NOTES ON YUGOSLAV-EGYPTION TALKSCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationSummaries of talks between Tito and Nasser in Cairo and Alexandria, 11-18 August 1967."Notes on Yugoslav-Egyption Talks," August 11, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Tito Presidential Material Archives. Translated by Lana Orbadovic. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113628
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NOTES [end page] President Nasser said that he was in Tanzania and while there he spoke thoroughly to Nyerere, who is an honest and progressive man. He has undertaken a series of progressive measures in his country and he is very worried because he is surrounded by states from which the CIA and the British capitalists can inflict a lot of damage to his country. [end page] President Nasser then brought up the example of the African Republic of Chad, for which the United States did not show any interest previously, but now, right before the vote at the United Nations, they have offered them 20 million dollars in aid. Therefore, he sees now that there is great deal of bargaining and guessing taking place, and that there are only few truly non-aligned states left. Where are Indonesia and Sukarno now, who used to have such an active role before? Indonesia is not getting involved in any questions of foreign policy. In reality, they voted with us at the UN, but they have been inactive. Even Ceylon voted with us. The question is what position will Ceylon and Burma hold in two to three years. Regarding the talks with the Soviet Union on military questions, President Nasser mentioned also the question of the Soviet naval base in the UAR. The USSR wanted to conclude an agreement that would give the Soviet navy the right of access to UAR ports. They asked for one section of Alexandria docks to be given to the Soviet navy and for the Russians to be given barracks to use and where they would fly the Soviet flag. Nasser told the Russians that it would be nice if they would come to visit the Egyptian ports. The UAR will provide them with fuel. But what the USSR is asking is actually to establish bases on the UAR territory and the UAR government cannot accept that. Opposing foreign bases on the territory of other states has always been one of the main principles of the UAR, and that was the principled view of the Soviet Union as well. He said that when he was leaving Damascus he told Dr. Atasi that just because the UN monitors are located along the cease-fire lines, it does not mean the Israelis are not capable of certain provocations. Therefore, the Arabs need to be awake at all times. Regarding consultations with the Arab states, Riad gave a reminder that some changes to our proposal might be suggested, but he does not believe that this would dramatically alter the proposal.
REGARDING YUGOSLAV – EGYPTIAN TALKS
The following participated on the Yugoslav side: President of the Republic Josip Broz Tito, members of the Federation Council Edvard Kardelj and Vladimir Popovic, Vice President of the Federal Executive Council Kiro Gligorov, deputy State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Miso Pavicevic and Ambassador of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the UAR Salko Fejic; on the UAR side: President of the UAR Gamal Abdel Nasser, Vice Presidents Zakaria Mohieddin and Hussein El Shafei, President of the National Assembly Anwar El Sadat, Vice Presidents of the Republic Ali Sabri and Mohammed Sidki Soliman, Assistant of the President of the Republic for Foreign Affairs Dr. Mahmoud Fawzi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmoud Riad and Ambassador the UAR to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Mohammad Hamdi Abuzeid.
The first talks were held at the Kubeh Palace in Cairo on August 11th, 1967, from 11:52 am until 2:00 pm. Prior to that, two Presidents held an hour-long talk.
At the beginning of our talks, President Nasser welcomed President Tito and members of the Yugoslav delegation and said that in our visit they see our desire to show solidarity in such difficult times for them in their troubles and problems. In the name of the people and government of the UAR, he expressed their deepest welcome and thanked President Tito, the government and the people of Yugoslavia
for their full support during the entire course of the crisis, during the time of the aggression, as well as later in the United Nations and elsewhere. He said that thanks to the talks and statements of President Tito from the very beginning of the aggression, the whole world has been a witness to the solidarity of the two countries which is based on their mutual respect and interests. While thanking us once again, President Nasser expressed his belief that the friendly relations of the two countries will continue in the future.
President Tito thanked him on his own behalf and in the name of the comrades present for the invitation of President Nasser to come to Cairo and exchange their opinions. He said it is very important for us to inform ourselves first hand about the current situation and events so that we can form a clearer picture about all of that and hear their opinions. He pointed out that from the very beginning of the aggression, people across the whole of Yugoslavia have expressed their concern, which is understandable because the Yugoslav people sympathize with the Arab people who are the victims of the aggression. Such feelings are expressed even today in the efforts of the Yugoslav workers who are collecting aid for the Arab states, with workers giving up one or two daily wages as their contribution. President Tito said that our people have themselves gone through the same difficult ordeals, when our whole country was occupied during the Second World War, and they consider the Arab people's fight their fight. He said that right away, within one to two hours of receiving the first news of the aggression, he gave a statement in the name of the Yugoslav people and government
in which he firmly denounced the Israeli aggression and those who stand behind it, and gave his support to the Arab people.
Even before the aggression – President Tito said – we knew that something was going to happen, the long-term plan of the imperialist powers to liquidate progressive systems and remove the people who are leading these progressive states in order to easier establish control and domination of America, Britain and others in this region. We know that the imperialists are very interested in the region of the Middle East, because they have very strong interests in oil and other things. In recent times, i.e. before the aggression, their positions were weakened and started to abruptly decline, especially because of the people's battles in certain regions, such as in the Aden protectorate. Because of all of this, we never doubted even for a second that the Israeli aggression was just a part of the imperialistic efforts to establish their domination in this part of the world.
President Tito said that this was the reason he went to Moscow, because such a difficult situation demanded that the socialist states together consider giving aid in the fastest and most efficient manner, especially to the United Arab Republic and Syria. President Tito said that at this time he would not go into the details of this meeting, but he wanted to point out that a joint concern was expressed regarding this aggression and fear that it will lead to the liquidation of the most progressive leaders of the Arab states. President Nasser personally knows this because when President Tito, who was still in Moscow for talks, received the news of President Nasser's resignation – which worried everybody there – he urgently sent him a telegram expressing his view that Nasser should resolutely stay in place.
It is known already how the situation unfolded at the United Nations – President Tito said – where our representatives were very active in their effort to widen the support of the non-aligned and other states for the resolution of the non-aligned. In the beginning, they had about 46 non-aligned states, but later at the Special Meeting of the General Assembly they received support from 53 states because some other states that are not in the non-aligned movement, such as France, Japan and some others, voted for it. The Resolution of the non-aligned states did not receive the required two-thirds majority, because a good number of the non-aligned members voted against it or abstained from voting. Non-aligned states were under strong pressure from the United States and that is why some of them gave up on supporting this resolution. Despite the fact that they did not gain a two-thirds majority, President Tito said, I think that this resolution has however triumphed in a political sense. Even though the aggression was not openly denounced, indirectly it still clearly says that. Also, it showed that the calling of the Special Meeting of the UN General Assembly was needed and that it had certain results. It is true that the meeting ended with very weak concrete results. However, at the time of the beginning of this crisis, there was a pretty negative view of the Arab states in the West. We were surprised that with the exception of the Communist parties, progressive circles and socialist parties in all European states were on the Israeli side. With the exception of France, the same was the case with the Western European governments, whose sympathies toward Israel had to have an effect on the meeting of the UN General Assembly. I think, President Tito continued, that the situation today has largely
changed, thanks to the stupid statements given by the Israeli leaders. President Tito expressed his conviction that Israel is isolating itself gradually in world public opinion and pointed out that it is the duty of all of us to make sure that this isolation widens, so that the next meeting of the UN General Assembly can be prepared to yield better results. On the other hand, he pointed out, it is very important that the Arab states do not provide any materials that the imperialistic powers can use in their attempt to isolate them. In that context, the speech given by President Nasser during the anniversary celebration of the Egyptian revolution was favorable.
After the meeting of the UN General Assembly that failed to yield any results – President Tito said – we saw that something needs to be undertaken by the socialist states. That is why the meeting was called in Budapest, where Tito and his associates also participated. The goal of that meeting was to consider what other political actions can be taken now. During the meeting we were informed of the Soviet Union's actions. Premier Kosigin informed us of the contents of his talks with President Johnson in Glasborough, New Jersey. Kosigin said that these talks did not yield any results, but the door remained open to future talks. President Tito said that he initiated the question of economic cooperation and help to the Arab states by the socialist states during the Budapest meeting. He pointed out that it is especially necessary to help those Arab states that were victims of aggression. During that meeting they also discussed what could be done to help the United Arab Republic, which has its own industries,
but not enough raw materials to be able to overcome the current difficulties. It was said that the Arab states could be assisted with long-term loans, raw materials and in other ways, so that their industries could work at full capacity. They agreed in Budapest that the next meeting of the socialist states at the level of the economic ministers will be held in Belgrade at the beginning of September, and it will probably be held on September 4th. On that occasion, they will consider the joint actions of the socialist states regarding the provision of economic aid to the Arab states. However, we think that this action must be widened at a later stage to include other states, which would participate in the provision of help, and not only socialist states. President Tito added that he thinks it would be good to hold a tripartite meeting of India, the UAR and Yugoslavia regarding the questions of economic cooperation.
President Tito then reviewed the international activities of Yugoslavia and his personal contacts at the international level concerning the provision of support to the Arab states. He said that he held talks twice with President Boumedienne during his trips to the USSR, that he spoke with the representative of Emperor Haile Selassie, and later directly with Haile Selassie, with Cameroon President Ahidjo, with Indian Minister of External Affairs Mahommedali Currim Chagla, with President of the US Supreme Court Warren, as well as with the American Ambassador in Belgrade and others. In every instance, we explained our points of view regarding the situation in the Middle East without any tweaking and clearly said that we think the United States is especially to blame because they are
to blame for the Israeli aggression. We expressed our opinion regarding what should be done and that Israeli forces must first withdraw to the position they held on June 4th. Only after this is accomplished can we talk about other questions. That was always our view and it was delivered as such in the UN resolution. When explaining our view, we pointed out to all that no negotiations can be held while the Arab states had a knife at their throats.
Based on a discussion that President Tito had with US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren, American Ambassador Elbrick brought us a message from President Johnson in which, by pointing out the good relationship that President Tito has with Nasser, he pleads with him to take the role of mediator in the search for a peaceful solution. President Tito told the Ambassador that he has no intention of being a mediator, but because he is traveling to Cairo he is interested in knowing what he can tell his hosts regarding the current US positions and how willing they are to change them, because there was nothing in that first message that addressed any new positions. On that occasion, President Tito also expressed and explained the Yugoslav views. He explained the whole history of events in the Middle East, since 1948 onward, and pointed out that Israel was an aggressor three times and that during their last aggression, it was supported by the United States. He also highlighted that Israel went unpunished even though it has not respected even one decision of the United Nations. He pointed out that it is absurd to demand capitulation from a hundred million Arabs and that it would be very dangerous to push the issue any further, because the Arab states will never capitulate and one day they will be forced to take up their weapons to right the injustices carried out against them and they will be completely justified to fight in whatever way they want.
President Tito then said that after this talk with the American Ambassador, and on the day he was coming here, he received a new and more detailed message from President Johnson. At the beginning of that message President Johnson says that the United States wants the question to be solved in the interest of both sides, Arabs and Israelis. Even in this message there is no concrete discussion of any questions on which the Americans could ease off. But considering the length of the message, one can see that the Americans care about solving things in some manner so that there is no tension. In that message they insist on the acceptance of the last plan of the US-USSR Resolution at the UN without altering anything in it. President Tito said that he perceived such a position as highly inflexible and he sees now that the United States is not ready to ease off.
President Tito then said that right before he left to come here he also received the message from the Soviet leadership in which they express their desire to reach a political solution in some manner and liquidate current problems.
President Tito said that he wants to be completely open and sincere so he said that it is our view also that the existence of Israel is a fact that cannot be liquidated by force. He was talking to them as friends with whom we have been cooperating for a number of years, and we can tell them that it would not be useful to the Arab states to negate this. That is what we mean when we talk about the need for realistic views on things. It is understood that to whoever we spoke to, we also spoke of Israel's responsibility.
President Tito said that in his recent talks with Ms. Graham, the head of the Washington Post company, he emphasised the question of the return of Palestinian refugees, reparations, and similar.
President Tito further added that we know already enough about the situation in this region, but that we would be very happy if the leadership of the UAR told us how they view the current situation. That is really needed also because of the further activities of the non-aligned states who must have a united program and plan of activities. We have firmly decided to activize ourselves even more and make all the efforts that are needed for that.
