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July 26, 1968

Information about the Results of the Negotiations by the Soviet Leaders with President Nasser

This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Translation from Russian[1]


Copy No. 1

[26 July 1968]


I n f o r m a t i o n

about the Results of the Negotiations by the Soviet Leaders with President Nasser

During the visit by the President of the UAR [United Arab Republic; Egypt], Nasser, in Moscow a comprehensive exchange of opinions took place about questions of the situation in the Middle East, ways to expand the bilateral relations between the Soviet Union and the United Arab Republic, as well as about some international issues of mutual interest. The talks between President Nasser and the Soviet leaders were characterized by honesty and a deep, comprehensive approach to the problems discussed.

President Nasser provided a general assessment of the situation in the Middle East. He emphasized that the government of the UAR is striving to unite the political, military, economic, and other efforts of the Arab countries in the struggle against imperialism and for the elimination of the consequences of the Israeli aggression. According to the words of the President, the leadership of the UAR does not want to make any difference in its approach towards the progressive and the reactionary Arab countries. Because, as Nasser said, any criticism by the UAR of the reactionary governments, like Saudi-Arabia, Tunisia, and Libya, can move these countries towards speaking out against the UAR.

President Nasser talked about the domestic problems with which the governments of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of South Yemen are currently confronted. He mentioned the attempts by Saudi-Arabia, and the imperialist powers standing behind it, to undermine the regime in these countries through active interference in internal affairs; as well as the efforts to overthrow the republican order in the Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of South Yemen. In this context, Nasser emphasized the unity in action by the Arab countries to push back the imperialist machinations. He regretted that it so far has not been possible to convene a new Arab Summit due to the direct sabotage by King Faisal [bin Abdulaziz Al Saud], as well as because of the negative attitude of some governments from the progressive Arab states towards the possibility of any negotiations with representatives of the monarchistic and reactionary regimes. One could glean from Nasser’s statements that he is eager to develop the relations with the Arab countries and to strengthen the pan-Arabic anti-imperialist front.

Nasser informed the Soviet leaders that, according to information available to the Egyptians, the subversive activities by extreme reactionary forces (especially from the side of Saudi-Arabia and Kuwait) against the governments of Syria and Iraq have significantly increased. He expressed his conviction, however, that the political line of these states will remain unchanged.

During the meetings held, Nasser provided a detailed characterization of the domestic situation in the UAR. He emphasized the efforts undertaken by the government of the United Arab Republic and himself personally to stabilize and solidify the domestic front. The President said he is viewing the situation in the country as hopeful, although the reactionary forces are not ceasing their activities against the regime. Nasser directed special attention to the activation by the reactionary organization “Muslim Brotherhood” and to some speeches by representatives of the leftist side, for instance the pro-Chinese group. However, that one is so weak that the government of the UAR does not even bother it necessary to enact any preventive measures against them.

In his statements about the domestic situation, Nasser emphasized that out of 150,000 students in Cairo and Alexandria not more than 7,000 participated in the known student demonstrations. The attempts by the reaction to unite the student and worker demonstrations in February this year [1968], and turn them against the regime, were not successful. This fact Nasser is considering as a yardstick for the stability of the domestic-political situation in the UAR.

According to the words of the President, the situation in the Army is not a matter of concern. The Soviet leaders have pointed out to the attention of the President that political work in the Army is important. Here the necessity was emphasized to train respective cadres.

In principle Nasser did not disagree. However, he remarked that the apparatus of the “moral orientation” was not up to the task during the aggression. Actually, many of its members were involved in the anti-state conspiracy in July of last year [1967].

The main attention during the talks was devoted to the problem of how to eliminate the results of the Israeli aggression. Nasser explained very extensively his opinions on this issue. According to the President, the UAR, which had declared its willingness to cooperate with the Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary General in the Middle East, [Gunnar] Jarring, in order to implement the [U.N.] Security Council Resolution from 22 November 1967, has no intention to cede even one inch of Arab soil. Nasser emphasized the willingness of the leaders of the UAR to pursue peaceful, political paths to resolve the Middle East Problem.

The UAR, the President said, cannot enter into direct negotiations with Israel. This would be akin to surrender and none of the Arab leaders, the President especially emphasized, will accept such negotiations.The President declared further that also the signing of whatever joint document with Israel is unacceptable. Here he also mentioned that the resolution of the Security Council from 22 November as well does neither talk about negotiations with Israel nor about the signing of whatever joint Arab-Israeli document.

During the negotiations the President repeated emphatically that the liberation of the Arab territories conquered by Israel after 5 June 1967 does not just constitute a right, but also the duty of the Arab states, especially the UAR.

Nasser emphasized, he is expressing his personal opinion here when declaring: The UAR is willing to transfer to the Security Council via the U.N. Secretary General the obligation to fulfill the decision of the Security Council Resolution from 22 November under the condition that Israel as well is declaring its willingness to comply with those decisions. According to the words of the President, the following elements could become part of these commitments:

The right of existence for every state in the Middle East;

the end of the state of war after the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the Arab territories occupied after 5 June 1967;

an agreement over secure borders;

the free navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba;

the free navigation in the Suez Canal with a simultaneous resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem according to the resolutions of the organization of the United Nations.

