POLISH RECORD OF MEETING OF SOVIET-BLOC LEADERS (AND TITO) IN MOSCOWCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationSoviet bloc leaders discuss current UN resolutions being devised to deal with the Middle East crisis and unmask U.S. imperialism at work. They talk about the US's desire to forces Nasser out. They also discuss internal Israeli politics, with dovish president Eshkol pitted against hawkish Defense Minister Dayan. They agree that this may be the best chance to make the Arabs realize that a political solution, not a military one, is necessary to solve the Middle East crisis. Tito pushes for a common resolution of all socialist countries, not just the USSR."Polish Record of Meeting of Soviet-bloc leaders (and Tito) in Moscow," November 09, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, KC PZPR, XI A/13, AAN, Warsaw; document obtained by James G. Hershberg and Wanda Jarzabek; translation for CWIHP by Jan Chowaniec https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113629
VIEW DOCUMENT IN
S e c r e t
Copy No. 1
Notes from a meeting of
party and government delegations of
7 socialist countries on the situation in the Middle East
Moscow, November 9, 1967
The talks were held in the CC CPSU building, from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the following comrades in attendance:
1. Bulgaria - Zivkov
2. Czechoslovakia - Novotny, Lenart, Koucky
3. GDR - Ulbricht, Stoph
4. Poland - Gomulka, Cyrankiewicz, Kliszko, Gierek
5. Hungary - Kadar, Fock, Komoscin, Erdely
6. USSR - Brezhnev, Kosygin, Podgorny, Suslov
Rusakov, Gromyko, marsh. Gretchko, Ponomariev
7. Yugoslavia - Tito and the accompanying persons.
Brezhnev: We are meeting at mutual agreement to discuss the situation in the Middle East. We have already been meeting earlier to coordinate the most important actions in support of the Arab countries in their struggle against American imperialism.
Permit me to briefly present the situation as we see it.
The whole course of developments in the Middle East, [and] the struggle for political solutions confirm our assessment and conclusions to which we have come at our previous meetings. We are working in permanent contact with all fraternal parties. Permit me to recall the crucial moments:
The Special Session of the UN – we think that it was fruitful, it contributed to the unmasking of the aggressive policy of Israel and standing behind it aggressive imperialistic circles of America. Americans have found themselves under pressure and toward the end of the session were forced to back away from their extreme demands and on July 20 came up with a resolution on the unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli forces to positions from before June 5th. At the same time they demanded that all countries recognize the states of the Middle East, their right to independence.
Unfortunately, the Arab leadership at that moment – despite our hard work (they were coming to us, New York meetings, etc.) – did not detect the possibility, which such a resolution created and did not show appropriate realism. The leftist-extremist elements in Syria and Algeria took the upper hand, pulling with them also the Nasser government. In [their] quest for platitude the Arabs overlooked an important political chance prepared by all of us. As a result the political struggle at the second stage has become complicated. Had the resolution on troop withdrawal been adopted, all of us would have demanded its implementation and put pressure on the United States.
Later on the UAR notified the Americans that it is ready to approve their resolution. [Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud] Riad was talking about its readiness of taking as a basis 5 points of Johnson (they go further than the draft from July 20). The UAR, with the support of other Arab states was ready to accept a statement on the cessation of war with Israel.
Now the UAR is taking the position that it is not the General Assembly, but the Security Council should adopt the proper resolution. It says that the situation in the Middle East should be discussed in the General Assembly without any prospect for adopting a resolution, having in mind merely unmasking an aggressive US role.
At present the General Assembly is still working, there is a draft by 6 states (including Ethiopia, Brazil, etc.), it says about the withdrawal of forces from the whole occupied territory, but it does not say specifically about “unconditional” withdrawal to positions from before June 5th, in other words it talks about a troop withdrawal in a more general form.
There is also talk about the cessation of the state of war and peaceful settlement of contentious issues; then about a peaceful settlement of the refugee question, guarantees of shipping on the Canal, according to international law relating to shipping on international water. Speaking of Suez, the UAR does not take upon itself a commitment to open the Canal without the settlement of the refugee question.