President Tito said that he has already told President Nasser that he did not come here with his associates, as the Western media says, with a finished plan, but rather to inform ourselves better and to present our views on the issues. We came not to give suggestions, but to help, because we consider this fight of the Arab people, in which many get victimized, the fight of all of us, not only of the small and non-aligned states, but all of those who are threatened by imperialism – and in this context we also see Yugoslavia and some other European states.
As far as the politics of the non-aligned go, since the XX Meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1963, we have said that it in our opinion the question of non-engagement should not be narrowly understood, but that we need to go wider because the war threatens the entire world. In the first place, it is the small states that are interested, but also the developing states on who different pressures are being exerted. President Tito said that he thinks that the non-alignment did not survive, but that it
could be characterized as a battle against the methods and solutions that are imposed from the positions of power, as is the case here in the Middle East and in Vietnam. We are also including France now, because in recent times it has taken a very firm stand against power politics.
President Tito said that in the end he would like to say that he also does not agree with the ideas that were presented by President Boumedienne in Belgrade, which is that a further armed battle is needed as a solution to the current problems, even a guerrilla war. That could have been done in Yugoslavia and Algeria. But here in the open desert, that is not possible. We all think that it is very good that the Arab states are working on strengthening their army and their economy and that it is needed to continue with such efforts, because they can only negotiate and easier find a peaceful solution from equal positions. And we are in favor of finding a peaceful solution that can be useful to the Arab states, that can be fair and that would not mean their capitulation. If we take all the existing elements into consideration, President Tito expressed his conviction that it would be possible to find one realistic and useful solution even for the Arab states. Unfortunately, what we Yugoslavs consider realistic, others, the Americans, reject and what they present as a realistic solution we cannot accept. It is needed to truly search for a realistic solution and I would like to hear your opinions on that. President Tito ended his presentation.
President Nasser firstly thanked President Tito for his words. He would like to begin his considerations with a presentation of the relations between the US and the UAR before the aggression. Namely, it was clear already earlier to them that the politics of the United States are mainly against the UAR and that their goal is the liquidation of its regime. That began already with the attempts to impose conditions regarding their dependence on the US in help with wheat. The main conditions established by the US were: 1) to have inspection rights of the atomic research centers in the UAR 2) that they (UAR) not develop missile-building capabilities and the inspection rights regarding this and 3) that they stop obtaining arms and to agree on an arms balance with Israel. That started with the end of the Kennedy administration, and the UAR rejected this then. They were ready to take part in any international agreement regarding atomic energy, but why would they recognize the right of the United States to inspect in their own country? The Americans told them that they are using their aid to obtain new armaments and work on missiles and nuclear weapons and criticized their politics. After Kennedy's death, President Johnson sent the same man with the same demands to Cairo as his representative. The UAR rejected them again. They told the Americans that the question of nuclear research is contained in the international agreements, and that they are willing to accept any international agreement, and that within such a context they would accept the inspections of responsible UN bodies (the Viennese agency). The Americans told them that the acceptance of their demands concerning inspection would also benefit the Arabs, because then even Israel would give a right of inspection to the United States. However, the UAR could not accept that and
they pointed out that this would be contrary to their understanding of the meaning of state sovereignty. And that is how the problems regarding American aid and the deliveries of wheat started. Two years ago American Secretary of State Talbot came and again tried to begin with these demands and relayed the opinions of the United States on the Middle East. He said that the US has decided to give weapons to Israel because they will not allow the establishment of a balance that hurts Israel. He warned that if the UAR increases its weapon supplies, they will give more weapons to Israel. President Nasser replied to the Americans by saying that in that case the UAR will buy even more weapons because it will not allow Israel to be stronger than them and because in that case it will not hesitate to attack them. President Nasser pointed out to Talbot that the US is giving Israel weapons even though the Federal Republic of Germany has already given large quantities of tanks, airplanes, and other war materials as a gift to Israel – as ordered by the US. There was a secret agreement between Adenauer and Ben Gurion, which they discovered later on. The Americans told them that because the Germans will not give any more weapons to Israel, the US has decided to do that directly. That is how, because of the situation regarding international relations, the US stopped all aid to the UAR after that.
President Nasser then spoke about how they foiled the activities of American representatives and the CIA in the UAR and how they are familiar with their activities and talks with Egyptian citizens. This helped them see very clearly that the goal of the United States concerning Egypt is the liquidation of its regime, and if they cannot be successful at that,
then they would create their own organization in Egypt. Through various contacts, the Americans have tried to recruit people in Arab embassies who then informed the UAR. They were told to remain in touch so that the UAR would collect information about the CIA's activity. The US Embassy in Cairo has a different stand, and is seeking to improve relations and cooperate with the regime of the UAR, until they arrested one of the Egyptians who worked for the Americans and charged him in court. On that occasion, they publicly stated what was already said by the man during the trial, but there were other people and Arab diplomats who the CIA recruited – but that they did not discuss. Their goal was to completely free the UAR from the current regime and they provided support to various reactionary groups in the country. When they failed at that, they started to use reactionaries in the country and in the Arab world, like the Muslim Brothers, and turned mainly to Saudi Arabia. By using money from Saudi Arabia, they made plans to assassinate President Nasser and other leaders of the UAR in their attempt to create chaos in the country. They did not succeed in doing this either and the UAR arrested a lot of agents, confiscated a lot of weapons and money, and found proof that the US was involved through their partnership with Saudi Arabia. And because the CIA did not succeed in this, they are continuing to work all over Arab states by using money from Saudi Arabia.
Because all of these plots did not work, they started with the idea of confrontation between the progressive Arab states and other Arab states and with this goal of dividing the Arabs, they, the Islamic pact, was launched. It was calculated that the people in the Arab states, and especially in Egypt, are religious and to use the reactionary regime in Tunisia, Libya, Jordan and elsewhere, and mobilize them against the UAR. The US is [unclear]
increasing the production of oil in Saudi Arabia so that Saudi Arabia would be able to spend more money on its activities. The US and Great Britain intervened in Yemen via Saudi Arabia in order to defeat the Yemeni Revolution. They were particularly irked by the politics of the UAR, which provided support to all freedom-fighting movements in Africa, for example in Congo, where we sent weapons. The UAR provided all aid to the freedom-fighting movement in Aden so that after they gain independence there would be a national regime instead of British government agents.
That is how the UAR was increasingly facing Britain on one side and the United States on the other. Besides that, there is Israel, which received a lot of weapons - mostly planes, and during the conflict, volunteers. The UAR could not have complete information in recent months regarding the quantities of weapons which were delivered to Israel.
Then there was an Israeli threat to Syria. The UAR received the information from the USSR. During his visit to Moscow, the President of the National Assembly Anwar Sadat was told about the Israeli preparations on the Syrian front, about the mobilization and a future attack. The Russians also informed Syria, and Syria also informed the UAR about that. There was some concentration (of troops) on the Syrian border and since the UAR is bound by the agreement on joint defense with Syria, the UAR decided to send its troops to Sinai and issue its declaration. With this move and after the withdrawal of the UNEF [United Nations Emergency Force], the situation returned to the one that existed until 1956. This is also valid for navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba.
President Johnson then sent a message to the leadership against the aggression of Israel
and convincing them that the US is exerting the same pressures on Israel. President Nasser agreed to hold talks and it was decided that Vice President Mohieddin should travel to Washington.
The American State Department and the British Foreign Office urgently called the Ambassador of the UAR with the excuse that they have information that the UAR intends to attack Israel. The American State Department appealed in the name of President Johnson to the UAR not to start any actions while seeking to convince him that Israel will not attack either. Also, the following day at 3am, the Soviet Ambassador brought a message from Premier Kosigin which he addressed to President Nasser and Prime Minister Eshkol, urging the UAR and Israel not to attack.
President Nasser said that despite all of this they were not tricked and that his own estimation of the probability of the conflict starting was 100 per cent. At the meeting of the High Command he even said that he was sure that an Israeli attack would happen at the latest by Monday, and that is how it was.
The events that followed are already known. We made certain mistakes and we are responsible for our defeat, President Nasser said. The army was too self-confident, and did not believe that Israel would dare to attack. It was obvious that any attack would start with an attack on the airports, and they did not have the required equipment for their defense. They asked for it from the Soviet Union, but they received radars that can follow planes at high altitudes but not when they fly low. The Israelis knew this and they evaded our radar grid. They came in from the sea flying at low altitudes and
they surprised them. During that attack, the Israelis also showed off some new properties by using certain special technical equipment about which the UAR knew nothing. It seems that only two states, the US and the USSR, knew about this. Namely, as its antiaircraft defense the UAR had its antiaircraft missiles located all over but the missile radars were disabled by Israeli electronic interference. The whole radar-electronic system of the UAR completely collapsed.
In such conditions, President Nasser said, we accepted the cease-fire. The army suffered a difficult and destructive blow. After the cease-fire they tried to build the army again, and they sought help from the USSR. After he withdrew his resignation, Brezhnev, Kosigin and Podgorni were trying to convince him that they would provide them with all they required. However, the USSR has only given them a portion of the needed equipment and most of it before the talks in Glassboro, NJ.
President Nasser said that their side has honestly and completely told the Soviet leadership about the military situation of the UAR. They told them that the UAR must be strengthened in terms of the armed forces so that it can negotiate. The Soviet Union sent some weapons and specialists, but then Glassboro and the meeting of the UN General Assembly happened. President Nasser said that the UAR is faced with the Soviet Union's pressure to give its consent to end the situation of high levels of belligerency with Israel. He said that the first Soviet resolution in the UN General Assembly completely suited the UAR and other Arab states, but it did not hold much promise and it could not have been passed. After that the compromises started and continued.
Fawzi was convinced of this when he met with Gromyko and Rusk in New York. That is why they consider their position to be very difficult.
President Nasser again pointed out that the politics of the US is to get rid of the progressive regimes in the Arab states. After the cease-fire, he personally thought that the people of the UAR would salute the change of regime, especially if he resigned. To be exact, he himself was the one who said that they will help Syria with their actions, and instead they suffered a huge defeat. That is why he decided to withdraw from the government and give a chance to others. However, he was surprised by the reaction of the people, not only in the UAR but also in the other Arab states and that is why he decided to continue the fight because this reaction of the people showed that the ideas that he fought for in the Arab world still enjoyed the great support of the people. Yet, it cannot be negated that these events represent a gap in their revolution and that they have been hit militarily, politically and economically by this defeat. The Israelis got all the way to the Suez Canal. President Nasser said that one day he even thought that the Israelis would very easily get to Cairo, but they stopped at the Canal. They did not dare to advance further without the consent of the US.
President Nasser further said that currently in the Western media (he mentioned "Life" magazine) stories about secret contacts between Israel and the US on the eve of this war are surfacing. The Israelis told the Americans in advance that they were ready for war, and the US gave their consent.
President Nasser then asked a question: Did the US achieve its goals? He believes that the US partially but not completely achieved its goals.
They cannot achieve their goals as long as the UAR revolution continues, as long as the progressive movements exist in the Arab world, and as long as the belief in the idea of Arab nationalism exists. What is the final goal of the US? It is – to liquidate progressive elements in this region and destroy the ideas of Arab nationalism. The current aggression failed to achieve that. The Israelis have conquered Arab land, have dealt a blow to Arab prestige, but the leaders of the progressive Arab states are still here and the socialist revolution still continues. We still refuse to be in the US sphere of influence.
President Nasser asked a question: How can the US achieve their goal now? They would like to achieve that in a political and diplomatic manner now. To be exact, if we give up, if we capitulate, if we accept something against the wishes of our people, then the people will be against us and that will help bring down the regime. The Americans are now patiently waiting because they are counting on the economic pressures that we are currently exposed to. They are counting on the fact that the Egyptians will lose out because the UAR is losing 110 million Egyptian pounds a year of their Suez Canal income, and 70 million Egyptian pounds in tourism. They know that we have to buy wheat.
Now, the Americans would like to achieve such a political solution that would be against the wishes of our people, so that they can achieve their ultimate goal. They know that the Arab states are not united. There are some that are progressive and others are reactionary. The main one among the latter is Saudi Arabia. Tunisia has some of its own positions. If now, after the defeat, the UAR accepts something that might damage the Arab people, Saudi Arabia would reject that and the Americans would think that this is the end of Arab nationalism. Arab nationalism would be endangered, and
then the conditions would be created for the realization of the pro-American defense organization that would include.
