44. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • SiscoDobrynin Meeting, May 6

In his talk with Dobrynin on Tuesday, Sisco presented part of our proposed preliminary Arab-Israeli agreement.2 He told Dobrynin that we feel efforts should concentrate on an Israel-UAR settlement, but that this didn’t mean we were disregarding other aspects of the settlement. (Dobrynin said Moscow insisted that a UAR settlement could not be considered separately.)

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Sisco said we wanted a joint document for which both the US and USSR would take the credit and the blame. He asked for an intensive effort and said he was willing to meet every day. Dobrynin had no problems with Sisco’s procedural suggestions, but said he would have to check with Moscow.

Sisco explained the following US proposals: —a settlement would be based on the UN resolution,3 the settlement would be a package, a formal state of peace would exist, all claims or states of belligerency would end including terrorist raids, and the parties would agree to abide by the UN charter in settling future disputes. These are points 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 of our draft document; 4 and 5 deal with withdrawal and borders.

Dobrynin did not comment directly on any single item. He said Moscow would have to examine our entire document before giving a positive reply, and what Sisco had given him so far left out the key issues for the entire settlement—borders and withdrawal. Dobrynin felt that the US may have misunderstood the Soviet position on borders. They want withdrawal to pre-war lines, but have no objections if the parties want to change their borders. So far, the US document reflected the views of only one side—the Israelis—and if there is no more substance in our other points, Dobrynin thinks we will be back where we were two months ago.

Although Dobrynin seemed to be taking a harder line than usual towards our proposals, he may just have wanted to make it clear that the USSR will want to put its own ideas into the preliminary agreement instead of making minor changes in the US plan.

They are meeting again today (Thursday). I will have a fuller report on this meeting when you get back to Washington.4

On Wednesday, Sisco went over much the same ground with Rabin.5 Rabin feels that the points so far surfaced are generally negative, do not spell out what peace is, and contain no positive Arab obligation to peace. (Comment: Joe rebutted by pointing to a number of such obligations, including that to control the fedayeen.) He also felt that the entire approach demonstrated that the four power and two power talks are designed to avoid negotiations between the parties.

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Sisco also briefed the British and French on the meeting with Dobrynin, and told them that we welcome their comments. Neither had any immediate reaction.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 725, Country Files, Europe, SiscoDobrynin Talks, Part II, May 1969. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information.
  2. A summary of the May 6 SiscoDobrynin session was transmitted in telegram 71012 to Moscow, May 7. Included in this telegram is the partial text of the draft U.S. proposal that Sisco gave Dobrynin. (Ibid.)
  3. UN Resolution 242; see footnote 4, Document 2.
  4. See Document 46.
  5. Sisco met with Rabin on May 7. In telegram 71862 to Moscow, May 8, the Department reported on their discussion. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 725, Country Files, Europe, SiscoDobrynin Talks, Part II, May 1969)