POLISH RECORD OF MEETING OF SOVIET-BLOC LEADERS (AND TITO) IN BUDAPEST (EXCERPTS)CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationSoviet-bloc leaders discuss fallout of the Six Day War on the Arab countries. The focus particularly on the critical need to support the "progressive" Nasser regime. There is some debate over whether more military aid to the Arabs is necessary or wasteful. The leaders make it clear that they support the existence of the State of Israel and want to avoid getting dragged into a wider Middle East War. The idea of UAR recognition of Israel in exchange for the right of return is floated. Kosygin also gives a summary of his meeting with Johnson in New York."Polish Record of Meeting of Soviet-bloc leaders (and Tito) in Budapest (excerpts)," July 11, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, KC PZPR, XI A/13, AAN, Wasrsaw; document obtained by James G. Hershberg and Wanda Jarzabek; translation for CWIHP by Jan Chowaniec https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113622
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M i n u t e s
from a conference of the Communist and Workers' parties and chiefs of
governments of the socialist countries on the situation in the Middle East
(Budapest, 11-12 July 1967)
Present as given in a press communiqué
In addition, there were:
Bulgaria: K. Tellalov – head of the Foreign Policy Division of the CC of BCP
GDR : O. Winzer – Minister of Foreign Affairs
Poland : S. Trepczynski – head of chancellery of the Secretariat of the CC PUWP
Hungary: K. Erdelji – vice minister of Foreign Affairs
USSR : Rusakov – deputy head of Foreign Affairs Division of CC
Alexandrov – head of the secretariat of the I Secretary of the CC CPSU
plus advisors and experts.
The conference was held on July 11, from 3 to 9 p.m. and on July 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The reporting group met on July 12th, from 8:30 to 10:00.
The conference was convened on the initiative of the Soviet Union.
Romania was not invited to the conference.
KADAR : Upon greeting the delegates com. Kadar stated that the current gathering is already the second meeting of the party and government leaders of the socialist countries on the situation in the Middle East. No one doubts that the Moscow meeting [on 9-10 June 1967] has brought about good results and we hope that the present meeting will be equally fruitful. Our meetings have great significance due to the importance of events in the Middle East.
Com. Kadar suggested that the Soviet comrades, who have most information on the situation in the Middle East, take the floor first. At the end of the conference it will be possible to adopt some statement, though it is not necessary because we have already spoken out on all important issues in the Moscow statement. What is necessary is a communiqué on the meeting, and as soon as possible, to avoid possible gossips. In the communiqué we may give just the composition of participants and that the exchange of views was held in the spirit of unanimity. The Hungarian side has prepared a draft of such brief statement.
Com. Kadar proposed that the meeting be chaired consecutively by the chiefs of delegations of countries according to their names in the Latin alphabet.
Brezhnev: Initially we were inclined to present oral information, but as there arose a need to quote some citations, it became necessary to prepare the basic theses in writing in a short period of time, I am going to read my speech.
Dear comrades! First of all I want to thank you for such a speedy response to our proposal for another meeting, this time in Budapest, to discuss the situation in the Middle East. I want to emphasize once again that we attach great importance to our previous conference of the socialist countries in Moscow, which had been convened at a time of severe crisis in the Middle East. This situation in the Middle East is still tense, unstable and fraught with various surprises and complications. I will say openly that since your departure from Moscow there has hardly been a day or night without a meeting of the Politburo. We have been putting aside other matters and focusing on the discussion of the situation in the Middle East and assistance for the struggle of the United Arab Republic, Algeria, Syria and Iraq against aggression. The situation demands from us not to spare efforts.
Permit me, comrades, to inform you about the measures we have taken following the Moscow conference and about some of our opinions regarding these matters, as well as on the current situation. Then we should consult on further measures in our fight against the consequences of Israeli aggression.
We state with great satisfaction, that due to joint efforts of our parties and states we have succeeded to achieve progress in two important matters:
1/ deterring offensives of the military forces of the aggressor and stopping military activities,
2/ retaining the progressive regimes of Nasser and in Syria, whose overthrow
was the major purpose of aggression.
This is our achievement, and besides we have not permitted to have our countries involved in the military conflict.
Our friendship with the Arab countries is thriving and strengthening. The Arab nations are seeing ever more clearly the real role of the United States, Britain and the German Federal Republic [Federal Republic of Germany; West Germany], the essence of their policy in the Middle East, directed against the Arab countries. Consistent with our joint opinion, expressed at our last meeting, the CC of our party has decided to take all measures to force Israel to stop aggression, to withdraw its troops. Good results were also brought about by joint efforts of our countries, which broke diplomatic relations with Israel. It occurred just at a time when the Israeli forces were continuing offensives, and the Middle East conflict was debated in the Security Council.
A sense of socialist solidarity was also visible when our countries were actively engaged in convening a special session of the UN General Assembly and sent off to that session their premiers and foreign ministers. That upgraded the role of the UN session and enabled direct contacts with representatives of other states. At the session our delegations condemned decisively the aggression, presented our position and put pressure on the United States. Upon [his] return from New York com. [Soviet Premier Alexei] Kosygin told us about a close coordination of work among representatives of our countries at the session, except for the Romanian comrades, who were still hanging on separately.
At a time when the Arab countries suffered a defeat it was important to show that they were still enjoying the confidence and support of the socialist countries. This was also the main point of placing the Middle East problem on the agenda of our plenary meeting and in its resolution. Practical expression of that position was a trip of com. [Soviet President Nikolai V.] Podgorny to the United Arab Republic, Syria and Iraq. We have informed you about the results of his trip. The visits were useful and they manifested our support for the Arab states. The talks held by com. Podgorny helped to better understand intentions of the Arab countries and to present to their leaders a number of questions, put forward by our countries.
We want to see that the Arab states grasp the situation realistically. We have undertaken a number of measures in support of those states. Enough to say that we have we have expedited to the United Arab Republic, Iraq and Algeria by air and sea planes, tanks, artillery, rifles and ammunition to compensate for losses and strengthen their defenses.
Our conference is authoritative enough, so that I can cite certain figures. Following the beginning of the conflict we delivered to the United Arab Republic, Iraq, Syria and Algeria 336 planes on AN-12 planes (they lost 269 planes, which means that we delivered more than they lost). Cannons and mortars – 629, tanks and armored guns – 625, rifles and hand weapons – 78 thousand, anti-aircraft guns – 182, anti-aircraft machine-guns – 300. All of this we delivered by air. Our planes made 544 flights over Yugoslavia. Besides, to the United Arab Republic and other countries we sent 334 military advisers, 514 military specialists for aircraft assembly, 302 interpreters, thus altogether specialists, advisors and interpreters – 1,150 people.
Besides, we are sending at the request of the UAR, Syria and Algeria officers-advisors, who are directed to all sub-units (we have selected experienced people who have gone through the last war). In total, it will be 1,059 people, directed to different military units plus 261 other specialists, together 1,320 people. We are teaching 1,341 people from the Arab countries in our military academies.
On June 16, USSR marshal, chief of general staff [Matvei V.] Zakharov left for the UAR, and vice minister of defense Sokolov left for Syria. They went there to get acquainted with the situation on the spot and to work out proposals for military cooperation. Our commanders have submitted their recommendations on the reorganization of the UAR army. Very soon gen.-col. Moshchenko, a military district commander, will be heading for the UAR with a large group of Soviet advisors, of whom I spoke. Our people are helping in the reorganization of the army, in the preparation of the officer cadres, to teach the correct deployment of troops, conducting training in military techniques and modern methods of operations.
We have also extended a great deal of economic assistance, of which com. Kosygin will speak in more detail.
Consistent with our common view, as expressed in Moscow at the previous meeting, I am informing you of what we did, but we know that you comrades have undertaken various measures in the same direction.
It is a fact that the consequences of the Israeli aggression have not been eliminated and their elimination is not a simple task. Occupation of the Sinai peninsula, the Gaza region, the south-western region of Syria, and western part of Jordan persists. Israel has announced the incorporation of Jerusalem. There is talk about the annexation of Gaza. Israel is trying to achieve the maximal benefits from its military successes. In Israel there is an atmosphere of war fever, military might is glorified, gen. [Israeli Defense Minister Moshe] Dayan is being made a hero. In the occupied territories Israeli troops are tormenting the civilian population, which is suffering hunger and thirst. Israeli invaders are multiplying their crimes. In all of this Israel is benefiting from US support.
If we were to generalize information on US intentions, we would obtain the following picture: first – with Israeli hands they would like to eliminate progressive regimes in the Arab states, then they would make business with their successors and take the whole region under their control. We have thwarted that plan. Right now the United States would like to use the fact of weakened Arab states and partial occupation of the Arab lands to force the Arabs to accept the ultimate conditions, making them dependent on the US. According to our information [US Secretary of State Dean] Rusk has already submitted such ultimate demands to a UAR representative, including demands for territorial concessions. The government of the United Arab Republic rejected these demands, but the pressure persists.
However, it would not be proper to presume that the imperialists do not have
weak points in the Middle East. The more the situation develops, the more numerous they are. Israel and their backers have been exposed. In economic terms Israel does not represent any force. It has no oil, nor any other natural resources. The United States are using it merely as a puppet for exercising pressure on the Arab states. But if they fail to achieve their objective of overthrowing progressive regimes in the Arab countries, then the US will face the problem: Israel has no oil, the Arabs have it, Israel has no water routes, the Arabs are keeping them in their hands. The United States will swerve the course, but for the time being they pursue a stiff policy.
And what are weak points of the Arabs?
Unfortunately, there is no political unity among Algeria, Iraq, Yemen in some more or less decisive support for the UAR and Syria. What will be next? It's difficult to tell. It looks from our observations that at the present stage the governments of the Arab countries do not have a coordinated, joint program of action. This is clear from both our diplomatic channels, as well as from visits of com. Podgorny and our military sources. In fact it is only unwillingness to recognize Israel that unites the Arab countries. And this drives them to a military revenge. Such tendencies are particularly strong in Algeria and Syria.
All Arabs' pronouncements compel us to think that they do not believe in the possibility of a political settlement of the conflict and are inclined toward a military solution and are counting on our direct support. It is not an accident that Nasser said: let the USSR take upon itself command of anti-aircraft defense and bring to the UAR military aircraft together with crews. Syria is saying the same – it begs for Soviet aircraft with pilots, allegedly volunteers. As we have already said, Nasser has approached us about it, he would like to depart the policy of disengagement and reach a direct military agreement with the socialist countries. Now they see in the socialist countries reliable allies. In this sense we attach great importance to Nasser's statement.
But, there is also another side of the coin. Right now Nasser repeatedly emphasizes a military-political unity with the USSR to push us directly to war with Israel. Our position is as follows: it is not in the interest of the USSR and other socialist countries. The conflict should not be solved by war. We do not have a political platform, which would force us to war. Why should we stand up to Israel with war? After all, we do not say that we do not recognize Israel as a state. Why should we be fighting in another country, which itself does not want to fight?
The Politburo of our CC has discussed a number of times all aspects of this problem and what position should we take toward Nasser's proposal. We responded to him: we welcome with satisfaction his position aiming at the maximal strengthening of friendship and alliance with the USSR and socialist countries, but we do not consider it proper for the UAR to deviate from the policy of non-engagement. It should also be taken into account of how it would reflect on the UAR's influence in other countries. On June 29 of this year Nasser recognized the correctness of our position (I cite) “Of course it would not be correct to abandon a non-engagement policy, but we should expand as much as possible our alliance with the USSR and other socialist countries.”
