71. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations1

200463. Subject: Four Power Meeting on Middle East.

1. As you know from your conversations here, we have agreed to resume Four Power talks on December 2 on understanding that: (a) We will not wish to put forward any new proposals before Secretary has had opportunity to consult with Eban on Dec. 16;2 and (b) in first instance focus will be on Jordanian aspect, pending receipt of a reply from Soviets on UAR part of settlement. We will also be consulting Jordanians fully before you get deeply into substance.

2. We know you are fully aware of difficult situation we face in Four Power context and our desire to avoid twin dangers of being committed to formulations on which we cannot produce Israel or being isolated from other three. Moreover, since initially you will be dealing primarily with Jordanian aspect our position will be under particular scrutiny from both our friends, Israel and Jordan. In general, we suggest you be guided in Four Power talks by following:

(a) There are three key features to our position: negotiations, peace, and withdrawal. We believe major emphasis should be on equating specific commitments to peace and withdrawal and on Rhodes type negotiations between parties on detailed elements of a settlement, including security arrangements, demilitarized zones, refugees and Jerusalem.

(b) Every formulation on Jordanian aspect is inextricably bound with UAR aspect. Therefore no formulations should be accepted which go beyond or would have effect of undermining October 28th UAR-Israeli working paper formulations,3 on which we intend to stand firm in belief that we could not produce Israel on anything going beyond them.

(c) Throughout the exercise each proposal must be evaluated in terms of whether it will be possible to produce the parties. In particular, since we will be expected to produce Israel, you should make clear we consider it essential to have regular consultations with Israelis and Arabs on formulations as they are put forward. We realize French and [Page 234] to lesser extent British will be very reluctant to proceed in this way, but we consider it important that in event of failure to make progress as much onus as possible rest on the parties rather than US.

(d) You should make major effort to keep formulations general; we continue to feel that major powers cannot write blueprint and largest possible area must remain for parties to negotiate on basis Rhodes formula.

(e) While we agree fully with sense of urgency which UK in particular feels, you should bear in mind our judgment that there will be no positive indications from Arabs before December 20th Arab Summit.

(f) Finally, Dec. 2 and subsequent Four Power meetings provide opportunity, which should be fully exploited, to develop pressure on Soviets to respond to Oct. 28 formulations.4

3. We agreeable to UK suggestion that opening meeting deal with US and Soviet report on status of bilaterals. (Guidance by septel).5 At first meeting suggest you make clear that at least until we receive Soviet response to document discussed at October 28 Sisco-Dobrynin meeting,6 we would expect UAR aspect of settlement to continue to be dealt with in two-power context while four powers concentrate on Jordanian aspect. How we play UAR aspect after receiving Soviet response will depend in large measure on nature of that response.

4. We anticipate that UK will plan to put forward Israeli-Jordanian boundary language at early stage. We are now reviewing UK formulation and will have further comment for you on it.7 Since we are expected to produce Israelis, we will be consulting with British re consultations with Israelis on UK formulation or such alternative as we may suggest and seeking Israeli reaction though not necessarily approval. Our hope would be that this would put some pressure on GOI to be more forthcoming re Jordanian aspect. At such time as British submit boundary language, we would want you to table for inclusion in Jordanian-Israeli document language calling for Rhodes-type negotiations and on peace taken from UAR-Israeli document i.e., preamble and Point 2. All that is required is substitution of word “Jordan” for “UAR” in appropriate places.

5. Your major problem is likely to be French desire to put forward much more detailed proposals, particularly on UAR aspect, than we believe traffic will bear. We are prepared to weigh in at any appropriate level in Paris as four power discussions evolve.

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6. Additional problem is that Soviets may well seek to generalize discussions to deal with settlement in overall terms, along lines of their December and June proposals.8 If they do, suggest you make point that this is retrogressive and raises question whether they more interested in making propaganda or progress. We all recognize that settlement must cover all Arab states who have accepted SC Resolution before it can be put into effect—i.e., it must be horizontal as well as vertical package, as Gromyko put it to Sisco in July.9 We all recognize also that certain elements will be common to both UAR and Jordanian aspects. Discussions over past eight months have made clear, however, that each aspect has its unique problems as well, which must be dealt with on a country-by-country basis. We see this as only responsible and businesslike way to proceed.

7. We expect a propaganda statement by Soviets; you are requested to rebut fully.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Sisco, Atherton, and Betty J. Jones (IO/UNP); cleared in IO; and approved by Richardson. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Jidda, Kuwait, London, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv, Cairo, and Bucharest.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 70.
  3. Document 58.
  4. The Soviets did not respond until December 23. See Document 80.
  5. Not found.
  6. See Document 61.
  7. Not found.
  8. See Documents 1 and 34.
  9. See Document 39.