25. Memorandum From the President’s Senior Adviser (Sanders) to President Carter1


  • Camp David Summit

The following is a summary of the points we discussed this morning:2

(1) The most significant questions3 that I hear raised frequently are:

—if agreement in principle regarding the West Bank is achieved and Jordan still refuses to join the negotiations, will Egypt be under an obligation to proceed bilaterally with Israel?

—will Israel be expected to agree at Camp David to withdraw from the West Bank? If so, what does this mean? Partial withdrawal? Partition?

—will Israel be allowed to maintain a security presence on the West Bank after five years?

—how can a Palestinian Administrative Council or other body be prevented from turning the West Bank into a threatening independent Palestinian state if Israel has no security presence there?

—what are the security measures Israel will accept in terms of territory, rights, and guarantees from the United States?

(2) The following are thoughts that I mentioned during the meeting:

—Israelis will respond most positively to statements which indicate that we clearly understand and agree with their security concerns.

[Page 78]—neither Egypt nor Israel should be surprised by the other two parties.

—inducements to either Israel or Egypt should not make it more difficult for the other side to make concessions.

As we discussed, I am enclosing with this memo a copy of the memo4 which I sent to the Secretary of State on September 2.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 52, Middle East: Camp David Cables and Memos, 9/78. No classification marking.
  2. Carter met with Sanders on September 4 from 10:30 a.m. until 10:54 a.m. in the Oval Office. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials, President’s Daily Diary)
  3. In his memoirs, Carter indicated that Sanders is referring here to the views of American Jewish community leaders, liaison with whom Sanders was primarily responsible. Carter wrote that these views were “more restrained than we had expected, and this encouraged me greatly in my later arguments with Begin.” (Carter, Keeping Faith, p. 322)
  4. Attached but not printed. In his September 2 memorandum to Vance, Sanders discussed Israeli security concerns about territorial concessions and moves the United States could take to assuage those concerns. The United States, Sanders suggested, should make “clear” that any peace settlement should provide for “demilitarization of the contested areas,” “Israeli (or joint) presence on key terrain to provide early warning and, at least initially, to control access to populated areas in Israel and perhaps in the West Bank,” “Israeli overflight rights in some areas to provide early warning,” “border adjustments to eliminate particularly dangerous areas,” “reduction of Arab forces contiguous to demilitarized areas,” and strict limitations on “foreign forces in Jordan.” Moreover, to win Israeli confidence, Sanders added, the United States should also consider a number of bilateral arrangements including “exempting Israel from restrictions on exceptional technology transfer,” increasing FMS credits to Israel, “guaranteeing a U.S. resupply of Israel if a war breaks out because of a failure of the agreement,” including Israel among nations “completely excluded” in annual arms transfer ceiling, offering Israel a Mutual Defense Pact, and “incorporating Israeli legitimate security concerns into our own proposals.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 52, Middle East: Camp David Cables and Memos, 9/78)