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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 12, 1967

MINUTES OF CONVERSATION [TAKEN AT] THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE ROMANIAN COMMUNIST PARTY, JUNE 12 1967

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    Minutes of conversation of a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party to discuss the diplomatic response to the Six Day War, including Israel's support from the West, food aid to Egypt, and the USSR helping the Arabs in the future.
    "Minutes of Conversation [taken at] the Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, June 12 1967," June 12, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANIC, CC al PCR, Secţia Cancelarie, dosar nr. 90/1967. Contributed and translated by Eliza Gheorghe. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/219911
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[…]

The minutes of conversation [taken at] the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, June 12 1967

[…]

Nicolae Ceaușescu: We summoned this meeting with a view to talking again in detail about this situation in the Middle East, to see what we ought to do next.

We held another meeting of the Presidium yesterday, and we reached the conclusion that we ought to undertake something more concrete. Let us not be content only with the Declaration we released, but let us respond to the situation that [was created] in this part of the world, because supporting one or the other, or turning one side against the other does not correspond to our socialist principles in general regarding relations among peoples, because one does not reach socialism by fuelling feuds between peoples.

In the Middle East, the Americans, the British and even the French are interested in [keeping] a permanent quarrel between the peoples in the Near East, because this way they can keep the vastly rich oil reserves in this part of the world under their control.

We believe that even now, when a ceasefire has been reached, there is still the danger that [war] breaks out, especially since Arab nationalist elements keep [causing a stir]. They will be undoubtedly encouraged to do so even more by the Moscow Declaration and by the fact that the USSR and some socialist state have severed ties with Israel, which creates the illusion that [the Arab nationalist elements] will receive help. Clearly, they will receive some help in the form of weapons and it is not excluded that they use this [support] to re-group their forces and try to resume hostilities. So from this point of view, it cannot be said that all dangers have passed and that things calmed down.

This is why I believe that we should take advantage of this moment [in time] to warn Israel that it must leave the occupied territories because keeping these territories under occupation will fuel the current situation. Israel will have to show understanding [in this respect] because it cannot ensure its existence as an independent state through a hostile policy towards the other Arab states, towards Arabs in general, and [it must understand] that in this situation it is in a permanent state of danger. Israel is a state which even if it wished to keep fighting, it will not be able to eventually tackle 100 million Arabs. It is in its interest to have a wise policy of cooperation with the Arabs. We must tell [Israel] that we are concerned about the state of affairs and ask them to understand and to stop going down this path [that they embarked upon].

To my mind, this is how we must raise this issue also with the US, the UK, and France, and make it clear to others [as well] about how we see things.

This is the first [thing we ought to do]; secondly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must summon the ambassadors of Arab countries as well and give them more details about our position about our support for their fight for national liberation and national unity but we must explain to them that this cannot be achieved by fighting against another people, irrespective of the causes that led to this [situation], that [Israel] is a reality, and they can’t achieve their goals by fighting against others, but only through unity, through a common fight against imperialism. For this reason they must understand that the Arab-Israeli conflict can be resolved through negotiations. Let us explain this to them in more detail, let us show them how we see things and how we are trying to contribute towards making the Israelis leave these territories, but [let us] show them how we see the resolution of this problem, that it cannot be solved by turning these peoples against each other.

We must take actions in this direction because if throughout the years, the socialist peoples, the communist parties in these countries, the Soviet Union, had given the right advice to the Arabs, if they had told them that the position they had adopted was not [conducive] to anything good, [the Arabs] would have been in a position to understand that their actions were not wise, that [their actions] were not [conducive] neither to unity nor to their liberation from imperialist domination. [The Arabs] did not do so, on the contrary they were encouraged to pursue these policies, they were not told that what they did was no good, but they were given hope, [through] declarations that they would be supported in their fight. Ulbricht openly said this. It is understandable that he would do this, but I don't understand why others do this. They say they are doing this to win the friendship of the Arabs. The friendship of the Arabs cannot be won by supporting a policy which is not in the interest of the Arabs. Now it is not easy, but [the Arabs] must be told openly what the situation is like.

We must start from the fact that even among Arabs there are people who think [this way], but [reaching a resolution] also depends on what actions the Jews will undertake, if they prove to be wise, then [the situation] will be more easily resolved.

So, this is how we thought to move forward on this issue from now on. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will summon the ambassadors to inform them about our position. With respect to Israel, we should not express our point of view as a protest or a threat, but we must tell them clearly how we see the resolution of this problem. We should undertake something but not by threatening [them] or severing our diplomatic relations with them, because by doing so we will not achieve much, we will not do anything but encourage the other camp. We will tell everybody very clearly how we see the normalization of the situation in this part of the world.

Leonte Răutu: It is good to do this since Moshe Dayan, Israel’s minister of defense, released an official statement that they would not withdraw their forces from these [territories] and that they would evacuate the population, which amounts to 1,800,000 people. He officially announced that they would not withdraw their forces from this part of the Middle East.

Nicolae Ceaușescu: We can also count on the fact that despite the fact that [the US and the UK] provided the Israelis with arms, and despite the fact that [Israel] has had their support not only over the past few days but in general, neither the US nor the UK want to raise the Arabs against them, and they will try to calm down [things], especially [with] the Israelis, and in this respect we must try to persuade [the Israelis] that if they don't want to find a resolution to [this] situation, they will not receive any support from the US and they will be criticized by public opinion. If in 1956 the Arabs had the support of all Western progressive forces, now they found themselves in a position of having against them all those who supported them then, and this is because of the way they set their objectives. This will happen to Israel as well, and they must understand that if they claim to have conquered certain territories they will lose the support they enjoy now, and they will stop receiving support from the Americans and from the British, because [the Americans and the British] are not interested in Israel, they are interested in the oil of this region, oil which is not to be found in Israel, and they will seek to make advances to various countries in this region so as to consolidate their influence in these countries.

In this respect, we will undertake diplomatic and political [measures].

Petre Blajovici: It is [a] good [idea] to undertake such actions, it is a good position, and it will be well received by all Arabs. As a matter of fact, the statesmen we talked to seemed pleased with our position towards the Arab states. They said that out of all socialist countries, Romania undertook the best and wisest actions.

Nicolae Ceaușescu: If the [Arabs] won the war, they could not understand our position, but since they lost the war, they should understand more easily.

They asked us to supply them with wheat. At yesterday’s presidium meeting, we talked about this and decided to give them 50,000 tons of wheat. We'll see how they will pay for it. Today we told them that we will give them this wheat.

Petre Blajovici: Before hostilities started, they told me they had enough [wheat] reserves for 4 months, but the day after the war had begun, they had nothing to eat. You couldn't even buy two kilograms of potatoes. Shops were closed and our people in the embassy couldn't find anything to buy.

Nicolae Ceaușescu: Do you agree to adopt this decision, comrades?

(All comrades agreed [to supply Egypt with 50,000 tons of wheat]).

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