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

227505. Subj: Secretary-Allon Meeting December 12.

Summary: Secretary-Allon conversation December 12 concentrated on outlook for negotiations with Jordan and Egypt.2 Atmosphere was extremely warm, cordial and positive. Throughout talk Secretary stressed conviction time is ripe for beginning negotiating process: this is in Israel’s interest and ours, and we should be thinking how to get process started. Allon made clear he felt Israel ready to discuss comprehensive or limited agreements with Jordan, or an interim agreement reached through talks under U.S. aegis with Egypt, or both. It evident however that Allon himself personally attracted—as he has indicated in public statements—to effort begin negotiations with Hussein. He spoke approvingly of Hussein’s reaction to Munich incident3 and said Hussein’s plan for West Bank was good “except for its territorial concepts.” In spite of this Allon was anxious that U.S. not give Hussein any “illusions” when he comes early next year, or appear over eager to move. To suggestion that Israel might give reassurance re Jerusalem’s future that would make settlement more feasible, Allon said maximum [Page 1086] Israel could give would be extraterritoriality to Hussein as Muslim representative for Holy Places under Israeli sovereignty, and it would not be easy to persuade Israeli public of this. Secretary reassured Allon we would not give Hussein illusions but went on to stress U.S. respect for him, our continuing support of Jordan, including military support, and our hope King and Israel will find ways to move toward peace.4 Re Egypt, Allon expressed concern Egyptians may undertake out of frustration some kind of limited military action in coming weeks. Secretary and Sisco said everything Egyptians said indicated they well aware military options not practical. Sadat, we believed, would be responsive to effort that would enable him to show his people he was getting something. Allon asked what Israel could do. Were proximity talks for an interim agreement the answer? Allon stressed he was not against interim agreement, he was for it. Secretary replied we believed this was most promising and feasible approach. Way had to be found to get around obstacle created by Israel’s reply to Jarring 2/71 memo.5 We were not proposing anything at this time but trying to convey our frame of mind. While stressing Israel ready for negotiations, Allon introduced no new ideas except to suggest rather tentatively that the U.S. might be instrumental in bringing Mrs. Meir and President Sadat into direct and secret talks. Secretary made clear he did not think this kind of premature summitry was really a practical alternative. At close, Allon expressed gratification current state U.S.-Israel relations and improvement U.S. relations with Arabs (it proves Israeli theory, he said, former does not preclude latter). He said he hoped U.S. deliveries of aircraft would continue. And he urged we continue to express to Soviets our interest in exodus under decent conditions of Soviet Jews. Secretary noted recent record level of Soviet Jewish emigration and assured Allon we would continue be active in what we thought would be most helpful way, i.e. through quiet efforts. End summary.

[Omitted here is the remainder of the telegram.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 610, Country Files, Middle East, Israel, Vol. XI. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Stackhouse and approved in draft by Sisco, and by Atherton. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, Paris, Moscow, Jidda, and USUN. All brackets are in the original except those indicating text omitted by the editors.
  2. During a phone call with Haldeman on November 17, Kissinger said that Rogers would “now run wild and try to win one,” to which Haldeman commented: “And that’s probably true, because Rogers did talk about wanting to get into the Middle East thing before he leaves, at least get negotiations started.” Kissinger told him that “it’s a disaster for the second term and he’s affronted that it was done without discussion from him.” The new administration should start “with a clear slate,” Kissinger added. ( Haldeman Diaries, Multimedia Edition, November 17, 1972)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 307.
  4. Hussein visited the United States February 5–7, 1973, meeting with both President Nixon and Secretary Rogers on February 6. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Documents 14 and 15.
  5. For Jarring’s memorandum, see footnote 2, Document 205. For Israel’s reply, see Document 211.