81. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Middle East

Attached are some interesting comments by Joe Sisco on the U.S. approach to the Middle East Four-Power talks and on the domestic problem with the Jewish community.2

Concerning the U.S. position on Four-Power talks, Sisco feels:

—We now have put forward two documents covering both the UAR and the Jordanian aspects of the settlement on which we must stand firm. Further concessions might weaken the “safety catch of our position,” the principle of negotiations between parties.

Yost should be told he is not authorized to go beyond the documents already submitted on UAR and Jordanian settlements.3

—Failure of the Four-Power talks is preferable to concessions that are unacceptable to Israel.

Concerning the domestic problem, Sisco believes:

—Three little-known background facts might help in preventing our present position from becoming a partisan issue, since they can help demonstrate that our position on the Jordan-Israel side is basically the same as that taken by the Johnson Administration.

1) In making a similar proposal to the U.A.R. on Israeli withdrawal, Rusk went further than our present position by favoring an international presence at Sharm al-Shaykh. (It should be noted, however, [Page 270] that Rusk’s offer was not, like ours, made to the Soviet Union. In Israel’s view, Rusk’s offer had lapsed when rejected by Egypt.)

2) Goldberg4 assured Hussein we would support return of the West Bank with minor rectifications and we would use our influence to obtain for Jordan a role in Jerusalem. These same assurances have been reaffirmed by the Secretary of State during the past year.

3) Israel indicated in July 1968 that a real peace settlement would result in return of most of the West Bank.

—Unlike 1957, we are not asking Israel to withdraw under conditions which others work out but only under safeguards which Israel considers adequate.

—Much concern would be dispelled by an early and positive decision on the assistance package.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 644, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East—General, Vol. II. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Undated; attached but not printed.
  3. Nixon underlined this recommendation and wrote “right” in the left-hand margin.
  4. Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations until June 1968.
  5. Nixon circled this sentence and wrote: “K, I agree—Let’s discuss this with Mel and Bill soon.”