67. Letter From President Carter to Egyptian President Sadat1
I have asked Ambassador Eilts to convey to you my warmest greetings.2 Once again, let me express my deep admiration for the courage and statesmanship you showed at Camp David.
The task we now face is to translate the Framework documents into a negotiating process which can quickly resolve the remaining issues in Sinai, while also setting in motion the first stages of the agreement on the West Bank and Gaza. Ambassador Eilts will discuss with you my views on how some of the contentious issues in Sinai might be best resolved. You can be assured that I remain ready to lend my full support to the successful conclusion of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
To this end, I would like to emphasize my strong belief that the talks on Sinai should begin without delay following the Knesset vote. Immediately after the Knesset has approved3 the Camp David agreements, it might be desirable for General Gamasy to meet with Minister Weizman in Washington to discuss with me the Sinai security arrange[Page 252]ments and withdrawal. Could you please give Ambassador Eilts your thoughts on this matter?
We also share an interest in the rapid initiation of talks to let the Palestinians form their own government, and to implement the West Bank and Gaza commitments. As provided for in the Framework agreement, Palestinians can participate in the talks as advisers to the Egyptian and Jordanian delegations from the outset. I would appreciate hearing from you the names of Palestinians whom you would judge appropriate for inclusion in your delegation, and also regarding Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza with whom discussions on the arrangements for self-government should be initiated.
Finally, we want to move rapidly to work with you to help stabilize the situation in Lebanon. Ambassador Eilts will be prepared to convey your views to me personally on this vitally important issue.
With friendship and respect,
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 11, Egypt: 9–12/78. No classification marking. At the end of the letter, Carter added the handwritten notation: “Best wishes. I would like to see a peace treaty in a few days of negotiations—not a few weeks. J.”↩
- Eilts delivered the letter to Sadat on September 28. At Carter’s request, Eilts raised three additional points with the Egyptian President during their meeting. First, Eilts suggested that Gamasy be sent to Washington for the upcoming Sinai negotiations. Second, he asked Sadat to appoint some Palestinian representatives to serve as “advisers” to the Egyptian delegation. Third, Eilts raised the possibility of granting Israel overflight rights in Sinai. (Telegram 21796 from Cairo, September 28; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850067–2151)↩
- The Knesset voted to approve the Camp David Accords and the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the Sinai Peninsula on September 28, 1978. The vote was 84 in favor, 19 against and 17 abstentions. (Dial Torgerson, “Knesset Approves Begin’s Mideast Peace Agreement,” Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1978, p. B1)↩