275. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

189710. Subject: President’s Response to Sadat: SALT II and Tokyo and Alexandria Summits. Refs: A. State 183955,2 B. Alexandria 06113

(S)-entire text

[Omitted here is the text of Sadat’s June 30 message to Carter, congratulating him on the signing of the SALT II Treaty in Vienna.]

2. Please transmit4 the following response from the President to President Sadat. No signed original letter will follow:

Begin text:

Dear Mr. President:

—I appreciate the very full report you gave Roy Atherton on your meeting last week with Prime Minister Begin. This can prove to be an important moment in the history of the Middle East, as you and the Prime Minister create the basis for constructive achievements this year and next.

—The Alexandria Summit has encouraged me in my belief that the peace process can and will move forward, further testifying to the courage and wisdom of your decision to go to Jerusalem only a year and a half ago.5 As you continue your work towards the goal of a permanent peace in the Middle East, both you and Prime Minister Begin will continue to have my strong support. Bob Strauss, with whom I have shared Roy Atherton’s report, also stands ready to help in any way he can.

—Mr. President, during my recent visit to Japan I raised with Prime Minister Ohira—as I had during his visit to Washington in May6—the subject of economic assistance to Egypt. The Prime Minister [Page 894] reaffirmed his government’s commitment to continuing support of your development program, but said this position can be sustained only if it is handled with great political sensitivity. We must avoid any suggestion that Japan’s decisions on aid to Egypt are in response to U.S. pressure. The Prime Minister should be given latitude to announce Japan’s commitments—which I hope will be increased—in his own way and time.

—Finally, I want to thank you for your thoughtful message of congratulations on the signing of the SALT II Agreement.7 I deeply value your encouragement.

—This was indeed an historic event. The SALT II Treaty is an important part of the evolving mosaic of a peaceful world order. Because of the destructive power of modern weapons, it is essential that the United States and the Soviet Union overcome the mistrust and tension which have affected our relations for too long. The Treaty limiting strategic arms signed at Vienna represents our continued commitment toward that goal.

—Again, please accept my thanks for your comments on the Alexandria Summit, and my best wishes for your continued success and the welfare of you and the Egyptian people.


Jimmy Carter

His Excellency

Anwar al-Sadat

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt


End text.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 11, Egypt: 7/79. Secret; Priority; Exdis.
  2. In telegram 183955 to Cairo, July 16, Strauss provided Atherton with responses to questions raised with Strauss by Sayeh regarding the Tokyo Summit, Carter’s discussions with Japanese Prime Minister Ohira regarding Japanese economic aid for Egypt, and the status of Kuwait’s economic relations with Egypt. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840163–1471)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 272.
  4. On July 23, Atherton delivered Carter’s letter to Mubarak to convey to Sadat. (Telegram 14819 from Cairo, July 23; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790340–0259)
  5. See footnote 3, Document 4.
  6. Carter was in Japan June 24–29 for a state visit and the Economic Summit meeting. Ohira visited the United States April 30–May 4.
  7. On June 17, 1979, Carter and Brezhnev signed the SALT II Treaty in Vienna. SALT II limited the total of both nations’ nuclear forces to 2,250 delivery vehicles and placed a variety of other restrictions on deployed strategic nuclear forces, including MIRVs.