100. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1


  • Israel’s Version of a Draft Treaty with Egypt

We have received from Israel a detailed draft of a peace treaty with Egypt (Tab I).2 Foreign Minister Dayan has also elaborated on the territorial issue in a separate communication (Tab II).3

The draft treaty is quite detailed and specific on the type of issues that we have termed “normalization of relations.” As such, it provides a useful checklist for talks with the Arabs, although it will not be accepted in its present form. For example, Israel calls for the exchange of Ambassadors one month after the treaty comes into force. But at least we have concrete formulations on trade, cultural relations, ending economic warfare, settlement of financial claims, free movement, access to holy places, aviation, navigation, cooperation for development, and free passage through waterways. The Israelis have even included clauses on human rights, freedom of the press and respect for graves and rights of reburial.

Not surprisingly, the Israelis are most specific in framing their requirements for peace, while Egypt has left this very vague. Where the Egyptians have been precise—borders and withdrawal—Israel is still [Page 492] somewhat vague. The draft treaty makes no mention of the location of the final border or the timetable for withdrawal. It does, however, go into some detail on security arrangements. In brief, all territory from which Israel withdraws should be demilitarized and the present force limitation arrangements affecting Egyptian troops east of the Suez Canal should remain in effect.

A useful component of the draft treaty is the establishment of a joint committee to supervise the implementation of a treaty and a commitment to resort to binding arbitration to solve disputes over interpretation of the terms of the agreement.

Dayan’s letter restates Israel’s territorial proposals along the lines of Prime Minister Begin’s private talk with you.4 On the Egyptian front, he seems to envisage the final border as indicated on the map at Tab III.5 On the Syrian front, he states that a new border will be established that protects Israel’s water sources and the security of its northern areas. On the West Bank, “no foreign rule or sovereignty” will be permitted, and Israel’s security must be based on the Jordan River.

The Israeli draft is more detailed than we need at present, although on several specific points it is too imprecise. Dayan specifically says that Israel will respond to other proposals in a “completely unprejudiced and open-minded manner.”

The Israel draft treaty represents a success of sorts for our approach. Begin is clearly prepared to continue working through us, even on substantive issues. But we still have a long way to go. The priority of Israel’s policy now seems to be to make a fairly attractive offer to Egypt in order to tempt Sadat into a separate deal. This would allow Israel to put off movement on the Syrian front and to avoid the Palestinian-West Bank issues altogether.

The talks with Dayan later this month will be extremely important. Israel has taken an important and positive step in committing its positions to paper. But we still need to find a way to open up the West Bank-Palestinian issues for serious negotiation, and we have to break the deadlock on Palestinian representation at Geneva.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Trips/Visits File, Box 106, 9/15/77 Strategy for the Next Round of Middle East Talks [I]: 9/77. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Aaron initialed the memorandum on Brzezinski’s behalf.
  2. Tab I is not attached but a draft Israeli peace treaty is in telegram 6588 from Tel Aviv, September 2. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File P840081–2175)
  3. Tab II is not attached but Dayan’s letter is in telegram 211381 to the White House. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Subject File, Box 67, Middle East: Peace Negotiations 1977 Vol. III [I])
  4. See footnote 3, Document 54.
  5. Tab III is not attached and has not been found.