In terms of the last resolution of the UN General Assembly, which seemed acceptable to the Soviet Union, President Nasser pointed out that it was not a question only of the Egyptian position but also of other Arab states. And that is why it is not very easy to take a stand, but rather difficult. The USSR exerted pressure on the Arab states to accept the resolution which basically only had two major points: 1) expected withdrawal of the Israeli troops and 2) end to the high level of belligerency. Regarding this, President Nasser said that in the last 20 years there was not a single attack on Israel by Arabs, and that all the invasions were initiated by Israel. On the face of it, the question of the cessation of the belligerency seems to be a simple one. It is true that we have lost this war. But does that mean we need to give up on the right of Arabs to Palestine, to neglect their rights and in reality accept Johnson's points. Because the Soviet Union did suggest to them that all of the points that Johnson has presented should be discussed at the Security Council.
President Nasser said that it is obvious to them that the Soviet Union does not want confrontation with the United States. At the same time, the UAR needs time to prepare their army and therefore they are also leaning toward a political solution, but unlike what the US wants, they want a political solution that will not mean their surrender and capitulation. If the Soviets are insisting to the Arabs to accept American conditions, then the Arabs can negotiate that directly with the US. "Why would we get these things by Gromyko?" In that case, if we capitulate, President Nasser said ironically,
to the Americans and say: "We are sorry, we are ready to give you your bases and all the rest – if this is the only solution, e.g. for us to capitulate." President Nasser said that the politics of the USA are now being communicated to them by Gromyko and that is why they are rejecting the Soviet proposals. He said that they have explained the alternative to Podgorni: or to capitulate to the US and to relax about everything, to agree that we will not support progressive movements, that we will go along with the US on all questions or to fight. Of course, there are different approaches. The UAR is politically ready to talk to anyone about a peaceful solution, but is preparing for battle at the same time, it is strengthening its armed forces and the economy of the country. Because if the search for a peaceful solution does not yield any results, then the question is: what is the alternative? When they talked about this to President Boumedinne, he agreed with this view. In fact, at the beginning of the meeting he said that he is for the urgent continuation of the fighting, but then at the end he agreed.
President Nasser then said that it is not easy for them to negotiate with the US, because they and Israel speak from positions of power. They know that the UAR is not ready for war right now, and that is why they are firmly insisting on their conditions. Therefore, the Arabs must fight – but how will they fight if we are talking about a peaceful solution at the same time. We must resist. If we accept Johnson's five points or something like the last Soviet-American resolution at the UN, that would completely weaken us in the country and in the Arab world. We have to build up our army so that in the future we can speak from a position of power, if the things are not solved in a peaceful manner quickly. [end page]
President Nasser said that they predict that the Suez Canal will be closed for a long time and they are adapting their economic plans accordingly.
President Nasser then said that the UAR would be ready to try to seek a peaceful solution on the condition that it does not mean their surrender and capitulation, because that would not be acceptable to the Egyptian people or the other Arab states. The US knows what the consequences would be if they accepted different conditions and what would help the Americans achieve their goal.
As far as the non-aligned states are concerned, President Nasser noticed that many states are only calling themselves that today, but that they did not support the Yugoslav suggestion at the UN. He said that the UAR still insists on its independence. He personally recognizes the need to be practical and realistic and he completely agrees with what President Tito was saying. They would like to be realistic, but they will not surrender. We are faced with a very, very difficult situation – President Nasser said. We will not accept the Americans' five points because that would mean the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, forsaking the rights of the Palestinian refugees, and the Arab people would not be able to understand that. We are, however, ready for a peaceful solution which would respect the dignity of Arabs and not the one that degrades us. However, the goal of all American and Israeli statements has been to degrade us. What would remain of us if we were to accept such conditions? – President Nasser asked. When I say that we must fight, while thinking realistically, that does not mean that we need to start the war today. In any case, that would not benefit us at all. We need to increase our strength so that we can speak from positions of power and not positions of defeat. That puts us in a difficult and
complicated economic situation. But we must accept it. If we are to accept humiliation, that would signal to the whole world that the American strategy of limited war, as started by Kennedy, is successful. The last war was not directly an American war, but the Americans did give money, arms and other kinds of relief to Israel, and it represents part of the American strategy of limited war. President Nasser repeated that the Americans used the Muslim Brotherhood earlier, Bourguiba of Tunisia and Faisal of Saudi Arabia and that all of their plans failed, as has their attempt to isolate them. If the UAR is to surrender now, that would mean there will be more future limited wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.
President Nasser then said that in their opinion, the Soviet Union is not ready for a limited war and added that everybody in the world can see that. He said that to President Podgorni, too, and he pointed out to him that the Arabs cannot fight alone and that they need the support of the progressive states. He also noted to him that the whole of Western Europe, with the exception of France, is behind the United States, and if the UAR surrenders, and then Syria, then the US will not stop there but will continue with its actions elsewhere around the world. The US would then be able to accomplish its goals in Africa.
President Nasser then asked a question: What is the peaceful solution? He said that they are ready to talk, but that they would not give up the principles for which they have been fighting for the last 15 years or be humiliated because the other side speaks from positions of power. He said that we must be patient in a situation like this. Now, after such a great defeat,
they (the US and Israel) speak from positions of power and demand that we surrender. That is our current situation. It is very complicated and we look at it realistically, but we cannot accept Johnson's five points.
President Tito thanked President Nasser on this presentation.
President Nasser said that because it was the wish of some of the associates present, he would like to say something about what he has already told President Tito in private. It is about Soviet help in the building of the defense forces of the UAR. The UAR has from the very beginning asked the Soviet Union to provide adequate aid concerning this issue, but after the meeting in Glassboro, there has been no answer from the Soviet Union's side. They are particularly concerned with the air defense of the country. It is true that they have received some MIG-17 and MIG-21 planes, but it is not a question of airplanes because they do not mean much without solving the problem of air defense. They wanted the Soviet Union to participate in the building of that defense and of their armed forces. That is why Soviet Joint Staff Marshal Matvej Zaharov came to Cairo. At the first meeting he agreed with our commanders on all of these issues. On that occasion the Soviets said that the question of air defense is rather complicated and the mixing of crew in air defense would not be practical. Therefore, they would like to completely take air defense into their own hands and they even spoke of Soviet volunteers. We agreed on that, and expressed our readiness to put our airports at their disposal. The next day news arrived about the arrival of Podgorni in Cairo and that it was decided to wait for him for final approval. In the beginning even Podgorni himself agreed, but then the meeting in Glassboro took place
after which the Russians said that they need to study the issue more carefully. That is how they have left us without an answer until today, even though we have sent them many messages. President Nasser then pointed out that this is about the Soviet Union helping defend the UAR, and to be exact the area west of the Suez Canal, because right now their country is exposed and every new Israeli attack with the superior aviation they have could inflict such great damage.
President Nasser then said that Marshal Zaharov agreed with the first and second phase of arming the Egyptian army during his stay in the UAR and that they had sent their first mission to Moscow to only formally sign the agreement. However, when they arrived in Moscow, they had to negotiate again and the Soviet Union agreed to deliver some things and reject delivery of other things. In his opinion, the Soviet Union is pressuring them so that the UAR would accept a political solution. The biggest problem for them is the lack of antiaircraft machine guns and cannons for airport defense against the low-flying planes because in this case the Russian antiaircraft missiles are not efficient. They need a large quantity of such antiaircraft weapons, but the Soviets told them that they have no more because they have given them all to the Vietnamese and to check with the Poles because they manufacture them. And when we turned to the Poles, we also received a negative answer from them.
President Nasser also said that they had asked the Soviet Union for 150,000 guns, and so far they have only received 11,000 and all of them were the old kind from the Second World War that had already been used. President Nasser noted that they do not tell these things to anybody, but they wanted to share them with President Tito and his associates.
President Nasser then underlined that with the exception of Yugoslavia, they have not received any other aid. The Soviet Union has agreed to deliver 350,000 tons of wheat as a part of the larger commercial agreement, but at these prices that is significantly higher than the average world price. Currently, the world price for wheat is $63 per ton, while the Russians are asking $74 per ton of wheat. When we pointed this out to them, the Soviet side simply said: Take it or leave it. A similar thing happened with some deliveries of oil derivatives. While expressing his concern, President Nasser said that this kind of stuff is happening for the first time in 11 years of friendly relations with the Soviet Union. He is asking: Does that mean we have to give up on all and surrender? If so, then he thinks that it is better to go to the US directly and tell the Americans that we are giving up rather than have that surrender happen via the Soviets.
President Tito said that we would think through all the things that President Nasser presented.
That is how the first part of the talks ended.
Talks continued the next day (August 12th) at 10:45 am at the same place with the same participants and lasted for two hours.
President Tito said that he had already spoken to President Nasser during last night's dinner regarding the need to seriously consider what we, the non-aligned, can do to help the Arab states and contribute to finding a solution;
what further actions should be undertaken before the UN General Assembly or even Security Council continues its work.
Because President Nasser was interested in learning more details regarding the messages that President Johnson has sent, President Tito presented the basic arguments posed in these messages. Then he said that he thinks that the second message of President Johnson demonstrates significant concern because of the possible future escalation of war in the Middle East. Currently, the United States obviously is faced with a lot of problems in Vietnam as well as in its own country with the black population, and they probably would not like to see a further escalation in the Middle East. However, it is still to be seen what concessions the US is ready to make, but it is the impression of President Tito that they will probably be ready to make some concessions. At the same time, these messages from President Johnson demonstrate that the US is not formally stepping away from its views, and particularly from the already known five points of Johnson. If anything, the views presented in the messages are in some way even more rigid than the draft of the Soviet-American resolution. In that sense, it is especially obvious that the US is putting in the same category the question of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal. President Tito then reminded all that we should not discuss the various points from Johnson's messages right away, and that it is perhaps better if the leadership of the UAR thinks about it a little more because they have just become familiar with them. It is our intention and wish to now discuss our possible further actions.
President Nasser returned to the proposals presented in Johnson's messages and said that they are asking a lot more than they are asking of the Israelis. The messages are only talking about the rights of Israel and
nothing about the rights of Arabs, Palestinians. It talks about the wishes for a peaceful solution, the recognition of the existence of the state of Israel and an acceptance of the draft of the resolution drawn up by the US and the USSR. They ask for the freedom of navigation for Israel through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal. That is contradictory to what the US claims when they say that they are not asking for diplomatic or any other recognition of Israel.
President Nasser then said that all that is acceptable to them from the Soviet-American resolution is already in the armistice agreement signed by Egypt and Israel in 1949. That agreement was concluded by the representatives of two states, and not military personnel and in it there are articles asking for the creation of a permanent peace, a ban on all war-like actions and even any planning of war actions. All that is being asked by the UAR, with the exception of the navigation of the Suez Canal and the state of belligerency is already contained in that agreement. President Nasser suggested that Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad inform us more about that.
Regarding the Israeli-Arab relations, Minister Riad said that the term state of belligerency was first used in 1961 when the Security Council was discussing the question of navigation of Israeli ships and then based on the state of belligerency, it was pointed out that Israeli ships cannot have the right of passage. Minister Riad further added that now that they are familiar with Johnson's messages, it is much clearer what the Americans mean when they ask them to accept the draft of the Soviet-American resolution at the UN. However, it is still not clear if they think that such a draft should be explicitly accepted by all Arab states and if they should give statements about that.
(President Tito: We are not clear on that either.) If such a resolution is accepted in the Security Council, they would be interested to know what the next step is: should
all the Arab states publicly agree with such a decision and what will happen if one of the Arab states or even more of them reject this resolution? How will the implementation of this resolution look then in case this happens?
Minister Riad then said that the Egyptian-Israeli armistice agreement from 1949 contains all that is required to establish peace. To a certain extent, even the recognition of Israel is contained in it, because the people who have signed it were representatives of two governments and not military commanders. He also underlined that this agreement discusses "permanent peace", therefore exactly those things that the Americans are mentioning now.
President Tito pointed out that there are many contradictions in the American views set forth in President Johnson's messages.
Minister Riad said that these are organized contradictions whose goal is to deceive, just like they have been doing since the very first day of their relations with the UAR. The Americans have always said that they will support those countries that have suffered aggression and be against those who have committed it. But since June 5th, the US has supported Israel and stepped away from its previous statements. Even more so, they have spoken in the Security Council and General Assembly as if it is Israel that needs protection and they have deceived public opinion. They know that the Arab states cannot sign the peace agreement with Israel, just like they cannot diplomatically recognize it or exchange ambassadors. They know all of this so well, yet they keep talking about it.
