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

182821. Subject: SiscoDobrynin Meeting on ME October 28.

Summary: In his meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin October 28, Sisco gave Dobrynin our language on Israel-UAR boundary question, stressing that it is contingent upon Soviet agreement to equally specific language on peace and to need for Rhodes-type negotiations between parties to work out details of a settlement including (a) security arrangements at Sharm al-Shaykh, (b) demilitarized zones and (c) security arrangements for and final disposition of Gaza. Sisco also emphasized that we were not presenting elements of a new US document but rather formulations designed to reflect common US-Soviet positions for inclusion in a joint document to be transmitted to Jarring [Page 294] through Four Powers. In putting forth these formulations, Sisco said that we are not prepared to negotiate them further with the Soviets in any substantial way. Dobrynin undertook to obtain Moscow’s reaction, stating only as personal preliminary comment that he thought too many questions had been left open and that Moscow would want document to be more specific and detailed. End Summary.

Assistant Secretary Sisco and Ambassador Dobrynin held third session October 28 in their ME talks since US-Soviet ministerial discussions in New York in September.2 Responding to Sisco’s inquiry if Dobrynin had comments to make, latter said he would only reiterate instruction he received earlier and imparted to Secretary and Sisco last week: There would be no Soviet reaction to US proposal re nature of common document until US position clearer on borders and withdrawal. Sisco then voiced US concern re Lebanese situation, Syrian complicity and Soviets abetting anti-US campaign in Arab world (septel).
Sisco pointed out that US regards process which began in New York talks last month as one of devising joint US-Soviet document. Added he wished to emphasize and hoped Dobrynin would report explicitly to Moscow that we do not consider revised formulations which we have suggested to Soviets in last few weeks as elements of any new US document. What we have tried to do is basically to reflect what we hope is concrete US-Soviet understanding reached orally on particular points.
US July document3 is last US document that we intend to table, Sisco continued. Present effort is a mutual and common one of drawing up tentative joint US-Soviet document. What we are now recording are understandings or near understandings which have evolved in our discussions.
In New York we found common language for inclusion in Preamble on question of procedures for getting talks started between parties under Jarring’s auspices. At first subsequent Washington meeting we suggested modified language to Soviets in attempt to reflect our common views on how to deal with questions of Tiran, Canal, and refugees. We also proposed a concept for dealing with what US-Soviet discussions have identified as central issues, namely: peace, withdrawal and boundaries, and practical security arrangements. As Dobrynin would recall, we said: If US and Soviets can reach agreement on specific peace language and on neutral formulations leaving to parties to work out (a) practical security arrangements in and around [Page 295] Sharm al-Shaykh, (b) arrangements for DMZ’s, and (c) security arrangements for and disposition of Gaza, then US would be prepared to consider more specific language on boundary question.
At last SiscoDobrynin meeting,4 US proposed at Soviet suggestion a consolidated formulation of our peace point. At brief meeting last week of Secretary Rogers, Dobrynin, and Sisco it was agreed that Dobrynin and Sisco should try to approach this concept with concrete language on conditional basis. In one final effort to move things forward, we are prepared today to complete process of seeking common language for joint US–USSR document.
Sisco explained that we view following points which Sisco would now give Dobrynin as a package within a package. In other words, these points must stand or fall together as far as US is concerned. Sisco said that the first of the elements which the US considers to be linked is last paragraph of Preamble as it had been worked out jointly with Soviets in New York, and of which he had already given Dobrynin a copy.5

Begin text. Israel and the UAR,.…6

Agree that their representatives under the auspices of Ambassador Jarring will follow the procedures the parties utilized at Rhodes in 1949 to work out without delay, starting on the basis of the following provisions, a final and reciprocally binding accord on ways of implementing Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 to establish a just and lasting peace. End text.

Sisco said the second element of the package within a package was the language on withdrawal which had also been worked out in New York. In giving copy of text to Dobrynin for reference, Sisco invited Dobrynin’s attention to fact that all formulations being transmitted this session had following caption: “Contingent Draft for Possible Inclusion in a Joint US–USSR Working Paper.”

Begin text. The parties, in reaching a final accord (contained in a final document or documents) on a package settlement on the basis of these Fundamental Principles, would determine a timetable and procedures for withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from UAR territory occupied during the conflict of 1967 to boundaries to be delineated in accordance with Point 3 as well as an agreed plan for interrelated fulfillment of all other provisions of Security Council Resolution 242. End text.