On matters of military cooperation with the Arab countries one should be careful. On the evening of July 8 we suddenly received from Nasser a disquieting letter. He wrote: “This morning at 10:30 Israeli forces began an offensive in the direction of sea-port Fuad. They have not moved further, but it is clear they want to conquer it to move military operations west of the Suez Canal. It is clear that the adversary wants to continue the war to abolish the regime, which it could not do on June 5. At this difficult moment I turn to the CC and the Soviet government to undertake urgent measures in defense of the progressive regime of the UAR, to the urgent expedition of Soviet planes, together with pilots, to the UAR. We also request the Soviet government to take over not only of anti-aircraft command, but also of the Egyptian air forces while they are still not destroyed.
Here there is no one to take command. We are ready to make available to you all airports.”
Very fast, at 3:00 a.m. at night we convened the Politburo. We called our Embassy in Cairo to clarify the situation. And what happened? The gun-ship had ceased, yes, there was an air raid, it lasted half an hour on Port Fuad. But there was no ground to send out our troops.
However, taking into account a moral-political factor, we decided to render support to Nasser and we gave orders to our military navy and submarines to call to the Arab ports under the pretext of a friendship visit. We thought that the presence of our military ships on the UAR waters would be useful. It is not a challenge, but a demonstration.
The next day, on July 9, Nasser said to our ambassador that he had already given orders to his air force to attack and destroy the Israeli armored units and only bad weather, clouds had prevented in it.
Thus, one should be very careful in assessing Arab judgments. We are far advanced in assisting the Arabs, but with regard to the participation of Soviet forces in their anti-aircraft defense, etc. – for which they asked us – we thought that it needs to be considered very carefully, to think over political aspect of the whole matter. We think it is more advisable to send an unlimited number of Soviet advisers, even to form here and there complete advisory units, but not to take in our hands the entire anti-aircraft defense. Proceeding from the same positions, we responded likewise to the question of sending our volunteers to Syria. We expressed only our readiness urgently to train Syrian pilots.
From the military point of view, the situation is difficult. Despite the fact that we have completely rebuilt their losses in arms, sending them planes, tanks and other weapons, it is not tantamount to rebuilding the fighting readiness of their armies. To such a conclusion have come our specialists, who found out that in the UAR there is no real uniform command system, the military forces has not mustered modern techniques, it is not properly organized, it does not have a fighting capability. The Syrian army also lost lots of military equipment. How the Syrians fought is illustrated by the fact that in the battlefield 120 soldiers fell, but they lost 12 thousand of our automatic rifles. Now the Syrian army is ill prepared for war. No, the main task for the armed forces of these countries is not only to replenish their equipment, but even more so to improve their fighting capacity. In our opinion they need for it about five years, but Nasser and other Arabs think that a year is enough.
Yesterday, the 10th of July left for Cairo the second Soviet delegation of 6 high-ranking military advisers, which went there at Nasser's request. It includes gen. Moshchenko, who is our chief advisor, gen. Savicky, deputy commander of Soviet air force, the marines, tank officers, etc. They will be assisting, together with Arab officers, in the rebuilding of their army. Their main task is to restore the fighting capacity of the Arab army, so that it will be able to repel imperialists' attack. But at the same time we told them: we are not giving you weapons to make the Middle East the center of a new war.
Our general line is to assist maximally the progressive Arab states, contribute to their strength, their capacity to prevent new blows from imperialism, directed against the progressive regimes of those countries, but not to get the USSR involved in a new war. We have to do everything so that they should be able to fight on their own and conduct war themselves.
The Soviet Union thinks, however, that not all means of diplomatic fight have already been exhausted. They should be properly used. Convening a special session of UN General Assembly was justified. We have in fact gained support of the majority on the question of troop withdrawal. All UN members, with the exception of the United States and some other countries backing Israel, came out clearly against its claims.
Japan, France, Turkey, Spain, Greece – are for withdrawal of [Israeli] forces. This is a success that even we ourselves did not expect. It is also significant that the majority of votes in the General Assembly was for a resolution demanding that Israel gives up measures aimed at the annexation of Jerusalem.
The representative of the Soviet Union and representatives of socialist countries cooperated very actively with the Arab countries, using the UN forum. The Arabs very positively appraised activities of the socialist countries. Though as yet the General Assembly has not adopted a resolution on the withdrawals of troops, it was of significant importance – first, because the United States were under pressure, and second, it showed the lack of indispensable elasticity and realism of the Arab states.
It was with difficulty that we succeeded in extending the special session of the General Assembly. The Americans did not want it. For them it is not convenient, as criticism toward them grows. Had the Arab countries shown more flexibility on the question of terminating a state of war status with Israel, then I doubt that the Americans would have been able to prevent the adoption of a resolution on the withdrawal of Israeli forces. It would have been a great defeat for Israel and its protectors. We are making great efforts to have the session concluded with the adoption of a resolution on troop withdrawals. We gave the proper instructions to our ambassadors in countries of Latin America, which took a vacillating position. We acted similarly with respect to such countries as Austria, Finland and other countries.
We used our talks with Pompidou to induce France to further measures in the direction of working out with us a joint position on resolving the Middle East crisis. France has influence in a number of African countries and we should take this into consideration. We attach to it some importance and made it reflected in a Soviet-French communiqué, where we spoke of the necessity of troop withdrawals, non-recognition of territorial annexation as a fait accompli and we stressed the right to self-determination of states. Besides, you know the content of that communiqué.
Voting in the UN showed that demands for troop withdrawals without some sort of political settlement with Israel will not gain a majority of votes. For the Arabs, on the other hand, the question of a political settlement with Israel is very difficult, as they consider the existence of Israel as such illegal. If the Arabs were to agree with the principle of political settlement with Israel, it would be tantamount to a departure from their long-standing position. We do not share this position, but for them it is very difficult. There are signs, however, that Arabs also start to think something through and Nasser already begins to define certain questions. He understands the necessity of a more flexible approach to the question of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba, [and the] presence of UN troops along the border between the Arabs and Israel – after troop withdrawal. As far as navigation in the Aqaba is concerned he is talking about the situation before the conflict, with free passage of ships, including the Israelis. Egypt is posing two conditions: confirmation of Egyptian sovereignty over the Tiran Straits, on both of its sides and restoration of navigation through it by a decision of the International Tribunal, which the UAR will silently recognize.
The UAR government would have no objections if the proper countries reached an understanding, but without any direct UAR-Israel negotiations. The UAR agrees to the presence of UN troops on both sides of the armistice agreement [i.e., border], including the Gaza region. The UAR government wants to determine on its own from which countries UN troops would be deployed on Egyptian territory.
We welcome those changes in reasoning as going in the direction of realism. But to achieve a UN resolution on the withdrawal of forces, the Arabs should agree on the cessation of the state of war with Israel, on condition, of course, of immediate withdrawal of forces. From the point of view of our ideology, such a step does not have the character of a concession to Israel. But to the Arabs it does not seem so simple.
A week ago we asked them to think of some kind of a compromise resolution, in which demand for withdrawal would be connected with a general statement aimed at the abrogation of the state of war. On July 6 they responded through the foreign ministry ([Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud] Riad on instruction from Nasser): “We doubt if the UAR were satisfied with the adoption of a resolution on the basis of draft of non-allied countries, including certain elements of Latin American countries.” [Nasser foreign affairs adviser Muhammad] Fawzi took an even more negative position. He told [Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A.] Gromyko: “Neither the Arabs, nor we need to adopt anything in seeking a compromise. If anyone has such a proposal, let them [him] raise it. We will not make any concession to stop the war.” The Syrian premier said: “I doubt if there are possibilities for the General Assembly to adopt any resolution. The only solution is to drive the aggressor out by force.”
Thus, what is the way out of this situation? From all information that we have regarding the position of the United States, which strongly support Israel, without the Arabs' agreement to terminate the state of war, Israel will not leave the territories it grabbed, will continue to occupy them, will continue to threaten Syria, Damascus and Cairo. The Arabs will not regain those territories through war, and a political solution will not be possible without the participation of Arabs themselves.
Comprehensively assessing this whole situation and wanting to help the Arabs properly to evaluate their possibilities, we addressed the UAR, Syria, Algeria and Iraq in a letter on behalf of the CC CPSU and the Soviet government to concentrate their attention on the following aspects:
- how to eliminate the consequences of aggression?
- what measures should be taken in the nearest future?
In our letter of July 8 we wrote: “From conversation of our ambassador with
Riad it appears that some questions have not been perceived quite correctly.” (We used that venue because this time it was not Nasser who talked, but [he] delegated it to Riad. We used it to stress in the letter that Riad probably had misunderstood us.) We further went on to explain that inclusion into the resolution a clause on the termination of the state of war between the Arabs and Israel does not mean the recognition of Israel, nor the establishment with it of diplomatic relations, nor any other direct relations and that it would not in any way diminish the prestige of the Arabs. The thesis that relations should be built not by war – is consistent with the UN Charter.
At the same time the resolution on troop withdrawal would mean an improvement of the situation in the Security Council and all those who are backing Israel would have to take it into consideration. Without such a resolution a struggle in the Security Council will face difficulties. This will lead to the situation that adoption of such a resolution will be delayed. It's not in the interests of the Arab countries. As the Israeli troops remain on the occupied territories, they will have at their disposal an attack base for initiating further military operations, provocation, exercising pressure, etc. The basic aim of the imperialist forces, whose basic instrument is Israel, is to overthrow progressive regimes in the Arab countries. The presence of Israeli forces on the territories of those countries will encourage internal reactionary forces. Occupation is also reflecting on the economy of a country.”
We wrote all of this the day before yesterday. Thus, while running a fierce political struggle on the international arena, we are at the same time trying to encourage Arabs to act flexibly, to take into account the real situation.
Riad gave an evasive statement. On July 8 [Algerian Prime Minister Houari] Boumedienne stated: “Algeria will in no way agree to the consideration of ending the state of war between the Arab states and Israel.” He said that even if the UAR and Syria would go for it, he will not support them. But even in this complicated situation we are not weakening our efforts to convince the Arab leadership of the necessity of finding a political solution to the conflict and achieving troop withdrawals.
Yesterday, July 10, we sent off to the UAR deputy foreign minister [Jacob] Malik, who recently traveled to the Arab countries with com. Podgorny. He was instructed to once again acquaint the UAR leadership with the position of the CC and Soviet government regarding further political struggle for the elimination of Israeli aggression. Today at 9 p.m. Malik will be talking with Nasser. He is about to tell Nasser that there is an impression in Moscow that Riad did not understand and did not take into consideration the necessity of taking urgent measures in the UN and thus we cannot give to our delegation in the UN [instructions] to work towards a resolution favorable to the interests of the Arab states. We ask Nasser personally to consider our opinions and tell us his views.
Then, Malik is to tell Nasser: we want once again to repeat that under the existing configuration of forces in the UN there are possibilities of adopting a resolution of troops withdrawal. But, to do this it is necessary that such a demand be connected with a discussion in the Security Council on the termination of the state of war. It would not require political concession from the Arabs, nor the recognition of Israel, or establishing diplomatic relations with it. At stake is the principle of the cessation of war, consistent with the spirit of the UN Charter on non-use of force. This might be connected with the condition of cleaning the whole Arab territories of the aggressor's troops. In this way a General Assembly resolution would open the way for freeing the Arab land of the occupiers. And if Israel failed to withdraw its troops, it would automatically reject the demand of discussion in the Security Council of the termination of the state of war.
In this spirit Malik will be talking with Nasser. Whather he will meet with a positive response from the UAR – it's hard to tell.
Tomorrow the General Assembly resumes its work. We should back up what Johnson and [US UN Ambassador Arthur J.] Goldberg said in their conversation with Kosygin. On July 8 Rusk said to our ambassador: “An understanding is possible if troop withdrawal will be combined with the cessation of the state of war.” He also emphasized that there is no chance to adopt a resolution in the General Assembly, which would be mutually acceptable. Thus, the whole matter should be brought before the Security Council.
