205. Message From Ambassador-at-Large Alfred L. Atherton, Jr. to the Ambassador to Egypt (Eilts)1

Conveyed to Eilts by ALA by secure phone from Jerusalem about 11 pm 3/11/79

Please inform Sadat that President had long and difficult talks with Begin and a number of his Cabinet colleagues last night2 and today,3 and that Secretary supplemented these in follow-on meeting [Page 721]with Dayan this evening.4 President is making major effort to persuade Begin to agree to positions on remaining issues as discussed with Sadat and Khalil at end of our visit to Egypt. Begin has called Cabinet meeting for tonight5 (after state dinner for President) which will probably last into early morning hours, and we expect to hear Israeli positions Monday morning. Until then, we will not be able to judge whether our efforts have been successful. If Cabinet approves reasonable positions, Pres. will ask Sec. to go to Cairo Monday. Will be in further touch Monday morning.6

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Files of Alfred L. Atherton, Lot 80D166, Atherton—Egypt, Geneva, Kissinger 1973–1982 1 of 2. Secret. A handwritten notation at the top of the document states that Atherton conveyed the message to Eilts by secure phone from Jerusalem. The message is handwritten.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 202.
  3. See Document 204.
  4. Not further identified. However, Vance, Atherton, and Saunders met with Dayan and Rubenstein on the morning of March 11. In his memoirs, Vance recalled the meeting covering “the idea of a memorandum of agreement between the United States and Israel on the American political role as de facto guarantor of the treaty,” as well as the joint letter on autonomy, the Israeli oil supply, Article VI, and the meeting between Begin and Carter on the evening of March 10, which, Vance assessed, “had not been helpful.” (Vance, Hard Choices, p. 247)
  5. See footnote 14, Document 204.
  6. On March 12, the Embassy in Cairo drew up contingency plans for Vance’s early return to Egypt from Israel. (Telegram 4960 from Cairo, March 12; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790114–0217; Telegram 4982 from Cairo, March 12; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790114–0365) Ultimately, Vance and the U.S. delegation opted to stay in Jerusalem.