Minister Riad then discussed the specific points of the Israeli-Egyptian armistice agreement in which both sides explicitly obliged to avoid using military force, to strictly respect established borders, to avoid undertaking any aggressive actions with armed forces, and to even avoid planning any such actions. The agreement also establishes that they will respect fully the right of the other side to security and freedom of fear of being attacked. If these points were respected and implemented, then peace would have been secured and there would not have been any aggression or attacks. The agreement also foresees a mechanism for the solution of contested issues or incidents within the framework of the mixed committee with the participation of UN monitors. The last such meeting of the mixed committee was held by the Israelis and Syrians only three months before this last aggression. However, what the Americans are suggesting does not contain a mention of any machinery or orders of who would be responsible for the supervision of peacekeeping. It is all very vague, that it is even said that the recognition of Israel and the peace agreement are not required. On the other hand, the armistice agreement has all of that. There is a specific mechanism and a way in which the problems can be solved.
Minister Riad then said that Syria and Jordan do not have a problem with the term "state of belligerency". The Americans are only insisting on it to the UAR because in that way the basis on which navigation is denied to Israel would be rendered invalid.
President Tito gave thanks for the information and views given. He said that now the basic question is what to do next. We are familiar with the American views now, and there seems to be little hope that they will step away from some of their important views.
Then we have to pay attention to other countries, among which there are many that have changed their stand after the meeting of the General Assembly, in a sense that they are no longer supporting Israel. He expressed his belief that the process of isolation of Israel in world public opinion is only going to continue. Also there is a question posed: What can be done during the next meeting of General Assembly or if there is a discussion at the Security Council, e.g. if the draft of the Soviet-American resolution is passed, should this draft be opposed or not and should the discussion be brought back to the General Assembly? Yugoslavia is not a member of the Security Council, but it has other friendly states through which we can perhaps act. President Tito asked what the UAR opinion is regarding the Soviet-American resolution.
President Nasser pointed out that the Soviet Union explicitly accepted not to agree with any resolution that the Arab states are not accepting. The UAR is ready to study that resolution and consult with the other Arab states, but some Arab states have already rejected that UN resolution without studying it. The main reason they have done this is because the USSR has firstly made an agreement with the US and only afterwards came to ask the opinion of the Arab states – and that way it put them in an uncomfortable position. By saying that they are supporting such a resolution, they exerted pressure on others. As far as the text of the resolution is concerned, it is not a rigid resolution, but it does need amendments. But some Arab states are not clear what stands now, what comes after this resolution, because there is no mention of Suez and similar.
Minister Riad then started to read the first and second version of the Soviet-American resolution with amendments. He said that they understand this resolution only as a first step, and that they will ask other things of them later. It is exactly this that should be the task of the mediator who would be named by the UN General Secretary – and Johnson's message talks about that. That mediator would then have to achieve the realization of all that Johnson's message speaks about. Then the process of talks and more talks would begin, from the questions of refugees to Jerusalem. Minister Riad also noted that he does not see why it is necessary to ask the UAR to approve the Soviet-American draft, as well as why the question of the withdrawal of Israeli forces remains quite unclear and undetermined.
Comrade Kardelj asked a question: Would the draft of the Soviet-American resolution be more acceptable if its points are turned around, in a sense, if the withdrawal of Israeli troops is put forth first?
President Tito pointed out that this must come first in every document and that on the question of the withdrawal of Israeli troops they should not back down.
President Nasser said that there are many differences regarding these issues that are contained in the draft of the Soviet-American resolution. It is clearly necessary for the Israeli forces to withdraw first and then to conduct talks because the Arab states will always find themselves in a weaker position. He asked a question: What would happen if the UAR agrees with this resolution? Would Israel return to the pre-June 5th borders and then consider the question of refugees via a UN mediator? He thinks that if they agreed
with this resolution, then Israel and the US would be the side that takes all, while the Arabs would not gain anything but problems. He is also convinced that there would be some Arab states that would not agree with such a resolution, such as Saudi Arabia, because they are not involved in the current problems.
President Tito said that for various reasons he thinks that it is very important and necessary to treat the question of the withdrawal of Israeli forces as a primary one. If the talks are to be held without that taking place first, and if the Israeli forces were still in the Canal, the Israelis could make the talks drawn out and not accept the suggested solutions. Besides that, if the Israeli troops continue to remain in the Canal, that means that the situation will continue to be dangerous. Therefore, the withdrawal of Israeli forces is necessary not only for the sake of preserving the prestige of the Arab states and especially the UAR, but also because it is concretely necessary for the creation of opportunities for further negotiations. In that case the position of the Arab states in regards to negotiations would be much better.
President Nasser said that he would like to start on one issue. It is about the question Dr. Fawzi asked Gromyko at the UN: Does the Soviet-American resolution include the question of navigation through the Suez Canal? Gromyko responded that it does not include it. However, President Johnson's letters are saying something different. President Nasser thinks that the question is a very delicate one and a very different one from the navigation problems in the Strait of Tiran. Egyptian cities, such as Port Said, are located on both sides of the canal and their citizens could not stand watching the Israeli flag flying on ships freely navigating through the Canal. In addition, all the Arab states would be against that. He says that he is very suspicious
about the US goals because they want to destroy the UAR regime, and to achieve with political action what they could not do so militarily. They would like to hit the nationalist Arab movement, and to strengthen the reactionary religious movement in the Arab world.
President Nasser also pointed out that the UAR cannot neglect the rights of the Palestinian Arabs to their land and the rights of compensation, because the consequence of that would be liquidation of the progressive regimes in the Arab states, and the situation would go in favor of the US. He also asked: Why is the US contradictory in its views?
Comrade Kardelj said that it does seem there are contradictions, but what is a basic point, however, is the action to strengthen the position of the Arab states and to find a way for a solution that is acceptable to them. He said that he believes that the draft of the Soviet-American resolution is unacceptable to them because there are no such guarantees. However, this draft could serve as a starting point. This means that we should not be trying to figure out what the Americans mean by certain formulations, and what they think; rather we should, and especially the Arabs states, make certain demands, a certain program of practical measures in terms of implementation which could be satisfactory to the Arab states. Maybe, if they are not comfortable in coming forward publicly with their views, such a discussion could tactically be initiated by the non-aligned states given that it is based on those practical measures that the Arab states are ready to accept and that they consider necessary. It is necessary to work out a kind of platform so that there would be a basis for the action.
It was clearly said that the Suez is not considered. Working out such a platform is necessary so that it is certain that Israel will not accept it. That would politically isolate Israel and at least a minimal effect would be gained because Israel would not be able to exert any more pressure. Its hands would be tied.
Comrade Tito was interested in knowing what is behind this resolute insistence of Israel on the question of navigation through the Suez Canal. It is known that Israel has a minimal fleet, as well as the fact that it has other ways of protecting its economic interests without using the Suez Canal. That is why the question creeps up: Is this is just a cover up for an attempt to internationalize the Suez Canal?
In the continuation of his presentation, Comrade Kardelj said the Arab states should not formally express their opinions about such a platform, especially not in the current situation. What is needed is that they should internally express their opinions as to what should we take as a starting point for our further action. What needs to be complemented with other practical measures, so that this whole pact could discuss it together.
President Tito pointed out that not only the non-aligned but also other states should be included in this action, and to even try to get those states that have voted against the non-aligned resolution in the UN General Assembly. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare such a plan so that it could in its basis gain the support of many states and that way with a number of arguments get those states that are supporting Israel.
President Nasser asked a question regarding the position of the non-aligned states. He reminded that this was already discussed during last year's trilateral meeting and it was concluded already then that they will be weakened. He thinks that things went that way because of the influence of the sharp dispute between the USSR and China as well as the agreement between the Soviet Union and the US on their mutual coexistence. He thinks that now there is a real peaceful coexistence between the USSR and the US. President Nasser pointed out that the position of the non-aligned states has changed a lot since the time of the Cold War. Many that participated at the conference in Belgrade do not even care to call themselves non-aligned any more. He thinks that the main reason for that is the coexistence between the USSR and the US which everybody sees, while the US is leading the politics of power without counteraction from the other side. Therefore, the states are left to accept the will or wish of the US if they want to protect themselves from the enemy actions of the US via political and economic interference, putsches, etc. He thinks that what happened to the non-aligned resolution at the UN was not because of the relations between the Arabs and Israel, but because of the situation in which some of the states are leaving the ranks of the non-aligned movement, among which are some that have always insisted on being considered the leaders of the non-alignment, such as Haile Selassie.
President Tito said that he held talks with Emperor Haile Selassie, who told him that he wants to be among the non-aligned states. As far as his vote for the Latin American resolution is concerned, he explained that he voted for it because he
saw that this resolution also contains the withdrawal of Israeli troops in the first place, and that it asks the question regarding the further solution to the problems in the Middle East. In any case, not all of the things were so bad in this Latin American resolution and it even served as the basis of the further discussion among the non-aligned and the group of Latin American states.
Regarding this issue of dissolution of the non-aligned movement, their differing views and interests among them that are talked about today, President Tito pointed out that it is necessary to understand that it is not about making the non-aligned a strong club or a group with principles set in stone regarding their role and action. Of course, it is about certain joint obligations and that they should above all have a strong moral factor which even today could play a big role. But despite such pessimistic views, the non-aligned states have in these events again found themselves working together in the UN General Assembly. And besides strong pressures and other action, more than two thirds of the non-aligned voted for our resolution. It is necessary that we keep in mind what would have happened if each state was left on its own, to do what it knows... The non-aligned states would have then been a target of the harshest jokes. It is true that some of them are folding under the pressure, but that means that they sell out cheap – to whoever offers more money to them. President Tito said that he can understand certain disappointments of President Nasser and other Arab states regarding the behavior of some non-aligned states during this crisis because many of them were passive. However, it is necessary that the non-aligned states continue to play an active role in the future.
Otherwise, exactly what the US and some others want would happen, which is the dissolution of the non-aligned so that they would be left with a wider field to maneuver and impose their dominance. That is where also the great danger of world confrontation and general catastrophe lies.
However, President Tito said that it is true that the non-aligned states have been relatively inactive in recent times. The reason is because imperialism has gone into counteroffensive after the Cairo Conference and the whole plan was prepared toward the realization of that goal. That goal is to destroy the progressive regimes and in some places, such as Ghana, they succeeded in that. Where they did not succeed, they strangled these countries with pressure so they were rendered passive. The same was attempted and is still being attempted in the Middle East among Arabs. If the imperialists succeed in making the non-aligned passive or breaking them up, then it would be much easier for them to realize their goals. President Tito further pointed out that he thinks that in recent times many non-aligned states woke up, and that one can notice freshness and soberness in their statements because they all got worried about the situation. He further said that a group of African francophone states did not agree with the non-aligned movement's resolution in its entirety, but he believes that they will in the future because they do not have many ties to the other side. Also, we need to fight for influence over the world public opinion. The activity of the non-aligned states will strengthen at the same time if this local war is stopped and Arab states are allowed to clear up the consequences of aggression. It is necessary that we all act in that direction and not just wait for a Soviet-American resolution.
President Tito said that Yugoslavia is a European state and on one hand we can say that we are far away from all the troubles of the Middle East. However, we are aware that here we are seeing the implementation of the imperialistic plan which concerns us, too, and that the fight of the Arab states has to be our fight as well. We have the same options ahead of us and that is why we cannot back down.
President Nasser said he agrees it is necessary to take action and widen contacts among the non-aligned states. In his earlier presentation he was only trying to compare the status of the non-aligned now to the one of 10 years ago. He believes that many states are seriously considering the American idea of limited war. If the US succeeds here, then they will continue with it in other places around the world. Also, this situation is making more difficult the already deep conflict between the USSR and China.
President Tito said Zambia finds itself in a similar position.
President Nasser agreed with that and said President Kaunda is also an honest man but he is facing a very difficult situation. Even though he was under such great pressure, he supported the UAR at the United Nations. However, Kenya, for example, has surrendered because that was the easiest thing to do. Kenyatta now lives like a king, and he has rid himself of the progressive elements, such as Odinga Oginga, but he believes that there will be other troubles in Kenya in the future.
President Tito: Mrs. Bandaranaike will return to power again.
