161. Letter From Israeli Chargé d’Affaires Bar-On to President Carter1

My dear Mr. President:

I have been asked by Prime Minister Begin to transmit to you the following message:

“Dear Mr. President,

I thank you wholeheartedly for your moving holiday message.2

We shall, indeed, continue praying for peace and spare no effort to achieve it. You know best, Mr. President, how great were the sacrifices we made and the risks we undertook for the sake of this blessed goal. I [Page 564]fervently hope that the spirit of Camp David will be speedily revived so that the work you and all of us invested there shall not have been in vain.

It is a pity, indeed, that the target date of December 17 was not met. But, with a clear conscience I can say that the fault was not ours. We did our very utmost, just as we remain ready now to sign that draft which was agreed upon in the prolonged tripartite conferences.

Certainly, we do not lose hope and believe that the peace talks will be resumed so that, after all the ups and downs of the last year, the new year of 1979 will be the year of peace.

My wife joins me in sending to you, to Mrs. Carter and to all your family our very best wishes for a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Yours respectfully and sincerely,

Menachem Begin

Respectfully yours,

Hanan Bar-On3 Charge d’Affaires ad interim
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 9, Israel: Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 7–12/78. No classification marking. Carter initialed “C” at the top of the letter, indicating that he saw the document.
  2. On December 22, Carter sent a brief holiday greeting to Begin in which he observed that “the spirit of the season moves me to try to recapture the feelings that we shared at Camp David. I am confident that the negotiations between Israel and Egypt will continue. When they do, the United States will play its role as it did at Camp David with patience and perseverance.” (Tosec 150037/322133 to Tel Aviv, December 22; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 9, Israel: Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 7–12/78) The same day, Carter sent a similar message to Sadat. (Tosec 150038/322132 to Cairo, December 22; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 5, Egypt: President Anwar al-Sadat, 1–12/79)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.