4. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

203927. For the Ambassador. Subject: Message to Gromyko.

1. Please deliver the following message to the Foreign Minister.2

2. Quote.

Dear Mr. Minister:

Having just completed my trip to Israel and Egypt, I wanted to say a few words to you about the reasons for President Carter’s invitation to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to meet with him at Camp David.

As you know, we believe it is essential to continue efforts to build on the breakthrough that resulted from President Sadat’s visit to Israel last year.3 Serious work has been done in the discussions since then.

While progress has been made, it has become clear that discussions must now take place at the highest political level. Agreements must be reached on the key issues of withdrawal, security, and the determination of the Palestinians’ future before negotiations can succeed at the [Page 9] ministerial and technical levels. Our hope is to make progress at the summit on these basic issues.

We hope the Soviets will lend support to this endeavor, realizing its importance as a step toward achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

On another subject, we are working on the response that Paul Warnke will be delivering to you, and I hope that it will be ready soon.

Sincerely, Cyrus Vance

End quote.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840140–2243. Secret; Cherokee; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Tarnoff; approved by Vance.
  2. Toon delivered the message to Soviet Acting Foreign Minister Korniyenko on August 14. Toon reported to Vance that after reading the letter and undertaking to transmit it to Gromyko, Korniyenko “commented that your hope that the Soviet Union would support the Camp David Summit meeting was unfounded. The Soviet side considers the path of Egypt-Israeli talks to be a blind alley which can cause ‘dangerous complications’ in the Middle East. Noting that in my view the Soviet position was wrong, I told Korniyenko that as a careful reader of the Soviet press I was not surprised at his response.” (Telegram 19273 from Moscow, August 14; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850067–1888)
  3. Sadat visited Jerusalem November 19–21, 1977, becoming the first Arab head of state to publicly travel to Israel since its founding in 1948. During his visit, Sadat gave a speech in Arabic at the Knesset, calling for Israel’s withdrawal from territory acquired during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war as well as a permanent home for the Palestinians. A full translation of Sadat’s speech is in “Transcripts of Sadat and Begin Addresses,” The New York Times, November 21, 1977, p. 17.