Other proposals, e.g. the Danish and Canadian – are clearly dictated by the Americans. The Danish social-democracy has undertaken an ungracious role smuggling US imperialistic schemes into the Middle East. We should ponder what position to take toward actions of the [Prime Minister Jens Otto] Krag government. We should probably unmask that policy through diplomatic channels.
We think that we should continue working with permanent members of the Security Council. As we decided at our meetings in Moscow, Budapest and Belgrade – we will continue our work intended to eliminate the effects of the imperialistic aggression.
As you know, on October 20 – continuing our pressure and influence on the US, what Nasser asked for, we sent a letter there on behalf of Kosygin. We stated with emphasis that the U.S. are bearing responsibility for the protraction of settlement of the mid-East problem and are departing from the position they were taking towards the end of the Special Session. In fact, we gave notice to Johnson about our intention to provide assistance [to Egypt?]. The U.S. position is an impediment to troop withdrawal. You know the content of the letter anyway. Its purpose was to exert pressure on the U.S., to expose the Pharisaic character of their policy. We told Johnson we expect confirmation if the U.S. have departed from its position taken on July 20 are not putting forward new demands. We create an impression as if we believed that the U.S. is ready to cooperate with us in the consideration of that matter in the Security Council. But their representative in the Security Council once again has demonstrated their hypocrisy. On November 5, Goldberg in a meeting with our representative said without beating about the bush that their draft from July 20 is “a dead horse”, which means they abandoned it altogether. He handed over a new draft, which almost in all points repeats the Danish and Canadian one. From the Americans it is firing at long distance, a betrayal, hypocrisy.
What are the conclusions for us from all of this? How to make the American public opinion interested and how to react in general to new maneuvers, their obstructionist policy?
The Soviet government drew the attention of the British government to the dangerous consequences of [its] policy in the Middle East. In the response of the British prime minister [Harold Wilson] there were no new ideas, they are dragging on in the tail of the American policy. France in fact has not brought any essential changes. De Gaulle is in favor of troop withdrawal and peaceful settlement of the problem. But the French do not show particular activity. They think that time will force the opposing parties to some approach. But at the same time they suggest (not at the highest level) that any solution of the situation in the Middle East is a very protracted process and that we should take it seriously. This gives some particular form of our contacts with de Gaulle to induce him to action.
Our position towards the Middle East: to further strengthen the position of the Nasser government, because the essence of this whole conflict is the drive to overthrow progressive regimes in the Arab countries. And the whole insidious diplomatic campaign is aimed at overthrowing Nasser and other progressive Arab regimes.
All throughout this period we have been in touch with Nasser, we have there a new ambassador [as of September 1967] – [Sergei] Vinogradov. We sent to Nasser a friendly letter with three signatures, to cheer him up. Nasser is receiving our ambassador quite often, talks with him sincerely. In his last information Vinogradov reports on Nasser's conversation with [Johnson emissary and former Eisenhower Administration official Robert B.] Anderson. The gist of the matter is that Nasser doesn't trust the Americans, considers them as crooks, thieves, says he knows them long enough, etc.
But despite our contacts we do not have an exhaustive and detailed information of the UAR's plans for the future, on how they see the final solution to the problem. Important changes have occurred in Nasser's position, he began to assess the situation more realistically, his position has strengthened, regained strength, began to exert influence on the UAR and other Arab states.
Despite that he has always thought that political settlement of the problem is not possible due to the pressure from the extremists, Americans, etc., the recent developments – sinking of the Israeli vessel, firing over the Suez – have revived moods, in our opinion, in favor of military solution. Riad began to hesitate – that allegedly there are no prospects for a political solution and there is a need for military solution. But Nasser himself says he needs time, so that the army could master military technique, learn military skills, etc. and become prepared for offensive actions.
Anderson arrived to the UAR to impose his American policy. But the main objective is still to overthrow Nasser and Nasser understands this. But Nasser invited Anderson for the second time, because he had falsified the content of their first conversation and said in Washington that Nasser agrees with the 5 points of Johnson. Nasser invites him to clear up this question.
