198. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • Telephone Conversation Between President Carter and President Sadat

Carter: How are you?

Sadat: It’s night here . . . etc. Welcome! Welcome! I am very disappointed with the Israeli attitude. They didn’t get the conception of my initiative. They prefer land to peace. They shouldn’t have raised the issue of settlements. They think I want peace at any price.

[Page 953]

Carter: I talked to Vance today.2 Despite Begin’s speech3 there was some progress today. I wonder if you would permit your negotiators to stay a day or two and continue negotiating?4

Sadat: I am very flexible but we shouldn’t spoil the Israelis. Let us tell them quite frankly—we accept them in the area but not at the expense of our sovereignty or land.

Carter: I agree on that part but it would be difficult to resume the negotiations once they are broken off. It might take weeks. So why don’t you not withdraw them at this point.

Sadat: It has already been broadcast. However, the Military Committee will continue its work. I will meet with them.

Carter: Couldn’t you announce you are reconvening the Political Committee in a few days?

Sadat: I am ready to meet with the Military Committee. But let us give some time for the Political Committee . . . I am flexible in general.

Carter: Vance can’t stay too long. He is staying one day more in Jerusalem. Then he will meet with you in Cairo. Is there no possibility of the Political Committee continuing for one day?

Sadat: In view of your request, I will be ready to meet with the Military Committee when it resumes its work. Weizman is more flexible than the others.

Carter: Vance was making good progress on the Declaration of Principles. I’ll have Vance call you and report to you. At this moment there is great support for you and disappointment with Begin in this country. This can shift.

Sadat: The Israelis need a lesson. They cannot deal the way they have been dealing with us.

Carter: Stay as flexible as you can.

Sadat: I will declare that we spoke and exchanged views.

Carter: Say that you will welcome the Military Committee and that you look forward to reconvening the Political Committee.

[Page 954]

Sadat: Thanks for the call. I will be glad to talk to Vance. Greetings, etc., etc.

  1. Source: Carter Library, President’s Plains File, Subject File, Box 35, Sadat (Anwar) Communication, 1/77–11/80. Secret. Carter initialed at the top of the page and wrote “ok.”
  2. No memorandum of telephone conversation has been found. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Carter spoke to Vance on January 18 from 5:36 to 5:44 p.m., after his phone call with Sadat.
  3. Apparently a reference to Begin’s remarks at a dinner held on January 17 at the Knesset, which several of the 700 guests interpreted as a condescending reproach of the 51-year old Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel, whom Begin referred to at one point as a “young man.” (Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1978, p. A1)
  4. Sadat recalled the Egyptian delegation on January 18 over his frustration with Israel’s stance during the negotiations in Jerusalem. He also announced that the January 19 meeting of the Military Committee would not be held. (Telegram 2156 from Cairo, January 18; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780028–1084)