180. Message From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Reagan1

Dear Mr. President, We have received your reply of 9 June.2

Developments in and around Lebanon, including those in the last few hours, indicate that the situation is becoming more and more dangerous. This compels me to turn to you. Israel’s aggression continues to widen, Israeli troops have captured a considerable portion of Lebanese territory. They are advancing on Beirut—the capital of a sovereign state. The number of victims among the peaceful population, Lebanese and Palestinians, is increasing. Facts indicate that the Israeli invasion is a previously planned operation, which the U.S. must have known about.

No attempts to mitigate the aggressive nature of Israel’s actions can help to justify them. Even less can the U.S. actions, like the imposition of a veto on the Security Council Resolution of 8 June 1982 aid in halting the aggression.

As we warned, the conflict is spreading. Israel’s intervention is provoking an answering reaction from Syrian forces. We must be aware that the conflict is becoming wider and wider and can flare up even more. The fact that more than a hundred aircraft from both sides are taking part simultaneously in air battles is indicative of this.

You write that you are also concerned with the development of events. In this connection, I must repeat the main thought of my previous appeal. Urgent and concrete, especially concrete, actions are needed to halt Israeli aggression and to extinguish the war.

There is a reliable basis for this. It is the resolution of the United Nations Security Council to which you yourself refer, and which demands a halt to military actions and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory of Lebanon. If you firmly seek the implementation of these resolutions and do not seek any sort of obstructive measures (the U.S. representative in this region is resorting to such measures, it must be noted), then a solution can and will be found.

I see no use in getting involved in polemics when it is a question of such seriousness for international security. I only note that attempts [Page 578] to shift responsibility for the crisis situation in the Near East upon the Soviet Union are futile. We have sought and continue to seek the establishment of a durable peace in this region, and the attainment of a comprehensive and just settlement.

In conclusion, I will tell you frankly that whether Israel finally begins to implement the Security Council resolution depends primarily on the position of the United States.

L. Brezhnev
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Head of State File, USSR: General Secretary Brezhnev (8290378, 8290381). Top Secret; Sensitive; Specat. Printed from a draft translation.
  2. See Document 179.