President Nasser: Who knows? The Americans are now paying a lot of money for such things. It is understood that we must do whatever is in our power and try everything, but things have changed a lot, especially in the last two years since the establishment of a the peaceful coexistence between the United States and the USSR and the power politics of the US.
Comrade Kardelj pointed out that when we are discussing the politics of non-alignment and coexistence, we must keep in mind the character of relations in the world. Today, the Soviet Union represents a superpower that can oppose the US in Europe and in the Middle East. However, while the world is still tightly held by the imperialistic powers, namely the US and England and others who have their bases there, the possibility of seeing the Soviet Union directly and actively supporting an armed fight of people outside of that area is rather limited.
Comrade Kardelj further pointed out that it seemed to him that this is valid also for this conflict in the Middle East. As much as the Soviet Union was interested in providing aid to the Arab states, because of the geographic location it cannot successfully be engaged. The Soviet Union seems to believe that it cannot engage under such a condition in a local war due to military and strategic reasons. Such a situation allows the United States to possess the strongest power present in Africa, Latin America and a great deal of Asia. At the same time this opens the possibilities for local wars in that region and outside of it. It begs a question: What sort of politics can the Soviet Union have if it is choosing between the politics of coexistence and a world war? In my opinion, the only alternative would be the politics of Cold War and expressing ultraradicalism, similar to what China is doing today. Precisely these politics has not only not yielded any results in the past, but it has directly damaged progressive forces. The Americans have used it to create NATO and other pacts to isolate the Soviet Union and etc, so that they can strengthen their positions around the world. What has Chinese politics given to the progressive forces in the world? Even though it is very radical in words, it has practically given no aid.
Comrade Kardelj then pointed out that in such a world situation, the politics of non-alignment is the only possible alternative approach to a number of states fighting against imperialism. In other words, simply, they have no other choice. However, a state that wishes to fight against imperialism, for its own sovereignty, must keep in mind the reality of the situation and relations in the world. It is exactly the Arab states that have mostly felt on their own skin these relations. The non-aligned states have shown a great deal of power despite their weaknesses and variations regarding political and material support.
It is necessary, however, to keep in mind that while the politics of non-alignment is the battle for independence, there will always be defeats or failures, but at the same time we have to be aware that it is necessary for all of those who truly want to remain independent. Besides that, we must turn around the understanding of the politics of coexistence and seek to understand it as the fight for independence and against local wars. The politics of coexistence represents a certain action and such politics can only be correctly understood as the fight for independence, against interference, etc.
Comrade Kardelj pointed out that he was saying this in regards to the current situation in the Middle East and that we all must be aware of these facts. He underlined the words of President Tito from yesterday's talks regarding the need for all to make sure they can defend themselves. He underlined that we are taking adequate measures against eventual local war in our region because some of our neighbors are still to give up on their territorial pretensions. Even us Yugoslavs are not so sure that what has happened to them could happen to us in Europe one day. Even Yugoslavia finds itself in a vulnerable position because if, for example, Italy took over part of our territory within 24 hours, and then a cease-fire occurred, would anybody give us enough military power, regardless of the existing military pacts and even if we were members of them? Comrade Kardelj then pointed out again that it seems to us that the gist of the politics of non-alignment is the fight for one's own independence. And here we support all combinations of possible kinds of battles.
President Tito then pointed out that Yugoslavia has many borders that represent neutral points, such as the Italian border, Greek, Albanian, and that there are many different rumors regarding this abroad in recent times. These rumors demonstrate that there are still some outside circles that think that they could change some things. Only in Italy, for example, there are 20,000 Albanian émigrés who would like to infiltrate. There is a clear tendency to use the current situation, so that the imperialist powers would interfere and change the regime in Albania, which would then be a springboard for further involvement. President Tito underlined that besides the fact that Yugoslavia has no contractual obligations toward Albania and because Albanian propaganda is constantly attacking Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia will not be able to watch calmly if something happens there because our interests would also be threatened. He also said that Greece has some territorial pretensions toward the southern parts of Albania and that Greece and Albania have already been in a state of belligerency since 1940. Then President Tito again said that Yugoslavia would not be able to agree if somebody else is brought into power in Albania, but the imperialists are capable of trying all possible ways and means to do that, so we have to try to secure and protect ourselves.
President Nasser commented on this by saying through laughter: "It means it is complicated everywhere".
Comrade Kardelj noted that luckily the situation is getting complicated for the Americans also.
At that moment, Minister Riad reminded President Nasser in Arabic that as far as their situation is concerned, the situation is not yet complicated for the Americans.
President Tito said that he would like to present how we envision the further action of the non-aligned states. First of all, after this talk we intend to send messages and send responsible people who would know how to explain our views to most of the Asian and African states with whom we have had contacts previously and even some of those that have voted against the non-aligned resolution during the meeting of the UN General Assembly. That would be one way. Another would be to talk to those who come to visit us. President Tito expressed his conviction that a lot can be done not only among the non-aligned but also among the states in Europe. He said he was surprised by the views of the Scandinavian states, and especially by Finland, during the voting at the UN, and mentioned that Norwegian leaders told him during his visit to that country that Norway is in NATO not to strengthen it, but to weaken it from the inside. They also said that they do not want the situation to escalate in Europe.
President Tito also said that so far in their talks they did not discuss the views and politics of France and De Gaulle, who seems to be taking better stands. Yugoslavia has normal relations with France now, and we would like to have closer contacts with it. France represents a pretty strong power, and regarding the question of local wars, it has taken rather firm stands. Therefore, a lot can be achieved through contacts with France. Also, it is necessary to further develop contacts with socialist states regarding these questions and further actions. At the end, President Tito expressed his wish that the leadership of the UAR
think it all through. They could give their answers and present their views in the continuation of the talks after he returns from Baghdad – because there could also eventually be some new things happening before then. We will continue to think about what is possible to do and what should be done.
President Nasser agreed with that.
That is how the second part of the Yugoslav–Egyptian talks ended.
Reminder: President Nasser told President Tito during their conversation in the car on the way to the airport on August 13th that he and his associates had thought a lot about what President Tito said during the talks the day before, and about the content of Johnson's messages (whose longer excerpts were in the meantime delivered). President Nasser said that he agrees with President Tito's platform and that he can tell that to the Presidents of Syria and Iraq. Also at the airport, he said the same to the Syrian Ambassador in Cairo, asking him to tell the Syrian leadership to stop taking rigid stands in their talks with President Tito.
The Yugoslav–Egyptian talks continued in Alexandria, in Ras el Tin Palace on August 17th, 1967 at 11:25 and they lasted until 12:30. The participants were the same ones as previously.
At the beginning of the talks, President Nasser expressed his wish to meet with President Tito in private any time before he leaves, and this meeting would only take about 45 minutes.
President Tito agreed to meet with him and asked President Nasser how his children are doing.
President Nasser said that they send regards to President Tito, and that they wanted to come here to show him the grandchildren, but he told them that this is not going to be a place for women. He added that Mrs. Nasser also sends her regards to President Tito and his wife.
President Tito thanked him and said to return the regards. He asked President Tito why doesn't Mrs. Nasser come with their children for a summer vacation to Yugoslavia.
President Nasser said that this is out of question considering the current situation "because there would be a revolution". Everybody would think that he is expecting a putsch and that he is moving his family.
President Nasser then asked what President Tito thinks about Johnson's messages, which he has in the meantime studied very carefully and read five or six times.
President Tito said that the messages do not contain the views that we desire, but that there are some elements that demonstrate the US desire to find a political solution that would not inflict too much damage on the Arab states. Here he is thinking of those passages in the messages that say that the US is not formally seeking recognition of Israel by the Arabs.
On this subject, President Nasser said the US knows that such a demand would not be possible. He thinks the messages contain all the Israeli demands and that there is almost nothing for the Arabs. He said that he personally does not have any complaints about the Soviet–American resolution which the UAR did not reject, even though all the other Arab states have done so. The UAR is in the most difficult situation out of all the Arab states and they are the only ones who suffer from aggression every day. Because of the loss of Suez Canal income, they are losing one third of Egyptian pounds daily, and together with tourism, they are losing a whole half a million Egyptian pounds every day. Syria and Jordan are not losing almost anything. In fact, Syria is only losing because oil transport has stopped. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is even profiting, because its oil production has risen. There is also oil production growth in Algeria and Libya, and President Nasser has even read official numbers on this subject. Therefore, everybody is benefiting from the situation, and the UAR is the only one losing. In a few months, the UAR will be in a very difficult situation. Both the US and USSR know this. The Americans want to use this. The Sudanese also are not suffering from these problems. All they want is to gain the popular support regarding these issues, and they know that at this moment the extremists are receiving the popular support. The situation is the same in the UAR and in the other Arab states and that is also one of the problems.
President Nasser pointed out that they are trying to face the real situation. They have talked about it very openly to Podgorni, too. They told him that in nine months, and today that means seven, they will be in a very difficult situation because they would have spent all of their reserves (foreign and gold) and they will have to import petroleum instead of exporting it. They told Podgorni that they need
2.8 million tons of wheat and flour. They need raw materials for their factories, for example different oils for production of soaps. If they do not get these raw materials they will have to close down these factories, unemployment will rise as well as discontent. They told Podgorni that they are ready to pay for wheat and raw materials on the condition that they get a long-term loan. If they get that, then they can wait and survive another year or two and build up their army.
President Nasser said that he would like to speak openly. When Podgorni arrived, his morale was very high because he knew that the Soviet Union is standing by them. He knew what American politics is like, and he knew that the Americans stopped Israel at Suez and delivered a blow to their state building. That is how this difficult situation was created because the reaction to all of these events now is such that all the people are very active and everybody is a philosopher. They all say that this was bad or that was bad, but nobody says that in the past 15 years so much was achieved and realized, and so much good has come our way. However, despite that, when Podgorni arrived their morale was high. They did not ask the Soviet Union to fight for them. It was enough if the Soviet Union stood by them.
President Nasser then said that their morale, and even his own, is not good right now because they are facing difficult economic and military problems and they do not see any future. He was asking: What will happen to the UAR in seven months when they use up their reserves? The country will suffer from hunger and they will not be able to control people's reactions. The Americans know this and
that is why they are saying: Wait, let's leave the situation for the next six to eight months, and then things will solve themselves positively for us. The Americans are setting conditions to accept their demands. Now we know that the Soviet Union will not stand at our side because it is sticking to its coexistence with the United States and sticking to what they have agreed on together. The USSR would have been ready to provide aid had the UAR accepted the Soviet-American resolution. The United States says that we should only care about our own affairs in Egypt ("Mind your own business"), that we should not oppose American politics and reactionary Arab regimes, that we should not support progressive freedom fighting movements in Africa, that we should not fight in Yemen, that we should not support progressive groups in Aden, and similar. Such is the situation and what can we do? – President Nasser asked. He continued by saying that in the beginning, despite the defeat, the army's breakdown, and other troubles, we saw a ray of hope due to support from the socialist states in the fields of defense, the economy and elsewhere. Now, we feel that this ray is gone. The Soviet Union said that they will sell them 350,000 tons of wheat, even though the UAR was expecting a lot more than that. For example, up until two years ago we were receiving million of tons of wheat from the US as aid. Then, they no longer have the income derived from the Suez Canal that they used to buy wheat. That is our position, President Nasser said. We do not get weapons, we do not get any income from the Canal or tourism, the Soviets are not answering our calls, and reactionary Arab states do not want to give us any aid.
President Nasser said that they asked Kuwait for a loan worth 25 million Egyptian pounds, but they did not receive an answer. An average Arab person sympathizes with the UAR and many are sending small gifts, money, gold, but these are small amounts. The rich Arab states and their governments are not responding. They are waiting for the breakdown of the Egyptian revolution, which caused them many problems.
President Nasser said that they have two divisions in Yemen and that alone is costing them 25 million pounds. He sent a proposal for the solution of the Yemeni problem to King Faisal, in which he proposed the renewal of the earlier agreement in Jeddah, but Faisal, who knows how difficult their situation is, did not want to accept it and instead said that he no longer recognizes that agreement.
President Nasser said that they are aware that they must be patient. They are ready to be patient if that is going to solve something, such as renew their army and in the meantime secure the state of the economy. However, that is the question now, and everybody would feel desperate if they found themselves in such a situation. All paths are closed except for one – and that one leads to the Americans.
