12. Editorial Note

During the first two weeks of March 1969, UN Special Representative Gunnar Jarring left texts of questions with the Foreign Ministers of the United Arab Republic, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon, designed to restart negotiations between them. Jarring introduced the questions with this statement: “Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) sets out [Page 44]provisions and principles in accordance with which a peaceful and accepted settlement of the Middle East question should be achieved. Some of these provisions would impose obligations on both sides, some on one side, and some on the other; it has generally been accepted that they should be regarded as a whole. The following questions designed to elicit the attitude of the parties towards the provisions of the Security Council Resolution are based on this assumption and are to be understood in the context that each provision is regarded as part of a ‘package deal.’” (Telegram 903 from Tel Aviv, March 11; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 648, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Negotiations) The questions for Israel and Jordan were sent in telegrams 903 from Tel Aviv, March 11, and 1361 from Amman, March 20, respectively. (Ibid.) The questions for the United Arab Republic are in telegram 558 from Cairo, March 8 (ibid., Box 634, Country Files, Middle East, UAR, Vol. I), and those for Lebanon in telegram 2425 from Beirut, March 21. (Ibid., Box 1187, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East Settlement—Jarring Cables)

At a March 20 meeting in Amman, Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Munim Rifai informed Ambassador Harrison Symmes that “a coordinated UAR/GOJ response had been developed in a series of lengthy meetings that he had in Cairo” with UAR Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad. While the responses would be “essentially positive and affirmative,” Rifai said, the Governments of Jordan and the United Arab Republic considered it vital that the responses also be “accurate and cautious” to avoid giving away “negotiating advantages.” (Telegram 1360 from Amman, March 20; ibid., Box 648, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Negotiations) Jarring received Jordan’s answers to his questions on March 23. (Telegram 47456 to USUN, March 27; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR) Eban delivered Israel’s replies to Jarring at an April 2 meeting in Jerusalem. In the letter accompanying the text of the responses, Eban wrote: “I now enclose specific replies in an affirmative spirit to the questions as formulated. It is my understanding that on the basis of the answers received from the three governments you propose to pursue further mutual clarifications in an effort to promote agreement on all the matters at issue in accordance with your mandate. We are ready to join in this process at any appropriate place.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1187, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, Middle East Settlement—Jarring Cables)