10. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Egyptians
  • President Anwar El Sadat
  • Vice President Mubarak
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy
  • Ambassador Osama Al Baz (Note taker)
  • Americans
  • Secretary of State Vance
  • Ambassador Eilts
  • Under Secretary Habib
  • Assistant Secretary Atherton
  • DCM Matthews (Note taker)

While photographers were taking pictures the President commented that he had been fasting all day, as is his custom on Thursdays. He and Secretary Vance agreed that they would meet with the press immediately following their own meeting.

President Sadat began by stating this was a happy occasion for him to meet and welcome Secretary Vance to Egypt as a friend and representative of a friendly country and a friendly President with whom he hoped to have the best of friendly relations. He wanted to seize this opportunity to express deepest gratitude for the prompt and substantial American assistance after Egypt’s recent economic crisis;2 the American action had touched all Egyptians deeply. The President looked forward to solidifying the friendship between our two countries.

President Sadat said that Secretary Vance had come at a crucial moment in the Middle East and he wished to thank him for the initiative of having come so promptly after taking office. Cooperation between Egypt and the US in the peace process had begun in November 1973; since then we have been working together for a permanent peace in the area. Now everything is ready for further advances; the Arab position has been determined and they were now ready to start a new momentum to peace. In an aside, the President said the Soviets had been “furious” because Sadat had said the US could play the only important role for peace. He went on that with the help of President Carter and Secretary Vance we can together provide momentum for peace and justice, and it is for this reason the President welcomed the Secretary’s [Page 68] visit. From the Egyptian side he could assure us of every possible help, understanding and cooperation to reach peace in the area. This is the responsibility of the US and not of the Soviet Union.

The President went on to review the importance of the US role in the peace process. For more than 25 years the Arabs and Israelis had no confidence in each other and needed someone to come between them in whom both could have confidence. They both now have full confidence in the US and in President Carter. The Soviets have no real role to play except perhaps a negative one. The President concluded his opening remarks by repeating his welcome to Secretary Vance as a friend and representative of a friendly President and country, and he reiterated Egypt’s thanks for our economic assistance.

Secretary Vance expressed his appreciation for the President’s remarks and said he extended warmest regards from President Carter and from himself. We have long admired President Sadat’s statesmanship and help in the search for peace. We are glad we could help with Egypt’s economic problems and we will try to continue to do so.

As to the purpose of his trip, Secretary Vance said he felt the importance of bringing peace to the area and had therefore undertaken his first mission abroad to come to the Middle East to meet its leaders and to emphasize the importance we attach to continuing momentum towards peace. He had also come to learn the problems of the area, the positions of the countries involved and to obtain a better appreciation of how the US could be a mediator. The Secretary looked forward to working with the Egyptians as friends and he believed that we can indeed start the momentum. The Secretary said that we will cooperate in a spirit of friendship with the President in the search ahead. We expect to counsel with Egypt at each stage of the process so that we know where we stand and can concert our views.

At this point the Secretary said that we hoped very much that President Sadat could come to visit the US and meet President Carter and then handed a letter to President Sadat from President Carter.3 President Sadat responded that it would be his pleasure to come to meet President Carter.

[Page 69]

Secretary Vance suggested it would be helpful to him to have the President’s thoughts as to how to proceed and his vision of the ultimate objectives of the peace process.

