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

10153. For Ambassador Barbour from Secretary. Please deliver following oral message from me to Foreign Minister Eban:

QUOTE 1. In the light of developments since our conversation of December 162 I want to share my thoughts with you on the current status of our proposals and our peace efforts as a whole.

2. As you know, we have received an oral reply from the Soviet Union to our formulations of October 28, a copy of which was provided to Minister Argov here on December 26.3 We do not consider the Soviet answer constructive or responsive. This will be communicated to the Soviet Union officially at an early date.4 I have asked that a copy of our reply be given to Ambassador Rabin.

3. The substance of our proposals on both the UAR and Jordanian aspects of a Middle East settlement are now widely known. We believe they fully protect Israel’s security interests and negotiating position. I regret that your Government has interpreted our proposals differently. I hope the Government of Israel will come to appreciate in time the strength and inherent soundness of our position for it reflects our common interests in a binding, contractual peace between the parties. Our proposals are firmly rooted in the principle of negotiations between the parties, on the need for which we are in full agreement. They are also firmly rooted in Security Council Resolution 242 which in our view sets the pre-conditions within which negotiations should take place.

4. With regard to our diplomatic efforts, we have sought to keep your Government fully advised of our position and the steps we were taking, and to exchange views with you. Regarding in particular our recent proposal on Jordan, I believed I had made clear to you on December 16 that we would probably go ahead in the Four Power talks on the basis of positions already well known to you, a step we had delayed [Page 275] until there had been opportunity to exchange views with you. You should know that no decision had been taken at the time of our talk, since I had hoped that you might be able to give me some indication of progress on the Jordanian side which would make our initiative unnecessary. I also raised with you, unfortunately without success, the possibility of the United States singularly undertaking a helpful role on the Jordanian-Israeli aspect of the settlement. After assessing the views of the Israeli Government following our talks on December 16, we concluded it was desirable to move quickly in the Four Power meeting scheduled for December 18.5

5. We believe we can stand substantially on the proposals we have made. They maintain the essential position that peace must be based on agreement between the parties arrived at through negotiations. With particular regard to the views on Ambassador Jarring’s Mission which Ambassador Tekoah conveyed to Ambassador Yost January 20,6 I would hope that your Government can see its way clear to maintaining its freedom of action with respect to any negotiating opportunities that may arise in the future and in particular that you will weigh carefully the suggestions I made during our recent meeting with respect to Israel’s posture toward a peace settlement.

6. I also hope this message will help clear up any misunderstandings which have developed in recent days. The commitment of the United States to Israel’s future is firm and steadfast. We are two friends with parallel interests and should so appear in the eyes of the world. CLOSE QUOTE

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 605, Country Files, Middle East, Israel, Vol. III. Secret; Nodis. Drafted on January 9 by Sisco and Atherton, cleared by Kissinger, and approved by Rogers. Repeated to USUN.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 77.
  3. See footnote 5, Document 80.
  4. See Document 85. Nixon approved the communications to both Israel and the Soviet Union on an undated memorandum from Kissinger. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 644, Country Files, Middle East, Middle East—General, Vol. II)
  5. See footnote 5, Document 76.
  6. According to telegram 81 from USUN, January 20, Tekoah, reading from instructions from his government, said: “We received Jarring on the basis of his mandate to promote agreement and in view of the fact that his terms of reference did not include anything prejudicial on such questions as refugees, Jerusalem, the establishment of boundaries, etc. Consequently, should he be provided with guidelines divergent from these essentials, Israel’s consent given on the basis of his original mandate will lapse.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR)