45. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

152347. For Ambassador. Subject: Fahmy’s Talks in Moscow. Ref: Cairo 10380.2

1. Please pass to Sadat as soon as possible following oral message from President Carter in response to Sadat’s request for his views reported in reftel.

2. Begin text: President very much appreciates Sadat’s frankness in sharing such detailed account of Fahmy’s discussions in Moscow. In general, President believes Sadat’s analysis concerning Soviet motivations and intentions is accurate. In this respect, the Soviets clearly want to find ways to reestablish their position in the Mideast, which they lost in large measure through President Sadat’s farsighted and statesmanlike actions, and are obviously very nervous about their prospects for success in the Horn of Africa.

—President believes heavy-handed Soviet tactics indicate that they clearly continue to underestimate President Sadat’s determination [Page 323] and commitment to pursuit of an independent national policy for Egypt. President also concludes that current Soviet efforts are obvious attempt to drive wedge between U.S. and Egypt with respect both to Middle East and Africa. We believe that this can only be interpreted as Soviet reaction to success of Sadat’s policies in the area which have the support of other important African and Middle East countries as well as U.S. This strongly suggests that the Soviets are worried that their strategies may not succeed.

—President Carter knows that Sadat requires no advice on how to deal with such Soviet maneuvers and pressure tactics. He would, however, wish to reaffirm his own deep respect for President Sadat’s judgment in these matters.

3. As concerns Brezhnev’s comments on the Middle East, we cannot exclude the possibility that the Soviets are trying to exploit the uncertainties which some parties in the area, that are hostile to both the U.S. and Egypt, are trying to foment with respect to the U.S. commitment to the peace process in the aftermath of the Begin victory.

—The Brezhnev statements on U.S. policy are, to say the least, contradictory and, in any event, not to be taken seriously. We hesitate to dignify them by attempting to address them in any detail. It should suffice to note that U.S. interests (clearly more so than Soviet interests) require a peace settlement and our mutual goal is a comprehensive settlement. Neither the President nor Sadat has ever underestimated the difficulties involved.

—In this respect, President Sadat knows he can count on President Carter’s commitment to the peace process which he conveyed during Sadat’s visit to Washington. President Carter is very grateful for Sadat’s confirmation of their agreements in their private talks during his visit to Washington.

—We are now preparing for very frank talks with Begin to impress on his government the need for early progress towards Geneva. We will of course keep in close touch and President Carter expects Secretary Vance to be back in the area in late July–early August.

—President Carter wants to reassure Sadat that we are being as responsive as possible concerning the military requirements of our friends. In this respect, the President has again reviewed the situation concerning military equipment for Egypt on the basis of initial soundings with the Congress. As a result, the President has decided to move ahead with efforts to obtain early Congressional approval for the items Ambassador Eilts discussed with Sadat, despite the difficulties we anticipate.

—Although this is not fully responsive to Egypt’s needs, if Congress approves we hope it will have a political and psychological significance beyond the actual items involved. The President wishes [Page 324] Sadat to know that he is keeping this general subject under continuing review.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to the Middle East dispute.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850052–2006. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Veliotes; cleared by Quandt, Robert Vine (EUR), Atherton, Larry MacFarlane (S/S), Talcott Seelye (AF), and Habib; and approved by Secretary Vance.
  2. In telegram 10380 from Cairo, June 21, the Embassy reported Sadat’s detailed summary of Foreign Minister Fahmy’s talks with Soviet Premier Brezhnev and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850052–2101)