73. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the Consulate General in Alexandria1

Secto 8075. For Ambassador From Secretary. Subject: Fahmy on PLO Statement. Ref: Alexandria 805 (repeated Tosec 8067, State 185980).2

1. Please tell Fahmy I appreciate very much his efforts to get PLO to accept SC Resolution 242. Unfortunately, as you pointed out to him, the formula in reftel says in effect that PLO has not repeat not accepted Resolution 242. If we agreed to open contacts with PLO on basis of such a formula, we would be vulnerable to charges of bad faith which would undercut our efforts to mobilize support at home for what will in best of circumstances be a controversial move on our part. We do not insist that PLO reservations be worded precisely along lines Fahmy and I agreed, but they should certainly not be so worded as to negate the PLO’s acceptance of Resolution 242.

2. Please tell Fahmy also that we have now sent to Saudis the formula he and I agreed upon.3 We did this to get matters back on the tracks after Saudis had given Arafat a formula of their own which was at variance with the one we worked out in Alexandria.

3. Finally, you may tell Fahmy we would have no objection if he wanted to suggest the following reformulation of the language we agreed to in an effort to meet basic point of PLO formula reported in reftel: Quote: The PLO accepts UNSC Resolution 242, with the reservation that it considers that the resolution does not make adequate reference to the question of the Palestinians since it fails to make any reference to a homeland for the Palestinian people. It is recognized that the language of Resolution 242 relates to the right of all states in the Middle East to live in peace. Unquote.

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4. Tell Fahmy we are also giving above reformulation to Saudis, Syrians and Jordanians so that all of us will be working from same text.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840072–2533. Secret; Nodis; Niact Immediate. Sent immediate for information to the Department of State.
  2. In telegram 805 from Alexandria, August 6, Ambassador Eilts reported on a conversation with Foreign Minister Fahmy about a proposed statement he had received from Arafat on UN Resolution 242 that read, “Had Resolution 242 dealt with the Palestinian question as a cause of a people that has its national rights and aspirations to establish its state in its homeland and not as a problem of refugees, the PLO would have accepted it.” Fahmy requested that this draft statement be sent to Secretary of State Vance for review. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840084–1001)
  3. See Document 67.
  4. The text was sent in Secto 8074, August 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840072–2531)