President Sadat then gave a resume of his relations with the US and his attempts to get the US involved in the Middle East. Egypt had been in a state of confrontation with the US for 18 years when he took office in October 1970. Shortly thereafter on December 24, 1970 he had sent his first message to the President of the United States. Two months later he had made the first public initiative in the Arab world towards peace, and only he could have done so. On February 4, 1971 he stated he was ready for a peace agreement with Israel if Israel moved its forces back from the Canal to the passes and if Egyptian troops could then cross to the other side of the Canal. He had suggested this process could take six months to complete and he would then be ready to resume diplomatic relations with the US. Here the President commented that when Eliot Richardson had come to Egypt after the death of Nassar he had reported to Washington that Sadat only had a maximum of two months to remain in power before he would be overthrown. The President went on that his February 1971 proposal was essentially the same as what in fact had happened after the October war. He had made it in the hope that it would defuse the situation and let Jarring continue his mediation efforts.4 However, nothing happened as a result. Secretary Rogers had come in May 1971 to see what could be done. Mrs. Meir had told our Ambassador in Tel Aviv that if any Arab leader was ready for peace, she would put all her cards on the table. Sadat had pointed out to Secretary Rogers that he had stated this in his proposal three months earlier. In May 1971 President Podgorny had visited Cairo and had signed a Treaty of Friendship with Egypt. In July 1971 Secretary Rogers sent Sadat a series of questions concerning the Treaty and asked whether it would impede Egypt’s ability to seek a resolution of the Middle East problem. Sadat had replied that the Treaty placed no restrictions on his freedom of action and would therefore pose no problem in the search for peace. In July 1972 President Sadat had ordered the Soviet forces out of Egypt and they had departed. Still nothing happened as far as the US was concerned and Sadat waited for a response from Dr. Kissinger. Two weeks later Dr. Kissinger asked for a meeting with the Egyptian side and Sadat named his Councilor to meet with Kissinger, but this could not be arranged until February 1973. Kissinger then told Sadat’s Councilor that Egypt must be practical [Page 70] because it had been defeated; the US could help “only in the margin of that defeat.” By then Sadat was preparing for the October war. After the war Secretary Kissinger came, diplomatic relations were resumed, the six points were agreed upon,5 relations with the Soviets became very tense and the peace process was started.

The President went on in his historical review to say Secretary Kissinger had been a man of trust—he had met with Kissinger in the same room that we were in now—and had reached the First Disengagement Agreement.6 In the course of working out this agreement in Aswan the negotiations reached a deadlock because neither the Egyptians nor the Israelis had any confidence in each other. Sadat had therefore asked for an American proposal to break the deadlock, which Kissinger then made. The result was that the First Disengagement Agreement was an American proposal. This demonstrated the need for confidence in a negotiator. Egypt now has more confidence in the US than even the Israelis do, despite all the assistance the US has given them. Sadat said he wished to emphasize this because it proves without the US the parties cannot reach anything.

President Sadat went on that then came Watergate, then President Nixon resigned shortly after his visit to Egypt. Then in June 1975 Sadat met with President Ford in Salzburg7 and they agreed to attempt a second step despite the failure of the effort in March of that year.8 Sadat proceeded to open the Suez Canal on June 6 and returned the refugees to the cities despite the fact that they were under the guns of the Israeli [Page 71] forces. Finally in September 1975 the second disengagement agreement was reached.9

Having completed his historical review, President Sadat responded to Secretary Vance’s request for his views on how to proceed. He said that now the time is ripe for a permanent solution, a “global solution” to establish peace here once and for all. His comments about the importance of the US role applied now and in the future. The US must pursue this role despite the great trouble we would have with Israel, which he knew would be severe. After the second disengagement agreement there had been severe attacks on Egypt by Syria and Libya, but then came the meetings in Riyadh and Cairo10 and now the major Arab countries agreed with Sadat’s policies. The same result would apply to the Palestinians. Sadat had publicly proposed a “certain declared relationship” between Palestine and Jordan; no one else in the Arab world could have said this and gotten away with it. Asad had said he himself could not make such a statement but Sadat had gone ahead. All was now ready for the process to continue. Sadat believed that Geneva was the proper place for discussions because all the parties would be there. Egypt’s view was that all parties concerned should come to Geneva. However, without the help of the US for agreement on the broad outlines of a settlement, there would be no positive results in Geneva and it would have no point. The Soviets would simply auctioneer and play the most extremist role. The Israelis would play for time because they fear peace. Sadat had only realized this after Golda Meir left the Israeli government; she had guts and could face the Knesset. In fact she was the only man in Israel and the only hope for Egypt, he remarked with amusement. President Sadat went on that without US help to bring an agreement on an outline of the whole thing, there was no need for Geneva; otherwise there would only be speeches. Asad has realized that the US is the key to peace and he agrees with Sadat on this, although he cannot say so publicly.