Sisco said US had reviewed this point re withdrawal as well as Point 2 which he had worked out with Dobrynin in New York (USUN 3322)7 and which also dealt with withdrawal procedures. US was now dropping second point because we found it to be inconsistent with first point. Point 1 says parties would determine timetable and procedures for withdrawal, but old Point 2 spelled out some of timetable and some of procedure. We feel this should be left to parties, and omission of old Point 2 has additional advantage of avoiding whole problem of timing of withdrawal in relationship to other actions. Sisco added that Dobrynin would find Sisco’s presentation at this session to be based on assumption that question should be avoided entirely of when peace and withdrawal are to happen in relation to each other. Sisco mentioned that he and Dobrynin could return to this subject at a later time.
Sisco explained that third element of package within package is consolidated US language on peace which Sisco gave Dobrynin Oct 17 (State 177075, para 14).8
Language on boundary question is fourth element. Sisco noted US July document used formula to effect that old international frontier was not excluded as secure boundary between UAR and Israel. Soviet response favored use of either of boundary language in Soviet June document9 or of US language but with deletion of phrase “not excluded.” US has now devised counter formulation to reflect possible US–USSR consensus on boundary question, Sisco continued, which does two things: (A) it reflects view that former international boundary between Egypt and Palestine should become secure and recognized boundary between Israel and UAR; and (B) it reflects view that Israel should not be asked to withdraw to that boundary except in context of peace and agreement on establishment of DMZs, security arrangements which will make boundaries secure and will assure continued free navigation through Tiran, and agreement on Gaza.
Sisco presented boundary formulation. Begin text.

The parties would agree on the location of the secure and recognized boundary between them, which would be shown on a map or maps approved by the parties which would become part of the final accord. In the context of peace, including inter alia agreement between the parties on the establishment of demilitarized zones, on practical security arrangements in the Sharm al-Shaykh area for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran, and on practical security arrangements and final disposition of Gaza, the former international boundary between Egypt and the mandated territory of Palestine [Page 297] would become the secure and recognized boundary between Israel and the UAR. End text.

Sisco explained that fifth and last item for package within package was formulation to reflect neutral language to which Sisco had been referring since July. Sisco emphasized that new language intended not to prejudice position of either side on these points. Although Dobrynin frequently said US position is one-sided, he would see we are not trying to prejudice size or location of DMZs or specify any particular type of security arrangements or options re disposition of Gaza. US not proposing use of UN facilities to police DMZs, neither are we ruling out UN facilities. We are trying to find neutral formulations which do not prejudice either side’s position. Formulation makes clear that Israel’s interest in Sharm al-Shaykh area is confined to practical question of assuring free navigation through Tiran. Formulation also reflects fact that Israel has legitimate security concern in Gaza and should have voice on matter, and this in turn is inseparable in our judgment from disposition of Gaza, where sovereignty has been in abeyance for 20 years.
Before presenting text, Sisco stressed that if US and Soviets can agree on common document and can get parties engaged in exchange of views, and if US and Soviets continue to press parties while process under Jarring is going on, we believe that more flexibility on these three issues (DMZs, Sharm al-Shaykh and Gaza) and other subjects will develop in exchanges between parties. This will help US and USSR in trying to exercise influence on parties. Sisco added we do not envisage US and Soviet roles as ceasing with the drafting of our common document.
Sisco presented neutral language formulation. Begin text. For the purpose of ensuring the territorial inviolability of the parties and guaranteeing the security of the recognized boundary, the parties, following the procedures set forth in the last preambular paragraph of this document, would work out an agreement on:
Zones to be demilitarized and procedures for ensuring their demilitarization;
Practical security arrangements in the Sharm al-Shaykh area to assure freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran; and
Practical security arrangements for and final disposition of Gaza. End text.
Sisco reiterated that items he had presented today constitute package within package and stand or fall together. US considers these formulations a fair compromise of Soviet and US positions as set forth in June Soviet document and July US document. Speaking candidly, Sisco stressed, we are not prepared to negotiate these points further in any substantial way.
As for rest of document, Sisco said, we gave Soviet side our proposed reflections of common positions on Tiran, Canal and refugees [Page 298] on Oct 10. We have additional suggestion for dealing with the one point which both US and Soviets recognize cannot be left uncovered: interdependence of UAR and Jordan aspects. Sisco said this interdependence is particularly underscored by our discussion of refugee point. We think question of interrelationship can be taken care of by adding one simple paragraph to our non-substantive point on refugees of Oct 10. We believe that our paragraph makes clear that we are dealing with what Gromyko described well as horizontal and vertical package.
Sisco presented additional paragraph for refugee point. Begin text. It would be understood that the accord between the UAR and Israel would be paralleled by an accord between Jordan and Israel, which would include agreement on a just solution of the refugee problem. Implementation of both accords would begin only after agreement had been achieved on the entire package. End text.
Sisco observed that next point in common document as US envisages it would be language of US Point 11 in July document dealing with respect for sovereignty, on which US and Soviet sides have long been in agreement. This would be followed by old US Point 13 as amended. In NY discussions Sisco had suggested insertion of sentence on breach of final accord in language covering deposit of final accord with UN.

Sisco now presented text to show Dobrynin what this insertion looks like and also to reverse order of two of old sentences. Begin text. The final accord would be recorded in a document which is to be signed by the parties and immediately deposited with the UN. After the parties have deposited such a document, the Secretary General of the UN would be requested by the parties immediately to inform the Security Council and all UN Member States to that effect.

From the moment of deposit, the document would become binding on the parties and irrevocable, and implementation and observance by the parties of the provisions of the accord would begin. In the implementation of the final accord, it would be understood by the parties that their respective obligations would be reciprocal and interdependent. The final accord would provide that a material breach of that accord by one of the parties shall entitle the other to invoke the breach as a ground for suspending its performance in whole or in part until the breach shall be cured. End text.