In this US proposal we see certain calculations. The U.S. would like to cease considering this matter in the General Assembly, as the delegates' speeches are more and more unmasking American imperialism. One may assume that the U.S. would like to achieve in the Security Council some concessions from the Arab countries and would like to see the Soviet representatives participating in it, to share with them responsibility. We see this maneuver and will be defending Arabs' interests.
Gromyko has been informing us that among the Arab delegates there is no uniform, agreed-upon position. The UAR delegate, Fawzi, took a favorable position toward our proposal of a compromise content. Algeria and Syria have a negative position to the proposal containing concessions. [Algerian Foreign Minister ‘Abd al-‘Aziz] Bouteflika said it straight that he would vote against, Iraq and Sudan have not, as yet, received directives. Other Arab countries act likewise. All of them, however, take seriously Algeria and Syria, afraid of being seen as renegades.
Adoption of a resolution in the UN depends now to a great degree on the response by Nasser. If his response is negative, we will not be able to get a resolution on troop withdrawals. We gave a directive to our delegate com. Soldatov to then submit the following proposal:
- to have the General Assembly, taking into account the views expressed by particular delegations at its Special Session, transfer all the reports to the Security Council with a request for urgent review of the matter;
- to have the Special Session go on, so that there is an opportunity to reconvene another meeting at any time if a need arises.
Such a proposal might be submitted by a representative of the non-aligned countries (Yugoslavia). Obviously, this needs to be done in coordination with the delegates of Syria, Algeria and Iraq. Such proposals may in some way tie the hands of the aggressor and the forces supporting it.
Yesterday the UN adopted a resolution directing 25 observers to the UAR, to the [Suez] Canal zone. It is a beneficial measure, as there may be difficulties and provocations. The UAR government approved the resolution and agreed to deploy the observers on its territory. It is the first sign of taking a realistic position by the Arabs. As yet, Israel has not taken any position toward that decision. It is not because it is not unfavorable, but eventually it will probably have to accept it. Dragging on with the response is additionally unmasking its aggressive intentions.
No matter what are the results of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly, the struggle to stop aggression will go on. We need to move forward, use pressure, unmask the aggressor, possibly once more refer the matter to the Security Council, exploit contradictions among the imperialistic powers. We need to act very insistently, flexibly, mobilizing world public opinion in favor of the Arab states. We also need to utilize maximally our presence in various international organizations.
Right now diversionary activities are being conducted against the regimes of the UAR and Syria. Nasser was justifying his refusal to include into the resolution on troop withdrawal a postulate on the cessation of war arguing that concessions to Israel and the clause on “the cessation of the state of war” might be exploited by the internal reaction. In our opinion this is an exaggeration, but we would not like to see the reaction obstructing Nasser. It might be useful to exchange views on what else should be done to increase support for the Arab countries and their progressive regimes.
Comrades! The situation continues to be complicated. A long struggle is ahead of us and its conditions are not advantageous to us, as it takes place far away. It is not Europe, where we have an iron thumb, which will fall on anyone who dares to cause provocation against any of our countries. Imperialism knows about it very well.
We will be guided towards further strengthening of military and fighting capacity of the Arab armies, their technical equipment, supplying it with modern weapons and training. At the same time we will attempt to coordinate positions of the Arab countries with the position of the socialist countries.
We are convinced that our session is going to be a new step towards intensifying our efforts for supporting the Arabs, strengthening peace in the Middle East, strengthening our unity.
Further in the session com. Brezhnev informed about a new cable from New York regarding a draft resolution prepared by [UN Secretary General] U Thant. He read that draft. Gromyko had discussed it with Fawzi, who thought the draft was good and might be submitted, e.g., by Yugoslavia. And most important: Nasser agrees to a free passage through the [Gulf of] Aqaba and to the deployment of UN observers on both side of the Canal. This is the maximum concessions from the UAR. Today it was officially announced that the UAR representative in the UN had officially stated to U Thant that the UAR agrees to the deployment of UN observers.
Kosygin: I would like to present just a few questions relating to the economic situation of the UAR. The UAR is an important recipient of food. It has been receiving so far about 1.6 mln. tons of grain and flour from the United States, 52 thousand tons of fats, tobacco, sugar and other products. All of this it has been receiving on favorable terms of 30-year credits, repaid in local currency, without the right to conversion.
Now there has arisen the problem of assistance to the Arabs in the area of food, as only Syria has some surpluses of grain, and she even exported it up to 300 thousand tons. Here the comrades were saying that economic assistance should be coordinated. Thus, we should reach an understanding regarding that coordination in all those matters.
This year we shipped to the Arabs 250 thousand tons of grain. In addition, we extended credit for 400 thousand tons of grain, including 200 thousand tons by a Paris bank; we are purchasing for them wheat from France and Canada. The remaining 200 thousand tons we will probably deliver ourselves. Yesterday we considered and decided that additionally we will deliver to the Arabs 350 thousand tons of wheat this year. Thus, they will get from us in total almost 1 mln. tons of grain.
Independently of that we gave them previously sugar, fats and other food products, we will dispatch in the nearest future: 30 thousand tons of sugar, 10 thousand tons of fats, 5 mln food cans and 5 thousand tons of household soap. In total, the UAR is receiving from us assistance of over 30 mln rubles (about $35 mln). But it will still be too little. We need to coordinate our efforts.
During my visit to the US I spoke with Rusk and Johnson. They will not give anything to the Arabs so long as the conflict persists.
In connection with the closure of the Suez Canal there emerge additional difficulties. Yesterday, e.g., we received a letter from [Indian Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi. She writes that India is threatened by a calamity of starvation. She asks – give us grain, give whatever you can! The US has also reduced their shipments as the route now has been prolonged by 22 days, freight is more expensive, [there is] a shortage of vessels. The will try to catch up somehow, but will take time. So much for the food question.
Now on oil. You know what is the situation in the Middle East. There is an annual output of over 400 million tons of oil, of which 120 million [go] to England and the US, the rest to other European countries, and a portion to the countries outside Europe. Some part of it the Americans used for their forces in Vietnam. Today the Americans are earnestly considering how to replace the Middle Eastern oil. They think that in the nearest future they can do it. They have over 200 million tons in reserve oil pits in Venezuela and in other countries. They are raising prices and taking other measures.
Oil revenues constitute from 25 to 90 per cent of all budgetary revenues in the Arab countries (Kuwait – 105 million tons of oil, Saudi Arabia 115 million tons). Currently it creates for these countries balance of payments difficulties. Algeria is in the best situation, as it delivers oil to France for $18 per ton. These deliveries continue and there are no problems between Algeria and France. De Gaulle has confirmed it.
England is having the greatest difficulties. [Foreign Secretary George] Brown was telling me in New York that they have reserves in Venezuela, which will suffice for 6 month and that the Americans will supplement them any shortages. Perhaps he exaggerated. We don't know what is the situation in the FRG, because Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are still selling it part of their oil. As we saw during the UN session, the FRG is presenting some issues more moderately, in favor of the Arabs. It gives them credits, etc.
Ulbricht: we agree with the concepts presented by comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin, but we think that our preparation for the introduction of those concepts is not yet sufficient. We think that Israel, together with the aggressive US circles standing behind it, will strive toward occupation of the seized territories. Both Israel and its backers are interested in gaining control over the Suez Canal. We have to take into account that even if Nasser agrees to Soviet proposals and if some resolution on troop withdrawal will be adopted in the UN, the Israeli forces will not withdraw from the Suez Canal. Of course, adoption of the UN resolution on troop withdrawal would be beneficial, as Israel, not adhering to such resolution, would find itself in isolation in the world. On the other hand, Nasser even going for concessions would not risk anything, as the population would understand that he is gaining time to consolidate the situation, and this is the most important thing.
It is necessary for the UAR and other Arab countries to work out a political concept, which would be convincing to their people. So far there is no such concept. In this connection it might be perhaps wise to send to Nasser a few responsible comrades as advisors, who would together with the Arab leadership work out both political and economic concepts. These should be people who would enjoy confidence of the Arab leadership, sent out especially with this mission. This cannot be done by diplomatic workers. It is impossible to work out the proper political concepts to solve this problem without the participation of the Arab leadership. Such people might help them in this. The Soviet Union is providing tremendous assistance to the Arab countries, but its effect requires a longer period of time. But in the meantime these countries need immediate political assistance.
Novotny: The leadership of our party and government have been dealing several times with the situation in the Middle East. We think it was right to convene the UN session. The results of this session are not quite pessimistic, as there have emerged forces on which we will be able to rely in the future. Also the position of the United States has been clarified, showing how much they are interested in supporting Israel. The information by comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin and the course of events have confirmed the correctness of our countries' position.
I think that tactical actions of the USSR were correct. A uniform position of the Soviet Union and socialist countries taken at the Moscow conference helped save progressive regimes of the UAR and Syria. If the reaction had succeeded to overthrow Nasser and the present regime in Syria, it would have drowned with it further consequences, e.g. in Algeria.
The main thing is to convince the Arabs to be more active politically. In their activities thus far they are passive. Countries which are supporting them are frequently more active in Arabic affairs than they themselves. One needs constantly and patiently to persuade the UAR and other Arab countries about the need for unity. First of all we have to strive towards consolidating the current regimes of the UAR and Syria, give them time for internal political and economic consolidation. Stressing the need for the withdrawal of Israeli forces, we need to warn Nasser and other Arab leaders that their slogan to liquidate the state of Israel is harmful and it only weakens their position. The cessation of war with Israel is also in the interest of the progressive regimes in the Arab countries. This is indeed the only way to pass a resolution in the UN on the withdrawal of Israeli troops. Nasser cannot be silent any more and has to move forward in all those matters.
We are submitting for consideration a proposal to send out a letter from our conference to Nasser. It will be logical that we inform him on the content of our deliberations, as it will be evident from our communiqué that we were discussing questions of the Middle East. In our letter we might put forward our point of view on the total problem, as well as to show how we want to help the Arab countries. In the future it might be possible to invite representatives of the Arab countries and discuss some of the problems jointly with them. We might also put on them greater pressure. Obviously this might be done at special occasions. We should strive towards greater political rapprochement with these countries.
Our Presidium, considering the situation, was of the opinion that we need to draw conclusions from recent developments. In our opinion we should better coordinate our assistance for the Third World countries and provide it only if it makes sense. We should have influence on that help in our hands, so that it is going to be really effective, and not like the one given to [Indonesian leader] Sukarno. He exploited it for external effects, without any influence on the domestic situation. We are ready to coordinate our assistance with other socialist countries.
In the first place now stands assistance for the UAR. Like other countries we have received a list with demands for military, economic assistance, medicines, etc. These demands altogether amount to large sums. We think this assistance should be coordinated, perhaps even through the CMEA [Council for Mutual Economic Assistance; COMECON], or some CMEA commission. Military assistance is, of course, in the first place up to the USSR. As far as economic assistance is concerned, the CMEA might play a larger role. Of course, the CMEA can coordinate distribution of certain things, but it cannot provide solutions for internal matters. I agree with com. Brezhnev that we have to assist the Arab countries, but these countries themselves must decide on their questions.
It would be desirable, e.g., to provide the USSR government with all information on what we intend to do and what we are doing for the Arab countries. Foreign ministers of our countries might then get together and, like we here, discuss some of the problems.
Everything should be done to support Nasser and give him support. But Nasser should come up openly and clearly present his views. A strange situation has arisen that Nasser has not spoken publicly since his last speech on June 9.
It is not clear to us why the UAR does not want to open the Suez Canal. This works against the UAR. Were the Canal open, it would bring economic benefits to Egypt, and on the other hand it would bring him support of many countries.
(Com. Tito asserts in response to com. Novotny that the matter is not so simple, the Canal cannot be open as long as the Israeli troops are on the other side, and besides more time is needed.)