The Soviets have nothing to offer except their ability to undermine and create chaos so that the Arabs will have to ask for Soviet assistance. Since November 1973 and the six points Egypt has received nothing from the Soviets except some military supplies due under earlier agreements. The only exception was when Brezhnev had cancelled his planned visit and some Soviet arms had been sent as a palliative. The Soviets had replaced all of the Syrian arms lost in the October war by October 22, 1973, and Syria had even lost 1200 tanks in one day. The [Page 72] same was true with Israel; the US had replaced all its arms by October 22. Sadat on the other hand had received no replacements. The balance of power in the Middle East lay not with Syria or Israel but with Egypt.

The President concluded by returning to his views on how to proceed by saying that if we can convene in Geneva this year and agree on a framework for peace, we can then return later to negotiate an agreement. He assured the Secretary of Egypt’s cooperation, saying, “I shall never let you down”.

Secretary Vance said he deeply appreciated receiving the President’s views and comments. He shared Sadat’s opinion that the time is ripe to move ahead. He agreed that Geneva is the proper place and noted that he had said that we should seek to convene Geneva in second half of 1977. From a practical standpoint it would not be possible to do so before the Israeli elections and we must realistically look to the fall of 1977 when we can be properly prepared for the conference. The U.S. will devote as much time and effort as necessary, go wherever needed to play its proper role in the process. The Secretary agreed with Sadat’s views about the Soviets; however, they could play a blocking role. He, therefore, thought it important to refer continually to them as Co-Chairman of the conference, to make it clear that they had obligations to seek peace and help bring it about. They should not be put in a position of being publicly humiliated or be forced to lose face.

With regard to the substance of the peace settlement, the Secretary believed there were three elements involved: peace, withdrawal and resolution of the Palestinian problem. There was general agreement that these are the three key issues. There are differences of view as to how to define these issues and what they mean, and Geneva was the proper place to discuss them. The Secretary had not listed the issues in any order of priority.

The Secretary said that the most difficult procedural problem is the PLO and its participation; to get to Geneva this must be resolved. During his visit yesterday,11 the Israelis had listed three issues concerning the PLO: its Covenant which called for the destruction of Israel, and resolutions 242 and 338 which the PLO refused to accept. President Sadat interjected that they would continue to refuse to accept 242 and 338 because of differences among the Palestinians (not just among the PLO). Secretary Vance asked for the President’s thoughts about the three issues of peace, withdrawal and the Palestinian problem.

President Sadat responded that he thought the Palestinian question should be given first place because the real problem is not the Sinai or the Golan Heights. Sadat said he had declared his position and the [Page 73] Palestinians at first attacked him as a result. He thought they should have a state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip connected by a corridor; the corridor would mean coexistence because it would run through Israel. His proposal would put the responsibility on the Palestinians to conduct themselves properly and to end terrorism and hijacking, with which all the Arabs were fed up. He felt we should let them have their own state to give them a greater sense of responsibility.

President Sadat said he believed that before we convene in Geneva there must be an official declaration on PLO relations with Jordan. He had told Arafat a few days before Secretary Vance’s arrival that he needed to be able to tell the Secretary what had been arranged. Arafat had agreed that there should be a “United Arab State” of the PLO and Jordan similar to the Egyptian-Syrian-Libyan Confederation. Sadat had given King Hussein a number of papers on the Confederation, its leadership, its Federal Parliament and its cabinet, with each member of the Confederation having its own similar institutions.

Sadat said that Israel could have whatever guarantees it wished including signing a defense treaty with the U.S. This was all right with Egypt but Sadat would ask for the same for the Arab world, except for the defense treaty.

The President said the most difficult problem was Jerusalem. Only he could make such a proposal, but his view was that the whole city should be internationalized, both the Israeli and Arab parts. None of the Arabs would ever agree to Israeli control of part of the city. With the question of the Palestinians and their participation in Geneva, Sadat could do something and had gotten Arafat to agree to his proposal. Thus he could manage to find a solution to this aspect, but on Jerusalem he could find no compromise.

Returning to the question of guarantees, the President said that at Sharm al Sheikh the Israelis could either take his word, such as a statement in a peace agreement that the Gulf of Aqaba was an international waterway, or a U.N. contingent could be sent there. As regards questions of borders, he would agree to demilitarized zones on a reciprocal basis taking into account the relative sizes of the two countries, Israel being much smaller than Egypt. He would agree to having UN forces in the DMZ.

