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


  • Analysis of Substantive Positions in Camp David Talks (U)

The proper point of comparison for the most recent set of proposals put forward at Camp David II is the package carried by Secretary Vance to Israel last December.2 Although these were Egyptian proposals, we stated that we thought they were reasonable. The table below compares the December proposals with those that we presented to the two delegations on February 25.3 (S)

[Page 633]
December Proposals Camp David II
Article IV (Review of security arrangements) Included mandatory review after five years. At Israeli request, dropped mandatory review after five years.
Article VI (Priority of obligations) Paragraph 2 interpreted to mean treaty is being concluded in “context of Camp David ac-cords.” Lengthy memorandum giving our views on paragraph 5 (how this treaty relates to other obligations of the parties). Same language dealing with paragraph 2, but included as part of a more general statement on all of Article VI. No substantive change. On paragraph 5, both sides preferred to drop legal memoranda and replace by simple note. Israelis object to statement in note that Article VI establishes no priority of obligations other than that of the U.N. Charter.
Exchange of Ambassadors Egyptians propose letter stating that exchange of Ambassadors will take place one month after the establishment of self-governing author-ity, at least in Gaza. Khalil agrees to withdraw letter and make no mention of timing of exchange of Ambassadors. Substantive position, however, would not be changed.
Letter on West Bank/Gaza Negotiations Target date: “goal of holding elections not later than the end of 1979.” Target date: “goal of completing the negotiations so that elections can be held within one year of the start of those negotiations.”
Reference to “Egypt’s former administrative responsibility in Gaza.” Deleted reference to Egypt’s former administrative role in Gaza. (S)

The net result of the Camp David II talks was to modify the negotiating documents only modestly. Compared to the December proposals which were rejected by Israel, some of the current proposals are better from Israel’s point of view and some are basically unchanged. Israel has reason to view the changes in the letter on the West Bank/Gaza as generally favorable. The formulation on Article VI is no better from the Israeli point of view, and Begin probably reacted badly to the factually correct statement that nothing in the Treaty establishes any other priority than that of the U.N. Charter. (During Atherton’s last trip,4 however, Begin indicated that he might accept such language.) On bilateral issues, we also indicated a willingness to discuss how the U.S. might “guarantee” the Treaty through a memorandum of understanding with Israel. We also said that we would be prepared to discuss aid. On oil, Khalil said he would discuss this after agreement on the Treaty was reached but before it was signed. From Dayan’s point of view, these were positive developments. (S)

In brief, there is no basis for Begin’s statement5 that new proposals were made which are inconsistent with the Camp David agreements and which nullify the meaning of the peace treaty between the two countries. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 7, Camp David II: 2/79. Secret. Sent for information. The date is handwritten.
  2. See Documents 157 and 158.
  3. See footnote 5, Document 182.
  4. See Document 168.
  5. See Document 185.