Tito: I would like to present our point of view on the crisis in the Middle East. The Soviet Union has done a great deal in this area. I am glad, what com. Brezhnev said, that no pressure should be put on the Arab countries. It would be bad if anyone of us were pressuring the UAR or other Arab countries in this or that matter. We can explain to these countries our point of view, assist them, but need to get in their position, to see that these are independent states. We think that we should proceed carefully. We have deliberated these issues at the Presidium and at the CC plenary meeting and our people agree with what we are doing.
Nasser is a progressive man, he sees many problems, but he is afraid to come up with them openly. He is under pressure, first of all from Boumedienne, not to put down arms, to wage constant war, even a guerrilla one, without an army. Nasser, however, cannot act from a position of strength, as he doesn't have it.
During the UN session Yugoslavia was oriented towards the non-aligned countries, we wanted to collect as many as possible votes for our resolution. We got only 53, but we think that the question is not closed, if we continue to act properly. The position of some states, like Finland, some African states, etc. is not understandable. Thus, we still have in the UN some “reserves”. It will also be possible to reach an understanding with the countries of Latin America, which in their resolution also demanded withdrawal of Israel's troops. Thus, there are chances of gaining 2/3 of the votes. I agree with what com. Brezhnev said that to achieve this goal flexible forms of political activity need to be applied.
What does it mean to end the state of war with Israel? I sought the advice of my lawyers and they told me that it doesn't have to mean a formal recognition of Israel by the Arab states. The Arab countries do have here a room for maneuver. Without pressure we can convince these Arab states, which vacillate, to use such a formula and in this way gain a majority for the UN resolution.
Nasser finds himself under pressure from the reaction. Now there is going on a meeting of Nasser with [Jordanian King] Hussein. It looks as if the West has not bought Hussein. Jordan has lost quite a lot and Hussein became convinced that the Americans want to pay off Israel with the richest territories of Jordan. The situation is complicated and it would not be right to press Nasser on the one hand, while Algeria and other countries are pressing him from the other hand. It would not promote unity of these countries. It should also be explained to Boumedienne that an end to war with Israel is useful to the Arab countries. I think that the resolution submitted by U Thant is good and stands a chance to gain support.
I think that it will not be possible to stand up the Egyptian army on its feet within a year. In fact, there is no army over there and there is a danger that the arms sent out recently will arm Israel once again. There is a permanent military threat from Israel, though I don't think that they will move out all the way. There may multiply further provocations, as in Port Said, but nothing more. According to our information in Egypt they have been able to gather now about 100 thousand soldiers, but it is not an army ready to fight. But, nevertheless, it is a force with which Israel has to count if it were to attempt a new aggression.
As for the proposal of com. Novotny to open the Canal, it is not possible without the cessation of war, so long as Israeli forces are standing at the Canal. (Novotny: it may be a postulate, a demand to extend the front of political struggle.)
The economic situation in the UAR is very grave. The American press is counting continually how many days they will sustain. That is why assistance is so important. But assistance by itself, in the form of gifts, doesn't solve the problem, what is necessary is a steady economic cooperation, long-term contracts. It is a matter not less important, and perhaps more important than military matters. Without an improvement in economic situation the UAR will not stand up on its feet. Com. Gligorov will give information on the size of economic assistance provided by Yugoslavia.
Gligorov: So far we have provided to the UAR in the form of assistance all sorts of goods for the total value of $8 million (grain, sugar, medicines, etc.). Payments due this year from the UAR in the amount of $25 million have been postponed and converted into a long-term credit for purchases in Yugoslavia.
Algeria received economic assistance in the amount of $10 million and military assistance of $4 million.
Altogether, Yugoslavia extended to all Arab countries in the form of economic assistance and credits in the amount of $65 million.
In our opinion, if economic consolidation in the Arab countries doesn't occur, then the imperialists will achieve without war what they could not achieve through war. That is why it is so important to concentrate on economic issues, to have the UAR industry working without interruption. The UAR should be helped in the organization of foreign trade. So far 50 percent of UAR trade has been with the Western countries. We should help them, buying products which they produce. The UAR is heavily in debt, which is evident also by its payments due to Yugoslavia in the amount of $25 million. Very important is also the question of technical assistance. It is necessary to help them, so that their production apparatus could stand on its own feet.
Gomulka: The situation is very complex, first of all due to the military, political and economic weakness of such countries as the UAR and Syria. Jordan is playing rather a secondary role due to the rightist orientation of its government.
It follows from what com. Brezhnev said that Nasser's position is unacceptable to us. Here comes the situation which we really need to assess. We know the position of the imperialistic states, first of all the USA. We emphasize that they were unable to achieve the main goal, which was to overthrow Nasser and stem progressive tendencies in the Arab countries. But that aim has remained and they will still want to realize it. They are counting on various ways to realize this goal.
They are counting on that due to difficulties in the UAR and Syria, but mostly in the UAR, there will arise a situation in which Nasser will be overthrown. I don't know exactly how large is the current indebtedness of the UAR, and the question is not about indebtedness toward the socialist countries, as this can be prolonged, but about indebtedness toward the capitalist countries, which is undoubtedly high. The capitalist countries will thus press Nasser: pay, and if not, make political concessions! It would be worth knowing the size and schedule of UAR repayments for the capitalist countries.
Up to now the main source of foreign exchange for Egypt were revenues from the Suez Canal, which were reaching $250-280 million annually. That source of revenue has now stopped and for a longer period. I don't know what is the situation on the plantations of cotton. We got the news about the spreading of pesticides hurting cotton. And here again cotton is the main export product for Egypt. Long-fiber Egyptian cotton was the main source of income, from which Egypt could repay its debts. Com. Kosygin said that the United States were supplying grain to Egypt under a 30-year credit line. Now they will not be interested to do it. We don't have a thorough analysis of the internal economic situation of the UAR, but we realize that it is very difficult. In such a difficult situation there may emerge different groups and internal forces, which will try to remove Nasser not only as president, but for changing the political course. It may be that reactionary voices will rise and find an audience in different groups, that we will never win with Israel if we fight at the same time with the U.S., with the West. Therefore, in such a complex and difficult situation there is a possibility to overthrow the Nasser regime from within. This is one way on which imperialists are counting.
The other way, which should not be excluded, is further aggression by Israel. If Israel will wish, it will always find a pretext for another aggression. Isn't it, that even the obvious Israeli aggression of June 5th is being depicted as a defensive war? It's even more easy to find a pretext now. If the current state were to be prolonged without solution, then Israel will rather tend towards a military solution of this question.
Let us assume that within a year it will be possible by common efforts to secure the economic and internal situation of the UAR, so that difficulties are avoided. This will require a huge amount on the order of $300-400 million, and perhaps even $500 million. The imperialists are not going to wait the whole year with their hands behind [their backs] and they will come up militarily earlier. Are the Arab countries capable to counter such an assault? No! If Nasser says that he needs a year to put the army on its feet, then I am surprised that he, as a military, doesn't know that he need much more time for it, perhaps 3 or 4, or even 5 years. Nasser also approached us about the delivery of anti-aircraft machine guns and radar equipment, but at the same time he demanded sending people to service this equipment, as it turns out that he doesn't have such people. Thus, the UAR army even in a year's time will not be able stand up against Israel.
In such a difficult situation a search for political solutions is correct. Com. Brezhnev has come up with such proposals on behalf of the CPSU and we think they are good. We agree that measures should be taken for the withdrawal of Israeli forces. I have only one “but”. Will the United States agree to this? Rusk has formally communicated to Gromyko that the liquidation of the state of war with Israel will be sufficient to support the demand for troops withdrawal, but then he will say that Israel doesn't agree. One should realize that the United States will be playing on the situation through Israel [in order] not to confront directly the Arab countries.
What de Gaulle told com. Kosygin, that the next UN resolution has to be such that it can be adopted, is the basic question. Let us assume that the next resolution is rejected or even adopted but against the position of the United States. Then the matter will return to the Security Council and the maneuvers without any effect will begin. I doubt that the United States would agree to Israeli withdrawal, and by that give up, even for a certain time, on overthrowing the Nasser regime. This matter still constitutes for them the order of the day.
The problem should be played upon politically, to press the imperialists against the wall by various methods and to gain public opinion in favor of the Arab countries. If the Arab countries do not give up their position of not recognizing Israel, will persist on their position of liquidating Israel, the Arab cause will always be lost. The they will not be able to gain full support of the socialist countries, and even less so the capitalist ones. Nasser says that if he agrees to recognize the state of Israel and to end the state of war, he will be overthrown. It seems to me, that the current state of affairs is causing more harm than the open recognition of Israel. I agree with com. Novotny that Nasser cannot be silent any more. Already for a month he doesn't say anything publicly, and not only he, but the whole Egyptian press. If Nasser wants to be a leader of the Arab world, he has to come up publicly in the present situation.
I do not know why Boumedienne is taking such a position. I do not exclude that here competition with Nasser is at stake. Algeria is far away, it has a different economic position, and thus it can afford a hurrah-revolutionary stand. But if one were to check, it would turn out that he doesn't have enough pilots for the planes he received to take off. From Boumedienne's side it is somewhat cheap demagoguery. If he figures that he can be as revolutionary as China, and we will be fighting for him, he is bringing down the question to nonsense. We cannot win such a war. We are not saying that we will never participate in war, but the biggest nonsense would be to participate in a war, in which the Arab countries don't participate.
If Nasser came up openly in favor of political settlement he would not be in isolation, as he would gain support from such countries as Jordan, Libya, Tunisia and others. It only remains to be seen how the oil embargo falls apart. Revenues from oil constitute too high a share in the budgets of the Arab states for them to sustain a uniform front for too long.
Nasser's consent for opening the Gulf of Aqaba is a step forward, but not yet a solution. Recognition of the state of Israel should be put in conjunction with the problem of refugees. Here Nasser's position is strong. I don't know exactly this problem but I think that recognition of Israel might be linked with the return of those refugees who are willing. In 1949 they numbered 700 thousand. Now the talk is about 1.5 million, but this figure is exaggerated, it includes people born later, as well as some poor people who were posing as refugees to qualify for UN assistance. Nasser might present the problem in such a way that Israel or the Zionist circles build production facilities to employ let us say 100 thousand refugees, then he will consider the matter solved and will consent to the recognition of Israel. One may seek different forms of solving this question despite the fact that for 20 years the recognition of Israel had been denied. One might demand the construction of an oil refinery in the UAR, thus seeking recognition of Israel in conjunction with some condition understandable to the public opinion.
I also think that we should not reject what com. Novotny suggested regarding the opening of the Suez Canal. Nasser may present the matter in such a way that he wants to open the Canal and therefore on its East side should be posted UN soldiers. Such a demand would gain him support of some capitalist countries, which are interested in opening the Canal, and would bring him back revenues. We need to seek different forms of political solution, which would strengthen Nasser's position, would bring on his side some capitalist countries, to exculpate him from the charge that the Arab countries want to eliminate Israel. As long as this is not done there will be no new situation. The key to solving the problem is the policy of the Arab countries. I agree with com. Tito that Nasser should not be pressed, but we bear some responsibility for the course of events.
I learned with surprise from com. Brezhnev that Nasser already on July 9 had given an order to his air force to strike Israeli positions and only weather prevented in the execution of that order. It's obvious that in this way he will forfeit the whole matter. In such a case Israel would move straight forward. How would we then look in public opinion all over the world? What could we do in the area of military and political measures? The reaction persistently exploits such situations, spreads words that the socialist countries do not help, thus it is better to reconcile with the West. We must have the correct, full assessment of the situation and not act just from case to case. We cannot go along with tendencies calculated to drag us into war. We cannot agree that something suddenly pops up without an understanding with us. The Americans are always preparing all kinds of long-term planning, though sometimes it does not play them well, but when needed they can come up brutally in their interest. Who can present the case to the Arabs clearly without exerting pressure? The one who gives the largest assistance, it means the Soviet Union.
