136. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

118300. For Ambassador. Following is letter from President for Prime Minister Meir. You should deliver it promptly to Mrs. Meir. Instructions follow septel.2


Dear Madame Prime Minister:

I am writing to inform you that we have received the following oral message from the Foreign Minister of the UAR:

INTERIOR QUOTE: The Government of the UAR accepts the proposal of Mr. Rogers contained in his message of June 19.3 We are ready to subscribe to the statement as it is written in this message that is in the [Page 471] form of a report from Ambassador Jarring to the Secretary General of the United Nations.4 END INTERIOR QUOTE.

In our prior confidential discussions regarding this proposal, we asked that the Government of Israel refrain from taking a public position pending receipt of the Egyptian reply. As you know, we made this suggestion in the belief that it would not have served our mutual interests for Israel to have assumed the responsibility for rejecting a proposal whose aim is to stop the fighting and to begin negotiations under the auspices of Ambassador Jarring.

I am fully aware, Madame Prime Minister, of your Government’s strong objections regarding this proposal. In light of the Egyptian acceptance, I ask you and your government to review this matter in hopes that a prompt affirmative reply from the Government of Israel will lead to an early stop of hostilities and bloodshed on both sides and to serious talks between the parties conducted by Ambassador Jarring within the framework of the UN Security Council resolution of November 22, 1967.5

The Egyptians have informed us their acceptance is unconditional. On the basis of additional views conveyed to us in writing by the UAR, we expect that in the negotiations it will continue to press two principal objectives: total Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in the 1967 conflict to the pre-June 5 lines; and a refugee solution based exclusively on the strict application of paragraph 11 of UN General Assembly resolution 194 (III).6 I want to assure you that we will not press Israel to accept the aforementioned positions of the UAR. Our position on withdrawal is that the final borders must be agreed between the parties by means of negotiations under the aegis of Ambassador Jarring. Moreover, we will not press Israel to accept a refugee solution which would alter fundamentally the Jewish character of the state of Israel or jeopardize your security. We will also adhere strictly and firmly to the fundamental principle that there must be a peace agreement in which each of the parties undertakes reciprocal obligations to the other and that no Israeli soldier should be withdrawn from the occupied territories until a binding contractual peace agreement satisfactory to you has been achieved.

[Page 472]

Finally, and most important of all, I am sure that you noted my recent public comments and nationally televised conference of July 1 in which I made clear the strong and unequivocal support of the United States for the state of Israel and its security.7 Furthermore, I want again to assure you, as I have previously done in our personal talks, of my support for Israel’s existence and security and my intention to continue to provide Israel with the necessary assistance to assure that the balance of power will not be altered to the detriment of Israel.

I hope, Madame Prime Minister, that you will receive my views in the spirit of mutual friendship and interest that has characterized the close relations between our two countries. I am certain, too, you will appreciate the weight of responsibility which I bear to exhaust every effort to achieve a stable and durable peace in the Middle East. I am confident that together we can move towards that goal.8


Richard Nixon


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 654, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East—Recent Actions. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted and approved by Sisco on July 22.
  2. Telegram 118301 to Tel Aviv, July 23. (Ibid., Box 607, Country Files, Middle East, Israel, Vol. VI)
  3. Rogers’s message to Mahmoud Riad is in telegram 96867 to Cairo, June 19. (Ibid., Box 636, Country Files, Middle East, UAR, Vol. IV)
  4. The UAR’s acceptance of the U.S. peace initiative (see Document 129) was reported in telegram 1614 from Cairo, July 22. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1155, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files)
  5. Israel responded positively to the U.S. peace initiative on August 4. See Document 140.
  6. Paragraph 11 of UN General Assembly Resolution 194, adopted on December 11, 1948, called for the return of the refugees to their homes and payment of compensation to those who did not wish to return. It directed the UN Conciliation Commission to facilitate the process. For more on the resolution, see Foreign Relations, 1948, The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, volume V, part 2, Document 806.
  7. See footnote 3, Document 134.
  8. Barbour delivered the letter to Meir on July 24 and then had a 1½-hour meeting with her and Eban, as reported in telegram 3931 from Tel Aviv, July 24. According to Barbour, he told the Prime Minister that “he felt as seriously as he had at any time in nine years” that he had dealt with her that they “might now be on threshold of turning from hostilities to negotiations.” Meir responded that she was certain that he did not expect an immediate answer from her and proceeded to discuss her concern over Soviet activity in Egypt. She also expressed “deep appreciation” for the military equipment the United States had supplied to Israel in the previous several weeks, and she wanted to know if the flow of arms would stop once Israel accepted the U.S. peace initiative. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1155, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files)