Title: Policy background.
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Title: Policy background.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00072554
Volume ID: VID00033
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THE FOUR-POWER TALKS: OBSTACLE TO PEACE


1. The resumption in New York of the Four Power talks on the
Middle East represents the newest effort by the Powers to generate
movement in the Israel-Arab dispute without recourse to a negotia-
tion between the directly involved parties. This exercise has
been going on almost continuously for nine months. It began last
April with the Four Power talks at the UN Ambassadorial level and
then shifted to bilateral US-USSR exchanges in Washington.


2. The deliberations between US Assistant Secretary of State
Sisco and the Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin have been extraordinarily
intensive yet produced virtually nothing. Moscow has not budged
an inch in its advocacy of a political arrangement on Nasser's
terms. The Russians have sought all the time to erode the American
basic policy that postulates a genuine peace. The United States
has proposed concessions of substance approaching appeasement, spe-
cifically on the border question. Yet, Moscow has remained intran-
sigent, insisting throughout on an unconditional Israeli withdrawal
without the conditions for a true peace settlement. The U.S. chief
negotiator Joseph S. Sisco is quoted by the New York Times, Novem-
ber 27, as having arrived at the conclusion that "the Soviet Union
was no longer willing to play an 'actively constructive role' to
bring peace between Israel and the Arab States." This has been
Israel's view throughout. It is the fundamental cause of Jerusa-
lem's opposition to talks of any kind that give the Soviet Union a
voice and a say in matters vital to Israel's security.


3. After these many months of abortive US-USSR negotiations, and
at a time when the Soviet Union has not even seen fit to reply to the
Washington proposals communicated in October, the United States has
acquiesced to the resumption of the Four Power deliberations. It
is no coincidence that the Russians have pressed now for the renew-
al of the Four Power forum. Having failed to win satisfaction in
the Two Power talks, they rightly look upon the broader forum as a
more effective arena to exert pressure on the United States. Mos-
cow is aware that the French position is close to its own and that
the British negotiating posture is not that of the U.S.
Both Britain and France want the talks for reasons of their
own. They are sensitive to their Big Power status and did not
look sympathetically upon the separate bilateral US-USSR exchanges.
Through the talks they seek to assert their status and promote
their own interests in the Middle East.
In getting the Four Power talks started again with French
and U.K. support, the Soviet Union has won a political advantage
of no small measure. It can now bypass and ignore the bilateral
talks in Washington as though they never were. With France as








POLICY BACKGROUND


ally and Britain as compromiser, Moscow sees the chance of isola-
ting the United States, producing a pro-Arab formula that will go
by the name of a settlement.


3. To imagine that the Four Powers can succeed where the two
Super Powers failed is to ascribe to them a sincerity of purpose
that not all of them possess. The Sisco-Dobrynin talks deadlocked
for one fundamental reason: the Soviet Union does not seek what
the United States has all the time been trying to achieve a last-
ing peace settlement between the Arab countries and Israel. The
Soviet self-interest is not advanced by peace; it is hurt by it.
The continuation of Mideast tensions short of all-out war has been
and remains the aim of Moscow's fundamental policy. These tensions
are the fuel of its expansionist designs and it is intent on pre-
sorving them.
Moscow goes back to the Four Power talks with the same goal
as it originally entered them. Its ambition is a political
arrangement on Nasser's terms to be imposed upon Israel with Russia
becoming a force and a component of the arrangement. With this it
would consolidate its position and presence in the Middle East,
backed by a juridical sanction, thus being in a position to influ-
ence the development of the region from a position of-strength and
independence of which it had hitherto been deprived.


5. The resumption of the Four Power talks is a retrogressive
step. Soviet policy gives credence to the Arab hope that they can
get back what they lost in their aggression of 1967 without peace.
They are provided once again with an avenue of escape away from a
direct peace commitment with Israel. By membership and by mandate,
the Four Power negotiation harms the climate conducive to peace;
it does not foster it as many would vainly believe. The conditions
for generating the peace process lie inside the area not outside
it. The problem is one of actual relations between neighboring
states and they alone can meaningfully resolve the issues that
divide them. Peace cannot be advanced by declarations accompanied
by political ostracism and by a refusal to negotiate viable agree-
ments. A refusal to negotiate is inherently identical with non-
recognition. It is tantamount to a refusal to live in peace.


6. The peace process will be advanced only when President Nasser
is disabused of the notion that Israel can be pressured into any
arrangement that does not give it the genuine conditions for a se-
cure peace. The Four Power talks have the very opposite effect.
It will be advanced when President Nisser becomes convinced that


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DECEMBER 1, 1969









POLICY BACKGROUND -3- DECEMBER 1, 1969



he cannot defeat Israel in another war. The urgent need, there-
fore, is for a policy that clearly advocates the maintenance of
Israel's deterrent strength as the means to block further war
and one that inculcates into Arab thinking the realization that
the existing status quo can be changed only by a directly
negotiated peace.




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