In our opinion, even in those conversations that Anderson had, the U.S. do not reveal to the end their intentions towards the UAR. Judging from everything, the U.S. would like to resuscitate the Dulles-Eisenhower doctrine, transform the Middle East zone into a “place d'arms”, being under American control and exploit the oil fields.
We do not have data, which would prove that Nasser is giving in to American blackmail. As we read it from the last information, Nasser's position is as follows:
1. withdrawal of forces to positions from before June 5th;
2. cessation of the state of war – depending on the implementation of the first demand;
3. restoration of the rights of Palestinian refugees;
4. freedom of shipping on the Suez Canal – depending on the implementation of the 3rd demand.
These are 4 mutually related points confronted with the 5 points of Johnson.
We should keep in mind that protracting indefinitely a political solution will make
the situation more difficult both for us and for the Arabs. It is politically disadvantageous, and economically the UAR will not sustain it long. Closure of Suez deprives them foreign exchange, which has an important role also inside the country. It's true that we give them something, you – from your side too, but there are over 30 million inhabitants, while Americans cut them off from all supplies, give them nothing and this creates problems.
Our position is known: we agree with you that a solution to the problem needs to be found politically. Nasser – yielding to different forces – agrees with it in principle.
We also do not give up on military assistance. Deterring the Americans from further expansion, from expanding their influence will depend on whether the UAR will be strong, will have a strong army, which would be able to keep stability and peace. That is why we continue to supply them weapons. Since the last information that we gave you, we have shipped to the UAR new transports of planes, tanks, artillery, radio-monitoring equipment and other military technique. When recently Syria turned to us for dispatching military navy, we have sent 49 ships and submarines to Port Said, Alexandria and we still hold them there. It is a fact that right now there are no military activities. We don't know if this is due to the presence of our ships, but just state the fact. Therefore, we have decided – let them stay there for the time being.
Besides shipping equipment we have concluded an agreement with Nasser stipulating that our advisers would come to all sorts of military formations, over a thousand with interpreters (though he partially gives his own). In this connection Nasser, who attaches great importance to anti-aircraft defense and military aircraft, dismissed the commander of the Air Force, who did not have the right concept about the coordination of different formations and appointed a new one, who had graduated from our military academy and speaks Russian. He did it on purpose, as this commander has a friendly attitude toward Soviet advisers and is ready to cooperate with them. Now Nasser is conducting a reorganization of the army, has arrested a number of officers, many dismissed, promotes the cadres who had studies in the USSR, who are in a fighting mood, etc.
On the political platform: within the next few days we intend to submit in the UN our own draft resolution in contrast to those drafts, which cannot gain support. We are aware that our draft may not gain a majority of votes either, but it will help to unmask the aggressiveness of American imperialism, will draw those forces, who have spoken in the General Assembly in favor a peaceful solution of the problem and the withdrawal of troops. We cannot adopt a passive attitude, even more so when Johnson says that he wants to cooperate. We don't trust him, but we want to try.
It's worth pondering how to invigorate activities in the UN, and in the lobbies, as long as the General Assembly works. Perhaps it might be proper to raise the ranks of our representatives, maybe come up with a new collective project? We do not propose any formula, we await your proposals. But we inform you that in recent days we have submitted our own, Soviet proposal, in coordination with Nasser.
However, we need to seek the ways of political settlement, because Nasser is not prepared for military operations. If today Nasser is somewhat prepared, then how are the Israelis? They are in a victorious euphoria, the Americans lifted the embargo toward them, will be delivering them arms, the British probably too. They have good military cadres – American, or trained in America, benefiting from the support of the American Zionist circles, etc.
We will assist Nasser militarily – this is necessary – but economic facts need also be taken into consideration – both of the UAR situation and of Israel. We need to lead to the situation of a military equilibrium and then a superiority of the Arab countries. 1,400 of our advisers are already working in the Arab countries, and now 1,100 will go in addition. In our country 940 are being trained in air force academies and other military schools.
