38. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- The Dobrynin–Sisco Talks
You asked for a short summary of each of the Sisco–Dobrynin talks.[Page 134]
First Meeting—March 18 (Tab C)4
The meeting dealt mainly with points on which the US and USSR already agreed such as working for a lasting peace, no imposition of a settlement, achieving a settlement through Jarring, a package settlement, and an agreed settlement. There was some disagreement on whether the settlement would be agreed by or between the parties and on the method of setting borders and ensuring an Arab commitment to peace.
Second Meeting—March 24 (Tab D)5
Sisco tried to draw out Dobrynin on a contractual peace and Dobrynin tried to draw out Sisco on withdrawal. Sisco presented the US working paper to Dobrynin.
Third Meeting—March 25 (Tab E)6
Sisco explained the US working paper in detail.
Fourth Meeting—March 26 (Tab F)7
Dobrynin discussed Soviet ideas on withdrawal and recognized the need for a package settlement. He suggested a system of declarations and phased withdrawal. He also asked some questions about the US working paper which he found somewhat one-sided.[Page 135]
Fifth Meeting—April 2 (Tab G)8
In answer to Dobrynin’s questions of the previous meeting, Sisco discussed US ideas on special arrangements for Sharm el Shaykh and Gaza, demilitarization, Jerusalem and a peace treaty.
Sixth Meeting—April 3 (Tab H)9
Dobrynin said the USSR wants a permanent peace, asked about the talks with Fawzi,10 agreed that Arab and Israeli positions are hardening, and said the USSR has no interest in giving guarantees as part of the peace settlement. Sisco—speaking personally—thought it might be possible to work out a practical US–Soviet plan.
Seventh Meeting—April 11 (Tab I)11
Sisco, again speaking personally, suggested that the US–Soviet talks be directed towards working out a preliminary US-Soviet agreement to be given to Jarring for the parties. Dobrynin again pressed for a clear US statement on withdrawal. They met again yesterday. I will give you a more detailed report on that meeting when we have the full record. But Dobrynin did seem to commit himself to the idea of a single document—in contrast to the earlier idea of parallel documents—such as the Israelis want.
Eighth Meeting—April 17 (Tab J)12
Hal’s memorandum reviewing this latest meeting is at Tab J.
Ninth Meeting—April 22 (Tab K)13
Memorandum reviewing this meeting is at Tab K.[Page 136]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 725, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Sisco–Dobrynin Talks, Part I, April 1969. Secret; Nodis.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab A is telegram 33865 to Moscow, March 5.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab B is telegram 36425 to Moscow, March 8.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab C is telegram 4215 to Moscow, March 19. On March 19, Sisco spoke twice on the telephone with Kissinger about his meeting the day before with Dobrynin. According to a transcript of the 12:45 p.m. conversation between Kissinger and Sisco, “K asked how meeting with Dobrynin had gone—S said it is a beginning and once K has seen cable, he would like his reactions.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 359, Telephone Records, 1969–1976, Telephone Conversations, 1969) At 3:50 p.m. the same afternoon, after Kissinger returned from seeing Dobrynin at a luncheon for the Czech Ambassador, Kissinger and Sisco spoke again on the telephone. According to a transcript of their conversation, “K said he had given Dobrynin no comfort at all but said whatever S did had his full backing.” Kissinger and Sisco then discussed Middle Eastern issues in general terms. Before hanging up, “S said we have to keep telling Dobrynin what it is we want and in every meeting with him S will hit the same theme. S said it was a very interesting discussion but he doesn’t expect any quick results.” (Ibid.)↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab D is telegram 46143 to Moscow, March 25.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab E is telegram 46317 to Moscow, March 26.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab F is telegram 47123 to Moscow, March 27. On March 26, at 5:45 p.m., Sisco and Kissinger spoke on the telephone about the former’s session earlier that day with Dobrynin. According to a transcript of their conversation, “S said this procedure will go on another couple of weeks then we will have to face decision—do we really then try to develop a more detailed ‘plan’ which we would try out on Israelis and then try out on Russians. K asked what S thought. S said he did not want to make any judgments—told K to think about it.” Sisco also told Kissinger that he hoped they could find at least 30 minutes each week to talk about the Middle East. Kissinger promised that he would have his secretary set aside the time. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 359, Telephone Records, 1969–1976, Telephone Conversations, 1969)↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab G is telegram 50983 to Moscow, April 3.↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab H is telegram 51229 to Moscow, April 3.↩
- The morning of April 3, Rogers met with Dr. Mahmoud Fawzi, Nasser’s adviser on foreign affairs. According to telegram 51229 to Moscow, “Sisco said two principal topics [were] touched upon: (a) UAR desire to have Four Powers move ahead; and (b) indication that current UAR reaction to US working paper not as negative as public statement by Nasser on March 27.”↩
- Attached but not printed at Tab I is telegram 56630 to Moscow, April 13.↩
- Tab J is telegram 59898 to Moscow, April 18, summarizing the eighth meeting. Also attached but not printed is telegram 59897 to Moscow, April 18, which lists U.S. questions about the Soviet note on the Middle East of December 30, 1968; Soviet replies of April 17, 1969, to those U.S. questions; and Soviet questions of April 17 about the U.S. interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967.↩
- Attached at Tab K but not printed is telegram 62563 to Moscow, April 28, summarizing the ninth meeting. After this paragraph, Lawrence Eagleburger handwrote, “Tenth meeting being summarized. I’ll bring it to K[ey] B[iscayne] on Friday.” The summary of the meeting has not been found.↩
- Brackets in this and following two paragraphs are in the source text.↩