262. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Vance in Geneva and to the Embassy in Israel1

176291/Tosec 80048. Subject: Message From the President to Begin.

1. Following is message from the President to Prime Minister Begin in response to Begin’s message of July 10. (Text sent you by septel.)2 Please deliver to Prime Minister.

2. Begin text.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Thank you very much for your letter of July 10.

I appreciate your kind remarks concerning Vice President Mondale’s visit. I fully share your view that it has strengthened the ties of friendship between our two countries.

I am glad that your government has accepted my proposal that Foreign Minister Dayan and the Foreign Minister of Egypt meet with Secretary Vance in London on July 18 and 19. We hope that the London [Page 1179] talks will lead to direct contacts that will help narrow the gap between the parties.

I know you share my conviction that the negotiating process must continue. With cooperation and goodwill on all sides, I am hopeful that our efforts will bring success.

The American people and I share your deep concern for Anatoly Shcharansky. Since his arrest on March 15, 1977, we have repeatedly conveyed our concern to President Brezhnev and urged that Mr. Shcharansky be released and permitted to resettle in Israel. I have instructed Secretary Vance to pursue this matter with Foreign Minister Gromyko in Geneva and to deliver from me another personal appeal to President Brezhnev on Mr. Shcharansky’s behalf.

With warm personal regards,

Jimmy Carter.

End text.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840172–2802. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Korn and L. Willems (EUR/SOV); cleared by Sick, McCall (EUR/SOV), Kamman (S/MS), and Lowell Fleischer (S/S–O); and approved by Saunders. Sent immediate for information to Cairo and the White House. Vance visited Geneva from July 11 to July 13 to meet with Gromyko.
  2. Begin’s message to Carter is contained in a July 10 letter from Dinitz to Carter. In the message, Begin referred to the Egyptian peace proposal as “utter negativism” and asserted that it “may endanger Israel’s very existence.” Begin also referred to the case of Anatoly Sharansky; see footnote 3, Document 49. Begin urged Carter to “intercede personally with Mr. Brezhnev for the release this innocent man.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Subject File, Box 49, Israel: 6–7/78)