Before us – a long and complex struggle. And this also has to be taken into account. In our opinion, we have the basis to assert that at present the Americans are not going to win: they are isolated. And in the eyes of the Arabs, in the Arab political circles – it is very important – the Americans are more and more unmasking themselves. Hence our common opinion is this – since we all are of the opinion that the Nasser regime should be maintained – we cannot go for concessions and we need to continue our struggle.
Nasser has asked us to get in touch with him as soon as possible. It is possible that after the holidays he will himself come to Moscow to talk with us frankly. We don't know what he is going to talk about, but we consider such a meeting fruitful. If he does not come himself, perhaps one of us will go to the UAR.
[Nasser aide] Ali Sabri asked very much to receive him. We will receive him, and if he comes up with something constructive, we will inform you right away. We know from conversations of our ambassador that they intend to ask us for economic assistance. The Syrians are also asking [us] to receive their delegation and we agreed.
We want to emphasize that our contacts, realized jointly with you, will undoubtedly contribute to the effectiveness of our new efforts. This cooperation is useful and should be continued.
Tito: What you have just said, I consider totally correct. Today there is no danger that the Arab countries will choose the road of a military solution to the problem. There were such tendencies after the bombardment of Suez and the oil refinery. But Nasser is decidedly against it. He is in favor of a political solution. He said: now we are strengthening our defensiveness, but we don't have offensive tendencies. The internal situation has also improved. He has arrested the officers, who had been against him. However, he has economic difficulties connected to the bombardment of Suez and the refinery. Currently they get electric power for Cairo from Aswan. Nasser is in a more optimistic mood than previously. But he counts that the USSR – particularly the USSR – will be more decidedly putting resistance to Johnson. I personally think that it would not be bad to show him a strong fist.
I would like to inform you about the Jews. [Nahum] Goldmann from the World Jewish Congress asked me to receive him. It was a month ago. He asked me: what do you think, do you want to somehow solve this problem? I explained to him our position and said: think of it, what will be with the state of Israel in 10 years; there will be 100 million Arabs and 4 million Jews. He responded, yes, it's true, they think of it, he was telling this even to Johnson. He said that the Soviet Union is thinking of some action, to which I responded that it is not against that you insist on political solution. He said (on his own behalf) that [Israeli Presidenet Levi] Eshkol, whom he knows, would be ready to go for it, but [Defense Minister Moshe] Dayan is in a more fighting mood. He told me he was going to Israel, will tell them this and then will inform me. Later he informed me through Paris that now he has to see what the Americans will say, the USSR, etc. (Kosygin: a great thing was cooked up!). There is a need to strengthen Eshkol against Dayan. (Gomulka: it doesn't make the slightest sense!). I told him: Israel has never had such opportunities as now to obtain its status as a state, going for an understanding with the Arab countries. And if it does not take advantage of it – it will be very bad. And if Israel doesn't agree to an understanding without making a territorial claim – we will be distancing ourselves from Israel.
We must sustain progressive government in that UAR. Johnson is attempting to eliminate it. Sustaining this government is of great significance. We need to think of it very seriously.
You were talking – said Tito turning to Brezhnev – about a resolution. Will it be only a USSR resolution, or of all socialist countries? Perhaps it would be better if next the socialist countries submitted a resolution? (Podgorny: We have in mind the Security Council. Arabs suggest that the Security Council considers the matter).
It's good that you will accept Ali Sabri. He presents a very good picture of the situation. (Gomulka: very optimistic!) But not too much. Pessimism, which was typical of them earlier, was very dangerous. Now they are optimists.
Gomulka: I am not saying in this sense. But if he argues that within 2 months they will be able deter effectively potential new aggression, this is a too optimistic statement.
Tito: Nasser is putting the matter this way that arming their army is not for an assault, but for defense.
Gomulka: It's not that great a difference. If I am able to defend myself, I can attack too.