In our opinion, these deliberations are testament to a realistic and constructive approach by President Nasser concerning the questions of a political solution in the Middle East.

From their side, the Soviet leaders emphasized in their talks with the President that a maximum of efforts is required and all options need to be explored in order to achieve a resolution of the Middle East conflict in a peaceful manner, and that the search for paths towards a solution has to continue. Therefore, in our opinion, one cannot consider the thesis correct that says: what has been taken through violence, has by all means to be taken back by violence. This was openly told to the President.   

It was emphasized from our side that under current conditions it is also an advantage to Israel to have the Arab countries moving towards eliminating the results of the Israeli aggression by military means. Certain circles in Western countries also would like to see such a course of events. However, such a path would be unreasonable. A new military defeat of the progressive Arab countries must not be allowed.

The Soviet leaders were in accordance with the President that the following is of high importance for the strengthening of the foreign policy positions of the UAR in the struggle for a political solution in the Middle East: working on strengthening the defensive power of the UAR, the perfection of its armed forces, and the increase of their combat readiness.

In the context of a need for further strengthening the defensive power of the UAR, the President raised some concrete requests with regard to the delivery of new Soviet fighting technology to the UAR. From our side we reacted with positive attitude towards these requests. They are currently getting comprehensively reviewed by the Soviet authorities in charge.

In the negotiations with Nasser we expressed our firm conviction that the cause of the Arabs will triumph.

The Soviet leaders, who explained to President Nasser our assessment of the perspectives for achieving the political solution in the Middle East, emphasized that the Soviet Union is advocating for the U.N. Security Council Resolution from 22 November 1967 and it is supporting the mission of the Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary General in the Middle East, Jarring.

President Nasser informed the Soviet leaders about the recent visits of high-ranking American representatives to the UAR. He emphasized that under current conditions the Egyptian leadership has no intention to accept a restoration of diplomatic relations with the United States, as long as the American side is not openly declaring the need for withdrawal of the Israeli forces to the positions before 5 June 1967.

On initiative from the Soviet side, the question was asked in the negotiations with President Nasser how the UAR leadership is viewing the recognition of the GDR and what can be done to implement and resolve this issue. Nasser was especially notified that the question of a recognition of the GDR is of high international importance, given considerations of the question of European security and the strengthening of the socialist community, as well as of the foreign policy positions of the UAR.

In his response, Nasser made a statement along this line: if the UAR is recognizing the GDR, all other Arab countries - even Algeria, which is interested in cooperating with the “Common Market”, will restore relations with the FRG [West Germany]. In such a case, in his [Nasser’s] words, a situation can arise that two Arab states (the UAR and, for instance, Syria) will recognize the GDR and the other 12 - the FRG. According to Nasser’s words, the diplomatic recognition of the GDR by the UAR could also lead towards the FRG strengthening Israel’s military power.

Furthermore, in the opinion of the President, the diplomatic recognition of the GDR by the UAR could become a reason for the reactionary Arab states like Saudi-Arabia, Libya, and Kuwait, to halt the financial aid to the VAR that is granted according to the decisions by the conference of the Arab heads of governments in Khartoum [held on 1 September 1967].

Obviously we represented on this issue of the GDR the position that is agreed with the German friends.

In the talks with President Nasser also the status and perspectives of bilateral relations between the USSR and the UAR was discussed extensively. Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the fact of far-reaching cooperation in all areas, and also the fact that there are still great opportunities for the further development of bilateral relations between them. In the negotiations with President Nasser the Soviet leaders emphasized that the policy of friendship with the UAR and the other Arab states as conducted by the Soviet Union is not a temporary fashion. Instead it is the result of the overall course of the Soviet government in the struggle against imperialism and for peace; and of the line of comprehensive support for the national liberation movements, and for the independence and sovereignty of all individual states, especially of those who have embarked on the path of progress.

During the conversations Nasser repeatedly expressed himself in the sense that the imperialist circles of the West, and especially of the United States, are considering him as an enemy and do not want to leave him in peace in the UAR. He is paying back the imperialists with the same currency. It was constantly emphasized that he is seeing, and will assume, his role within the ranks of those who fight against imperialism and that in this struggle he will stand jointly on the side of the socialist countries.

In Moscow the visit by President Nasser is assessed as useful. The friendly meetings and open discussions with President Nasser have contributed without doubt to the strengthening of relations between the USSR and the UAR, which are characterized by a high level of trust and openness. They also made it possible to gain a precise overall picture of the struggle for a political solution of the Middle East conflict and to determine certain ways of the fight for such a solution.

The overall assessment of the talks held was expressed by the Joint Communique regarding the visit of President Nasser to the Soviet Union.


[1] Translator’s note: This is a German translation of a Russian-language information from the CPSU Central Committee sent to GDR leadership.

The document describes the negotiations between Soviet leaders and Nasser, which mainly focused on the conflict in the Middle East and the possible recognition of the GDR by the United Arab Republic. Nasser emphasized that there would be no direct talks between the UAR and Israel, but that the UAR would be willing to take part in a UN negotiated attempt to solve the conflict, upon the condition that Israel withdraw its troops from the occupied territories. Nasser was reluctant to follow the Soviet demand for a diplomatic recognition of the GDR.


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SAPMO-BA, PDS J IV/202/387. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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