65. Telegram From Secretary of State Vance to the White House and the Department of State1

Secto 8019. White House: Eyes Only for the President and Dr. Brzezinski From the Secretary. Department: Eyes Only for Warren Christopher and Peter Tarnoff. Subject: Meeting with Sadat.

1. After reflecting on President Sadat’s suggestions of last night,2 I propose to modify slightly our plans for the balance of the trip. In addi[Page 383]tion to covering the issues we had previously planned to discuss in the remaining discussions, I will ask each of the parties (Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon) to prepare a draft of a proposed peace treaty to be transmitted to us. This will allow us to explore Sadat’s proposal and give us a way of getting the confrontation states to set down their basic requirements on the core issues.

2. After receiving the draft treaties, we will review them and then convene a working group in Washington or New York in mid-September. We would propose to act as the intermediary seeking ways of narrowing the remaining differences between the parties. We could refer to this as a pre-Geneva meeting to further preparations for a peaceful solution to the Middle East problem.

3. We would seek to develop at least a basic draft of each of the necessary treaties. Of course, we do not know at this point whether all the parties will wish to prepare drafts and attend such a meeting. The Egyptians believe that all the Arabs would be willing to participate in such a process. I think the Israelis might also participate in a working group, as Begin has already indicated Dayan would do so. Furthermore, such talks would approximate the “proximity talks” idea, which was one of the alternatives put forward by Begin in his peace proposal.3 We cannot count, however, on the Israelis being willing to prepare each of the necessary draft treaties at this stage. We will know better after I have met with Begin and Dayan.

4. The main problem that I foresee with the draft treaties is that only the Jordanian draft could conceivably deal with the Palestinian problem. Sadat accepts the concept of trusteeship on the West Bank with an undefined transition period with ultimate self-determination. At this point, however, he rejects the idea of including Israel as a trustee. We have told him he is being unrealistic in assuming that the Israelis would simply move out of the West Bank at the outset of a UN trusteeship. I underscored this fact again this morning with Fahmy.4

5. There is no reason to speculate as to what uncertainties may exist with Syria and Jordan about these proposals. We will soon find out their reactions. We think it is also important to discuss these ideas with the Saudis and to get their general backing.

6. As to the PLO, in response to Sadat’s offer of last night, we have provided him with a suggested statement,5 which he will take up with Arafat within the next few days. He has already sent a message to Arafat asking him to come to Egypt as soon as we leave tomorrow.

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7. Sadat believes it would be desirable for me to return to Egypt for a brief talk (1–2 hours) after I have been to Tel Aviv.6 If I do so, I will also spend an hour or two in Amman and Damascus on my last day in the Middle East.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Trip File, Box 42, Vance, Middle East, 7/31/77–8/12/77: Cables. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Cherokee.
  2. See Documents 63 and 64.
  3. See the Attachment to Document 52.
  4. No record of this conversation has been found.
  5. Not found, but see Document 67.
  6. Vance returned to Egypt on August 11. See Document 87.