Ulbricht: We agree with the USSR initiative in the Security Council. Important is a remark of com. Brezhnev that in the area of political solutions we should keep in mind a longer period of time. Now they think in Cairo that a political solution should be sought, but they imagine that it will come fast. But due to the U.S. position it is impossible, it requires time. We have sent a party delegation to the UAR, which is about to talk about initiating cooperation with the Socialist Union.
In talks with Nasser they brought up the question of their internal stabilization and raising the diplomatic status of the GDR. Egyptian friends told us: Americans and West Germany are supplying arms to Israel and this has to be balanced by shipments of weapons from the USSR and other socialist countries. Nasser put forward detailed demands. He told [us]: the most complicated defense problem – it is anti-aircraft defense. He thinks that we, the GDR, should send him military pilots. Here in Moscow I spoke with Ali Sabri and he confirmed that this is their official position. We refused, because sending even two pilots would be a demonstration from our side in favor of a military solution. For political reasons we do not want to do it. We talked with him of the necessity of a political solution, of the consolidation of the army. We said: you demand from us pilots, and you are giving positions to West Germany. There is a Goethe Society in the UAR; this is a west-German society, appearing in the Cairo television, etc. In our opinion this is inadmissible. We will give them any other assistance – teachers, etc., in other words the same what they get from West Germany. We asked him: then so, do you have too few agents? Don't you know that West Germany has already sold you off? Are Americans in your government? We talked frankly and we will attempt to expel the GFR [FRG] from there.
Our assessment of the situation: political road, of which talk was here – it is a long road. It is connected with the consolidation of military forces. But we need to clarify in the minds of the Egyptians that it is not a short road, not for today, nor for tomorrow.
We say this because in recent days the Egyptian press raised the question again in this spirit that a political solution is needed, but the Americans are conducting their own policy and the Soviet Union cannot assist consistently, because its general concept doesn't permit it to do so. Why do they permit such public statements? It evidently weakens the spirit of the army, etc.
In our opinion, besides the steps of which com. Brezhnev spoke, the Arabs should come up with concepts designed for a longer period. It is impossible to work on the basis of partial solutions only. Time has come when without such policy, such concepts the matter will not be pushed forward; also raising the consciousness of the army will not be possible, etc. They have passed a law, e.g., on the nationalization of wholesale trade. I ask them: Why do you need it now? In general it is the right direction, e.g. in industry, but wholesale trade? They will frighten all strata of small bourgeoisie, and this will not make their situation easier. It is necessary that Soviet comrades talk with Nasser at the highest level, as military and economic assistance by themselves are not enough. What is needed is a political-economic concept, as inside the country difficulties are growing and certain things need to be clarified. We ourselves told this to Nasser, because it was necessary to respond to his demands.
Novotny: In my opinion, after several months since our meeting in Budapest, we can assess positively Nasser's position. His external and internal situation has improved in the direction that we wanted, when we discussed on these matters in Moscow. It is important that the configuration of forces among particular Arab states has changed. Those which did not stand on the Nasser's side or stayed neutral, now have come on his side – if not directly, they are in any case for solution of this problem together with the UAR. This is a positive side.
But it also should be said that if in the beginning the Arab countries behaved passively, now they are more active in foreign policy, In particular the UAR, which already has influence on other countries. In our opinion this is a good phenomenon. In the internal situation – in our opinion – there is also a greater consolidation both in political and economic terms. Nasser has taken off decisively to the regulation of personnel policy – as it seems to us – in the right direction. Forces, which would like to change the internal system in the UAR, are practically pushed aside. Nasser once again regains trust and his position is strong.
Therefore, we think, that we should consolidate our line, heading towards political solutions. This is the most important thing, without mentioning, that in the world there also takes place differentiation and crystallization of political forces, even in the U.S. camp.
I spoke with Ali Sabri for two hours. He told me that the position of Great Britain is changing. She is now in favor of a political solution and for the withdrawal of troops. They are exerting pressure on the Americans, through the ministry of foreign affairs and are doing everything to have the Americans depart from their positions. The British stated: they do not agree with Israel's position, they search for ways to open the Canal. For them it is a very important matter and they are seeking all possibilities to solve this problem.
