269. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Vance1

Tosec 060166/169370. Subject: President Carter’s Response to President Sadat. Ref: State 163814.2

1. (S-entire text.)

2. Reftel which is being repeated to you provides text of the Sadat letter which Egyptian Vice President Mobarak delivered to the President on June 11. There follows the text of a proposed reply which has been cleared within the Department (Ambassador Strauss, NEA, T, and PM), and by OMB, DOD, NSC and the President’s speech writers. You may wish to have the final version3 cabled directly to Cairo because Roy Atherton expects to meet with President Sadat within the next few days.

3. Proposed text:


His Excellency

Anwar al-Sadat,

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Cairo.

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you very much for the letter you asked Vice President Mobarak to deliver to me personally during his visit to Washington. The Vice President and I had good talks, during which we covered most of the points raised in your message.

The Vice President’s visit also offered us an opportunity to discuss the U.S.-Egyptian military supply relationship. I know that you have been concerned about both the quality and quantity of military items [Page 878] we will be able to provide under the $1.5 billion, three-year package. For my part, I recognize that Egypt has legitimate defense needs greater than those we have been able to meet within this particular package. As announced following my meeting with Vice President Mobarak, I believe that our two governments should now work closely and intensively to plan our longer-term military supply relationship beyond the three years envisaged in the equipment package associated with the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. In that way, Egypt could satisfy a greater proportion of its military equipment needs over the next several years. Implicit in any longer-term relationship would be a U.S. assurance that necessary spare parts and follow-on support would continue to be offered. In this connection, I also want you to be assured that Maverick missiles will be included with the arms for the Phantom aircraft we will be delivering to Egypt.

I have therefore directed4 Secretaries Brown and Vance to begin this planning immediately in cooperation with Egypt.

To undertake a major, long-term military supply relationship will require the fullest possible support of the American public and the Congress. Congressional support for the current $1.5 billion package is an essential first step, but we will have to be careful about overemphasizing the military side of our relationship. Your warmest supporters in the public and the Congress hope that Egypt will assign highest priority to economic development rather than to military programs. They are concerned that the major portion of our peace package has been for military equipment. People in the United States understand that Egypt has important defense needs and are willing to help, but they hope that this can be accomplished in a manner which will enhance rather than compete with our shared goal of accelerated economic development in Egypt. I am prepared to work with you closely, Mr. President, as our two countries develop together the most effective response to Egyptian needs. I am sure that this can be done while taking into account the political and financial constraints within which I must function.

I will be sending you a further message5 following the Tokyo Summit,6 where I will be pressing for sympathetic consideration of Egypt’s economic programs. As you are also aware, Ambassador Strauss will be bringing with him a small group of business and labor executives to work further with your colleagues in developing areas of additional economic cooperation.

[Page 879]

In Vienna I raised with President Brezhnev the issue of renewal of the UNEF mandate.7 Our discussion was inconclusive. Though we will not be totally sure of the final Soviet position until the Security Council meets, I am not now encouraged that the USSR can be brought to cooperate with us. We have under study your concept of an all-African force. Whether it is feasible as an alternative has to be considered carefully. Our two governments and Israel will have to consult closely on a common strategy.

With regard to the peace process, Bob Strauss will be discussing the critical issues with you.8 He will speak for me and with full authority. We are determined to make progress, and I look forward to receiving his report when he returns.

With my warmest best wishes,


Jimmy Carter, Unquote.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 117, 6/26–30/79. Secret; Sensitive; Immediate; Nodis. Sent for information Immediate to the White House. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Marthinsen; cleared by Draper, Jack R. Perry (S/S), McGiffert, Daniel A. O’Donohue (PM), Flaten, Benson, Aaron, Strauss, and Saunders; approved by Christopher. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840130–1980) Vance was in South Korea, accompanying Carter on a state visit.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 259.
  3. On July 1, the Department informed Atherton that Carter approved the text of the message as proposed and authorized him to convey it to Sadat. (Telegram 170470 to Cairo, July 1; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850004–1691) Atherton delivered the message to Sadat the next day, following the presentation of his ambassadorial credentials, at the Ras El Tin Palace in Alexandria. (Telegram 554 from Alexandria, July 2; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840166–2400)
  4. See Document 262.
  5. See Document 275.
  6. See footnote 8, Document 259.
  7. See Document 265.
  8. See Document 271.