174. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Fatah Request for Contact with U.S. Officials

1. In the course of operations directed at the leadership of the Palestinian guerrilla movement, this Agency has established clandestine contact with a senior official of “Fatah”. Through other independent assets we have confirmed his claim that he is [1 line not declassified] one of the top Fatah leaders.

2. On 19 October 1970 this Fatah official, [1 line not declassified] advised that, with the approval of Fatah leader Yasir Arafat, Fatah proposed a “confidential” meeting in the immediate future somewhere in Europe between senior Fatah officials and one or more senior U.S. Government officials. [name not declassified] listed six items which Fatah wished to discuss, and asked that the U.S. side limit itself to no more than ten principal policy or political matters which it wished on the agenda. The six items set forth by Fatah are:

a. The U.S.G. position on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1947 UN resolution on the partition of Palestine.2

b. The U.S.G. definition of the term “rights of the Palestinian people,” which it has used on occasion in official statements.

c. The U.S.G. understanding of the term “Palestinian entity.”

d. The U.S.G. position vis-à-vis Jordan as it is presently constituted; i.e., boundaries, etc.

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e. Does the U.S.G. believe that King Husayn offers the best possibility for normalizing the situation and creating stability in Jordan in the future? On what basis?

f. Will the U.S.G. be prepared to give immediate, meaningful aid and assistance on creation of a Palestinian State? How about prior to its actual creation?

3. We believe that this request by Fatah is bona fide and that the Palestinians who would attend such a meeting would represent the Fatah leadership.

4. The contents of this memorandum have not been disseminated to any other agency. I would appreciate guidance regarding any further dissemination and also on the nature of the reply we should give to the request for a meeting. We should give at least a tentative reply within the next few days.3

Richard Helms4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–048, Senior Review Group Meetings, Senior Review Group—Future Mid-East Options 10/26/70. Secret; Sensitive. All brackets are in the original except those indicating text that remains classified.
  2. An October 20 CIA Intelligence Information Report described the October 19 meetng with a Palestinian with access to senior Fatah officials. He revealed that the U.S. position on the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a broader Middle East settlement, which the Department of State had announced on October 15, was “well received” by those officials, including Yasir Arafat. According to this source, Fatah officials “noted that the Soviet Union has never mentioned the possibility of creating a Palestinian state and, in fact, has been against the establishment of such a state.” (Ibid., Box 636, Country Files, Middle East, UAR) The statement about the emergence of a Palestinian state was made by a Department of State press officer on October 15. (New York Times, October 16, 1970, p. 1) UN General Assembly Resolution 181, adopted November 29, 1947, recommended a plan to partition the territory of western Palestine between Arabs and Jews with Jerusalem as an international city. The text of the resolution is printed in the Yearbook of the United Nations, 1947–1948, pp. 247–256.
  3. No reply was found, and no meeting was held. See Document 180.
  4. Helms signed “Dick” above his typed signature.