For us an important thing is to continue assistance, including military assistance. Ali Sabri was informing us that as a result of the recall of some officers the army is stronger. It is now possible to conduct rearmament of military units, introduce a new officer staff.
I would like to emphasize that the Soviet Union has the main role in assuring the position of the UAR. I think that all measures undertaken by the USSR in the field of political and material assistance have contributed to strengthening the UAR regime and the prestige of the socialist countries. We think that our Budapest meeting aroused great interest and was met with a favorable response in the world. Hence its great significance. The fact that immediately after that meeting the USSR took new steps in the area of assistance played an important role.
From our side we continue to provide assistance in the same political and material direction. We think that the situation has matured to a degree that Israel will be forced to withdraw.
Gomulka: The question is very complex. Permit me to say a few words. Let's look what has changed since our last Budapest meeting? Something has changed and now we better see Israel's position, while the U.S. position has become harder. We saw – and com. Brezhnev spoke of it – that the Americans' position from July 20th was acceptable, but the Arabs did not want it. And when later on they decided to accept it, the Americans totally departed from it and now they want to talk on a completely different platform. Now they think that it is difficult to talk about Israel moving back to the position from before the aggression. It is their position and that of Israel. And in my opinion [it is the position] of Eshkol's too. He spoke 10 days ago and gave it to understand. Dayan talks about it more clearly, but there is no major difference between them.
Thus, there is a certain situation. In which direction will it develop? The United States are striving to overthrow the progressive regimes in the Arab countries. We already spoke of it in Budapest and now we see that they are clearly moving in this direction. There are two roads here: a road of war or calculating on the internal situation.
Let us start with the internal situation. Com. Novotny asserts that the situation has improved, the same says com. Tito. I would be glad if it were really true. I cannot say that it is not so, but I don't have evidence that it is.
What is going on in the UAR? The party doesn't exist, there is a Union. It is a large organization, numbering 7 million members, but it is not a weapon with which one can operate, direct the development of the nation. There is no party organization in our sense.
Who is present in the administration, in the central organizations, in the state apparatus and still below? There is no detailed information, but basically these are anti-imperialists. And they happen to be different – also the bourgeoisie, etc. And this is the main force. Take an example – no matter how many times we would talk with the Arab countries on the recognition of the GDR – they still don't recognize it. This is of political significance. It should be interpreted in this sense that neither Nasser, nor any other Arab governments want to close themselves to the road to an understanding with the West. Perhaps they will have to go for some arrangements with America, and recognition of the GDR is some kind of condition, which may close the road to such understandings.
At present Nasser has moved further in strengthening his internal situation: carrying out arrests, receiving advisers – it proves that he is looking also in this direction, as he is under U.S. pressure. But there may arise a situation that in the face of military weakness of the UAR, which is incapable of staging military resistance, in the face of growing economic difficulties and the position taken by the U.S. (and the U.S. will continue to hold it, as there is no reason to yield if they are not forced to), Nasser will say: I should leave, perhaps the Americans will be more yielding with someone else. I don't exclude such a development.
Comrades know well the military situation of the UAR. We also spoke with Ali Sabri. According to their assessment they are already so strong that within 2 months they will be able to repel any possible Israeli aggression. If they say it with full conviction, it means they don't understand the situation as much as they didn't understand it on June 5th.
On the other hand – measures undertaken by the U.S., their statement on arms deliveries, etc. – indicate that they are preparing also the second alternative – military. I think that the matter will be solved within a year, I have no evidence, but I think so. USA are strengthening Israel militarily and will continue to do so, to assure that Israel, when it comes to a new aggression, could strike even harder and quickly solve the problem, overthrow the government, without even seizing Cairo. If even before that the reactionary elements do not cause the resignation of Nasser. So, the situation is complicated.
We face a challenge – do we have some other possibility besides the political one? Let's say straight as it is: today possibilities for a political solution are smaller than they were several months ago.
