24. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Syria1

69122. For Ambassador. Subject: Presidential Message to Asad.

Following is text of President’s message dated March 25 to President Asad (instructions for its delivery in septel):

Begin text: March 25, 1977

Dear Mr. President:

I have asked Ambassador Murphy to convey this personal note to you before he returns to Washington to be present for Foreign Minister Khaddam’s visit here. I want you to know how much I am looking forward to our meeting in Geneva in May. My only regret is that it has not been possible for us to get together earlier. We will have much to discuss as we review ways of advancing the cause of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

I am determined to do all I can to promote this cause, and I know your determination matches mine. As I have studied the situation in the Middle East in recent years, as I have heard from Secretary Vance about his talk with you in Damascus,2 I have developed great respect for your dedication to the interests of your country and to the vision of peace and progress in your area.

I know of the constructive and statesmanlike role you played in bringing the Lebanese tragedy to an end. Our forthcoming meeting [Page 166] will, I am certain, help assure that the search for peace in the Middle East will be fruitful.

With warmest regards, Sincerely, Jimmy Carter.

End text.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840076–0291. Confidential; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted in the White House, cleared by P. Sebastian (S/S) and E. Abington (NEA), and approved by Atherton. A March 23 memorandum from Brzezinski to Quandt stated that the Embassy in Tehran reported that Asad had asked the Shah of Iran to “help bring Syria and the U.S. closer together.” The Shah reportedly encouraged Asad to avoid intermediaries and speak directly with U.S. officials. Brzezinski wrote that Carter had noted Asad’s move and believed that “we should take the initiative in this matter.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Trips/Visits File, Box 104, 5/9/77 President Meeting with President Asad of Syria: 2–6/77)
  2. See Document 15.