51. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Message from Arafat

Yasir Arafat, [less than 1 line not declassified] has asked that the following message be relayed to the U.S. He is willing to make a public statement clearly implying the PLO’s willingness to live in peace with Israel, with Israel and Palestine enjoying mutually acceptable and secure borders. He stressed that his proposed message would be unambiguous (“no possibility of two meanings”). He also indicated that he was prepared to make an “even more blunt statement in secret” to you. His condition for such a statement would be a U.S. commitment to the establishment of an independent Palestinian “state unit entity.”2 The PLO contact said there was “no objection to this with Jordan,” but that would have to be worked out with the Arab states. He rejected Hussein’s idea of a United Arab Kingdom.3 The PLO contact, apparently on his own, expanded on the Palestinians’ willingness to live at peace with Israel within demilitarized states, which might take 20 years to build. [Page 336] Open borders, diplomatic relations, etc. would occur in the “natural current of events.”4

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Subject File, Box 3, Arab-Israeli Peace Settlement 1977: Volume II [II]. Secret. Outside the System. Sent for information. An attached July 19 covering memorandum from Quandt to Brzezinski has a handwritten note on the bottom of the page that reads, “hand carried to Pres, 7/19/77.”
  2. In telegram 167355 to the White House, July 18, which repeated the text of telegram 3440 from Beirut, Vance alerted Brzezinski to the message from Arafat. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, Middle East, Box 40, 7/77)
  3. See footnote 4, Document 30.
  4. In a handwritten note at the bottom of the page, Carter wrote, “Zbig—If PLO publicly and privately meets minimum requirement of Kissinger-Israel commitment, we will begin discussions with them. Get message to them. J.” Kissinger’s minimum requirement is found in footnote 11, Document 32. No follow-up message to the PLO has been found.