On the other hand – a military solution, that is, our direct involvement – does not make sense and nobody is going to fight for another nation. If they were to fight for their independence, as they should, our position will be different. Then I would not exclude sending them people. But if they build their plans that we give them our people in advance, etc. – this is not the solution. Because once we begin, then consequently we have to stay the course and send them more and more. And in what shell we be entangled?
On the other hand, a political solution is realistic only if the Arabs will be strong enough that the U.S. – the main force directing Israel – recognize that in the face of Arab strength it doesn't make sense to start a military conflict and thus a political solution is better. Of course, the presence of Soviet ships is deterring aggressors, but it may not deter them forever.
I don't know how to assess their internal situation, how it was in reality with torpedoing the ship, etc, but they got a hit – two refineries were destroyed. True, they have other industrial plants, but to raise the economy on its feet they need time.
We think the situation in the Middle East is very complex and the U.S. position as being clearer than before. It would be better if we had different variants: what to do at a given moment. At this moment it is difficult for me to speak of different variants, but we should not say that there is only one alternative. We need to look for two possibilities.
Kadar: We think that our assessment of the situation to which we came last time was correct, and correct was too the direction of further action set by us. Our activity and assistance have brought about certain results and pushed the situation in the right direction. To some degree Egypt's position has been strengthened. At present their internal situation, as compared with the straight catastrophic one at the beginning of the crisis, is radically different. They have been able to avoid in their economy a total anarchy and are moving in the reorganization of the army.
Their statements in the international arena also tend to go in the same direction as ours. Aggressive statements from Algeria, Syria, have been mitigated. It is clear that thorough transformations they have not yet been able to do. But, at the present time we do not see any other solution, but to continue our activity in the same direction. We cannot do anything else, except to provide economic and military assistance, as well as to exert political influence.
With regard to what happened in the UN, we have to say that our activities have not produced expected results. Our presentations were very weak. First there was the Soviet draft, for which we worked very hard, then a test of the Indian draft. All were good proposals, but had one weakness: they did not represent the position of the Arab countries and the Arabs did not support them. Now there is a talk that the Soviet Union is about to come up with a new proposal, and maybe the other socialist countries too. I would not like to dwell on this subject too long, we cannot say a great deal of new things.
I think we should be assisting the Arabs more intensively in the economic area. We spoke of this in Budapest and Belgrade. The thing is it should not be a casual assistance, so to speak an aid for consumption, but such which would allow the UAR for the prospective development of the economy. In Budapest literally all comrades spoke in detail about a great importance of such assistance, emphasizing that it would also strengthen the political situation of the UAR.
Referring to their policies in the international arena, we think that all of us, the USSR, Yugoslavia – should be influencing the Arabs and continue our work, oriented towards a political solution of the problem. I agree that today the possibility of a fast political solution is missing. But with regard to the military solution, our position has not changed.
We think that if this question does not start moving, it will weaken the progressive regimes in the Arab countries.
Keeping in mind that the Nasser government and Arab leaders are having consultations with the socialist countries, India and other countries, they may have a better assessment of the situation to move the matter forward. Thus, I think it would be useful to influence them, to encourage the UAR and Syria to show up in the UN – both in the General Assembly and in the Security Council – with a joint platform, which other countries might support. It is clear they won't be able to earlier than in 2-3 months, but it is worthwhile to influence them to come up with such a platform. In our opinion, we should continue the work, which we have been doing so far, because we don't see other ways and tasks.
Zivkov: We agree with com. Brezhnev's assessments and arguments regarding developments in the Middle East. Our position on those matters is gaining stronger and stronger support both in the international arena and in the Arab countries. There is no need to argue about it further. If we were unable to achieve a full success, it is because we could not consequently bring along to our side the Arab leaders. And this is the basic problem, which creates obstacles in solving the conflict.
At present the situation is different. The Americans are taking a more intransigent position, consequently driving to their objective – overthrowing the progressive regimes in the Arab countries, promoting the expansion of oil monopolies and transforming these countries into their staging base against us.
