occupied which previously were unoccupied.
Sisco pointed out Soviet and USG agreed to ceasefire/standstill. It is clear this agreement does not sanction aforementioned activity, or moving around missiles from position to position, installing missiles, new construction, or increasing operational readiness. All this is contrary to para C of ceasefire/standstill agreement, text of which Sisco then read to Vorontsov.
Sisco said we feel that USSR cannot take position expressed to US by Deputy Foreign Minister Vinogradov that it has no responsibility for this matter. There no need to outline how heavily involved USSR is in UAR with its own personnel and equipment. USSR and US agreed [Page 615] on ceasefire/standstill in hope that it would lead to serious talks and political solution. Violations are serious, and both USSR and UAR would be taking on heavy responsibility if they should lead to breakdown in peace efforts.
Sisco observed that Soviet démarche contains allegation which also was stated to US by Vinogradov. Sisco stated US rejects categorically Soviet charge that US is attempting to establish grounds for resumption of military activities and break-off of talks. Sisco asked Vorontsov what possible incentive US could have to torpedo its own initiative after weeks of work with parties to bring about its acceptance.
Sisco continued what US wants is what Mr. Brezhnev said USSR wants in recent public statement: honest observance of agreement. This is important agreement between US and USSR. For agreement to work confidence between us is needed. If there cannot be confidence on this agreement, a question is raised as to what kind of confidence there can be between us in other areas.
Sisco pointed out that whenever nations take risks for peace—and US proposal was accepted on all sides—danger exists that any breakdown will bring about even more difficult situation than existed before acceptance of proposal. Sisco urged that Soviet Government examine very carefully information we provided in Moscow and take every feasible measure to rectify situation and bring about end of violations. This would remove danger and risks to which Soviet message refers.
Vorontsov said he would relay US comments and that Moscow and Washington understand each other’s positions. He returned to Soviet note; he said most pressing matter is information in Soviet message about impending Israeli actions and asked that he should tell Moscow as to what US will do. Sisco replied US will study Soviet message; Sisco refused to be drawn out further. Vorontsov added Soviets expect US will take action because time is running out. Sisco replied he had nothing further to add.
For Moscow: you should follow up immediately with highest available MEA official, responding to Zinchuk statement3 along preceding lines.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 713, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. IX. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated to Tel Aviv, USINT Cairo, Amman, London, Paris, and USUN.
  2. Document 202.
  3. This statement was transmitted in Document 202.