Secretary Vance asked whether the DMZ would be worked out bilaterally or in a bigger forum. President Sadat responded that it could take place in Geneva in a committee with US help. He was ready to accept UN forces but not under any circumstances Soviet forces. The Soviets could be co-guarantors but their soldiers could not be there. Sadat believed the same kind of early warning system as was presently in the Sinai passes could be installed along the borders. The Israeli warning system would have to be in their own territory and the Egyptian would [Page 74] be on its side of the border; the DMZ would be on both sides of the border.

Turning to withdrawal, Sadat suggested that this should not be given too great importance because otherwise the Israelis would stall and ask for a three or five year phased withdrawal. In the 1956 evacuation in the Sinai,12 Israeli forces had been withdrawn in a two-month period; he was willing to give them six months but not a long period for withdrawal. The President summed up saying he was looking for a permanent peace. He was ready for any guarantees except that he would not sign a military pact because this was not Egypt’s policy. When he had agreed to the American presence in the Sinai, the Soviets had been furious and he had been criticized by some of the Arabs; however, now the Arabs agreed with what he had done in giving the US the upper hand.

The Secretary asked whether in speaking of withdrawal Sadat was talking about withdrawal to the 1967 borders. The President responded “quite right”, though there could be certain rectifications on Jordan’s border on a reciprocal basis with some villages being exchanged. However, this could not be done in the Sinai. Sadat said he had a letter dated December 9, 1971 from Secretary Rogers stating that the US recognizes the international border of Egypt, which meant the 1967 border.13 The West Bank was different because it did not have an international border with Israel. When the Secretary asked about the Golan Heights, Sadat said the same principle applies.

The President noted that he had learned something surprising during Waldheim’s visit. When the First Disengagement Agreement was worked out, President Asad said he would accept only observers and not forces: the observers turned out to be from the UN. The Golan was entirely different from the Sinai because almost every inch was cultivated while the Sinai was almost all desert. Asad had therefore not wanted forces but only observers on top of Golan. Waldheim had now said Asad agrees to having UN forces on the Golan and not just observers. Foreign Minister Fahmy commented that the UN observer forces had been greatly inflated to fulfill the role of forces but were called observers to meet Asad’s problem.

Returning to the question of withdrawal, President Sadat reiterated that this should not be done over a long period because Israel would stall as it had tried to do before.

[Page 75]

Turning to the question of peace the President said he was ready, the Soviets could be included as Co-Chairman and he would accept whatever the Israelis wanted. Then the state of belligerence would officially be ended for the first time since the existence of the state of Israel and everything would be “normalized”.

Secretary Vance said he wished to pick up one technical point concerning the corridor between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. He asked if this would involve cession of territory or easement of land. The Secretary explained the latter was a technical term and he was asking whether Israel would give up land as an international corridor or grant rights of access for free passage. The President said he would leave that to the experts and the Foreign Minister commented that this was a simple problem and the corridor should be a UN one.

Secretary Vance said he was interested in several terms the President had used and wondered whether the latter had meant anything specific in his use of the term “global”. The President responded that he had not and that he agreed with President Carter’s statement in Time Magazine “let’s drop power politics and try world order.”

Secretary Vance suggested that we return to the problem of the PLO. President Sadat said he was doing his best to find a solution. He was going to tell the Secretary something which he was going to pretend he had not said. Four days ago he had met with Arafat about PLO participation in Geneva. (He had first asked him about his relations with King Hussein, which was to be declared before the Geneva conference; Sadat had then informed Hussein of Arafat’s agreement to a confederation.) Sadat had asked Arafat about alternatives on PLO participation. He had explained that Secretary Vance was coming and he wanted to discuss with him what could be done, much as he had done with Secretary Kissinger. Sadat gave three alternatives from Arafat as to how the PLO could be represented at Geneva:

(1) Representation through the UN. This would not be acceptable to Israel because it completely distrusts the UN.

(2) Representation through the Arab League. Sadat had pointed out that the Assistant Secretary General is an Egyptian general. Here Sadat explained to the Secretary that two years before the Arab League representative would have been a Jordanian officer which would have been unacceptable to the PLO; however, they were now more moderate. Returning to the possibility of Arab League representation, Sadat said he had told Arafat that the Israelis would complain about the Arab League because it contains Qaddafi and other rejectionist elements.