In the future we should continue to search for a political solution of this problem. We agree that the USSR should come up with its resolution in the Security Council, in which it would unmask the Pharisaical character of American policy. We also need to continue economic and military assistance.
I would like to dwell a little on what other comrades have said. We need to do everything to see that the UAR and Syria come up to their people with a clear concept, and in the international arena with a joint platform.
What is currently the situation in the UAR and Syria? The fact is, that as a result of military defeat the authority of government in the nation has diminished and we need not have any illusions about it. This is a very serious question. If the governments of these countries do not come up with a defined position, a concept which would find way to the hearts of the people, they will be unable to mobilize social forces, and will encounter new difficulties.
The main question is the elimination of the consequences of the Israeli aggression – as we said already in Budapest. And the Arab countries should come up with a clear concept on this question and that it would be in harmony with our position. And this question should not be dealt with like it is today in the UAR and other Arab countries. And here we should have an influence on them.
We should clearly state, that we will not go any more for concessions. The Soviet comrades can evaluate it best. We think that we should tell to the whole world: in this part of the globe we will not permit the aggressors to achieve victory.
Brezhnev: First of all I am expressing satisfaction that we decided to meet today on this matter, even if we don't adopt any constructive resolutions. All statements were not only interesting, but also valuable. In our policy designed for the elimination of the consequences of aggression in the Middle East, it can be said that as a result of our joint activity, we have achieved positive results. If it were not for our joint efforts, the situation in the Middle East would be different. Everybody is saying this: Nasser, [Algerian leader Houari] Bumedien, [Syrian President Nureddin al-]Atassi, [Iraqi leader ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad] Aref, Jordan, etc.
There has been a conference in Khartoum, there were other meetings, but let them still improve their position. Nationalistic elements are still dominating there, but such meetings are moving forward the problem of the Middle East. We think, however, that the situation is not easier in terms of the solution of this problem. A lot of time has passed and a political solution has not been found.
The most precious thing is that we have uniform views on the whole sum of questions, which we were discussing in Budapest. We all think that we should continue our struggle to prevent the aggressive forces from realizing their plans in the Middle East.
What other measures should be taken? Like you, right now we are not in a position to respond to this question. We continue working in the UN, in the Security Council, there are progressive forces with which we cooperate. A conclusion from our considerations: continue our activity consistently with our uniform position, rendering the Arab countries political and material assistance. From our side, we do not interrupt assistance, we have already provided them with hundreds of thousands of tons of fuel, gasoline, kerosene. But so long as their power system is not set for this kind of fuel, we have to give them even more. We are glad that all comrades present here have spoken in favor of continuing assistance to the Arab counties.
On the question of military assistance: we think that even with finding a political solution, we all should be assisting the Arabs militarily. (Podgorny: and even in parallel). But not to start a war, as com. Gomulka said, but to make the aggressor aware that it will be difficult for him to start there, and also bring all the Arab countries closer to our countries. They have in their hand weapons from the socialist countries, not from America.
If you approve our intent – we will submit our resolution to the Security Council.
We have started a dialogue with Johnson, we got the response and will continue this dialogue. (Kosygin: Nasser also wants this.) We will be unmasking the Americans, because Goldberg has already slipped Johnson something new.
We will continue our political struggle. The more we have an opportunity to exchange opinions, the better. Before the holidays we just did not have physical strength to quietly think about this. Now, we thought, we will listen to the opinion of the military, we will also consult with you. Now we want even more to expand this work. Maybe you also will have some new ideas. Maybe our foreign ministers would meet for 1-2 days to assess the situation and suggest something? No matter where it would take place – in Poland, in Budapest or Prague, it is important that they get together as people who share a common position and jointly discuss on possibly new steps. We cannot (Kosygin: and we don't intend) to give the Middle East to the Americans.
Ali Sabri wants to give us something on behalf of Nasser, probably in confidence, but we will inform you immediately.
Difficulties exist, but there is also the force of the socialist camp, which they take into consideration.
Notes made by: W. Wojtyga
Made in 5 copies