In my opinion further military assistance is without purpose, as there are no people who can use such weapons. We cannot allow for the Soviet weapons to fall in the hands of Israel for the third time.
I agree with com. Novotny to send out a letter from our conference not only to Nasser, but to all Arab states. I think that in such letter we need to lay out our point of view. This can also be done differently, to send off, after the conference, our representatives, who will present our point of view in the Arab countries.
It seems to me that U Thant's resolution doesn't stand a chance of being adopted. Of course, the matter may be switched to the Security Council and it will further pickle [marinate] over there. Unfortunately, we don't have too many choices. The most important thing, however, is to influence the Arab countries on the question of recognition of Israel, perhaps in conjunction with the refugee problem.
Kadar: Com. Brezhnev's information was very useful. We agree with the proposal of Soviet comrades. It is important that the decision on cease-fire be played up to gain time for conducting political activity. Though in this regard the results obtained are not large, but compared with what was [occurring] during our Moscow conference, the present situation is better. An important role has been played by Soviet military and economic assistance, the presence of Soviet experts, and lately even the fact of Soviet fleet's visit in the UAR.
We agree with com. Brezhnev's assessment that that the situation is serious and dangerous. The aggressors have not abandoned their plans to dominate the Suez Canal. Thus, the struggle is going on. Imperialistic aggressors are obviously in a better position, if only for the reason that military power of Israel is bigger than those three Arab states, recently very much weakened.
I think that the last UN session gave some positive results, as it led to unmasking territorial claims of Israel. In this way who support Israel have been unmasked. One should admit, however, that they are doing it more skillfully now than in 1956, when the imperialistic powers had to directly participate in aggression. This time they used exclusively Israel, without their direct engagement. A similar tactic they applied in the UN. They are backing Israel in a veiled fashion, and even criticize it, so that it's difficult to catch them by hand. At the UN session we were not able to gain a majority for our resolution. We agree that the major factor was pressure from the United States and a lack of flexibility of the Arab states. We agree that we have to move forward in the way of political activity. Now we may work at the session for the adoption of the U Thant's resolution. If this doesn't succeed, we may postpone the session and transfer the fight to the Security Council. It is useful that we can exchange here points of view and work out a joint line of action, since we will have to fight jointly in the United Nations. As far as coordination of our efforts is concerned, our leadership has discussed this matter frequently and we agree to all such coordination. In the UN, where fast decisions are needed, our permanent representatives should coordinate directly their activities. We also agree with the proposal that foreign ministers of our countries should meet on these questions.
I agree with com. Gomulka that our action has to be coordinated and backed by active support of the Arab countries themselves. We must know whom we are helping and what he intends to do. I agree with what com. Tito said that the UAR and other Arab states are independent and they should not be pressed. But, on the other hand, neither in the UAR nor in Syria can we see some positive programs for solving the internal and external situation. Without interfering in their internal affairs we have the right to expect from them some programs of action to the degree to which we are helping them. I agree with a proposal to send out a letter from our meeting to the Arab countries, but I think we will not be able to draft such a letter here on the spot. It can be done in a few days, then all of us can submit amendments and agree on its content. We may accept a simpler method. One can imagine that the Soviet comrades, who are in direct contact with the Arab countries, will submit to them the content of our considerations. It probably will not be seen as pressure, but as friendly information given them so they might better understand on what they may count from our side, and what we cannot do.
In the area of economic assistance important is assistance for the development of production and sustained growth of the economy. This question might be even included in the communiqué from our conference.
We learned with great satisfaction about the large military assistance, which the Soviet Union had extended since the cease-fire. On the other hand we should consider how this equipment may be used. We are sending equipment and the technique must remain in some proportion to its mastery and use. It cannot be that the Soviet Union will be sending so many weapons and all sorts of equipment without assurance it is going to be used. We have also received a list of requirements with demands for sending planes, tanks, etc. It's not serious. In Hungary, e.g., we do not produce military aircraft. There are cases when someone formulating demands does not quite know what they need. As far as economic assistance is concerned, this is a different matter, but in the area of military assistance sometimes it is necessary to make an assessment for the Arab countries as to what they need. I am convinced that even the Soviet Union, which in this area has huge possibilities, does not have so much of that equipment in stocks to send it out without considering what is needed. In our public opinion, and I think that in other countries it is likewise, the question looks like this: we were giving to Ghana – it failed, we gave to Indonesia – it failed, we gave the Arab countries - failed too. Therefore, the question is raising doubts. Of course, socialist countries cannot have the same attitude toward assistance to other countries as the capitalist countries do, but the socialist countries should have a minimal guarantee that assistance rendered by them will not be wasted.
I think that coordination of assistance through the CMEA is beneficial. Our representatives in the Executive Committee of CMEA might meet especially for this purpose, with the participation of observers from Yugoslavia. With regard to military assistance, I also do not see the possibility of its coordination, as our share is minimal, the main burden falls on the Soviet Union.
I agree with the proposal to inform the Arab countries about our conference, but I also think of Romania. It is right that we have gathered in the composition of states, which had signed the Moscow statement, but it would be desirable to inform the Romanians through diplomatic channels that we are meeting here on the day of the Moscow declaration.
Zivkov: We have listened with attention to com. Brezhnev's information. We see what a great effort the Soviet Union has made in connection with developments in the Middle East. We agree with the tactics of political activity. The line of political settlement of the problem is correct. After the Moscow statement, adopted at our conference, after a warning by the Soviet Union of Johnson and Israel, the war was interrupted. Developments in the UN confirmed the correctness of the direction we are heading. We are correct in not allowing the Arab leaders to draw us into the conflict. We agree that we should work in the UN towards adopting a resolution and think that U Thant's proposal may be its basis. From this point of view it is advantageous both for us and the Arab countries that U Thant took upon himself this initiative. A resolution can be adopted if the Arab countries give up on some of their demands.
We agree with com. Gomulka and other comrades who argued that it is necessary for Nasser to submit a political concept and come up with an initiative. We cannot uphold demands which are contrary to our Marxist ideology and political concepts. These demands only make the situation in the Middle East more difficult. From this point of view we in fact do not see why we might not accept the resolution of the Latin American countries. Let us consider the specific points of that resolution. The withdrawal of Israeli forces – this is our postulate. Recognition of the state of Israel – this is an obvious matter if only because Israel was created by a UN decision. We cannot explain even within our party why the UAR does not want to recognize the state of Israel. What does it mean that the UAR will be ready within a year? Ready for what? To start war and destroy Israel? After all, here it does not go only about a war between the Arab countries and Israel, but about a class struggle with imperialism. Our task is to strengthen the regimes of UAR and Syria, but not to destroy Israel, but to develop progressive tendencies in the Arab countries.
Also a point from the resolution of the Latin American countries on shipping in the Gulf of Aqaba can hardly be questioned. Israel cannot live without Aqaba, it is its supply route. It also concerns shipping in the Suez Canal. And let us take the question of internationalizing Jerusalem. It's obvious that claims to that city are being raised by the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious organizations. There is even a UN resolution on Jerusalem.
All these problems need to be raised with the Arab countries, we have to energetically talk on these subjects with the leaders of these countries. Otherwise there will always be difficulties in solving this problem. We agree with the opinion of Soviet comrades that in the current circumstances there is no military solution. The UAR and Syria don't have armies. Thus, the course for political solution is correct. We cannot expose our countries to a nuclear strike. It would be wrong. The Arab countries have to go for a compromise. There are no political solutions without a compromise, particularly if the righteous postulates are made.
We think that in the UAR, Syria and Algeria there are conditions for a political transformation. I talked with [Syrian] president [Nureddin al-]Atassi in New York. He told me that for the Arab countries there is only one socialist road, an alliance with the socialist countries. What Nasser was saying to Soviet comrades is also interesting. Perhaps it might be useful to entrust to Soviet comrades coordination of all our efforts in the UAR, Syria and Algeria. Soviet comrades did well not accepting command over the UAR forces. This proposal by Nasser is wrong. I think, however, that it would be worth taking some military positions in the Arab countries in the interest of those countries, in the interest of our countries and the struggle with imperialism. It would be proper to set up a Soviet military base, use the presence of specialists, etc. We have all the means necessary to help the three Arab countries in the development on their non-capitalistic road, in their social transformation.
I agree with com. Kadar that we should help those three countries long-term in the development of production, cooperation and specialization of production with the socialist countries, etc. In general we think that there are premises to transform the military defeat of those countries into our political success. To strengthen our position and our influence there. It would also have great significance in term of our influence on Turkey, Iran and the African countries. We should not dramatize the defeat, but use the emerging situation for increasing our influence in the region.
We agree with the opinion that the situation is dangerous. At any moment there may be a war initiated by either Israel or the Arab countries, or by accident. There is a danger of the falling apart of those Arab countries whose feudal regimes are a disintegrating factor. Of course, the imperialists and Israel also have weak points, but we have them plenty. Let us take the economic situation. The longer the current condition persists, the more it will deteriorate. Repercussions of the Canal closing, judging from what com. Kosygin was telling of India, are disturbing.
We agree with comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin to strive for the adoption of a UN resolution. Com. Gomulka is correct saying that the United States even after the adoption of the resolution may sabotage its implementation, but the resolution would create for us a more convenient platform for political activity.
We think that at the closing of our deliberations we should publish a brief information communiqué and we should state in it clearly, that we are for the elimination of effects of the aggression, consistent with the statement from our Moscow meeting.
Brezhnev: Once again we wish to express to the Comrades our appreciation for your quick arrival. Since we have met and to ensure good results of our meeting, I have to raise several things from history and talk about the prospects, as we see them.
It has passed over 10 years since the aggression of 1957 [sic—presumably a reference to the 1956 Suez crisis and war]. The situation has changed. In the UAR, Algeria and Syria the tendencies towards a non-capitalistic road of development and closer relationship with the socialist countries have strengthened. Also other non-aligned countries are showing similar tendencies in the international arena. The United States could not but have noticed it. Already at our first conference we noticed that U.S. interest in that region had been threatened and this had induced the U.S. to that operation. We want to emphasize once again that it is a premeditated and prepared operation and the imperialists will go to the end. We have to take it into account and look at this whole situation from this point of view.
Why the UAR has suffered a defeat? A total carelessness, lack of understanding of what an army is in modern conditions, inability to deal with modern military technique. It is a fact and it needs to be told straight: this is a feudal country, which suddenly got in touch with modern weapons, the newest tanks, rocket-launchers, etc.
with weapons which can be handled only by a man having at least secondary-school education and 2 years of training with such weapons. Now Nasser is doing self-flagellation, but we are not feeling better.
Earlier they had not thought on the organization of army, the officer staff is divided by a class wall from the soldiers. Soldiers don't have collective feeding, some of them are feeding themselves on their own, they don't live in barracks at all, no around-the clock duties, etc. It is sad to talk about it, as we are criticizing ourselves by it, because we had yielded to Nasser. We were pushing to them everything what was possible. There were traitors in his army, espionage. The Americans, together with Israel, had worked out a plan and were sure that a sudden attack would bring them success. And they won. On the eve of war Nasser was delivering speeches, officers were released to homes and the airfields were bombed without defense. This is a very sad picture. Both we and the Arabs have drawn conclusions from this. At our CC Plenary meeting we once again put forward the tasks before our military forces to intensify intelligence activity, duty hours, vigilance, etc. We are drawing such serious conclusions even though here at home we have not encountered a situation which might cause our concern.