President Tito added that he does not believe that there is only one path left.
President Nasser said that it is necessary they discuss that. When all is taken into consideration, it seems that the Americans are waiting for them to make the first approach and that they will not be ready to help the UAR unless it surrenders. And if the UAR accepts the navigation rights of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal they would be faced with at very difficult situation in the country as well as in the Arab world.
That way, the Americans would achieve two of its goals: first, the UAR could suffer an internal collapse or, second, the majority of people would turn against the regime because everybody feels so fanatically when it comes to the question of Israel. The Americans would then achieve what they already have in Ghana and Indonesia.
President Tito: It would not go so easily.
President Nasser said that it will be very difficult because accepting the American demands regarding Israel would force them to fight on two fronts. They are now mobilizing the internal front in their favor, but if they are to accept the American demands, that would mean a breakdown of their politics, which is based on Arab nationalism and which always created problems for the Americans around this region. That is how the US would hit the UAR's influence in the Arab states, among the Arab people and realize their other important goal, that they can have the entire region of the Middle East in its sphere of influence. These would be the consequences if they were to accept the American solution.
President Nasser said that he would like to mention that the Soviets are now allowing the Americans to fulfill their goals in this region. That will definitely happen if the UAR is not able to rebuild militarily and economically.
Secondly, President Nasser explained his opinion regarding the American and President Johnson's understanding of the Soviet-American resolution. He emphasized that when a border is mentioned in the message, it is not the June 4th border, but rather it says that it is necessary to agree on the borders. The Americans then seek the right of Israel to exist and the end of the state of belligerency,
which means treating the Arabs the same way they treated the Germans after the war. We just need a wagon to sit in to sign our capitulation.
President Tito said that Yugoslavia is firmly against such a solution.
President Nasser said that he gained the impression from Johnson's messages and from other contacts that they have had about American views from which it is clear what the US insists on and how they are interpreting the Soviet–American resolution. He would like to know how the Soviets understand that resolution because they told them that besides the resolution nothing else was agreed. It would be very helpful if they could find out how the Soviet leadership views this because right now they are not saying anything, they are not writing, and they are not even responding. That way they are allowing the Egyptians to think that they have been abandoned. President Nasser said that they can wait a month or two, but no more because that is not possible because their army is no longer being strengthened. He underlined that he very openly presented their situation.
President Tito said that we completely share their worries regarding the current situation and that things really seem like that if we look at the current behavior of the US and USSR. However, for us it is not important what President Johnson is saying in his letters, because that is clearly much worse than the Soviet-American resolution. It is understood that this letter forces one to think about what is behind this resolution because it is not clear. Then, maybe the USSR and US did agree on something tacitly?
President Tito said that President Johnson sent his first message based on the talk that he had with President ___________________
… talks he had with Ambassador Elbrick and after his conversation with the lady owner of the "Washington Post". On that occasion President Tito presented how we feel about the possibility of finding a peaceful solution to this problem and presented the following points: first, the withdrawal of Israeli forces to the positions they held on June 4th; second, a guarantee of the borders that existed on June 4th by the great powers or by the Security Council. These guarantees really are a necessity so that they can talk further in peace about a solution of the question of Palestinian refugees and if they want, water navigation. Third, the opening of the Suez Canal on the condition that the navigation regime is the same as the one that existed on June 4th, and fourth, freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba until the International Court of Justice makes its decision. That would mean that things would return to the state they were in on June 4th, so that the guarantees of a cease-fire could be obtained without a special statement regarding the end of belligerency.
Because President Johnson sent his detailed answer after he familiarized himself with these points, President Tito thinks that his stance is pure bargaining regardless of the fact that they are based on the known five points and regardless of the fact that they are too rigid. He noted that the only thing he personally sees as realistic in the last Johnson message is that he does not ask for official recognition of the state of Israel or the establishment of diplomatic relations.
When asked by President Nasser if the Soviet leadership is familiar with our plan, President Tito said that we have closely informed the USSR about our views. The Soviet leadership knew that we were going to visit the Arab states and right before we departed they sent us a message in which they expressed their wish for us to convince the Arab states of the need for a political solution in the Middle East. In that message, however, there was nothing concretely said about how this will realize a political solution. Only now we have to figure out what the Soviet leadership is thinking about the Soviet–American resolution and we will inform President Nasser as soon as we find something out.
President Tito said that what we are thinking has its own raison d'etre for our further actions and that they are not obliged to do anything. President Tito said that it is his impression considering a great deal of mostly positive publicity that was attributed to this visit and talks in the press around the world, that there are already enough positive things to be gained from this. This means that the isolation of Israel has started which a priori rejects any thought of having to relinquish their territorial demands.
President Tito pointed out that Johnson starts from the notion that the US has succeeded at the UN in gathering a large number of states to oppose the non-aligned resolution. However, during our action we must inform as many states and statesmen of our views, we must prepare well for the next UN meeting so that the position of the United States might weaken and therefore Johnson's views might change. It is necessary to bring closer our views to as many as possible friendly and other states. While we are seeking to achieve this, it is then not necessary to hurry with the solution at the UN.
President Tito explained that we foresee two types of guarantees in our platform: guarantees of the Security Council or the guarantees of four great powers. Now we think that maybe it would be better to have the guarantees of four great powers, because it is possible that we could have a new discussion in the Security Council and that way the whole action would be weakened. Besides that, the veto would be avoided even though the consent of the four great powers excludes the possibility of veto.
President Tito said that he completely shares the worries that President Nasser has regarding the current situation in the UAR because they really do not have many possibilities and he is considering how some things are too tense. If none of the friends are able to provide them with economic aid, that would really mean that they are not able to survive. That is why it is necessary to act urgently. It is also understandable if there are Arab states which could provide help but do not want to do so, because here we are talking about reactionaries who have their reasons why they want to see the liquidation of a progressive regime. In fact, all possible pressures are aiming at that. On the other hand, it would not be useful if they take a stand that is too rigid, such as the position of leading an armed battle (like Algeria and some others are doing) because that would not be realistic. Then these would only become pure phrases that have no real way of realizing themselves and it is necessary to explain this. President Tito said that he talked about this also in Syria as well as in Iraq. We think that more time is necessary for the Arab states, and primarily for the UAR to strengthen economically and militarily.
In the end, President Tito pointed out that we are not for any kind of a political solution where Arab states would capitulate and
humiliate themselves. We are going to attempt to explain this to others also. He told President Nasser that in this regard, they can fully count on our help and support, political and otherwise.
President Nasser said that the Soviet Union's stand is food for thought. They told the Soviet leaders that they agree with a political solution, but they thought this meant during the meeting of the UN General Assembly. They think that in obtaining results or not, as a question of the Soviet Union's prestige. He would like to explain that they in the UAR cannot alone decide on this and that unless they have special reasons, they cannot make a unilateral decision. That is why they are in favor of an Arab summit, and then they can voice their opinion. President Nasser said that he is sure that the reactionary leaders of the Arab states will come to the meeting without anything, without any useful plans and suggestions. President Nasser then said that they told their Soviet comrades that they agree with a political solution, but they would like to speak from a position of power and not weakness during that solution, because otherwise they would be under pressure to accept it all. And that would mean humiliation and capitulation. He pointed out again that there were no misunderstandings with the Soviet Union, underlining again that the UAR was for a political solution, but the Soviets were in a hurry and they did not leave them any possibilities to contact other Arab states. The Syrians, Algerians, Sudanese and Saudi Arabia rejected the Soviet resolution – so how can the UAR alone accept something that is not only about it, but also about other Arab states? That is a huge political problem for them.
Regarding the solution of the problem in the Middle East, he pointed out again that not all Arab states are in the same position. While some can wait around to see what will happen, and reject current proposals, they know that the UAR will be hit with serious economic difficulties if the current situation continues to stay the same. However, some are not interested in this and these are the ones who do not agree with the existence of Israel or end of the state of belligerency. This is particularly the case with Saudi Arabia, which built large radio stations, from where they will shout how they will liberate Palestine under the flag of Islam. Therefore, another alternative is the Islamic pact under the influence of the United States.
Comrade Kardelj said that he would like to ask some questions. The first question he asked was: What is their opinion? Should what the United States have said be taken as a very rigid starting point or instead think that things have however been formulated in a manner that shows some readiness of the US to compromise? How real is this readiness to compromise – only practice will show. The US definitely did not succeed in the first phase of the short-term war and it did not achieve its main goal, which is to lay down mines and blow up the progressive leadership of the Arab states. Therefore, as future events unfold, they have two possible directions: They will either prepare Israel for a new aggression, which can be made more difficult by undertaking a multilateral action, and especially a political one, or they will seek some sort of a compromise. In both cases the political action of Arab, non-aligned and other states is going to be very important. Secondly, Comrade Kardelj pointed out that it seem that the USSR would like to seek a
political solution, while keeping in mind power relations, and by doing so preserve the status quo that existed on June 4th. In their (Soviet) minds, the price for that would be the Arab agreement to end the state of belligerency, and to recognize the de facto existence of the state of Israel. We know that this is the most difficult part for some Arab states. But if we want to organize some sort of political action, then this should the basis of that possible political action because most of the world truly wants peace. That is where our proposal for the guarantees of the June 4th status comes from. That would represent a certain obligation for the Arab states, some kind of an indirect recognition of Israel that does not oblige them to formally do so. After all, if we take into consideration that the future relations among the big powers could change, then these guarantees could look different. Which one of these options is easier for the Arab states and for the UAR is up to them to decide. Our aim is to find some solution where they would not have to formally recognize Israel. On the other hand, these guarantees would at the same time be guarantees for their security. It is understood that this would only be the beginning of the solution, and that in the future of the talks, each side would present their own demands. That is probably when the question of navigation through Suez would come up. American Undersecretary Rostow has firmly insisted on two main points in talks with our representative: recognition of Israel and Suez Canal navigation rights for Israel. That means that the US will firmly insist.
As far as the guarantees of the Security Council or the four great powers are concerned, this will also be a significant and difficult
obligation for the Arab states, perhaps even more than the Soviet-American resolution because the state of belligerency can always be easily renewed if the balance of forces changes. Therefore, the end of the state of belligerency is not going to mean much. But because the balance is in favor of Israel, these guarantees would benefit Arab states right now. The fact that the Arab states would not have to explicitly give up on the state of belligerency would make things easier also for inter-Arab relations.
Comrade Kardelj then pointed out that at the next stage, each side would present their demands, such as navigation through Aqaba, Suez, the question of Jerusalem, etc. The Arab states should present their demands as their main platform, and the question of the Palestinian refugees should be tied to the solution. That is how they can create conditions for further action. Comrade Kardelj said that in his opinion maybe it is better not to go to the UN General Assembly right away, and that nobody should seek to hurry things up. If the leadership of the UAR generally agrees with what President Tito has said, then we could search contacts firstly with great powers, members of the Security Council and friendly states. WE think that already in the beginning of that action we should engage President De Gaulle, also socialist states, non-aligned states, as well as some Western European and Latin American states. Then we have internal talks to assess what is the best and the most realistic way. In our opinion, even if the Americans reject these proposals, the minimal benefit of this action would be that the Arab states would be able
to get into a position from which they can influence world public opinion, isolate Israel and make it more difficult for the Americans to push Israel to exert more pressure. It is necessary to exert as much pressure as possible so that Israel is forced to withdraw its troops without which there is no real political solution.
President Tito said that in any case here we are speaking of the plan that they should not have to explain or give any public statements about. If they agree with it among themselves, then it would be our job to explain it to other friends. However, we would like to hear their opinion about such action, to see if they consider it a realistic political solution.
President Nasser said that they studied President Tito's proposals in great detail the very same day he presented them, the night before President Tito's departure for Syria. He pointed out that they are not ready to fight, or rather attack, but they would like to defend themselves. He agrees that the only way out for them is through a political solution. They need to be patient and not accept any solutions under pressure. In regards to President Tito's proposal, he thinks it is "feasible" to demand the withdrawal of Israeli troops and to seek border guarantees from the great powers, as they existed on June 5th. He underlined that he has already expressed this consent to President Tito before the trip to Syria, that he has repeated this at the airport, and that he asked Syrian Ambassador to tell his leaders of Nasser's stand.
President Tito said that the Presidents of Syria and Iraq have also expressed their consent.