Sisco said that final point in joint document remains for US side its old Point 14 re submission of final accord to UN Security Council for endorsement. We would like to suggest an amendment eliminating reference in this text to map or maps in view of new language on boundaries which Sisco had presented at this session. US does not consider reference to map as needed in final point. Moreover, since boundary language now specific, reference to map in final point could [Page 299] be misleading and might even lead Arabs to wonder if we have something else in mind.
Sisco gave Dobrynin revised language for final point. Begin text. Both parties would agree that the final accord would be submitted to the Security Council for its endorsement. End text.
Sisco said this completed his presentation of language by which we had attempted to reflect joint US-Soviet views for possible inclusion in common document, based on procedures which he and Dobrynin had discussed re submission to four powers and then Jarring. Question of subsequent procedures could be discussed after we receive Soviet reaction.
Dobrynin referred to new US language on interrelationship between Jordan and UAR aspects. Voiced personal reaction that this provision should be placed in document as separate point at beginning or end. Sisco said he could accept this suggestion in principle. US side did not mean to infer that interrelationship is limited to refugee question.
Dobrynin requested clarification of Sisco’s remark that US not prepared to negotiate the five elements of package within a package in a substantial way. Sisco replied that fact of the matter is US has now gone as far as it can substantively; rubber band had been stretched to fullest extent. Noted that US has engaged in no consultations with Israelis on this language.
Dobrynin raised issue of timing of peace in relation to withdrawal, noting it is point in which Gromyko is interested. Sisco explained that US approach is based on assumption that timing question should be set aside and worked out by parties.
When Dobrynin inquired re numbering of points, Sisco used occasion to strongly emphasize his earlier point that these additional US formulations do not constitute a US document. Dobrynin noted that although reference to map now deleted from penultimate point, US had retained it in new boundary language. Sisco said that reference to map in boundary provision is correct concept and should offer no substantive problem. Dobrynin recalled, as he read again through revised formulations received at this and preceding two sessions, that he had requested US clarification of term “interference” in Suez Canal provision. Sisco replied he could focus on this point at a subsequent meeting.
Sisco asked for Dobrynin’s views on next steps in US-Soviet talks. Dobrynin remarked that joint paper which Sisco proposing seems rather different from what Soviets had in mind during New York talks. Gromyko had sought US clarifications and had said it difficult meanwhile to come to conclusion about next steps. Dobrynin added that we would now have rather short joint document which would leave [Page 300] several important questions unclear, especially re peacekeeping. Question for Soviets is whether it wise to move with so many open formulations and throw entire ball back to Jarring. A basic judgment would have to be made, and Soviets might decide it wiser to try to clarify some of these open questions.
Sisco said again Soviets should expect no further substantive alterations. Sisco asked for Dobrynin’s ideas about consultations by US and USSR with parties in area. Dobrynin said Soviets since opening of New York talks had given no texts to their Arab friends, although Gromyko gave oral briefings in New York. Sisco recalled there had been misunderstanding in this respect after his July talks in Moscow which we wanted to avoid this time. After July talks US was roundly criticized by Arab friends for holding off consultations re US document, pursuant to informal understanding between Sisco and Vinogradov. Dobrynin commented in passing that situation vis-à-vis UAR caused by this misunderstanding had made very poor impression in Moscow.
Newest formulations were an attempt to reflect a common US-Soviet approach, Sisco continued. As for US gown position, we stand on our July document. As Sisco had already noted, we have not discussed formulations with Israelis. Before we can put proposals to Israel for consideration, we must have answer to question which Israelis will immediately ask: Does USSR accept this. We see no point in our trying to press this or that provision in Tel Aviv, Amman, or Cairo unless we know this reflects common approach. US and Soviets owe it to each other to know how other power intends to proceed with parties before other power proceeds.
Sisco added that US needs very specific indication from Soviets, as we have passed beyond point of fencing with each other, and as US not prepared to alter latest formulations in any substantial way. Sisco hoped Soviets would do us the courtesy of informing us ahead of time if Moscow decides to discuss formulations with Cairo. US had not decided whether to inform Arabs and Israelis about new formulations. There were three possibilities for Soviets, as for US: (a) to inform parties in general way, (b) to discuss texts with parties, and (c) to give no information at all to parties. Whatever course chosen, US and Soviets should avoid misunderstandings. No commentments [sic] made re consultation procedure either by Sisco or Dobrynin.
Next session tentatively scheduled for November 5.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 650, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Negotiations, July–October 1969. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by W.B. Smith, cleared by Swank and Atherton, and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Belgrade, Cairo, Jidda, London, USUN, Nicosia, Paris, and Tel Aviv.
  2. See Documents 81 and 85, and footnote 1, Document 91.
  3. Document 67.
  4. See footnote 1, Document 91.
  5. U.S. formulations for a Joint US–USSR Working Paper, entitled “Fundamental Principles” was given to Dobrynin at this meeting on October 28.
  6. Ellipsis in the source text.
  7. See footnote 1, Document 91.
  8. Not found.
  9. Document 58.