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

Tosec 110031/246945. Subject: Message From the President to Begin on Egypt—Israel Negotiations.

1. Deliver2 following to Prime Minister as soon as Knesset votes approval of Camp David Agreements. Begin text.

[Page 267]Dear Mr. Prime Minister: Once again, let me express my deep admiration for the courage and statesmanship you showed at Camp David. I am naturally gratified by the overwhelming approval given to the Camp David Agreements by the Government of Israel and by the Knesset.

2. 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. I want to assure you, as I have President Sadat, that I remain ready to lend my full support to the successful conclusion of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. To this end, I believe every effort should be made to begin the talks on Sinai without delay following the Knesset vote. Now that the Knesset has acted, it would be desirable for Minister Weizman to meet with General Gamasy in Washington to explore the issues regarding Sinai security arrangements and withdrawal. Could you please give me your thoughts on this?

3. We will also want to move as rapidly as possible to initiate talks to implement the provisions of the West Bank and Gaza portion of the framework agreement. Ambassador Atherton will fill you in fully on Secretary Vance’s talks with King Hussein, the Saudi leadership, [and] President Assad. King Hussein has not made up his mind about joining the negotiations but is giving the matter his most serious consideration. He has indicated he needs more time and would like to have further exchanges with us on the subject. I hope that he will decide to join once he fully understands the benefits that Jordan and the Palestinians stand to reap from their participation in the Agreements.

4. With friendship and respect, Sincerely, Jimmy Carter

End Quote.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 113, 9/24–30/78. Secret; Sensitive; Niact Immediate; Exdis Distribute as Nodis. Sent for information Immediate to Cairo, USDEL Secretary in New York, and the White House. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Korn; cleared by Quandt and Stanislaus R.P. Valerga (S/S–O); approved by Saunders. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840156–2116) An earlier, draft version of the message to Begin, with Carter’s amendments, as well as a September 27 covering memorandum from Brzezinski to Carter bearing Carter’s initialed approval, is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 9, Israel: Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 7–12/78.
  2. Carter’s message was delivered to Begin by Lewis on September 29. At that meeting, also attended by Atherton, Begin proposed that the treaty negotiations begin in Washington on October 12 and confirmed that, in addition to Dayan, the Israeli delegation would consist of Weizman and Burg. Moreover, Begin and Dayan stressed to Lewis “that first agenda item should be nature of peace, not details of Sinai withdrawal, since withdrawal principles all basically agreed to at Camp David.” (Telegram 13624 from Tel Aviv, September 29; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850040–2083) On September 9, Lewis reported on a lunch with Dayan and Atherton following this meeting, and confirmed U.S. agreement on the October 12 date, pending Sadat’s approval. At the lunch, Dayan and Atherton discussed further the timing of the negotiations concerning the West Bank. Dayan suggested that he would like to see the Israeli military government abolished and the self-governing body installed within three months, but that “frankly” he would like to see an Israeli-Egyptian agreement signed before West Bank self-government began. (Telegram 13716 from Tel Aviv, October 1; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840157–2010)