(3) Representation by General Gamasy in his role as head of the Joint Command between Egypt and Syria, shortly to include Jordan. Sadat said he had agreed to this idea if the staff were Jordanian; thus King Hussein could bring back their land to the Palestinians.

[Page 76]

Sadat concluded that he had not told the Secretary any of the above and the Secretary laughed and agreed. The President then asked Foreign Minister Fahmy to explain the results of his discussion with Arafat earlier that morning.

Foreign Minister Fahmy said that Arafat had arrived the day before and had wanted to consult before the Secretary arrived. Arafat had agreed to change the Covenant and its 10 points14 during the March 12 Palestinian National Council meeting. This would involve a difficult negotiating process and Fahmy could not be sure what would result. President Sadat commented that there were extremists on both the Israeli and PLO sides.

Fahmy went on to say that Arafat had one front under his leadership and Egypt was pushing for a logical and final solution for the Palestinian problem. He asserted that the PLO had reduced its demands and was not asking for the moon. The President could bring about the necessary shifts in position. On Geneva Arafat had said “give me an invitation”. Fahmy had responded by asking him about resolution 242 and said he pointed out that even its reference to the Palestinians as refugees could be positive because the Palestinians could claim their right to go back to their homeland. Fahmy had reminded Arafat that the US had sponsored UN Resolutions on the right of return for many years.

Fahmy commented that the Palestinians are under pressure. At the same time they believe they have gained politically through Arafat’s speech to the UN,15 the large number of countries which have recognized them and their gains in Africa and Asia. In response to Arafat’s request to Egypt to give the PLO an invitation to Geneva, Fahmy had responded that if Egypt did and the PLO did not show up it would be the PLO’s responsibility. Fahmy told Arafat he was ready to find a formula if Arafat would accept an invitation stating that every state in the area had a right to live in peace and security, to which Arafat had responded that this was acceptable if mention was made of the right to a Palestinian state. This formula Fahmy thought was in accordance with Resolution 242. He said that an invitation need be extended only to the PLO, since the other parties were already members of the Geneva Conference and did not need invitations. Fahmy went on that this was really a question of semantics. He thought that if the PLO can get an invitation, vague as it is, they would show up at Geneva.

[Page 77]

The Secretary asked about other Palestinians and whether Arafat could speak for the bulk of them. President Sadat responded that at Rabat the Arabs had given responsibility to Arafat, who was the most moderate PLO leader although very weak. Sadat said he could not predict what might happen in the future about the Palestinians, particularly when those on the West Bank were able to make their views known. He concluded that we should leave the future of Palestine leadership to the Palestinians to decide.

Undersecretary Habib said he had been interested in President Sadat’s use of several terms during the discussion, such as “global”, “permanent peace” and “normalization”. The Israelis would be particularly interested in the last term.

President Sadat responded that the Israelis were trying to plant misunderstandings over the question of normal relations. They have said that Sadat had claimed that real peace could only come in the next generation. Sadat denied that he had said this. He had said that he was willing to reach a peace agreement on equal terms between the Israelis and the Arabs and end the state of belligerency. There have been no peace agreements in the past which have stated that the parties must establish diplomatic relations, have open borders, and conduct economic and commercial relations. These questions are all part of a nation’s national sovereignty. President Sadat had said that these matters should be left for future generations to decide on the basis of the conduct of the parties involved. Before that, let us have a peace agreement. The Israeli contentions go back to an idea of Ben Gurion. The President emphasized that he desired a permanent peace with guarantees and defined borders. Peace should not be postponed for three generations and it should not be an armistice agreement but a peace agreement normalizing things after 28 years of bitterness between the two countries. Sadat pointed out that the US had not recognized the Soviet Union until many years after the 1917 revolution.

Secretary Vance commented that while he could not speak for the Congress, he had asked some Congressmen whom he believed were well informed whether the Congress would approve a role for the US in peace-keeping operations to support a just and lasting peace. The Congressmen had said that they felt the Congress would agree.