Now we are facing the facts. I repeat that our Moscow meeting had a very positive role and great international significance. It has displayed the unity of the socialist camp, our political attitude and particularly our policy toward a nation fighting for national liberation. This is the general line of our party. From this point of view our uniform stand, with the exception of the Romanians, [an exception] which should be regretted - is very important. Even if we cannot realize everything, the fact itself that we get together is very important. Therefore, there is no reason to worry just because our resolution has not passed in the United Nations. And did the cease-fire depend exclusively on our decision? Perhaps not quite. But, our attitude had a decisive significance on it – this is a fact. The United States took it under consideration and to Israel the abrogation of diplomatic relations was also of significance.
Now begins a new stage. It seemed to us that the Arab countries would draw the right conclusions from their defeat and would understand the necessity of getting out of this situation, of uniting themselves. We were working in this direction, directing to them a member of the Politburo and undertaking other measures. However, that period not only has not been used for strengthening their unity, but made the situation even more difficult.
On the second day of the conflict, at 3 a.m. at night we were alarmed by Nasser: the fire has to be stopped right away, otherwise Cairo will fall, Damascus will fall! And then Boumedienne is arriving to us with pretensions regarding our policy of coexistence, etc. Nasser is showing all sorts of resentments, he is dejected by defeat. The comrades rightly point out that he should change his concept. Yet, he lacks the will to do it. At one point he said (I am not telling sequentially, but it's not important, the comrades will understand me) that he is choosing an hour of revenge on Israel, and then in an aside, in the cabinet tells us that he made a mistake. But he did not find a way to say it publicly. Behind the scenes his statement is being interpreted in such a way that if Israel attacks, it must be liquidated. But Nasser himself is silent and doesn't correct his statement. The comrades are right that he is passive.
In terms of morality and prestige we suffer a defeat. Not every one of our workers understands: why 2 million Israelis defeated so many Arabs, equipped with our weapons? It is not easy to explain. Even in our country, among the intelligentsia, the military, there are all sorts of talks about the reality of Soviet assistance, is the policy of co-existence right, etc. Among those who inspire such talks are also our adversaries. And this also has to be taken into account, as struggle is a struggle.
What awaits us and why are we [trying] so hard to convince Nasser to choose the right road? A situation has arisen that we have not got a majority of votes. If the Arabs in total or Nasser (the worst case) won't understand us, we won't have any success neither in the General Assembly, nor later in the Security Council. And this is what the Americans want.
What can we expect in such a case? A new provocation from Israel, though they are aware of our deliveries, they know that 250 of our engineers are assembling planes. But they also know that these planes do not have pilots, that there is a lack of commanders in anti-aircraft defense. If the UN session ends up without a result, Israel will be encouraged to a new provocation. In the UAR they say: “our conscience lies on the ground.” We used to know Nasser as a man of hard will, but now he does not understand that under the present circumstances it is better to go for what we advise, gain the support of other countries, and then deal with the internal situation. Socialist countries will assist him economically. But unfortunately, he does not want to go for it.
Our military equipment was once again squandered. The Arabs are counting on us, they want to drag us into war. In Vietnam we are in fact already involved, but there is a political platform. And here we cannot fight just to liquidate Israel. Of course, we might use rockets, even not atomic, and destroy Tel Aviv. But this already means war. And we want to avoid war by all means. We are almost certain that the American do not want war. They want from us something else. But that is another matter. They are also concerned about the balance of atomic forces.
And if the resolution in the UN won't pass, then Israel does not even have to take Cairo, which would resound poorly in world public opinion. It will capture the Canal and announce that it is open for shipping by all countries. Then Nasser and the progressive regimes will fall. This is a dilemma. While Nasser, instigated by the reaction, wants retaliation. Boumedienne and Syria are pushing him. Nasser is afraid to lose a position as a leader position of the Arab world, while Boumedienne is thinking of becoming one. We are convinced that if Syria and Nasser could get to terms, then conditions would be created for troops withdrawal, even at the price of a quarrel with Boumedienne. And then it would be possible to settle other matters. Even if we sent there 2 or 3 thousand advisers, it would still take 2-3 years to prepare military cadres, to train them, following the Suvorov principle: “Hard in training, light in fighting.” (Recently [we] shipped 48 thousand tons of military equipment above what I had already spoken. You can count how much it costs. But that is not the problem. Since we are helping, it's from the heart.) But how to change Nasser so that he would understand that this conflict needs to be solved politically if he himself wants to exist, if he respects his own people and the Arab nations. If he won't understand it – that is the end! But then we will be able to say that we did everything what was possible. Boumedienne gave Egypt 48 planes and that's all. And now he has made himself a great hero, pushes Nasser and himself has never fought. And if he were attacked, nobody knows how he would react.
We wanted to propose to Nasser a different scenario: that not Israel but he himself announces the freedom of shipping, that in the interest of nations he wants to open the Canal. But prior to that, Israel, of course, has to evacuate its troops. It would also help us at the session But Nasser seems to think that the blockade of the Canal is the means of pressure on the Americans. He is wrong, as the United States will endure without the Canal, while Nasser will not. This is a symptom of Arab nationalism, which prevents him from seeking the solution. We sent off Malik to him and want to convince him to come up himself with an initiative.
What to do next? As a result of our exchange of views I understand that you share our position, we have not heard objections. Therefore, we have to pursue this line by various means. From our side we say: we are helping you with arms, with officers, but only for defense, not to attack Israel. Of course, when the conflict ends we might think of how to enter there militarily, economically, etc. It might be possible to conclude various agreements, e.g., on entrance of our ships, resting areas for sailors, etc. Then we might even create for him an army. We think that an immediate withdrawal of troops, freedom of shipping – this is what can save the regime and it means a victory. Because then imperialism will not achieve its major goal.
After our meeting it would be most convenient to send a letter to Nasser. It could be written overnight and inform him in a few words about our meeting. The formulations should be elastic, but he should be given to understand where is the line between the success of his regime and its fall. The first task – freeing of the occupied territories, opening of the Canal to all nations of the world. A reference might be made to Indira Gandhi, whose country is in danger due to the delayed deliveries. It might be done in the form of information on the work of our session. Also indirectly a mention might be made about Boumedienne's mistakes. Perhaps this needs to be said directly? After all Boumedienne is chattering whatever he wishes. Me – three hundred million people – the whole socialist camp, are afraid to tell him straight. If it were impossible to write such a letter overnight, it might be finished tomorrow. If some of the comrades are in a hurry, you may leave, but it would be better to do it while all of us are here.
Com. Ulbrich suggests to send to the UAR a group of people who would assist Nasser. We agree, we have people and will think of it. We need to dissuade Nasser from the concept of revenge and the influence of those around him.
Gromyko has not confirmed so far whether the U Thant's resolution has been submitted. If Fawzi agrees with it, this would mean some departure from the previous position, some concession. We gave Gromyko directives to “touch” how it smells and if the resolution had a chance of gaining majority – to support it, and if not – not to jeopardize our prestige.
We also recommended him to preliminarily check how the next question would be like: continuation of the General Assembly and transfer of all protocols from its session for consideration to the Security Council, to continue work there. Such course would be the best in case the resolution could not pass.
With regard to economic assistance. I agree that assistance is needed. I admit that I have not thought about it with such detail as comrades Tito, Gomulka, Zivkov, Novotny were telling, all comrades, to consider the matter thoroughly, speed it up, provide raw materials for putting in operation the plants now standing idle, prolong the repayment of credits, etc. Maybe the CMEA could do it? It's true that the Romanians are using their veto there.
Referring to the Romanians, we think that they are openly departing from our positions. They are making some sensational preparations for July 24th. Ceausescu is to announce something phenomenal. Maybe it has something to do with their leaving of the Warsaw Pact. Now Ceausescu is on his triumphant journey all over the country. Within a week he delivered 14 speeches. But he is saying that together with the whole socialist camp he is ready to repel imperialist aggression. All of this is an external coating. I recall him saying at the Moscow conference that each party has the right to disagree, and if the others agree, let them adopt a resolution by themselves and the other party should not feel offended. This may now apply to them. Thus, we might be working through the CMEA. But this is not a simple matter. 50 percent of manufacturing industry of the UAR is not working for lack of raw materials.
You remember how wisely Lenin acted. He concluded the Brest peace. He said – let even an island [of socialism] remain, it will expand! And now look how it has expanded. We already have the whole camp. And now we cannot break Nasser and overcome his sick imagination. Our talks aim at more effective action, but we cannot allow ourselves to be dragged into war. We told our party that at one time we supported the state of Israel and that we cannot now sustain a such position as Nasser is voicing that that state has to be destroyed. We are just against Israel's aggression and our party and nation support it.
Nasser doesn't want to listen to us. We have to conduct ourselves in a way that later we may say: we have done all [we could], but you did not listen to us, our conscience is clear! There are situations when military intervention is needed. Spain, e.g., in its time. Stalin could subsequently say: our conscience is clear. (Zivkov: in 1923 there broke out an uprising in Bulgaria and we were smashed, but Lenin did not intervene then and he was right.)
With regard to the communiqué, we think that its formulations should not be weaker than the ones from the previous Moscow conference. Otherwise Israel would argue that we are giving up on it.
Please excuse me for talking so long, but the situation is tense and we should have a plan of action. Our exchange of views was needed. From it emerged the need to inform the Arabs. Perhaps we might also send a letter to Boumedienne (information), let him read of what we were talking here? We send weapons, but we cannot fight, as we see no purpose [in fighting], not because we are weak.
Then followed discussion on the question of a letter (information) to the Arab states. Com. Tito raised a reservation in fear that it might be understood as a form of pressure of several countries on Nasser. He also expressed doubt if the meeting should be taking any decision while our countries are acting simultaneously in the United Nations to pass a resolution. Under such circumstance it would be better if pressure on Nasser were coming from the UN, not from our meeting.
Brezhnev: The resolution on troop withdrawal and the cessation of the state of war may gain a majority of votes. Nasser in fact agreed for shipping in Aqaba, and on the Suez Canal he wants to restore the situation from before the war. What remains is to agree with him on the formulation of the “cessation of the state of war.” But that is exactly what he does not want to agree to. I also think that the Americans may first agree, and then will say that Israel does not agree. And there will be another delay. So, the right moment needs to be chosen for the vote.
Tito: If we submit a resolution on the cessation of the state of war, we will get the majority of votes. But if the Arabs do not agree – responsibility will fall on them.
Brezhnev: It needs to be explained to Nasser that there will be such a resolution and that if he rejects it, the whole responsibility will be his. And to explain him that right now we are also suffering losses.
We would be grateful to com. Tito if he would personally go to Nasser and, taking advantage of his respect and friendship – if he agrees with our theses – talk with him sincerely [“po dusham”] and convey to him orally information about our meeting. Independently of it we may also send a written information, agreed upon among us, which would not contradict what com. Tito will say. Our comrades, Podgorny and others, have already been in Cairo. If one of us went again, he might think that we are exerting pressure on him. Com. Tito, on the other hand, could say that we asked him to go – and he agreed – to explain Nasser why his position is fragile. Obviously, he would explain it very carefully. In other words, if com. Tito accepted our request, it would be very good.
Tito: I myself said that it would be good to send someone there. But I can go on behalf of Yugoslavia, not on behalf of the conference. I can also speak on behalf of the non-aligned countries. You write the information.
Brezhnev: You have participated in the conference. Nasser himself will ask about our conference. We should help him understand the situation.
Tito: This does not depend only on me. I have to have an approval from our CC. But we have to be aware that Nasser is still in a state of shock and cannot understand many things. I don't know if it is possible to talk yet with him.
Kadar: I am not against a collective information, but it is somewhat difficult. Therefore I repeat: I propose that com. Brezhnev, the CPSU, on his own behalf, or on our request, give information on the most important questions to Nasser, Boumedienne and Atassi. This will be supplemented by our communiqué, which we will work out. Besides, I support what com. Tito said. If he goes there, he even more expands the information and the communiqué. It is good that he may go, as there are friendly relations between him and Nasser.
