Gromyko Says Palestinians Shouid Have ‘Small State of Their Own’
Menu JTA Search

Gromyko Says Palestinians Shouid Have ‘Small State of Their Own’

Download PDF for this date

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, outlining his country’s views on the Arab-Israeli situation said today that "the Arab people of Palestine" should have "a small state of their own." Gromyko’s remarks, made at a press conference in Moscow with Soviet and foreign journalists, related to issues discussed by President Carter and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev at their summit meeting in Vienna a week ago. Tass, the Soviet news agency, distributed an English version of his remarks.

According to Tass, Gromyko said " The principled stand of the Soviet Union in Middle Eastern affairs has been and remains the same as it was formulated many years ago. Its essence is as follows: Firstly, all lands which Israel captured should be returned. Secondly, the Arab people of Palestine should get an opportunity to create if only a small, and I repeat it; if only a small state of their own. Thirdly, all countries, including Israel, should have a possibility to exist and develop as independent and sovereign states.

Tass added that Gromyko pointed out that. "The Soviet Union has never objected to Israel’s existence. The Israeli leaders, however are obsessed with a craving for the acquisition of territories of others and that is not a for – sighted point of view."

An independent news source reporting from Moscow, quoted Gromyko as saying, "It is not for us to say that Israel should cease to exist. We ourselves proposed the creation of Israel at the United Nations. In Israel they should understand our position." The Tass version of the press conference did not contain those statements.


In Washington, reaction to Gromyko’s statement on a Palestinian state was to refer to President Carter’s news conference prior to the Vienna summit, at which he said that a Palestinian state would have a "destabilizing" effect on the Middle East. He offered that view when questioned about alternative suggestions for a Palestinian state, an autonomous entity or an entity linked to Jordan. The President had previously said he prefaced a Palestinian entity connected with Jordan.

The Tass report also said that Gromyko pointed out that the U.S. and Soviets differed at the Vienna summit. "In the opinion of the U.S. side, the Soviet Union should have supported the separate treaty between Egypt and Israel, "Gromyko was quoted as saying."It goes without saying that the USSR cannot agree to such a point. of view. Leonid Brezhnev expressed the principled stand of the Soviet Union and stated there can be no question of Soviet Union support for the anti-Arab treaty as well as for any mechanism which is being created to service the treaty’s implementation. The impression was that (President) Carter did not expect any other answer."


Gromyko’s remarks on the Egyptian-Israeli treaty seemed to underline Soviet opposition to a UN force between Egypt and Israel in Sinai when the Israeli forces withdraw in compliance with the Camp David accords.

According to the Tass version, Gromyko did not mention Soviet-American trade policies with respect to emigration from the USSR. Tass said however, that Gromyko stressed that "an improvement of bilateral relations; in particular in the economic field, will create a more sound base for the entire complex of relations between the USSR and the U.S." At the State Department today, chief spokesman. Hodding Carter said he had "nothing new, now, with respect to the Carter Administration’s position on the possibility of asking Congress for a waiver of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to provide the Soviet Union with most-favored-nation trade treatment.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund