260. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Carter
  • Vice President of Egypt Mubarak
  • Vice President Mondale
  • Secretary Vance
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski
[Page 862]

Mubarak conveys greetings, friendship, etc. and hands message2 to the President.

The President reads and summarizes. Sadat appreciates U.S. position on settlements; wants more F–4s with Mavericks.

Carter refers to Mubarak’s talks with Harold Brown;3 indicates we cannot now convey new destroyers; urges Egyptian acceptance of cruiser—could be symbolically very impressive. Why does Sadat dislike the cruiser?

Mubarak: The destroyers you offer have lower capability than the Soviet.

Carter: They will be equipped with Harpoons.

Mubarak reviews what the U.S. has offered—35 planes and two old destroyers—and compares that with what Soviets offered in the past. This is creating a bad impression in the armed forces.

Carter: I understand the problem. On the navy side the cruiser and destroyers would be symbolic, bold move.

Maybe you and Sadat could visit the ships. On the other points Harold Brown will give me a report.4

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Mubarak: We can accept the cruiser but need something better for the navy. Foregoing main issue. Secondly, when you go to Japan, please help to promote the Carter plan.5

Carter: Please don’t call it the Carter plan.

ZB: You can call it the Sadat plan. Carter talked to Schmidt.6 He is willing to help more but the Egyptians are not spending the money that is coming in. We need to know how the money that is approved is being spent. We could send someone to see what the problem is—perhaps a retired businessman.

Mubarak agrees aid not being spent well. A highly qualified man should come as soon as possible.

Carter: To summarize: (1) we will get someone to come over to see what obstacles there are. Mentions Miller as a possible choice; (2) I will talk to the other heads in Tokyo about aid; (3) continue your bilateral efforts to obtain aid.

Mubarak talks about postponement of Sadat’s trip to Japan.

ZB indicates how wary Japanese are about providing help to Egypt.

Carter asks assessment of other Arabs.

Mubarak: We stopped attacks and expect now new contacts with the Saudis through Oman. Hope for progress on Jerusalem. If there was some progress, especially a religious council, it would help with the Saudis. Reviews in general terms disagreements in the Arab world and notes Iraqis and Palestinians are main source of pressure. Kuwait investments are still continuing in Egypt and 10 days ago a new one was made.

Carter reiterates Camp David language good on Jerusalem. On UN peacekeeping, will bring it up with Brezhnev.7 Urges Egyptians to raise level of public concern over settlements. U.S. cannot be out front. Begin tells us Sadat does not care.

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Mubarak: Sadat does not want to spoil the peace process.

Carter: Egyptian silence weakens Israeli opposition to the settlements.

Mubarak agrees. We will move on this issue; some comments have taken place. On other issues notes that Israel would like to have the U.S. only the status of observer in the ongoing negotiations and have so informed the Egyptians. Reiterates that Nimeiri needs urgent help as per talks with Javits. Rhodesian statement underlines Egyptian desire for Chinook helicopters.

Carter concludes meeting by restating what he will do in Vienna8 and Tokyo.9

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 11, Egypt: 6/79. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.
  2. See Document 259.
  3. Brown met alone with Mubarak on the morning of June 11. Brzezinski summarized the meeting for Carter in a June 11 memorandum. “Mubarak’s main point,” Brzezinski reported, “was that we need to do more for the Egyptian military in order to ensure its loyalty to Sadat. He wants Egypt to be treated like Israel in terms of our overall military relationship. In particular, he argued that our approval of specific items of military equipment should not be constrained by the financing that is available at any given time.” Mubarak asked Brown for more F–4 fighter aircraft and Chinook helicopters. He reiterated Sadat’s unwillingness to accept the U.S. offer of Gearing class destroyers. Brown suggested that the Egyptians “look again” at these destroyers as the United States had “nothing else readily available.” Brown also “agreed in principle” to develop “a long term defense plan for Egypt, including a program for the next five years.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Middle East, Subject File, Box 13, Egypt: Arms and Military: 1–7/79)
  4. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert J. Murray prepared a draft report—drawing on the June 11 conversation between Brown and Mubarak—for Brown to sign and submit to Carter. The report proposed that Brown “refine” Egypt’s defense requirements list “in the course of further U.S.-Egyptian defense consultations over the summer,” ultimately developing a five-year equipment plan for Egypt that would encourage Cairo to “limit its arms procurement ambitions,” demonstrate to the Egyptians ways to reduce the size of their armed forces, agree in principle to more aircraft and additional ships provided these fit Egypt’s available financial resources, and look at ways to use Egypt’s existing military industries in support of the program. In a handwritten note, dated June 12, on the report’s undated covering memorandum from Murray to Brown, Brown wrote “6/12 R Murray—OK to proceed along these lines; e.g. 5 year planning, consider added ships & a/c in that plan over time, help w/ defense industry. HB.” (Washington National Record Center, OSD Files, FRC 330–82–0205, Egypt 1979 Jan–July) A final version of the report has not been found.
  5. See footnote 7, Document 259.
  6. Reference is to Carter’s June 6 meeting with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. The memorandum of conversation from the meeting is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe.
  7. Carter and Brezhnev discussed the presence of United Nations forces in the Sinai during their June 18, 1979, meeting in Vienna. Brezhnev stated that the Soviet Union was “resolutely opposed to any attempt to sanctify a separate Egyptian-Israeli deal through the authority and prestige of the United Nations, inter alia through involement of U.N. forces presently in the Sinai. Whatever arguments are marshaled in favor of continuing the presence of U.N. troops in that area, such presence would mean complicity of and association by the United Nations in actions which cannot lead to lasting peace in the Middle East, but only the opposite. To expect the Soviet Union to support such a force in this matter would be hopeless. The full record of Brezhnev’s conversation with Carter in Vienna is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 206.
  8. Carter was in Vienna June 15–18 for the signing of the SALT II Treaty.
  9. See footnote 8, Document 259.