Tito: You should write in the information that there was much talk here on how to help and that all of us were in agreement that the problem cannot be solved through war and only by a political solution. For the Arabs everything now stands in term of prestige. But they have already proved that they are unable to fight.
Brezhnev: So, we are coming down to some common position[s]:
- we consider a military solution as inadvisable,
- economic assistance,
- sustaining the progressive regimes,
- withdraw the [Israeli] troops as soon as possible,
- inform Nasser.
We will send a letter and express in it our joint thoughts, with an agreement of all
of us. We would like to agree with you on the content of this document, even if it were to come out only from us.
Com. Tito accepts our request for a trip to the UAR and we grateful. We trust that his CC will take a favorable position.
I would ask comrades not to depart yet before our meeting tomorrow and agreement on the communiqué. There is also another reason. New elements may come up from Malik's conversation with Nasser, as well as from U Thant's resolution. There may be a lucky coincidence that Nasser will react positively to Malik's conversation and to U Thant's resolution. This may induce us to introduce some changes in our communiqué. We will get the news by morning. We will resume our work tomorrow morning till at least dinner. We need to talk with a fresh head. We have not slept already many nights.
Gomulka: I support the proposal that com. Tito goes to Nasser. Of course, I fully agree with com. Tito that it is the problem of the Yugoslav party. It is up to him if he wishes to inform Nasser from our conference or on his own behalf.
I think that information should be exhaustive enough to present the problem in its totality. The document will be prepared and sent by the CPSU, but since it is to be information from all of us, it would be good for us to see it in advance.
Now we are inclined to work for the UN resolution. But this doesn't solve the problem. I already told com. Brezhnev that the U.S. may agree to the resolution, but Israel will not subordinate itself to it. Yes, it finds itself in a difficult political situation, but it still will not be the solution to the problem.
The main problem is that Nasser should take initiative in his own hands. If he doesn't do it, then all is lost. I don't believe that he would be overthrown by a clear presentation of the case. (Tito: not the nation will overthrow him, but the reaction.) Under what slogan, of destroying Israel? It is the reaction that is responsible for capitulation.
Let us not have [any] illusion regarding a unity of the Arab countries. This unity can break down any day. There are pro-imperialistic forces among them. They will also not sustain economically; com. Kosygin was showing here how their budgets depend on oil revenues. Nasser can say that by his action he can cause the disintegration of Arab unity. This is not true, as there is no such unity anyway. In general this is a class problem. For Israel stand even reactionary circles – anti-Semitic. There is a division according to class criteria. It is important that Nasser comes up for the opening of the Canal, because this would gain him public opinion. The question of recognition of Israel can be linked with the problem of refugees. If the problem of refugees is solved, the question of recognition of Israel will be solved too.
In the information it can be clearly said that we do not apply any pressure. Since people gathered here are with revolutionary experience, they can help the Arab countries in mapping out prospects. The information should also be sent to other Arab leaders.
I think we may not give any communiqué from our conference, and in any case not in such brief form as the Hungarian comrades suggested. At the time of the Moscow meeting the situation was different and there was a need to take a clear position. Now the communiqué should not be weaker from the previous one, but we still don't know what to say in it.
The most important thing is to inform the leadership of the Arab countries about the substance of our meeting. And if the capitalist countries won't know what took place, so be it!
Brezhnev: It's difficult to say right away what will be in this communiqué. We have not brought with us drafts. We think, however, to such a meeting like ours should be conferred significance. It is not necessary to repeat what was said here, but we need to reflect our policy. We are for the communiqué, but we will go along what the comrades adopt.
I suggest that each delegation appoint one comrade, and they will gather tomorrow morning to prepare a draft.
Regarding the information, we think that our exchange of views permits us to assume that we will prepare a good information. The information may possibly be sent by the Hungarian comrades as hosts of the meeting.
Tomorrow, if the comrades wish, we may hear information of com. Kosygin on his work in New York, on his meetings with Johnson and in Cuba. Before his trip to Cuba we had sent a letter there, spelling out our position on a number of questions taken up by Fidel. Com. Kosygin on his last brief meeting with de Gaulle. Such information is better than a written one. It is impossible to write everything, and besides the comrades may have some questions.
The following comrades have been selected for drafting the communiqué:
Ponomariev and Rusakov, Tellalov, Lenart, Popovic, Winzer, Trepczynski and Erdelyi.
July 12 – the second day of deliberation
Brezhnev: First of all a few pieces of information.
Yesterday we spoke of a resolution proposed by U Thant. Overnight we got the news from New York that that resolution is no longer valid, doesn't stand a chance gaining a majority and is not going to be submitted. Now the work is going on on a new draft.
The second news: The General Assembly has renewed its work. On the agenda – the question of Jerusalem. Gromyko reports that attempts will be made to condemn the Israeli aggression and looking for ways to solve the problem of Jerusalem. The discussion on this may stretch out for two days. The speakers will condemn the aggression. For us it is advantageous, we will win one-two days more.
The third question: we spoke of Malik's trip to Cairo to explain a letter by our CC. He spoke with Nasser yesterday. I will read you a cable he wrote after that conversation. That cable, of course, doesn't exhaust everything.
“July 11th late evening I spoke with Nasser. First I conveyed cordial greetings and wishes from the Politburo of the CC of our party. I explained to him the purpose of my arrival. I informed him that the Soviet leadership considered carefully the oral request of the UAR government of July 8. I told him about further measures taken by us in the area of military assistance, the quantity of tanks and other weapons already under way, on our support rendered to the Arabs by sending to them Soviet specialists, on the departure of military delegation to Cairo, which is authorized to discuss specific questions of assistance aimed at strengthening the country's defense and reorganization of the UAR armed forces, on Soviet navy ships sailing to Alexandria and Port Said. Then I explained in detail and in the proper form the opinion of the CPSU and the Soviet government on the necessity of conducting political struggle to eliminate the consequences of Israeli aggression and taking advantage of the configuration of forces in the UN to solve the major problem – withdrawal of troops and combining this demand with turning to the Security Council for the cessation of the state of war with Israel. I expressed satisfaction that at the General Assembly session the chief delegates of the Soviet Union and UAR
agreed within two days that they would support U Thant's resolution. It may become a basis for working out a new draft, which will gain a majority. I emphasize the importance of new elements in connection with the resumption of (General Assembly) debates on July 12. It is advantageous to the UAR because – due to impracticability of regaining the territories by military means, due to military weakness of the UAR – she can gain time. This is also advantageous from the point of view of rebuilding the UAR army, which requires a lot of work and time. I drew his attention to the statement of the Algerian minister of information (in Italy), who said that the only possibility of solving the situation in the Middle East is the continuation of war and therefore it is necessary to compel Egypt and Syria to the resumption of military activities. Such statements are out of place, harmful, because they benefit the aggressor. They are making difficult the elimination of the consequences of aggression.
Nasser agreed with this. He asked to convey cordial thanks to the Soviet leadership for [its] concern and friendly relationship. Then he said he agrees totally with the USSR position regarding the need for political solutions to eliminate consequences of aggression. “I agree – said Nasser – that currently a solution by war is unacceptable. I also agree that for the restoration of fighting capacity of the army we may perhaps need lots of time.” Nasser emphasized that his oral appeal to the Soviet government on July 8 was not intended to call for the liberation of the Sinai Peninsula by war. He asked for assistance only in case if Israel crossed the Suez Canal to seize it. The main motive of his appeal is the superiority of the Israeli army over the Egyptian one, and particularly in the air power (Egypt does not have pilots). He thanked the Soviet Union for training his army. He said (I quote): “We intend to begin building the army from scratch, because the basis [on which] it had been built does not respond to the requirements of a modern army. We have become convinced that the basis is not only weapons, but people, and their education is not an easy task. We have never presented the case in such a way that the Soviet Union should help us liberate the Sinai Peninsula and other parts of the Arab territory. The Arabs themselves should spill their blood.”
He further agreed with the Soviet leadership that now political settlement of the problem should be sought. At the same time solutions should be sought at the cost of the smallest concessions by the Arabs. Talking about political solutions of the problem he especially emphasized that there is one particularly important question. It cannot happen that Israel would have a shipping right in the Suez Canal. “It would be a catastrophe for us – said Nasser. Such s determination is for us impossible. I would like the Soviet government to take under consideration this only, but basic for us, argument. (He said “only”- which is already some change.) As long as there is no peace and Israel is not recognized, the problem of shipping in the Canal will not be solved. We suffered a defeat, the morale of the nation and the people declined. In such conditions giving Israel the right of shipping in the Canal would be for us a new blow. We can accept any political solution, personally I agree to anything, but not to the passage of Israeli ships through the Canal.”
Further on Nasser emphasized again: [“]I agree with the necessity of political solutions, as we do not have forces for military solutions.” Then he said that the decisive role in strengthening the defense of the country and the army was played by discipline and organization of the Soviet people. The basic role in this respect was played by the CPSU, the example of the communists, the good work of the officers and command. He expressed satisfaction that we concentrate our attention on political solutions and that our delegation in the UN works on it actively.
In the future we face a complicated political struggle. Already now we see signs of counteraction by the Americans. On the other hand, U Thant's involvement is an important fact and allows [one] to have hope (Nasser didn't know yet that this resolution would not be submitted). Besides, governments of the non-aligned countries which did not support the resolution of non-aligned countries, are now criticized by the nations loving freedom and peace and a peace-loving world public opinion. It may also have an impact on changing their position in the direction favorable to the Arabs when comes the discussion on the next resolution in the General Assembly.
Towards the end Nasser said: “Crisis in the Middle East has had both negative and positive sides. Positive: the Arabs became convinced that the Soviet Union and fraternal socialist countries are their true friends. As a result of those difficult of us experiences our relations have strengthened even more. The crisis will still go on long, but our relations will continue to strengthen. We count on assistance of the Soviet Union in the reconstruction of the army, we will listen the Soviet comrades, we totally rely on Soviet advisers.”
Malik responded that Soviet specialist will do everything what they can to ensure effective assistance. Nasser thanked Brezhnev for the gift (I sent him a food parcel).
Towards the end of conversation – continues Malik – I got interested in the results of Boumedienne's and Hussein's visits to Cairo. Nasser told me that the situation of Jordan's king was very difficult. Jordan has lost a large territory. Its army suffered great losses. I advised Hussein – said Nasser – to demand from the Americans to achieve with their assistance liberation of the occupied territories of the country. However, even Hussein cannot begin negotiations with Israel, as he would be overthrown immediately.
The Algerians take an extremely belligerent position. Boumedienne insists on the continuation of war with Israel. He said that even if Cairo and Damascus fall, he is in favor of opening “a second Vietnam.” He doesn't see the difference, even geographic,
doesn't want to understand that military operations in a desert are not the same as a partisan war, even in the hills of Kabylia. Nasser said that he didn't share Boumedienne's position on the resolution of the Midle East conflict.” (This is the end of Malik's information.)
Thus, we can be glad that there has been a change in Nasser's views, as can also be seen from conversation with our representative. How much will it be reflected in his activity within the country or in the UN, or in the cooperation with the fraternal Arab countries – we will see! But, judging from conversations one can argue that it is some success of our policy and our friendly recommendations.
In addition we got the following TASS information:
Iraq is appealing to the Arab world to cut off diplomatic relations with the Romanians and inclusion of Romania on the “black list”, on which there are USA, England and the FRG, because they are helping Israel. The Iraqi minister of finance and economy said on July 9 in Baghdad: the government stopped issuing permits for imports of Romanian goods. Now the government is having under consideration to cut off diplomatic relations with Romania.
