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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 26, 1970

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY MEMORANDUM ON SOVIET AMBASSADOR TITOV’S BRIEFING ON SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY

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    This memorandum gives Soviet Ambassador Titov's report that during Gromiko's visit to France, the French seemed eager to continue to build relations with the USSR. It also reports on the reception of the Rogers Plan, an American plan to bring peace to the Middle East, by the Arab states.
    "Hungarian Foreign Ministry memorandum on Soviet Ambassador Titov’s briefing on Soviet foreign policy," June 26, 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL XIX-J-1-j-SzU-146-00358/17/1970. Translated by András Bocz. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122521
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122521

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Frigyes Puja

Strictly confidential!

Comrade Dr P. Várkonyi

Made in: 8 copies

1.   Comrade Péter

2.   Comrade Szilágyi

3.  Comrade Gyenes

4.   Comrade Holla–Comrade Bartha

5.   Moscow

6.   Paris

7.   Comrade Csatorday

8.   Own copy

M e m o r a n d u m

Subject: Soviet Ambassador Titov’s

visit

At your request I received Comrade Titov, the ambassador of the Soviet Union on 25 June. Comrade Titov informed us about Gromyko’s visit to France and U Thant’s visit to the Soviet Union. He gave us the following information:

“A. A. Gromyko, the foreign minister of the Soviet Union paid an official visit to France between 1 and 5 June. During this visit he met with President Pompidou, Prime Minister Chaban-Delmas, Foreign Minister Schumann and Minister of Economy and Finance Giscard d’Estain. The results of these negotiations are shown in the joint Soviet-French communiqué.

The most important result of the visit was that the French party confirmed its intention to pursue an independent foreign policy and to develop its relations with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, which had originally begun by De Gaulle. The French statesmen, including President Pompidou himself, all firmly stated – among other things – that no country or a group of countries should be able to damage the steadily improving relations with the Soviet Union.  The French hosts created an atmosphere of friendship and good will which clearly reflected the attitude of the French government.

During the talks it was confirmed that the French were somewhat concerned that a possible agreement with the German Federal Republic on abandoning the use of force might reduce the interest of the Soviet Union in maintaining its good relations with France.

[…]

It was also suggested that the Soviet party should nominate one of the secretaries of the Central Committee as chairman of the intergovernmental cultural committees. However, this would extremely overburden the affected CC secretary.

4./ Comrade Vinogradov touched upon the Middle Eastern situation several times. In his evaluation the new situation resulting from the acceptance of the Rogers plan by the UAR is very positive, creating an opportunity to resolve the deadlock regarding the resolution of the crisis. He described the policy of the UAR leaders as mature although he also noted that emotional elements were still characteristic of their reactions. For example, after consulting the UAR the Soviets presented a draft to the United States in the spring which outlined what would be concretely needed to create a status of peace in the Middle East. According to this draft a status of peace would mean that the countries in the region would not only abandon the use of force or threaten with the use of force but would also commit themselves to the following: they will not allow private individuals or groups to launch any hostile action against another country. This draft proposal had been leaked out and was published in the Israeli press. Some of the UAR leaders concluded from it that it was a wrong decision to present the draft to the Americans. However, the Soviets convinced the Egyptians that leaking out the draft was good for them, strengthening the Arab positions and helping the isolation of Israel.

Similarly, the UAR first wanted to reject the Rogers plan. The Soviets persistently worked on convincing the UAR leaders that they should accept the plan precisely because it did not contain anything new and the Americans wanted to capitalize, in a political sense, on the fact that the UAR would likely reject it. This step can be used to force the United States to take action that would lead to the resolution of the conflict.

Further progress depends on whether the United States will exert the required pressure on Israel. It would be in Israel’s interest to make an agreement on the settlement of the issue now – with the Egyptian leadership headed by Nasser – because later they may have to come to an agreement with the Palestine movement and rather than with Nasser. The political nature of this movement is very complex – including Maoists as well as CIA agents and many others – and it is doubtful whether they will be willing to negotiate any time in the future on the basis of the recognition of the state of Israel.

Comrade Vinogradov was extremely skeptical about the idea of establishing a Palestinian state. He stressed that there was no country that would be willing make its territory available for this new state.

As far as the perspectives of the Palestinian movement are concerned, the Soviet comrades view the situation somewhat differently from Nasser. Nasser is sure that if Israel withdraws from the territories occupied in 1967 and is ready to implement the UN resolutions on the refugee issue, the Palestinian movement will essentially cease to exist. The Soviet party is rather skeptical in this respect.

5./ There was some progress towards the resolution of the relations between Iran and the UAR with the help of the Soviet contribution. The shah was extremely flexible in that he gave up the original demand to require Nasser to apologize to him and the only thing he insisted on was that the normalization of diplomatic relations should be based on a direct Egyptian initiative.  The immediately agreed that the two countries would send diplomats to each other’s countries who will, for the time being, work within another embassy. /Formally it is like the American “department” working within the Spanish embassy in Cairo./