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


  • SiscoDobrynin Talk, May 12

At their meeting on Monday, Sisco gave Dobrynin the rest of our preliminary agreement:2

  • Point 4. The parties would agree on secure and recognized boundaries, and Israel would agree that the former Egypt-Palestine border is not necessarily excluded as the future boundary. There would also be an agreed timetable. Sisco explained that in raising the possibility of withdrawal to pre-war borders this had something for the UAR, and the need to agree gave something to Israel.

    Tied to this point is the question of Sharm al-Shaykh which Israel feels it needs to keep the Gulf of Aqaba open. Sisco told Dobrynin that this is a critical point to which the parties must find an answer. The US does not want to return to 1967 when Nasser broke commitments obtained by the US and closed the straits.

  • Point 5. The status of Gaza would be worked out among Israel, Jordan and the UAR under Jarring. Sisco said the three countries ought to be able to work out a satisfactory solution.
  • Point 10. The areas from which Israel withdraws would be demilitarized. Arrangements would be worked out under Jarring for demilitarization and guaranteeing freedom of navigation. Dobrynin said that it was unrealistic to demilitarize all areas vacated. He could not accept Sisco’s idea that the greater the DMZ the more likely Israel would be to withdraw. Also one cannot talk about only one side’s security.

The Preamble which calls for the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, the need to establish a just and lasting peace, and negotiations under Jarring. Sisco explained that we see this as meaning that there must be direct negotiations at some point. Hypothetically, if both parties accept the US–Soviet document there would only be specific details to work out. Dobrynin asked about Jarring’s role, and Sisco said the talks would be under his auspices and he would decide when direct and indirect negotiations would take place.

Sisco closed by reiterating that we are interested in a truly combined enterprise with the Soviets. He said we have no assurance Israel will accept the document, and its success or failure would depend on whether the USSR can get the UAR to make the necessary commitments and concessions. Even if negotiations begin, we and the Soviets would have to remain ready to help.

Dobrynin’s preliminary impression was that the US had left out the most important question—withdrawal and boundaries. All of Israel’s demands are clearly stated, but not points important to the Arabs. The UAR reaction will be negative. The USSR is trying to meet US and Israeli wishes, but has not gotten anything on boundaries in two months.

Dobrynin asked about the four-power talks in New York. Sisco answered that they should continue, but the primary emphasis should be in Washington. The talks in New York should concentrate on refugees and guarantees.

They agreed tentatively that their next meeting would be May 19 or 20.

Sisco briefed the British Tuesday and the French Wednesday afternoon.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 725, Country Files, Europe, SiscoDobrynin Talks, Part II, May 1969. Secret; Nodis.
  2. In telegram 75822 to Moscow, May 13, attached but not printed, the Department provided a full account of the meeting. Also attached but not printed is telegram 75035, May 12, which summarizes the meeting.