(Then followed the discussion on the draft of a communiqué. Upon reaching agreement on its content it was decided to publish it in radio news the same day at 7 p.m. of the mid-European time, and next morning in the press)
Information by com. Kosygin
Conversation with de Gaulle. On our way to New York we stopped over in Paris. Com. Gomulka advised us to do it. In our talks with de Gaulle we wanted to clarify for ourselves his views on the Middle East and talk about the possibility of joint approaches in this matter. He immediately expressed his negative stand toward American policy in the Middle East. But he also said: I doubt if it will be possible to achieve a resolution in the General Assembly on the repayment of compensation and censuring the aggressor. First of all, efforts should be made to adopt a resolution on troop withdrawal. This correlated with our point of view. In the final analysis de Gaulle said they will vote for a joint resolution and will try to cooperate with us in the UN. That is, indeed, how it was.
During the second meeting on our way from New York, de Gaulle said to me that what is needed is a resolution, which could gain a majority of votes. France is not going to vote a second time for a resolution that will fail
We also talked on Vietnam. De Gaulle's position: we need to demand the withdrawal of American troops. He put it quite decisively. He received very well our arrival to Paris, as it strengthens his authority.
Talks with Johnson. Even prior to our departure for New York we had considered at the Politburo if I should meet with Johnson. We decided that I would not go to Washington, but will talk if the meeting takes place in New York or somewhere close to it.
Next day after my arrival Rusk notified us that Johnson wants to talk in Washington. We refused. Rusk argued that if the meeting doesn't take place, Johnson's prestige would be undermined. He suggested another place – Camp David, where a meeting with Eisenhower had taken place. We refused again. Then Johnson suggested two mountain resorts. We refused again. I even had made a reservation for departure. Then Rusk came once again and behaved quite rudely. He said: if you don't want to meet with Johnson, say it straight that you don't. I answered I want to, but I don't see the possibility of holding the meeting in the proposed places. Then Rusk put forward on Johnson's behalf a new proposal: Johnson realized that you don't want to meet in the vicinity of Washington, then he suggests to meet at a military base, 70 km from
Washington, as it is a federal territory. And the president can meet only on the federal grounds, while the other facilities belong to the states. I responded that I am not a general and don't want to meet in the military base. Besides, it will be poorly received by the public. Rusk once again became testy: “It means that you categorically refuse?” We responded, you wrongly inform the president. If the meeting, e.g., took place at a farm, the president would gain many votes in elections. In the evening it was announced that the president suggests to hold the meeting at Glassboro, in the director's cabinet of the local teachers college. I have to admit that they created there a very favorable atmosphere to talks. They were trying to emphasize respect for the Soviet Union and observe all possible considerations toward our country. Present were: [Secretary of Defense Robert S.] McNamara, Rusk, [former National Security Advisor McGeorge] Bundy, [Ambassador-at-Large Averell] Harriman and U.S. ambassador (in Moscow) [Llewellyn E. Thompson, Jr.]. From our side [were], besides me, Gromyko and comrades from the ministry of foreign affairs.
Initially we spoke between the two of us, with interpreters present.
During two meetings we discussed four issues:
1. Problems of the Middle East
3. Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
4. Anti-rocket defense.
The Middle East. Johnson's position: aggression was committed not by Israel, but by
the UAR. Motivation: aggression began not at the moment of military operations, but when the UAR had closed the Gulf of Aqaba. The oil pipeline to Tel Aviv and other places goes from the port of Eilat. For Israel the situation had become unsustainable. “Could not you restrain your Arabs – asked Johnson – not to close the gulf?”
We explained that the question looks differently, that we had done everything possible to halt the outbreak of the conflict, but Israel created the tense situation and caused aggression. As far as the gulf is concerned, Israel could have turned to the United Nations and we would not have the situation like we have now. We make Johnson responsible. We didn't encourage the Arabs. It is clear to us that Israel would not have dared to move on [without US support] – we told Johnson. Then we emphasized, that all problems should be resolved peacefully.
Johnson categorically denied his role in supporting Israel. “You may believe it or not – said Johnson – but I learned about the outbreak of the war at night, at 2 a.m. I called up immediately my cabinet, you may ask McNamara or Rusk. For us it was also a surprise.” I responded: a surprise might have been the hour of the attack, but not the aggression itself.
Johnson: “Israel is equipped with French weapons – your friends. Tanks and planes are French. How can you charge us?”
We asked: why are you now so vigorously supporting Israel in the UN? If you didn't have commitments you would not support them against the whole world, against the position of France, and even Spain, Greece, Turkey, Japan.
He found himself in an inconvenient situation and could not give some kind of more sensible explanation.
Johnson raised objections to our weapons deliveries to the Arab countries. I responded we would continue to do it, as there is now such a configuration of forces that Israel can at any moment start an offensive again and smash the Arabs.
Johnson treated this issue as serious. He proposed that we reach an understanding with them on stopping the delivery of Soviet weapons and in general on settling the question of weapon supplies to all countries in the Middle East.
I responded: This is exclusively a matter of the Soviet Union and the Arab countries, not yours. On this matter we have nothing to agree upon. When the United States was sending arms to the FRG, Japan and other countries, it didn't ask us about it. On what basis, then, do you want us to consult with you our deliveries?
Johnson: “For us it is a very serious matter.”
Kosygin: “For us arms deliveries to the FRG is also a very serious matter”.
With this we closed this subject, but Johnson several times emphasized the question of our arms deliveries and indirectly asked if we don't intend to send there our troops. I responded: the sending of both troops and arms is a matter for the Soviet Union and we will decide when and how to go about this matter.
Johnson repeated again that it would be good to achieve an understanding on arms shipments. He proposed to conclude an agreement between the U.S. and USSR on arms deliveries to all countries.
I responded: I am not going to discuss this matter and we have no intention to coordinate these questions with the United States. We have the Warsaw Pact and you have NATO. At one point we had suggested to dissolve these military blocs, but you didn't go for it.
Next Johnson read from a paper 10 points of their proposal on the settlement of conflict in the Middle East:
1. Withdrawal of Israeli forces.
2. Recognition of Israel as an independent state.
3. Cessation of the state of war with Israel.
4. Adopting the principle of non-use of forces.
5. Freedom of shipping.
6. Working out a program of economic development of the Middle East region.
7. Restraining the arms race.
8. Peace policy and the solution of the refugee problem.
9. Presence of UN troops.
10. Arbitrage and mediation of the United Nations.
We told Johnson: In this area of the world there is tension, but in all these questions
first we need to seek the opinion of the Arabs. The first question should be troop withdrawal, and only then you can raise all the other questions toward the Arabs in the U.N., etc. Now we do not see useful seeking the solution of other questions.
Johnson asked repeatedly: Do you have a constructive plan? I responded: “Yes, we do. Withdrawal of troops and restoration of order. You also will not find anything more constructive.”
Johnson said that Zionist circles are exercising pressure on him. There are about 12 million Jews in the world, and 6 million of them live in the USA. According to his words, they have influence in the press, banks and industry and are pressing Johnson. I cannot finish the war – said Johnson – so, as to withdraw the troops. Then I would not be president.
I told him: You know better what to do, but we do not see a different solution.
With this the discussion of the Middle East problem was closed, though talking about other matters we were repeatedly returning to the Middle East conflict.
[sections on Vietnam, nuclear proliferation, and Cuba not printed]
From our personal observations, from our meetings with the capitalist circles, with the American people in the street, etc., we get an impression that the whole nation is calling for peace. One gets a feeling that everybody is for the termination of war in Vietnam, for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Middle East, for resuming contacts between the United States and the Soviet Union, which would be a sign of reducing international tension.
Brezhnev: Please, forgive me for taking the floor once again. Though in the course of our conference we have agreed upon all necessary measures, which we are to undertake, to keep all of this in mind, I would like to sum them up:
Thus, we have agreed upon:
1. We agreed upon the communiqué and the hour of its announcement
(July 12.67 at 7 p.m. central-European time).
2. We will send information to Nasser and other fraternal Arab countries (Algeria, Syria
(at least to them). From your recommendation this information will be sent by us and
com. Kadar. Its preparation will take a few days. Then we will mail it to comrades for
3. We express hope that com. Tito will be able to realize his proposal and will meet with
Nasser to share with him our thoughts and a uniform position.
4. On the question of coordination of our actions and working out certain agreed upon
ways of economic assistance to the Arab countries and economic cooperation.
In the next few days responsible representatives of the Planning Commissions – not within the CMEA – will meet with foreign ministers and their deputies. They will discuss the matter and work out at least indicative conclusions for us – how to proceed further in the area of economic cooperation and coordination of economic assistance. Their conclusions will not be final, but will reflect positions of their governments. I think that our representatives should meet at the level of Planning Commissions, while the military people will meet separately. The meeting may take place in any country. Com. Tito is suggesting to meet in Belgrade.
5. We would like to ask comrades for consent that in case of necessity – on the request of any of our parties – we could meet again as fast and operatively as so far.
6. It is possible and we should assume that after the meeting all of us without exception,
will energetically begin influencing the Arab countries – first of all on Nasser, Syria, Algeria and Iraq. Each of our parties has its contacts, which it may use for this purpose.
7. It is necessary to establish the coordinated actions in the UN with non-aligned
countries and others to adopt an acceptable for all resolution regarding the elimination
of consequences of Israel's aggression.
8. We would like to increase the volume of information on all current developments so
that not only we – Moscow – would inform you, but also vice-versa. We have more source – it's true – but please understand that your information [reports] are for us very precious. We, on our part, will be doing everything for this purpose.
9. We should think about establishing a more dependable communication among us than
the existing telephone communication. Dependability, audibility, technical quality and secrecy of this communication need to be improved. As this technique is in the hands of the proper organs, we will recommend, with your permission, to think over this problem with communication employees and submit the proper proposals. This will, of course, require certain expenditures, but in emergency cases we will need it. Such telephones may also be installed in houses and resort places of our party leaderships. If the comrades agree, we will issue the proper instructions.
10. In the course of the whole conflict we did not forget about work among the Arab and
non-aligned countries for the recognition of the GDR, to give one more flick to the
imperialists and overthrow Hallstein's doctrine. We already have some results. Talks
have begun in the UAR and Syria. If all of us will sustain this matter and continue our
work in this direction, we may have a success.
Taking advantage of your presence we would like to tell you about our one intention. We would like you not to take notes of it, as we have not decided yet if we will realize this intention. It concerns the Romanians.
Then com. Brezhnev reminded briefly of the Romanians' behavior over the recent period. They separated themselves from other socialist countries at the previous Moscow meeting, they also took a different position at the special session of the UN General Assembly. In New York [they] ran expanded activities without themselves contacting other socialist countries, nor informing them about their activities. [Prime Minister Ion G.] Maurer went to China skipping Moscow. They also did not inform comrades from other socialist countries about the results of that visit.
The Romanian National Assembly is to meet on July 24th and allegedly some very important resolutions are to be adopted. In the recent period Ceausescu is showing vigorous activity, delivers speeches (already over 70, 14 in one week!), saying that Romanians, together with all countries of the socialist camp will fight against imperialist aggression. This is, of course, a facade. Everything indicates that they intend to finally break relations with our camp. One cannot exclude that the sensational statement will be a departure from the Warsaw Pact.
Taking all this under consideration, Soviet comrades come to the conclusion whether it would not be proper to send Romanians a letter and ask straight, without reservations, what is going on, what do they intend to do, what do they have against us and the socialist camp. Let them say openly, without playing “playing blind man's buff”.
Com. Brezhnev emphasized that they have not yet decided if they will send such a letter, but the idea is there.
In conclusion com. Brezhnev reminded those present the need to keep strict secrecy of the content of this conference. He said: We have always attached great significance to the secrecy of our talks, to avoid even the slightest leaks. We count on this also now.
With this the meeting was closed.
Notes made by:
Made in 5 copies