151. Telegram From the Department of State to Multiple Diplomatic and Consular Posts1

244085. Exdis for Amb. and PAO from Saunders/NEA; Curran/ICA/NEA. Subject: U.S. Support for Camp David.

1. The purpose of this message is to elicit quickly your first views on the manner in which public diplomacy—broadly defined—can help develop support in the Middle East for the significant, tangible results [Page 441] of the Camp David summit.2 Specifically, we feel we are not successfully communicating with the Arabs the importance of seizing the opportunity offered by the Camp David Agreements. The highest levels of the administration have made it clear to us that the task of winning support is of the utmost importance. We are developing a plan of action here and want to incorporate your suggestions at the outset.

2. We assume: (a) that the sense of central vision and purpose of the Camp David Framework will be difficult to maintain, at least in public mind, as negotiations unfold; (b) that news media will tend to highlight divisions and negative issues, thereby contributing to erosion of momentum; (c) that moderate individuals, institutions and governments will require continuing encouragement.

3. We also assume, given the extraordinary importance of the summit, that within very broad limits ICA and State will be able to draw on private individuals and institutions within the United States, including at least limited foundation resources, for speaking, seminar, conference, personal contact and encouragement purposes. Furthermore, we think that at least some institutions and individuals in Western Europe and elsewhere will be willing to assist where third-party or neutral-ground activities seem desirable. We have had indications from our allies (and a specific offer from the U.K.) that could result in participation by friendly news media (the BBC for example) in our support effort.

4. ICA resources are, of course, available as required.

5. With above assumptions in mind, we need your recommendations on:

(a) The manner in which we can, directly or indirectly, enhance the number and potency of host-country individuals and institutions supporting summit results;

(b) The possibilities over the next several months for enhancing useful contacts between Arabs and Israelis. Such contacts need not be in the context of direct peace negotiations. It seems to us that many private American (and European) institutions are planning, or could be interested in planning, conferences and seminars on a variety of “safe” topics (economics, public administration, technical management) to which appropriate Israelis and Arabs could be jointly attracted;

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(c) The manner in which private American individuals and institutions, and USG resources as well, might be used to encourage moderate individuals and institutions in Middle East;

(d) What non-U.S. resources, public or private, could usefully be engaged.

6. We need your views as soon as possible. We realize this is a tight deadline but we would be greatly assisted if you could reply by your COB Sept. 27 and slug for reply “for ICA/NEA.”

7. We encourage you to make lateral distribution of your reply to all addresses of this message.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780392–0473. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Sent to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Manama, Sana, Tehran, Abu Dhabi, the Interests Section in Baghdad, Doha, Kuwait, Dhahran, Tunis, Tripoli, Rabat, Algiers, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Drafted in NEA/P; cleared in ICA/NEA and S/S–O and in ICA for information; approved by Saunders. On September 29, telegram 244085 to multiple posts was repeated to USUN, and, on October 3, it was repeated to the Joint Chiefs of Staff J–5 Directorate. (Ibid.) In his memoirs, Vance stated: “I had realized after my trip to Saudi Arabia and Jordan in September that we would have to conduct a major informational effort in the Arab countries to explain what Camp David really involved. I asked the International Communications Agency and Hal Saunders to propose ways of getting across the message that whatever Begin might now be saying, Camp David was a significant advance from the original self-rule proposal.” (Vance, Hard Choices, p. 237)
  2. September 5–17. The President, Sadat, and Begin returned to Washington September 17 to sign the two Camp David agreements entitled “A Framework for Peace in the Middle East Agreed at Camp David” and “Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty Between Egypt and Israel.” For the text of the agreements, see Public Papers: Carter, 1978, Book II, pp. 1523–1528.