237. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

214854. Subject: Message for President Sadat. For the Ambassador.

1. Please deliver following message from President Ford to President Sadat:

Quote: Dear Mr. President: I write to you as a friend, as an admirer of your great statesmanship, of your courage and integrity.

Above all, Mr. President, I am writing to you convinced more than ever that the course we have chosen together is the right one, for Egypt, for all of the Arabs, and for the United States.

The successful conclusion of the second agreement between Egypt and Israel on the Sinai was, as I have said, a historic achievement. It is a decision you took in order to advance toward a just and lasting peace in the Middle East not only, as you said to me, for your country but for the entire area. Now that this agreement has been concluded I want to share with you my views of the current situation and of prospects for the future.

The agreement just concluded has brought tangible benefits to Egypt. Not only will you recover the use of your nation’s oil resources in the Sinai, but you have also brought about Israel’s withdrawal from the strategic Sinai passes. To have foregone these gains in order to pursue, without laying any groundwork, an all-or-nothing negotiation at Geneva would in my judgment have assured stalemate and a rapid deterioration of the situation to the the benefit of no one country. It was this reality which led us, as it did you, to conclude that a further interim agreement was the only way to make early practical progress. In seizing this opportunity, you have made possible what could become, in your own words, a turning point toward peace with justice not only for Egypt but also for the entire Arab world to which Egypt has so long given leadership. These realities will survive long after the criticism emanating from some quarters has been forgotten.

Here in the United States I believe things are going well. The Congress is showing a sympathetic understanding of the agreement and of the responsibilities which the United States has undertaken in connection with it. I believe that the Congress will shortly give its approval to the U.S. proposal to entrust to American civilian technicians [Page 844] the early warning system in the Sinai passes, to serve as you so aptly put it, as witnesses to the implementation of the peace agreement.2 The Congress also appears favorably disposed toward providing the economic assistance to Egypt which we discussed in Salzburg and which Secretary Kissinger further discussed with you in Alexandria. I plan to submit a request to the Congress for dols 700 million in economic assistance for Egypt.

We have also been in touch with a number of other governments to emphasize how important this agreement is as a step toward a just and lasting peace. We have encouraged them to give broad support to you. Despite the predictable criticisms which have come from certain countries, I am convinced that history will show that you are the only Arab leader who has made tangible progress toward a just peace. The world will come to understand that you made your historic decision not just for Egypt but for all Arabs. We will continue to make these points with other governments and to urge them to take concrete actions to demonstrate their support of your policies.

I have noted the public expressions of concern coming from the Middle East that the agreement not freeze the situation diplomatically. I share this view. With particular reference to Syria, Secretary Kissinger has told President Asad that we would make a serious effort to help achieve progress on the Syrian front, and he has assured President Asad that the United States counts on a united Arab world to further the peace process. In our view, division in the Arab world is the danger to future progress. As I have said on numerous occasions, we are committed to the proposition that a lasting peace in the Middle East must involve progress on all fronts and must be based on careful attention to the interests of all its people, including the Palestinians.

With regard to the Soviet Union I want you to know that we have taken a very firm line with General Secretary Brezhnev. The Soviet response, while complaining over the lack of involvement in the negotiations, indicates that they do not intend to play an obstructionist role. I have reason to believe, based on a communication we received within the last twenty-four hours from the Soviets, that they will not make major difficulties. Secretary Kissinger will be meeting Foreign Minister Gromyko next week to discuss the situation, and we will keep you currently informed, as we have throughout, of these exchanges.3

[Page 845]

An additional reason for my high sense of gratification at the successful conclusion of this agreement is the prospect that it will now be possible for you and Mrs. Sadat to visit the United States. Your visit is one that Mrs. Ford and I have long looked forward to with great pleasure. I want the American people to get to know you as I do. I am confident that such a visit will reinforce both our official and personal ties and reinforce our mutual efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. I hope you will plan on both a State visit to Washington as well as allow time to travel to other parts of America. I would like to suggest that you plan your visit starting October 28.

With warm regards to you, Mrs. Sadat, and your family, Sincerely, Gerald R. Ford. Unquote.

End message.

2. FYI: One million tons of grain under PL 480 is in addition to dollars 700 million mentioned in President’s letter. End FYI.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 132, Geopolitical File, Egypt, September 10–18, 1975. Secret; Cherokee; Nodis; Immediate. Drafted by Atherton, cleared by v and Borg, and approved by Kissinger.
  2. In a letter of September 2, President Ford sent the U.S. proposal for the early warning system in the Sinai to Congress for its approval. The letter was released on September 3; for text, see Public Papers: Ford, 1975, Book II, pp. 1292–1293.
  3. Kissinger sent a message to Sadat describing his discussions with Gromyko. (Telegram 225082 to Cairo, September 20; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)