President Nasser said that he is convinced that Algeria will not oppose it either. He is not worried about the views of the reactionary Arab states, but he is mostly interested in the Syrian and Algerian views. If Syria agrees, and Algeria is not directly opposing it, then it would be easy for them to accept it. But if Syria rejects it together with Algeria, then it would be very difficult for them to do so. That is why they would like to see President Tito go to Algeria and speak to the Algerian leadership. Their Ambassador has informed us already that the Algerian government is wondering why President Tito has visited only the UAR, Syria and Iraq, and not Algeria. Their Ambassador was informed that the Algerian government will send President Tito an invitation to visit and he personally thinks that it would good if President Tito accepts that invitation. President Nasser told President Tito that the Algerian government has great respect for him and that President Tito can speak to them because that would be very helpful. In Algeria they are always thinking the partisan way. When the UAR accepted the cease-fire, there were demonstrations against President Nasser in Algeria. They do not know the real position that the UAR is in.
President Nasser returned to the suggestions made by President Tito and said that this is the best solution. Vice President Mohieddin added that this would be also the best practical solution. President Nasser pointed out recently that even the political way is the fighting way, because it contains pressures, bargaining and compromises. "That is my answer".
President Tito asked if President Nasser also thinks that this visit and talks were received in the world with a sense of a relief – in a sense that things are moving forward. It was clear from the press that dedicated a great deal of attention. At the same time, there is a lot talk about this at the UN, in India and elsewhere.
Comrade Kardelj said that the Swedish Ambassador has told him that his government - which is very interested in the recognition of Israel - against any action that seeks further expansion of Israeli territory and that they consider President Nasser's government a factor of stability in the Middle East. They were also very interested in this trip made by President Tito. He also mentioned a letter of our Ambassador in Sweden, which says that it would be very useful if adequate societal organizations of the UAR established contacts with similar organizations in Sweden, and informed them of their views. All of this points to the fact that earlier views are starting to change.
President Nasser said that he would like to say that in his opinion the Soviet view is a very important element which can contribute to the success of this plan. If the two superpowers agree on something else, then it would be impossible to change that. It is necessary to convince them. But the USSR is not moving much, and are afraid that the Arabs are going to fight; adding ironically that they are afraid that somebody might even get killed, but it is not like that. It is necessary to act politically, because if the USSR and US continue to exert pressure on this region then many things could get even more complicated. If there is no other way out,
then all of those in the region will be committing a collective suicide and that also remains their weapon of last resort. President Nasser said that they are ready for that, too: we will destroy it all if they are to destroy us. We are wounded, we are suffering and that is why we are not capable of withstanding the pressure especially if is coming from friends, such as the Soviet Union. And it is not only about the pressure, but also about the fact that the whole Soviet behavior toward us has changed. They used to be full of respect and attention toward our feelings before, but that is no longer the case.
President Tito said that maybe the Soviet-American resolution can be supplemented so that it would be good for Arab states. He added that the talks with the USSR and the explanation of their views is one of the first tasks in the future action, and that it is necessary to have these talks before speaking with the Americans, even though it is necessary to speak to them, too.
President Nasser said that the UAR will not give an answer to the Soviet Union regarding the earlier Soviet-American resolution that was already rejected by the majority of the Arab states. The UAR cannot alone accept it if all others have rejected it. It is not clear why would they would be the only Arab state that has to accept it. Regarding the idea of supplementing the Soviet-American resolution, President Nasser said that a new resolution is needed and that the current one should not be supplemented. It would be humiliating for the Arab states to return now and accept what they have previously rejected. The Russians need to understand and know that.
At the end, Minister Riad concludes that therefore there are two possible ways: one is the Soviet-American resolution which they rejected and which is not useful, and the second one is President Tito's plan. He thinks that it would be useful to concentrate on President Tito's ideas.
At the end, President Nasser asked if President Tito would give a statement to journalists at the end of this talk. He thinks that it would be good to do that after such a long trip because Western agencies have exaggerated the descriptions of President Tito's views, and yesterday they published that his talks were not successful. President Nasser underlined that from their point of view, the talks were very successful.
President Tito said that we think also that these talks were very successful. He added that he will give a short statement about the trip and talks and he asked President Nasser if he would join him in doing that.
President Nasser said that he does not want to hold a press conference now, and that he rejects all journalists, even his personal friends, because in the current situation he would have to attack the US and Arab reactionaries, and that would not be very useful.
At the end, President Tito said that he will think about the possible invitation to visit Algeria that President Nasser told him about, if such an invitation arrives.
That is how the large-group Yugoslav-Egyptian talks ended.
President Nasser and President Tito went to talk in private and President Nasser asked if Comrade Kardelj would join them because he would like to hear his opinion regarding certain questions.
Reminder: After the arrival from Baghdad, and after the talks ended in Alexandria, the Egyptians were also given the written document with President Tito's ideas for a political solution of the current situation in the Middle East and the same version was also given to the Iraqis (Attachment).
1/ From the private talks between President Tito and President Nasser, after the talks of the large group, in Cairo, on August 11th, 1967:
During the talks both presidents basically discussed the same things that were already said at the larger meeting. Besides that, President Tito informed President Nasser about the meetings of the representatives of seven socialist states which were held in Moscow and Budapest. He underlined that at these meetings he strongly advocated aid for the Arab states. However, it seems that some states had certain reservations regarding this question. In terms of the Suez Canal, Comrade President underlined in Budapest that it represents the only political trump card that the UAR holds in its hands for negotiations whose goal would be finding a fair solution.
President Nasser said that he held meetings and talks with many socialist state delegations, but these did not yield any results. The only results were achieved during the talks with the Romanian delegation, even regardless of the fact that Romania held a different view at the United Nations. The Romanians promised wheat, petroleum, as well as loans.
2/ From the talks of President Tito and President Nasser after dinner at the UAR President's, August 11th, 1967.
In his presentation Comrade President mentioned the provision of guarantees by the Security Council or by the four powers to both sides of the current conflict in the Middle East.
Comrade President said that such a guarantee should be given only after the withdrawal of Israeli troops. Different versions are possible here. The Security Council or the great powers will give such a guarantee. The UN mechanism would be established on both sides of the border. To be exact, the UN troops should be stationed here. After that we can start with the gradual solution of all open problems: Palestinian refugees, reparations and at the end, the question of navigation. When all of these problems are solved then the guarantee would end. Israel surely will not accept this. This is, however, going to contribute to its further isolation. It is important to isolate Israel as much as possible. Besides that, this will allow us to gain the support of a larger number of states at the next meeting of the UN General Assembly. President Tito said that today nobody can ask the UAR to allow Israeli ships to sail under their flags through Suez Canal.
Comrade President then talked about the messages he received from President Johnson and he will speak of them in detail at the next meeting. The views in the second message were a bit more rigid than those in the first one. In fact, the second message is only a longer recapitulation of the first message – Johnson's five points.
President Nasser said that it is not clear what the Americans are trying to achieve now. Because they do not have direct relations with the US, they asked the Turkish Ambassador to ask the Americans in greater detail of their intentions.
Comrade Kardelj noted that the Americans clearly do not want to see an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East.
Comrade President familiarized President Nasser in some detail with the content of his talks with United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren, the American Ambassador and Mrs. Graham, the owner of "Washington Post". Regarding the talks he had with Mrs. Graham, Comrade President especially discussed those parts that she did not publish.
Regarding President Nasser's interest in buying light anti-tank weapons, President Tito said that we produce some of them. He is not sure about 40 millimeter Bofors (Swedish license) but we are willing to sell what we have under favorable conditions. We could increase our production. It was agreed that one of the representatives of the UAR armed forces would establish contact with General Babic concerning this.
President Nasser said that the reach of the Soviet MIGs is 100 kilometers shorter than the reach of the French Mirage. As far as the Sukhoi airplane is concerned, he thinks that it is a great airplane, but it is not armed well. It has a machine gun with 60 bullets. The Russians did not give them complete armaments for this plane. The Egyptians read in the book "Jane" that these planes are armed with rockets. When they asked the Russians about this they responded that these planes do not have such arms. The UAR also has Ilyushin and Tupolev bombers, as well as T-34, T-54, and T-55 tanks. Nasser noted: "We have enough weapons, but we do not have enough skilled people who know how to use them."
3/ From talks of President Tito and President Nasser on August 16th, 1967 at 11:15am/ in the Koubbeh palace after the arrival from the airport and upon the return from Baghdad/
President Tito said that he returns with quiet a bit of optimism ("fifty-fifty") from Damascus and Baghdad. He is generally more of an optimist than a pessimist.
On the other hand, he is not an optimist regarding the outcome of the economic conference of the Arab states that is taking place right now in Baghdad and in which he participated. (Nasser responded to this by saying: "I am not an optimist either")
It is important for Arabs to be patient now, and to work on strengthening their countries economically and militarily. (Regarding this, President Nasser noted that in recent times he has not received replies to his messages.)
It is necessary to isolate Israel as much as possible in world public opinion. By isolating Israel, we are isolating American politics.
When President Nasser mentioned that he received news of certain movements of Israeli troops on Sinai, President Tito said that he does not believe Israel has enough courage to undertake anything that would turn the world public against it.
In the further presentation Comrade President said that in his opinion the US does not want any confrontation with the Soviet Union in the Middle East. (Nasser commented: "The US does not want confrontation, and the USSR is afraid of confrontation.") Right now, it is Vietnam that is the hard nut to crack: the US cannot allow itself to have another hard nut in the Middle East. Besides that, the US has difficulties even within the country:
the question of blacks (blacks do not want to be the meat for cannons in Vietnam); and there is an ever more increasing number of protests among the American public because of the ever increasing losses in Vietnam.
It is very important that the progressive forces are holding onto their positions in the Arab world. This opinion is shared in both Syria and Iraq. However, it is necessary to preserve the unity of the Arab states – regardless of how weak it is – at least in terms of the common danger that Israel presents to all.
From what the press is writing, it can be concluded that the Israelis are ever more worried because of President Tito's visit and the action of the non-aligned states. President Nasser surely knows that better. "We will seek to give them more to worry about" – said Comrade President.
Now there is a question of what kind of an action should be taken. It would be very important for us to hear from our Arab friends, what should we – in their opinion – do. (President Nasser nodded affirmatively with his head.)
The Presidents then agreed to continue the talk on the train on the way to Alexandria.
4/ Notes about the conversation of Comrade President with Indian Ambassador in the UAR Pantom in Cairo, August 16th, 1967.
The General Secretary of the President of the Republic Vladimir Popovic participated.
The Indian Ambassador was interested in the talks that Comrade President held with the representatives of the UAR, Syria and Iraq because he would like to inform his government about this.
During the talks he pointed out that the danger of a reactionary takeover cannot be excluded in the UAR, and that is because the popular masses are not at all aware of the current situation and they believe in the possibility of a physical conflict with Israel.
Comrade President told the Ambassador that there are enough optimists. All Arab leaders who he has spoken to more or less see the need for a political solution. They will now consult among themselves. While underlining the need for a realistic approach to the crisis in the Middle East, Comrade President presented Yugoslav views regarding the crisis and the ways the crisis can be overcome (the withdrawal of Israeli troops to the positions they held on June 4th, guarantees by the four great powers or by the Security Council while the negotiations are taking place, gradual solution of other open problems, etc.). He pointed out the need for joint action by the non-aligned and other states. In the beginning, perhaps it is not even necessary for the Arab states to vote on a non-aligned proposal, but they should tacitly accept them. He pointed out that Israel is increasingly isolating itself with its actions.
Comrade President anticipates that the Ambassador will inform his government about the conversation, and underlined that we would like to hear suggestions that Premier Indira Gandhi might have regarding these questions.
At the end, Comrade President said that after he returns home he will inform the governments of friendly states, and the Indian government among the first, about the impressions he gained and talks he had with the Arab leaders.
5/ Notes about the talks of Misa Pavicevic with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAR M. Riad during dinner at President Nasser's, August 11th 1967.
a) Riad thinks that the armistice agreement they signed with Israel in 1949 represents a better basis for the solution of the crisis than the Soviet-American resolution; it is more precise because it provides a mechanism for implementation (Mixed Committee, monitors) and it is a document that was signed by the representatives of the government and not commanders; it provides for the solution of the Palestinian refugee problem without having to resort to force, etc. These provisions can be confirmed with a new Security Council resolution. And later as a following step, there could be a peace agreement with Israel.
b) He criticized Syrian behavior and said it is harmful. He said that during the last year he has held long talks with Syrian leaders and pointed out the damage inflicted by propaganda on the liberation of Palestine, destruction of Israel, and they do not even have enough strength for defense. "Their propaganda has killed our (Arab) ________" – Riad said.
