346. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State and the White House1

4921. Subject: Personal Letter From President Sadat to President Carter.

1. Secret-entire text.

2. Vice President Mubarak asked me to call on him this morning to hand me a sealed envelope containing a personal letter2 from President Sadat to President Carter which Mubarak asked be delivered urgently. We are sending letter with special courier, RSO May, who will arrive at Dulles on TWA 803 via New York at 1909 Washington time, Wednesday, March 5. Unless instructed otherwise, May will deliver letter to S/S in an envelope addressed to Peter Tarnoff for transmittal to the President.

3. Mubarak said that the letter had been handwritten and sealed by President Sadat and he did not know the details of its content. He believed, however, that it deals with the general subject of the autonomy negotiations. The President, according to Mubarak, has spent the past several days thinking about this subject and has developed some ideas which he wants to share personally with President Carter. Mubarak noted in this connection that Sadat has been briefed on the recent meeting in The Hague among Prime Minister Khalil, Minister Burg and

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Ambassador Linowitz.3 Mubarak also recalled that during my February 25 meeting with Sadat (at which Mubarak was present) Sadat had stressed the need for the U.S. and Egypt to coordinate their positions and for the U.S. to begin now to play an active role in the negotiations (Cairo 4263).4

4. According to Mubarak, President Sadat has mentioned to him in the past few days the possibility that he might send Mubarak to Washington to discuss the negotiations. Mubarak, who clearly does not relish that prospect, told me he does not know whether the President’s letter is a substitute for such a mission by him.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P870047–2258. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis.
  2. In a handwritten, undated letter to Carter, Sadat discussed the lack of progress in the autonomy negotiations noting: “I must tell you in all candor that the time has come to accelerate the pace of progress and make a more meaningful breakthrough in connection with substantive issues of special importance in the weeks ahead.” Sadat added: “In the coming few weeks, we should maintain close consultation and coordination. We can devise a joint course of action which could serve our purpose. It would be useful too, if we check with one another before submitting any ideas or proposals. On the other hand, it is obvious that the situation calls for a greater degree of persuasion with the Israelis. They should be brought to understand that the situation does not justify any further delays. I firmly believe that they are likely to moderate their views and agree with us on a formula that complies with the letter and spirit of the Camp David ‘Framework,’ if they feel that we both are determined to hold them to their commitments and reach agreement on a workable plan for the transitional period. For all these reasons combined, I am thinking of asking Vice President Moubarak to see you and convey to you directly my thoughts,” before the next round of negotiations scheduled for March 25. Upon his copy of the letter, Carter wrote: “Zbig—You, Cy, & Sol read. Then see me.” Next to this note, he also wrote: “No copies.” (Carter Library, Plains File, President’s Personal Foreign Affairs File, Box 1, Egypt, 11/77–11/81)
  3. Linowitz conveyed a summary of the February 27–28 tripartite talks in The Hague in telegram 58694 to Tel Aviv and Cairo, March 5. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 36, Israel: 3/1–15/80)
  4. In telegram 4263 from Cairo, February 25, Atherton provided to Linowitz in Bonn a complete report of that day’s meeting with Sadat and Mubarak on the autonomy talks. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P870047–1828)