91. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Syria1

192565. For the Ambassador from the Secretary; WH for Brzezinski only. Subject: Message to President Assad from President Carter.

1. Please seek appointment with Assad to deliver the following message from President Carter to President Assad following up on my last conversation.2

2. Begin text:

Dear Mr. President:

I deeply appreciate the two opportunities Secretary Vance had to meet with you and discuss at length with you both the urgent matter of how to proceed in making negotiations on an Arab-Israeli peace more concrete and the question of stabilizing the situation in Southern Lebanon. He has reported to me in detail on all of his talks in the Middle East. I believe that with your help we can make important progress in the next two months toward a negotiated settlement.

In order to take a significant step forward in September, I hope it will be possible for me to receive from your government your specific ideas of what you would like to see in a peace treaty. As Secretary Vance suggested in his last conversation with you, such a paper could take either one of two forms. It could provide actual treaty language, or it could provide a series of detailed points as you would like to see them dealt with in a treaty. In order for us to have time to prepare for Foreign Minister Khaddam’s visit to the U.S., it is most important that we have your contribution as soon as possible so that we may have two or three weeks to develop our own document before he comes.

On the matter of Southern Lebanon, I want you to know that we are again strongly urging the Israelis to curb military activity in Southern Lebanon. As our conversations with them continue, I hope that we may speak knowing that you will be doing everything possible as we are, to persuade the various factions to enforce the ceasefire in that area and to move ahead with the implementation of the Shtaura Agreements. I believe we all agree that stability can only come when the ceasefire is assured and when a Lebanese force can operate effectively in that area.

[Page 475]

Again, Mr. President, thank you for the frank expression of your views both during our meetings in Geneva3 and during Secretary Vance’s trip. Secretary Vance and I look forward to the discussions with Foreign Minister Khaddam next month to continue the process that will ultimately lead to the peace treaties we all seek.


Jimmy Carter.

End text.

3. Purpose of having you deliver this message is to try to assure that we will indeed get draft language we need and to get what more is possible on Syrian plans for Southern Lebanon. It seems obvious that Sarkis and Khoury believe they need effective Syrian action to stop Palestinian military activity and to move the Palestinians back before they can move their force into that area.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East File, Subject File, Box 88, Syria: 6–8/77. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Sent immediate for information to Tel Aviv, Beirut, and the White House.
  2. See Document 88.
  3. See Document 32.