261. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1

6374. Ref State 191731 and State 192032.2

1. Gist of presentation contained in paras 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 of State 191731 given Rafael Oct. 20 and communicated by him to Eban on latter’s arrival at airport.

2. Chargé saw Eban (who was accompanied by Gazit) morning Oct. 21 and made full detailed presentation which was taken down practically verbatim by Gazit. Eban acknowledged he had had word from Rafael and had also received report from Rabin of Oct. 20 conversation with Sisco, but said he was not rpt not yet in position to make formal reply. He had, however, several questions.

3. Eban asked just what “not negative” meant regarding Sadat’s reaction. Chargé replied Sadat reaction had been such as to lead USG to believe it useful to get indication of whether GOI would agree to procedure if final agreement from Sadat obtained. We were not now making formal proposal to GOI, and had not yet done so to Egypt either. Upon affirmative indication from GOI, we would explore further in Cairo and believe there is chance we can sell Sadat on idea. If this proves to be so, we will then so inform GOI with formal proposal to them as well.

4. Eban noted negotiations between countries frequently begin on “documentary basis” and asked whether this would be so in this case. Chargé repeated we are not asking either Israel or Egyptians to mod-ify their present positions in advance or to make any other pre-[Page 932]commitments other than to enter into negotiations in real give and take spirit and with open mind, prepared to seek ways to accommodate present wide differences. Eban asked whether proposal being made to Egypt in same terms or whether Egypt would expect negotiations to start on basis of Secretary’s six points as outlined in GA speech.3 Chargé replied conversations with Egyptians had extended over longer time than this present short conversation with Eban but that essential elements were same in regard both countries. USG was proposing no rpt no documentary or other basis on which to begin negotiations; question of how each party would look upon this matter the parties had to explore with each other.

5. Eban said that Secretary had stated after their meeting4 that USG would intensify its efforts concerning Canal arrangement and he, Eban, was already frequently being asked what next steps USG would be undertaking. He understood desire to have no announcement of negotiations in New York but it would be very hard, in his opinion, to keep matter completely quiet since everybody would be looking to see results of Secretary’s statement. Nevertheless, this was subsidiary to primary question of whether to begin negotiations.

6. Eban asked whether Chargé knew whom Egyptians might designate as their representative. (Prior to meeting, Gazit (protect) had gone over Rabin’s report with Chargé, indicating that Ghaleb and Ismail had been mentioned as possibilities.) Chargé said that since no formal proposal had been made to Egypt and no formal agreement obtained, it followed that there had been no actual designation of a representative. Nevertheless, he had heard that Ghaleb might be considered and also understood that Ismail was intimately involved in discussions. Gazit indicated it already known that Ghaleb was coming to New York for remainder of GA.

7. In closing, Eban said that he would be in touch as soon as possible with more definite GOI reply.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. IV. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Cedar Plus.
  2. In telegram 191731 to Tel Aviv, October 19, the Department instructed the Embassy to convey a message to Eban from Rogers that the time had come “to get into real negotiations on interim agreement” and there was a limited amount of time before Egypt would decide to “precipitate a UNGA debate” as Sadat’s negotiating flexibility began to narrow. Rogers also wanted Eban to know that the Department had broached the idea of proximity talks with Sadat, that his initial reaction was “not negative,” and that the Department could “sell” him on the idea. The Secretary stressed: “We are not asking either Israel or Egypt to modify their present positions of April 19 and June 4 in advance on interim agreement, but only that they have open mind and will be prepared seek ways to accommodate present wide differences.” Finally, he said that the negotiations stood the best chance of “getting somewhere” if they were “kept out of public limelight.” (Ibid., Box 1165, Saunders Files, Middle East Negotiation Files, Middle East—Jarring Talks, October 12–November 1, 1971) In telegram 192032 to Tel Aviv, October 20, the Department authorized the Embassy to make the presentation to Rafael at 6 p.m. on the understanding that it would make the presentation directly to Eban the following day and noted that Sisco would “be making same pitch with Rabin” at noon on October 20. (Ibid, Box 658, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East Nodis/Cedar/Plus, Vol. IV)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 255.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 253.