chapter  2
24 Pages

The Soviet-American Communique

WithMelvin A. Friedlander

In separate statements issued simultaneously in New York and Moscow on October 1, 1977, the United States (US) and the Soviet Union pledged to reconvene the suspended 1973 Geneva Conference "not later than December 1977" for the purpose of negotiating a "comprehensive" peace in the Middle East. The Soviet-American statement was greeted in most Arab capitals with surprise and in Israel with indignation. Soviet military control of the oil fields in the Persian Gulf would place pressure on Western Europe and significantly retard an increasingly dependent US economy. The Soviet proposal resembled the US-sponsored package in important ways. The Soviet-American communique drew an immediate and sharp reaction from all segments of Israeli society. Anwar Sadat viewed the Soviet-American statement with a mixture of contempt and confusion. The Saudi monarchy believed that the Soviet Union's hegemonic desires, fashioned by its messianic atheistic philosophy, seriously threatened Riyadh's guardianship of Muslim virtue and sanctity.