61. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel1

182922. 1. FYI: In Sisco-Dobrynin meeting October 28 (septel)2 Sisco gave Dobrynin our current position on UAR-Israel boundary question as part of package involving (a) withdrawal, (b) peace, and (c) neutral formulations on Sharm al-Shaykh, demilitarized zones and Gaza with details to be worked out by parties in Rhodes type negotiations.3 Sisco stressed this package represented attempt on our part to find common language for joint US-Soviet document and did not constitute elements of new US document. Pending Soviet reaction, we do not want to get into discussion of specific texts with parties. We have requested Soviets to inform us if they plan to consult UAR, and we said we would similarily inform Soviets if we decided to consult parties.

2. Question arises of how to handle this latest development in US-Soviet talks with Arabs and Israelis. With UAR, we intend to call in Ghorbal about Thursday and fill him in generally. Bergus’ further recommendation on how much more we should tell UAR requested.

3. With Hussein and Faisal, we think it would help bolster their confidence for us to give them private indication in general terms of step we have taken. Would appreciate Ambassador Porter’s recommendations re possibility of taking similar action with President Helou.

4. With Israelis, we want to avoid this becoming major issue before we have some indication of Soviet reaction. On other hand we feel our credibility requires that we let Israelis know in general terms what we are trying to accomplish with Soviets. End FYI.

5. For Amman and Jidda: Ambassador should pass following to Hussein for his strictly private and confidential information. Chargé should similarly inform Saqqaf with request info be passed Faisal for his private information. QUOTE In meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin October 28, Assistant Secretary Sisco made major effort to break deadlock on UAR-Israel aspect of a settlement, which we consider key to overall settlement. To that end, he told Dobrynin it is USG position that old in[Page 210]ternational border between Palestine and Egypt should be the secure and recognized boundary between Israel and Egypt in the context of peace and of agreement worked out by parties under Jarring’s auspices for security arrangements at Sharm al-Shaykh, demilitarized zones, and security arrangements for and final disposition of Gaza. We are passing this message to their Majesties for their private information in view of our close relationship with them and request that they do not share it at this time with others. UNQUOTE.

6. For Tel Aviv: Ambassador should inform Eban that in Sisco-Dobrynin meeting October 28, we continued effort to find common formulations for inclusion in joint US-Soviet document we are seeking to evolve. We have made clear to Soviets that USG will present no new document and that we are now at stage of seeking joint formulations to express common positions or neutral language where agreement not possible. We have also made clear that purpose remains to help Jarring get negotiating process started between parties under his auspices. General direction of our current efforts is away from specificity to generalized formulations in most respects. We are seeking to maximize areas for negotiation between parties and minimize specificity and detail as Eban indicated at breakfast meeting with Sisco in New York.4 He should also be aware that we are bearing fully in mind importance of how any document is ultimately transmitted to Jarring, i.e., QUOTE for his guidance with parties UNQUOTE or some other possible non-mandatory formulation. We are standing on specific language on peace and on negotiations according to Rhodes formula. As Sisco foreshadowed to Eban in New York October 2 and Under Secretary Richardson to Rabin October 15,5 we have moved on a very contingent and tentative basis in direction of specific language on Israel-UAR boundary question—i.e., toward reaffirmation of QUOTE Rusk formula UNQUOTE of November 1968.6 As Under Secretary made clear to Rabin, we are seeking quid pro quo from Soviets for restating what has in effect been US position all along; such restatement on our part remains contingent upon agreement of USSR to specific commitment to peace and Rhodes type negotiations to work out practical security arrangements and other details of settlement. We are passing this information to Eban in strictest confidence and ask that it be closely held. We are not asking Israel at this time to react in any way, pending reaction of other side. GOI position on this question has been made abun[Page 211]dantly clear to us and we are not seeking its agreement. We will wish to discuss this further with GOI after we receive Soviet reaction.

6 [7]. For London and Paris: We will brief UK and French here and report by septels.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 653, Country Files, Middle East, Sisco Middle East Talks, October (1969). Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Atherton, cleared by Sisco, and approved by Richardson. Repeated Priority to Beirut, Cairo, London, Paris, Moscow, and USUN. All brackets are in the original except “[7]”, added for clarity.
  2. Telegram 182821 to Moscow, October 29. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XII, Soviet Union, January 1969–October 1970, Document 98.
  3. Document 58.
  4. Sisco’s October 2 meeting with Eban was reported in telegram 173876 to Tel Aviv, October 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR)
  5. See footnote 10, Document 55.
  6. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1967–1968, Document 301.