54. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1


  • Secretary Vance’s Talk with Prime Minister Begin, July 19, 1977

Secretary Vance’s discussion with Prime Minister Begin this afternoon revealed several additional points that merit your attention:

Begin will consider, although he does not favor, the possibility that Geneva would be reconvened with a single Arab delegation, but negotiations should then break up with bilateral “mixed commissions.”

—The mixed commissions could form subcommittees that might include representatives of several countries to deal with “functional” issues.

—Palestinians may be present in a Jordanian delegation, but not if they are identified as representatives of the PLO.

—Pre-Geneva talks can take place in New York in September at the Foreign Minister level.

—An American observer could be present at the mixed commission meetings.

On the five principles (see attached) that were discussed with Begin, some slight modifications were suggested in the first three; Begin insisted that he would tell you tonight about the withdrawal component of his plan.2 He therefore would not discuss point four, except to reject flatly the idea of “external guarantees.” (A US-Israel treaty was not discussed.) He will tell you his plan for final borders, but does not want it revealed to the Arabs. His reaction to point five on the Palestinian entity was total rejection, based on the argument that this would inevitably lead to a PLO-dominated, Soviet armed state. (“Jerusalem will be under crossfire from three directions.”)

He also does not accept Sadat’s idea of normalization over a five-year [Page 359] period. Once a peace treaty is signed, normalization should occur

immediately. You might want to press him further on this, noting that withdrawal and normalization can go hand in hand.3


Paper Prepared in the National Security Council 4


[Bracketed alternative language suggested by Israelis]

1. The goal of negotiations is a comprehensive peace settlement [embodied in peace treaties.]

2. The basis of negotiations is Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

3. It is understood that the peace called for in Resolution 242 will consist of an end to belligerency [end state of war] and the establishment between Israel and its Arab neighbors of the relations of peace.

4. It is understood that the withdrawal called for in Resolution 242 will be to mutually agreed [secure] and recognized borders on all fronts. The withdrawal and the establishment of peaceful relations can be phased over a period of years in parallel and synchronized stages. The security of the stages and of the final settlement will be enhanced by mutually agreed security arrangements on the ground and by external guarantees. (Note: Israel will not accept the language on external guarantees.)

5. A settlement must include provision for a Palestinian entity and for means of assuring Palestinian adherence to the terms of the peace agreement. The Palestinian entity will not be militarized, and there will be provision for an open economic and social relationship with Israel. [Page 360] Means should be sought to permit self-determination by the Palestinians in deciding on their future status. (Note: Israel rejects this point in its entirety.)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Subject File, Box 66, Middle East: Peace Negotiations 1977 Volume I [II]. Secret. Outside the System. Sent for information. A handwritten note by Carter on the top right corner of the first page reads, “cc: Vance. C.”
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Carter hosted a working dinner for Begin from 7:31 to 10:05 p.m., after which they met privately until 11:11 p.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary) No memoranda of conversation have been found, but see footnote 3 below.
  3. Carter wrote at the bottom of the page: “On point 4, he thinks UN 242/338 adherence is adequate prior to Geneva—Asks that we not use phrase ‘minor adjustments’ without prior notice to him—I agreed. He will try to accommodate us on settlements—Wants to carry out Mapai plan at least. Will give us prior notice. I suggested that they wait until after Geneva talks and restrict new settlers to existing settlements. This is difficult for him—Will stay on Golan. I told him Syria won’t agree. W Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem. ‘no foreign sovereignty’—Sinai—‘Substantial withdrawals.’” Apparently Carter made these notes after his private meeting with Begin on the evening of July 19. The Mapai Party was the predecessor of the Labor Party; the Mapai Plan was not further identified. Carter also recounted the meeting to Brzezinski the next morning; see Brzezinski, Power and Principle, p. 100.
  4. Secret; Nodis. Brackets are in the original. The draft principles were approved by the Policy Review Committee; see Document 50.