69. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel1

Tosec 110017/245637. Subject: Oral Message From the President on Settlements Issue.

1. Following is text of an oral message from the President to Begin for you to give to Begin in the course of your discussion2 with him on Camp David Agreement on question of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. President’s intention is that you have this message to use at the moment you consider most useful in your further talks with Begin on this issue.3 Unlike other message4 that is being sent you at same time this one is not necessarily to be delivered immediately but, as already stated, to be used at the time and in way you judge most appropriate [Page 257]and useful. You will understand that this oral message is not rpt not a part of formal exchange of letters on settlements issue.

2. Begin quote.

As I have previously indicated to you, my understanding of the agreement5 we reached at Camp David regarding the question of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza is as follows.

Begin inner quote.

After the signing of this framework and during the negotiations, no new Israeli settlements will be established in this area. The issue of future Israeli settlements will be decided and agreed among the negotiating parties. End inner quote.

The negotiations referred to were obviously those to establish the self-government in the West Bank and Gaza because the paragraph which we discussed late Saturday evening6 was in that section of the document. It was never related to the Sinai negotiations.

I did not interpret your agreement to imply a five-year moratorium.

I want to reiterate my government’s view that the settlements could become a serious obstacle to peace. Construction of new settlements during the negotiations could have the most serious consequences for the successful fulfillment of the Agreements. End quote.

Christopher
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 113, 9/24–30/78. Secret; Sensitive; Cherokee, Immediate; Nodis. Sent for information Immediate to the Secretary’s Delegation. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Korn, cleared by Quandt and Tarnoff; approved by Saunders. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840156–2110) Vance was in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.
  2. See Document 70
  3. Lewis presented Carter’s oral message to Begin during his meeting with the Prime Minister, September 29. (Telegram 13646 from Tel Aviv, September 29, National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number])
  4. Not further identified. Reference is possibly to telegram Tosec 110016/245587 to Tel Aviv, September 27, which contained a brief message of congratulations from Carter to Begin, to be delivered in the event of a Knesset vote in favor of Accords. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780394–1287)
  5. See Document 54.
  6. September 16.