The Secretary asked whether there was anything further they could think of to bring about mutual restraint and avoid incidents that might provoke an explosion. President Sadat responded that on his side he saw no need for further ways of ensuring restraint. The Secretary could be assured that there was no risk of an explosion from Egypt and under the Sinai Agreement the situation would be quiet until October 1978. The Secretary said that he had also asked the Israelis to exercise restraint. The President said he was glad to hear the Secretary had [Page 78] done so, but asserted the Israelis often provoked incidents, such as harassment in the Gulf of Suez. The Secretary said he had also talked to the Israelis on this subject and urged them to show restraint.

Foreign Minister Fahmy also mentioned the incident involving a drone which had strayed into Egyptian territory with the danger that the reaction of the Egyptian air defense forces might be uncontrollable. The President noted that the Air Force had asked that two of its aircraft do the same thing over Israeli controlled territory.

The Secretary asked if the Joint Commission could not play a useful role in resolving minor matters of this sort. Foreign Minister Fahmy responded that the Joint Commission was working well, but it should not engage itself in matters of principle such as drilling in the Gulf of Suez. Undersecretary Habib agreed that matters of principle should not be addressed by the Commission, but that minor incidents such as the recent problem with the AMOCO barge setting anchors seemed to be appropriate for the Commission. Mr. Habib said that General Gamasy had told him at lunch that many things had been resolved in the Commission.

In response to a comment that the US had a major role to play in defusing dangerous situations, Secretary Vance said that we had succeeded in doing so in Southern Lebanon, which seemed to be in better shape than earlier, and the US was continuing its efforts to keep the situation calm. President Sadat responded that this had to be a US responsibility.

Assistant Secretary Atherton asked for Egypt’s views on the timing process of the Geneva Conference and what steps should be taken in view of the Israeli elections. President Sadat responded that during Waldheim’s visit, the Egyptians had proposed a commission be established in the bureau of the Secretary General to work on the problem. This proposal could be made by Egypt with American support, since the US is the major element in the problem. However, the Israelis refused this suggestion, which had been made to try to give momentum to the peace process. The President commented that the result of the elections in Israel will be a government just like the present one and they will, therefore, have to call for new elections. Vice President Mubarak commented that we will get Mrs. Meir back, to the amusement of the participants.

Undersecretary Habib asked where sovereignty would repose in President Sadat’s model of the “United Arab States” and whether this might be in the crown. President Sadat responded that it would not be in the crown but in the two heads of state meeting every two months, as in the confederation between Egypt, Syria and Libya. Undersecretary Habib said that he hoped it would not be like the current situation between Egypt and Libya and President Sadat heartily agreed. He noted [Page 79] that the arrangement with Syria was going well. President Sadat said that he would not now recommend that sovereignty rest in the Jordanian crown. There was a psychological problem, as was seen when he had proposed the link between the PLO and Jordan, which had caused a great uproar. However, that would not exclude the possibility of some such arrangements in the future, since after several sessions with the King, things might work out that way.

Secretary Vance said that this had been a very helpful discussion and that he appreciated it very much. He then noted that he and the President would be meeting with the press and wondered what they should say. For his part the Secretary thought he should say that it had been a helpful and informative meeting, that he would be going on to other states in the area to discuss the situation with their leaders and that he was looking forward to the leaders in the area coming to the US to discuss the problem with President Carter.16

Secretary Vance then said that President Carter had announced tonight that the US would not sell concussion bombs to Israel.17 President Sadat said that he had just heard that and the news had just come over the Israeli radio. Secretary Vance said this had been a difficult decision, but he had agreed with it. President Sadat characterized it as a “very positive and constructive” move and Foreign Minister Fahmy called it “very wise”.

Secretary Vance referred to the question of nuclear reactors for Egypt and Israel. He said the Carter Administration was making a study of nuclear reactors on a world-wide basis; the study would not be finished until the end of this month and then a couple of weeks would be needed to consider it. In the meantime, nothing had been decided.

The Secretary said he wished to emphasize how much he appreciated the content and atmosphere of this discussion.

