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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 26, 1985

[DRAFT] LETTER, SHINTARO ABE, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF JAPAN, TO GEORGE P. SHULTZ, SECRETARY OF STATE

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    In a letter to Secretary of State Schultz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Abe describes his visits with various countries in the Middle East after the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference with Dialogue Partners. He discusses the Iran-Iraq conflict, the American hostages held in Lebanon, and the general issue of peace in the Middle East.
    "[Draft] Letter, Shintaro Abe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, to George P. Shultz, Secretary of State," July 26, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File No. 2017-0631. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/270649
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Dear Mr. Secretary:

It was my great pleasure to have another frank exchange of views with you in Kuala Lumpur on July 12. Now I would like to brief you on my tour of visit to Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Following the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference with Dialogue Partners, I visited these three countries, for the purpose of strengthening our bilateral relations with them and excheanging views with their leaders on international affairs, such as the issue of peace in the Middle East and the Iran-Iraq conflict. I believe that my visit proved fruitful as I had wished expected.

During the visit I had. discussions with the leaders of the three countries and with PLO Chairman Arafat and Iragqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, spending much time especially on the issue of peace in the Middle East. Through these exchanges of views, I recognized once again how complicated this problem is and how difficult it is to find a solution to it. I wish to renew here my sincere respect for the efforts which you have exerted to achieve peace in the region.

It gave me a particularly deep impression that the leaders of the three countries placed high expectations on the positive role to be played by the United States for peace in the region, and that they requested me to make a forceful approach to your Government about this state of affairs.

For example, Prime Minister Rifai of Jordan told me that he was afraid that he would miss the best chance to achieve peace unless the United States and Israel take more positive attitudes toward peace.

Chairman Arafat stated that it was the intention of the PLO to prosecute continue peace efforts at all cost within the framework of the Hussein-Aruafat Agreement, but that this was the last chance for peace and, without a positive response from the United States to this agreement, another great confusion would occur in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Saud of Saudi Arabia also stressed that the only aim of the Hussein-Arafat Agreement was to urge the United States to change its policy and that Syria would accept the peace process based on the Hussein-Arafat Agreement if the United States, as an honest mediator, recognized and started direct negotiations with the PLO.

I also noted with deep interest the idea of the Arabs toward the international conference formula and I, for one, keenly felt the necessity for some form of international framework to achieve peace in the region.

On this point, Foreign Minister Masri of Jordan observed that, in the envisaged international conference, not only the United States, the United Kingdom and France, but also China to some extent, would support Jordan's idea, and the Soviet Union would therefore be isolated and would not be able to exercise effective influence, but that if the Soviet Union is excluded from the conference, it would be impossible to obtain cooperation from Syria, which is indispensable to a genuine solution to the problem, and the Soviet Union would obstruct the conference from the outside. In the meantime, the Syrian leaders, while indicating a negative evaluation of moves for peace based on the Hussein-Arafat Agreement, stated that an international conference was the only effective measure way to achieve peace in the Middle East.

With regard to the Iran-Ira Cconflict, all the leaders appreciate Japan’s recent efforts, but were pessimistic about an early and peaceful solution to the conflict.

In this respect, Foreign Minster [SIC; Minister] Tariq Aziz of Iraq told me that Iraq, expecting a more positive posture of Iran toward peace, had suspended attacks against civilian targets since June 15 and was ready to negotiate with the Iranians, if they seriously studied Japan's package proposals.

Finally, on the release of the American hostages held in Lebanon, I have already conveyed to you through our Enmbassy in Washington the details of request I made to the Syrian Government together with their response through our Enmbassy in Washington. I may add here that I will urgenntly dispatch special messages, taking into acccount the earnest request from your Government, to the Fforeign Ministers I of both Iran and Syria urging them to exert their of utmost efforts for the early release of the American hostages.

Sincerely yours,

Shintaro Abe Minister for Foreign Affairs

Japan

The Honourable George P. Shultz

Secretary of State

Washington, D.C. 20520

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