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

125220. Subject: Israel Reply to US Peace Proposal.

1. Amb Rabin, accompanied by Minister Argov and First Secy Ben Aharon delivered GOI’s reply to US peace proposal to Asst Secy Sisco August 4. (Text in Para 4 below.)

2. Sisco perused it quickly. Rabin commented that USG now had got GOI to use word QUOTE withdrawal UNQUOTE. Rabin explained his understanding that shortly would follow letters from FonMin Eban to the Secretary and from PM Meir to President.2 Sisco noted that this means to USG Israel’s acceptance. We have informed UN of Israel’s acceptance and Yost is in touch with Tekoah about informing Jarring of GOI detailed reply. Rabin did not react one way or another to this latter observation.

3. Sisco said next steps relating to principal elements of ceasefire/standstill are being worked on, and hopefully will be drafted today. Before discussing our proposals with UAR and Soviets, we want to check them with GOI; we shall be sending them to Amb Barbour. We have in mind suggesting ceasefire take effect Friday, August 7. Rabin offered personal opinion Aug 7 was too early, in light unresolved questions re supervision and verification.

4. Text detailed reply addressed Secretary Rogers follows:

[Page 482]


4 August 1970

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I have the honour to inform you that my Government’s position on the latest United States peace initiative is as follows:

Having considered President Nixon’s message of 24 July 1970, basing itself on its contents and in strict adherence to its policy principles and authoritative statements, the Government of Israel has decided to reply affirmatively to the latest United States peace initiative, and to inform the United States that it may convey to Ambassador Jarring that:

1) Israel is prepared in due time to designate a representative to discussions to be held under Ambassador Jarring’s auspices with the UAR (Jordan), according to such procedure and at such places and times as he may recommend, taking into account each side’s attitude as to method of procedure and previous experience of discussions between the parties.

2) Israel’s position in favor of a cease-fire on a basis of reciprocity on all fronts, including the Egyptian front, in accordance with the Security Council’s cease-fire resolution, remains unchanged. On the basis of clarifications given by the United States Government, Israel is prepared to reply affirmatively to the United States proposal for a cease fire (for at least three months) on the Egyptian front.

3) The discussions under Ambassador Jarring’s auspices shall be held within the framework of the Security Council Resolution (242) on the basis of the expression of readiness by the parties to carry out the Security Council Resolution (242) in all its parts, in order to achieve an agreed and binding contractual peace agreement between the parties which will ensure:

a) Termination by Egypt (Jordan) and Israel of all claims or states of belligerency and respect and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of each other and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force, each of the parties will be responsible within its territory for the prevention of all hostile acts by regular military forces or para-military forces, including irregular forces, against the armed forces or against civilians living in the territory of the other party.

b) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict to secure, recognized and agreed boundaries to be determined in the peace agreements.

4) Israel will participate in these discussions without any prior conditions. Israel will not claim the prior acceptance by the other party [Page 483] of her positions, as Israel does not accept in advance the positions of the other parties as communicated publicly or otherwise. Each party will be free to present its proposals on the matters under discussion.

Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Y. Rabin, Lt. Gen. (Res.)

Ambassador END TEXT

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1155, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiations Files, U.S. Peace Initiative For the Middle East Vol. II. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted on August 4 by Lissfelt (NEA/IAI); cleared by Atherton, Stackhouse (NEA/IAI), and Eliot; and approved by Sisco. Repeated Priority to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jidda, London, Moscow, USUN, and Paris.
  2. Meir’s letter to Nixon has not been found. Eban wrote to Rogers on August 19 with “a more detailed summary of our positions on some of the questions mentioned in our August 4 communication.” Eban stated that Israel accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242 and would cooperate with the Jarring Mission so long as “the Four-Power Group should not seek to prejudice the conduct of the mission by submitting their own views on the matters at issue between the parties.” Regarding future boundaries, Eban wrote that “Israeli forces will not be moved from any of these cease-fire lines, until a binding, contractual reciprocal peace agreement which we believe satisfactory to us has been achieved.” Finally, addressing refugees, Eban stated that Israel “would make a contribution in appropriate form, but refused to acknowledge “a prior right of choice inherent in Arabs outside of Israel to enter Israel. Our position is that the principle of sovereign equality of States gives Israel the right and duty to determine its contribution to this international and regional problem as a voluntary sovereign act, taking full account of its security and national character.” (Israel State Archives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 6854/8)