He added that although they signed an agreement with Syria about mutual aid only in the case of Israeli aggression, the Syrians have continued and escalated their propaganda regarding the destruction of Israel, etc.
He said that the Syrian regime is weak, unstable, and is staying alive thanks to extremist and unrealistic slogans about the liberation of Palestine, etc.
While discussing Arab propaganda, Riad said that it was shown that such propaganda is unrealistic and harmful to the Arabs. But the problem now is how to explain that to people without losing its confidence. In his assessment, this is one of the biggest problems for progressive regimes. "We have become prisoners of our own propaganda." – Riad said. The Arab people need to face the reality, but this cannot be done overnight. It has to be done gradually, otherwise the collapse is inescapable.
In terms of Iraq, he said that they have similar views and that they have tight relations with the UAR, while in terms of Algeria he said that they are slowly starting to understand the situation.
6/ Notes about the talks of Misa Pavicevic with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAR M. Riad, August 16th 1967 (during the train ride from Cairo to Alexandria)
When I asked him after repeating basic elements of our thinking for a solution to the crisis, Riad told me that they agree and that they do not have any complaints.
Riad said that there are two proposals for the solution (the Soviet-American and the Yugoslav) and asked which one they should choose – firstly, this can be interpreted as an indication of the UAR readiness to even accept the Soviet-American draft (but also as an attempt to clear up our views regarding the Soviet-American resolution draft). Riad agreed that our proposal is more favorable for the Arab states (because it does not ask the Arab states to declare themselves regarding the right to exist of the state of Israel, etc.)
Riad did not mention as an argument that Arab states have already rejected the Soviet-American draft, but said that the biggest weakness, or rather danger, is not in the text itself, but in the American interpretation of the resolution and the way it was described in Johnson's letters to President Tito.
I said that we are not asking for their public support for our proposal, just their consent so that together with other non-aligned and friendly Arab states we can establish contacts and take steps toward getting the highest number of states to support the platform.
I informed him when asked by the Iraqis we have given them a written list of our proposals. Riad also asked for it, so I gave the same text to Ambassador Abu Zeid to pass onto him on the evening of August 16th.
b/When asked what will the views of other Arab states be regarding our proposal – Riad (unlike during the first talk or the presentation of President Nasser in which he said that they have to worry about the views of the other Arab states) said that this is firstly an Egyptian matter because it is
the only one that was hit with the aggression, and that its situation is the hardest, that it is paying the highest price, that others are not losing anything if the current situation continues, that this is a question of Egyptian national interest and that Egypt – and nobody else is responsible for the way and the manner in which the current crisis will be overcome. He added that it was even wrong that they have asked for an opinion and advice on what they should do now from other Arab states when it is their, the Egyptian, national interest that is in question. Egypt needs help, not advice, and from other Arab states they got advice, and not help. "We are not criticizing them because they are not giving (or because they cannot give) us aid, but we have to decide on our own about our own destiny" – Riad said.
He underlined how other Arab states are not interested in a political solution of the crisis and cited domestic reasons for that (such as public opinion, rivalry toward the UAR, etc) which only adds to the continuation of the pro-war propaganda of these other Arab states. Riad added that they would like to see them not interfere and publicly oppose what the UAR thinks is the best for the preservation of its regime and solution of the crisis. However, he is not sure if the Arab states will do that.
The whole presentation showed that their consideration of other Arab states has its limits – that means that their survival and their significant national interests cannot be sacrificed because of the other Arab states.
While talking about "Arab unity", Riad said that it is fiction, and that it is wrong to count on the real solidarity and joint views of Arabs in the current crisis.
c/ When we talked about President Johnson's messages to President Tito, he said that they studied them well. He supposes that even the UAR should answer to those messages because they were meant for the UAR (via Yugoslavia). They have been working on it for the past three days, and he has one paper ready, but he is not sure if that is what they should say. They will give us that paper [attachment]. He asked if we can read it and tell them our opinion, give them some suggestions, etc. He underlines that this is not a formal response but a few ideas that have been thrown together. He said that personally he is not very happy with the paper.
I said that we would like to read that paper and give our opinion. I personally think that what they want us to tell the Americans about the reactions in the UAR should not be very detailed, but it is important to serve our joint purpose, which is the opening of the way for a political solution of the crisis and the continuation of our dialogue with the US in that regard.
d/ Riad was interested in knowing if the Russians were informed of our proposal. I said that right before leaving we indirectly informed the Soviet charge d'affaires in Belgrade. We informed him of the content of Johnson's letters and about the important elements of the conversation between the President of the Republic and the American Ambassador. We do not know the reaction of the Soviet Union yet.
Riad insisted that we should first get the approval of the USSR, and then contact the US and others.
Twice he displayed interest in learning how much we know about the Soviet-American agreement in Glassboro. He supposes that these were all-encompassing talks, where besides the Middle East, other world problems were discussed. But they are especially interested in finding out what they agreed in terms of the Middle East. He supposed that it was a precise and concrete agreement. The Americans are letting them and everybody else know that there is an explicit agreement with the USSR, they are giving their interpretation of that agreement, while the Russians are being quiet and avoiding answers. He invited the Soviet Ambassador and told him about the American interpretations of the Soviet-American resolution draft (based on President Johnson's messages to President Tito), but the Soviet Ambassador could not give any comments.
I answered that besides the general Soviet views and the Soviet-American resolution draft, the details of the eventual Soviet-American agreement are not known to us. The writing of "Il Messaggero" was useful in regards to that, but obviously we are very interested in finding out the substance and the real state of the situation.
Reminder: see complementary insert on pg. 76a
7/ Notes about the talks of Misa Pavicevic with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAR M. Riad, August 17th 1967, during the concluding talks.
During the unrelated conversation, Minister Riad repeated that the Yugoslav proposals are acceptable to them but ________________________________________________
During this talk Minister Riad also said: We can no longer maintain the situation in Yemen. The UAR must withdraw its troops. Saudi Arabia knows this, and that is why they were opposing the renewal of the agreement in Jeddah. In any case, Riad continued, it was really stupid to send troops to Yemen. "The UAR is the only state, besides the US, that sent troops to other countries". He said that this cost the UAR a great deal, and there were no benefits gained. The weapons that they gave to the Yemeni were right away sold to royalists. The Yemeni army practically does not exist, and the battles will continue for years. He explains that the decision to send troops to Yemen was made because of the Syrian secession, which seriously shook up the "Arab thing" (prestige of the UAR in the Arab world). The goal of the operation in Yemen was: to stop the opposition to the UAR in the Arab world and recover after the loss of Syria.
(Pg. 77) He especially pointed out that the Russians will be angry if the Americans are consulted without them.
Riad repeated that, therefore in the current situation, there are two proposals: first, the Soviet-American resolution, and second, the Yugoslav proposal. It is better for them to stick to the second one, but he would like to hear more about its implementation. Under the assumption that the main interested actors agree on it, what would be done next?
Comrade Pavicevic answered that they would be able to go before the Security Council or even the UN General Assembly with this proposal.
Riad said that in this case it would be much better to go to the Security Council, which does not have any Arab member states, so that they would not have to say much about it. Otherwise, in the General Assembly big differences would surface between the views of the Arab states and nobody would be able to guarantee what would come out of that. The General Assembly meeting could only be used if the great powers cannot agree to pressure them to find an agreement. He emphasized the need to consult with the great four first. If there is an agreement among them, then it would be much easier in the Security Council. The question remains of what will the Arabs say about such a decision of the Security Council.
Comrade Pavicevic said that we would also consult other friendly states, because we think that besides the non-aligned states in Africa and Asia, this needs to be done with
some states in Europe as well as in Latin America (Mexico).
Riad agreed that these contacts should be open and approachable with everybody, but thinks that we might see some changes due to them - different opinions will be heard, and pressures will exist. Regarding this, Comrade Pavicevic underlined that with such a wide action a much better atmosphere can be created that would benefit the Arab situation. Riad added that he understands that, regardless of the fact that the US will try to throw in its own views.
When asked directly by Comrade Pavicevic if we have their tacit green light for the initiation of these contacts, Riad answered affirmatively. He then asked what kind of success do we hope to achieve with this action.
Comrade Pavicevic answered that it will probably be most difficult to negotiate with the US, but we hope that the Soviet Union will accept and go along with it. Riad also asked if we think that it will be difficult to convince the French to support this platform. Comrade Pavicevic answered that he does not think it will be very difficult because from the very beginning the French have been talking of solving these problems through the activity of the great four.
When further asked by Minister Riad how this action will be undertaken, Comrade Pavicevic explained that the topics discussed would be used as the starting basis within the general framework for the solution of the crisis. That would mean that the UAR and the Arab states would not have to take on any specific obligations. After these talks, we will further develop our plan of activity and inform them about it.
Pavicevic also gave a reminder that our proposal will not be accepted by Israel, and perhaps not even the US, that we should expect counter proposals, amendments. But this proposal is more favorable to the UAR than the Soviet-American resolution, and for a number of states it is more acceptable than the non-aligned states' resolution.
We agreed also that the proposal would be brought up in the UN General Assembly only if the agreement cannot be reached in the Security Council with the goal of exerting pressure on Israel.
He gave to Pavicevic the paper he spoke of earlier on the train ("Comments on President Johnson's messages to President Tito"). He repeated that it is in any way a formal response, and that they are completely allowing us to use it in a way we see best.
1. Short summary of President Johnson's messages which were discussed by President Tito during the talks.
2. Longer summary (in English) of President Johnson's messages to President Tito which was given to the Egyptian side.
3. Statement from the presentation of President Tito during the Yugoslav-Iraqi talks (platform) was given to the Egyptian side upon the arrival from Baghdad.
4. Statement of President Tito at the end of the Yugoslav-Egyptian talks in Alexandria, August 17th, 1967.
5. Communiqué about Yugoslav-Egyptian talks.
6. Telegram of President Tito before departing for the UAR
7. Telegram of President Nasser
8. Overview of the Egyptian-Israeli general armistice agreement of 1949.
9. Comments of the UAR regarding President Johnson's messages to President Tito
Comrade Edvard Kardelj
Comrade Milentije Popovic
Comrade Mika ?piljak
Comrade Mijalko Todorovic
Comrade Koca Popovic
Comrade Marko Nikezic (2 copies)
Highly classified archives of the General Secretary of President of the Republic
President Nasser said that he was in Tanzania and while there he spoke thoroughly to Nyerere, who is an honest and progressive man. He has undertaken a series of progressive measures in his country and he is very worried because he is surrounded by states from which the CIA and the British capitalists can inflict a lot of damage to his country.
President Nasser then brought up the example of the African Republic of Chad, for which the United States did not show any interest previously, but now, right before the vote at the United Nations, they have offered them 20 million dollars in aid. Therefore, he sees now that there is great deal of bargaining and guessing taking place, and that there are only few truly non-aligned states left. Where are Indonesia and Sukarno now, who used to have such an active role before? Indonesia is not getting involved in any questions of foreign policy. In reality, they voted with us at the UN, but they have been inactive. Even Ceylon voted with us. The question is what position will Ceylon and Burma hold in two to three years.
Regarding the talks with the Soviet Union on military questions, President Nasser mentioned also the question of the Soviet naval base in the UAR. The USSR wanted to conclude an agreement that would give the Soviet navy the right of access to UAR ports. They asked for one section of Alexandria docks to be given to the Soviet navy and for the Russians to be given barracks to use and where they would fly the Soviet flag. Nasser told the Russians that it would be nice if they would come to visit the Egyptian ports. The UAR will provide them with fuel. But what the USSR is asking is actually to establish bases on the UAR territory and the UAR government cannot accept that. Opposing foreign bases on the territory of other states has always been one of the main principles of the UAR, and that was the principled view of the Soviet Union as well.
He said that when he was leaving Damascus he told Dr. Atasi that just because the UN monitors are located along the cease-fire lines, it does not mean the Israelis are not capable of certain provocations. Therefore, the Arabs need to be awake at all times.
Regarding consultations with the Arab states, Riad gave a reminder that some changes to our proposal might be suggested, but he does not believe that this would dramatically alter the proposal.