139. Telegram From the Department of State to All Diplomatic Posts1

121689. Subject: US Initiative on Middle East.

1. Following is for posts’ information and guidance in confidential discussions at Ambassador’s discretion with host governments.

2. We have now received positive replies to our initiative from UAR and Jordan.2 We expect Israeli reply shortly3 and are strongly urging that it be equally positive.

3. We do not underestimate difficulties that lie ahead. Neither side has given any indication of real movement from substantive positions long adhered to. Achievement of workable ceasefire poses highly complicated problems. Radical Arab and fedayeen opposition to ceasefire and resumption talks rapidly crystallizing. Military conflict unabated. These imposing obstacles, however, should not obscure fundamental fact that principal parties to dispute may now apparently be ready to give diplomacy a chance and are not making prior acceptance of their positions on terms and nature of settlement a precondition for beginning negotiating process under Jarring.

4. If positive Israeli reply forthcoming we envisage following steps: we will present our proposal formally in Four-Power meeting4 for quick transmittal by Four to SYG and Ambassador Jarring. (When we refer to US proposal we are referring to text of proposed Jarring to SYG report contained in Secretary’s letter to UAR FonMin Riad carried in Wireless File MEF 59, July 22).5 We believe our formula as accepted by parties after careful deliberation should not rpt not be subject to amendment on its way to Jarring. Our objective is to see parties en [Page 480] gaged in negotiating process under Jarring as soon as possible, according to procedures and at time and place he recommends, so that positive momentum so lately acquired will not be lost. At same time as Jarring getting negotiation process started, we would hope steps could be taken simultaneously to arrange between parties details and modalities of ceasefire and standstill on new military installations. We do not believe completion of arrangements for a ceasefire and standstill in combat zones should be a condition precedent for starting political talks. Keys to achievement and maintenance of ceasefire are adherence to principle of military standstill and readiness to accept effective, equitable verification procedures.

5. Once negotiating process started, US intends continue play active role directly with parties, and in Two-Power and Four-Power forums, providing counsel and cooperating in efforts help Jarring Mission succeed.

6. Alternative to success of current diplomatic steps is further deterioration of military situation in area. Given Soviet operational involvement in UAR and our own determination to prevent shift in area military balance, this could have gravest implications not only for interests of states and peoples directly involved but wider repercussions as well. It is therefore incumbent on world community to lend support to current peace efforts, which will require both sides to relax their maximum positions as negotiations proceed if those efforts are to succeed. While we have provided initial momentum, we see this as effort requiring widest possible support and cooperation to which we will continue to contribute our part.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1155, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, June Initiative Vol. II, July 24–August 8, 1970. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Stephanie C. Perry (NEA/PRO) and approved by Thomas D. Boyatt (NEA).
  2. See footnote 4, Document 136 and footnote 4, Document 137.
  3. See Document 140.
  4. See footnote 1, Document 145.
  5. The letter to Riad containing the U.S. proposal (see Document 129), dated June 19, was made available to the press by the Department of State on July 22 and is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, August 10, 1970, pp. 178–179. The proposed report from Jarring to the UN Secretary-General is in telegram 127711 to Tel Aviv, August 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR) In the end, Secretary-General Thant sent a note on August 7 to the Security Council stating that he and Jarring believed there was a reasonable basis to reactivate the Jarring Mission and that Jarring had invited the parties to meet in New York on August 25. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1970, pp 253–254. See also Document 133.