Ambassador Eilts asked what should be said to the press about the question of arms. Secretary Vance responded that the request had now been withdrawn and that we would consider the general question after his return to Washington. In response to press queries, the Secretary felt he thought we should say that he had discussed the question of arms transfers generally and specifically to the Middle East, and that we hope to reduce the sale of arms to the Middle East. We would say that we have no specific request, but if one is received we will deal with [Page 80] it in accordance with the three principles that the Secretary had stated publicly.18

The Secretary also said that in the meeting with the press mention should be made of the invitation of President Sadat to visit the US. On the PLO, he would say that this was a major issue to be discussed and that while no conclusions had been reached he had obtained a better appreciation of the problem.

President Sadat then read the letter from President Carter, expressed his appreciation for it and asked what time was proposed for the visit. Secretary Vance said that we were thinking of the first week of April if that were convenient, and President Sadat said it would be. Secretary Vance explained that President Carter would like President Sadat to be the first Arab leader to visit the US.

At 8:45 p.m., meeting concluded and press was called in.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850128–2040. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place at Sadat’s Presidential home called the Barrages.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 9.
  3. In Carter’s February 14 letter to Sadat, he expressed his appreciation for Sadat’s efforts to “bring a better life to your people and to end the long and tragic conflict that has dominated so much of the recent history of the Middle East.” Carter also sought Sadat’s views on devising security arrangements for future agreements as well as Sadat’s counsel regarding “the best means of meeting Palestinian interests.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Trips/Visits File, Box 102, 2/14–21/77 Vance Trip to the Middle East: 2/18/77–3/77)
  4. A reference to U.N. Special Representative Gunnar Jarring of Sweden, who was charged with mediating the Arab-Israeli dispute by U.N. Secretary General U Thant in November 1967 as prescribed in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. Jarring presented his report on January 4, 1971, but it made no headway toward an Arab-Israeli settlement as both sides held divergent views on the meaning of Resolution 242.
  5. A reference to the November 11, 1973, Six-Point Agreement between Israel and Egypt, signed at Kilometer 101 on the Cairo-Suez road by Egyptian General Mohammed Abdel Ghani Gamasy and Israeli General Aharon Yaariv. The six points focused on the maintenance of a cease-fire between Israeli and Egyptian forces, the movement of non-military supplies, the use of U.N. supervision, and plans for the turnover of prisoners of war. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 324.
  6. The first disengagement agreement, agreed to by Israel and Egypt on January 18, 1974, and formally signed at Kilometer 101 on January 24, disengaged Egyptian and Israeli forces after the cease-fire in the October 1973 war. It also led to Israel withdrawing its troops west of the Suez canal as well as from a small area east of the Canal. The U.N. helped create buffer zones in the area Israel vacated and stationed a second United Nations Emergency Force to keep Egyptian and Israeli forces separated. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976, Document 16.
  7. Ford met with Sadat in Salzburg June 1–2, 1975. For memoranda of conversation of those talks, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976, Documents 177 and 178.
  8. Negotiations for a second Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement broke down in March 1975, despite Secretary Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy in the region during that month.
  9. The second disengagement agreement was reached on September 1, 1975. The text of the agreement is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXV, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976, Document 226.
  10. See footnote 5, Document 7.
  11. A reference to Vance’s talks with the Israelis. See Documents 6 and 7.
  12. A reference to Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula after pressure from the United States and Soviet Union compelled it to leave shortly after it had taken over the Peninsula during the 1956 Suez Crisis.
  13. The letter has not been found.
  14. In June 1974, the Palestinian National Council adopted the Ten Point program, which called for Palestinian authority over any piece of “liberated” Palestinian land as well as an active effort to establish a secular, bi-national state where all would enjoy equal rights and status.
  15. On November 13, 1974, Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly. A translated transcript of the speech is in the New York Times, November 14, 1974, p. 22.
  16. The transcript of the news conference held by Vance and President Sadat after their February meeting is in the Department of State Bulletin, March 14, 1977, pp. 211–214.
  17. The White House announced on February 17 that Carter had cancelled the sale of cluster bombs to Israel and any other country. (David Binder, “President Cancels Israeli Bomb Sale,” New York Times, February 18, 1977, p. 11)
  18. An apparent reference to Vance’s statement in his first news conference on January 31 on reducing arms sales abroad; see Department of State Bulletin, February 21, 1977, p. 144–145.