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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 15, 1971

MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN NICOLAE CEAUșESCU AND THE SHAH, PERSEPOLIS

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    Description of conversation between Nicolae Ceaușescu and the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi regarding efforts to find a solution to the conflict between Israel and Egypt involving border disputes and the Suez Canal.
    "Minutes of Conversation between Nicolae Ceaușescu and the Shah, Persepolis," October 15, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANIC, CC RCP, FRS. Contributed and translated by Roham Alvandi and Eliza Gheorghe, and included in CWIHP Working Paper, "The Shah's Petro-Diplomacy with Ceaușescu" (2014). https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119606
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Minutes of conversation between Nicolae Ceaușescu and the Shah, Persepolis, 15 October 1971, Top Secret

On 15 October 1971, on the occasion of the celebrations in Persepolis, the President of the State Council, Nicolae Ceaușescu met the Shah.

The meeting was attended by George Macovescu, First Deputy Foreign Minister and Alexandru Boabă, Romania’s Ambassador to Teheran.

[...]

The Shah then talked about yet another source of tension, which concerns international political circles and public opinion, namely the Near East. He pointed out that the efforts undertaken to date in the direction of finding a political solution to this conflict did not have any tangible efforts, because of Israel’s rigid attitude. Lately, Israel’s position has hardened [even more]. While not so long ago Israeli leaders were talking about small border adjustments, now they talk about annexing a territory that stretches to the Sharm el-Sheikh and it is not rare [to hear] people say that the current territorial situation may become permanent.

This rigid position is in striking contrast with the reasonable position of the Egyptians, who made constructive proposals, meant to get things out of their current stalemate. The fact that these proposals had no echo from the Israelis, that there were no steps towards solving the conflict, causes concern about the potential evolution of events. President Sadat clearly showed that Egypt would not allow that the current situation becomes permanent and he added that in case no positive elements occur by the end of the year in the direction of finding a political solution to the conflict, he reserves the right to resort to other means.

It seems that one of the main impediments to making the first steps towards the resolution of the conflict is Israel’s rejection to allow Egyptian forces to cross the Suez Canal while Israeli troops are withdrawing.

On this matter, the Shah expressed his belief that the temporary installation of UN forces, between the forces of the two countries, could contribute to avoiding military clashes and therefore to the improvement of the situation.

Moreover, the great powers supporting the two sides should temper the zeal of their protégées, so that they do not get to an irreversible situation with unpredictable consequences.

We believe, the Shah added, that neither the Soviet Union, nor the United States wants a military conflict to erupt, being afraid of getting dragged into it themselves.

In any case, it is the duty of all peace-loving countries to make use of their influence on one or another side to make them understand the weight of this moment [in time] and to effectively embark on the road which leads to peace.

The President of the State Council stated that Romania closely followed the evolution of the situation in the Near East, a region which is not too far from its own borders.

The Romanian government constantly supported the peaceful resolution of the conflict, being convinced that a new military confrontation would be detrimental to all states in the region and would only complicate things, giving way to foreign intervention. Enforcing the provisions of the November 1967 UN Security Council resolution would offer a reasonable means to install a fair peace in the region. The Romanian government has repeatedly and publicly expressed its appreciation for President Sadat’s constructive proposals and used all means available to express its rationale about the necessity for Israel to welcome Egypt’s proposals and [acknowledge] the risks which the rigidity of Israel’s position entails.

[...]