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


  • SiscoDobrynin Meeting, 18 September

Joe Sisco saw Dobrynin yesterday. I will attach his detailed report as soon as we get it, but in his summary cable (Tab A),2 he reports the following:

The Soviets are now largely ready to buy the language on peace in point 3 of our proposal (Tab B)3 with the exception of the commitment to control the Arab terrorists. They also want to consolidate points 3 and 12. (Comment: Consolidation, even without changing the substance, would lessen the overall emphasis on an Arab commitment to peace, and, of course, dropping the commitment to control the fedayeen would eliminate one crucial element and give the Israelis “proof” that the Arabs just want to get their land back and then go on with the war.)
On direct negotiations Dobrynin took the position that the question is difficult and should not be raised now. Sisco has the impression that the question is not closed. (Comment: The Soviets could, of course, be hoping to postpone the question indefinitely.)
The Soviets still seem flexible on refugees and asked how many Arabs would come under our annual quota proposal.
Dobrynin understands our desire to keep all the options on security arrangements open for the parties, but he rejected an Israeli presence at Sharm el-Shaikh.
Dobrynin made his usual plea for withdrawal to pre-war lines.
Sisco told Dobrynin that we believe that an Arab commitment to direct negotiations at some stage is the key to further movement and that the Soviets must get out in front of the Egyptians just as we are out in front of the Israelis.

They will probably meet again in New York on Monday.

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Joe Sisco feels this represents some progress—or at least flexibility for further progress. The fact remains that we are still working around the fringes of the two main issues—peace and security.
We are still missing the key ingredient: How much would the Russians press Nasser if we agreed to press Israel on boundaries? Joe’s proposal for probing is within the context of his talks. Other less formal probes are possible.
In short, yesterday’s talk does not really take us anywhere new.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 339, Subject Files, Kissinger/Sisco. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Tab A is telegram 3084 from USUN, September 19; attached but not printed.
  3. Tab B is the June 26 U.S. statement on “Fundamental Principles”; attached but not printed.