Carter: U.S. Will Help to Resolve Mideast Conflict; Sadat; Occupied Territories, Palestinian Issue a
Menu JTA Search

Carter: U.S. Will Help to Resolve Mideast Conflict; Sadat; Occupied Territories, Palestinian Issue a

Download PDF for this date

President Carter welcomed President Anwar Sadat of Egypt at the White House today with assurances that the United States will “lend its own offices” for a peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict and that “We understand the common ground on which peace may be found.”

The Egyptian leader, thanking the President for the opportunity to visit Washington for the second time in 18 months, spoke of the occupation of territory and the Palestinian issue which he described as “the crux and core” of the Middle East dispute.

He mentioned no formula for peace with Israel however, and neither man referred, during the welcoming ceremony, to the Geneva conference, Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 or to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Sadat spoke of a Palestinian “political entity” but did not mention a Palestinian “political entity” but did not mention a Palestinian “homeland” or “state.” (See related story P. 3.)

Carter greeted Sadat in the East Room of the White House instead of on the lawn because of rain, with protocol almost identical to that followed during the visit of Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin one month ago. The ceremonies were attended by about 100 members of the Egyptian Embassy staff and their guests and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy who is accompanying Sadat. Carter and Sadat later adjourned for the first in a series of meetings, attended by Vice-President Walter Mondale, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Zbigniew Brzezinski, chairman of the National Security Council.

Carter expressed the hope that 1977 will be “a fruitful year” and “an inspiration to us all” in the search for a Middle East peace. He praised Sadat’s achievements in the past and said he hoped “his achievements might be even greater this year.” Referring to the peoples of the “eastern part of the Mediterranean,” Carter said the U.S. sought “the opportunity for improved trade and economic benefits for the citizens there,” and end to the military arms race and the opportunity for the people of the region “to live in harmony one with the other.”


In his response, Sadat declared that the U.S. has “a certain mission to fulfill” to make a “major contribution” to peace in the Middle East He reminded Carter that “you fully assumed responsibility,” adding “You fully assumed responsibility” adding “You cannot allow the occupation of land.” Sadat told the President:

“There is every indication that you are aware of the centrality of the Palestinian cause to the entire dispute. It is the core and crux of the issue. No progress whatever can be achieved so long as this problem remains unsolved. In your public pronouncements in recent weeks you came very close to the proper context. What is needed is the establishment of a political entity where the Palestinians can, at long last, be a community of citizens, not a group of refugees. The humanitarian dimension of their plight is merely one of the aspects of the problem. Their yearning to exercise their normal rights remains the heart of the issue.”

During the White House welcome, which coincided with the second day of Passover, Sadat said that “Egypt for 7000 years has been a land of ideals and principles” and a country that placed the “highest value” on human feelings. He said he had an “open mind and an open heart” to work with President Carter who he described as the “personification of the new spirit emerging in America today.” He called for “a bold change without delay” In approaches to the Middle East problem.

Sadat has a heavy schedule during his three-day visit in Washington. His meeting with Carter this morning was followed by lunch with Vance at the State Department. He will return to the White House this evening for a working dinner with Carter and other Administration officials. Sadat’s schedule also includes meetings tomorrow with Defense Secretary Harold Brown. Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal and David Rockefeller, chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank. On Wednesday he will meet with H.J. Heinz II, chairman of the board of the Agri-Business Council and Secretary of Agriculture Robert Bergland.

The Egyptian leader is expected to ask the U.S. for military hardware and economic aid. The arms list, according to Capitol Hill sources and Sadat himself prior to his arrival here, includes 250 F-5E warplanes for delivery over the next five years, 12 Hercules transport aircraft, TOW anti-tank missiles, ground-to-air missiles and electronic equipment. Sadat also said he will be seeking $5-10 billion in U.S. credits.


Before his arrival in Washington yesterday, Sadat visited Bonn and Paris where he had talks with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. He told newsmen at a press conference in the French capital yesterday that all Arabs were in agreement that there should be an “official and declared relation between the new Palestinian state and the Kingdom of Jordan.”

He said the Arab governments and Jordan were prepared to offer such a link as a basis for reconvening the Geneva conference where “all parties present would sign a peace agreement, including Israel.”

Sadat said he was “optimistic” because “there are many encouraging signs” for reactivating the Geneva talks and reaching a peace agreement. He referred to Carter’s mention of a Palestinian “homeland,” his refusal to sell concussion bombs to Israel and Vance’s recent visit to the Middle East.

In Bonn, the Egyptian leader obtained an agreement from West Germany to provide Egypt with technical aid in the amount of $100 million this year. Schmidt, who accepted an invitation to visit Egypt in December, said at a press conference that the Palestinians must be represented “in one form or another” at Geneva and noted that chances for achieving a Mideast peace were “much better” now than at any previous time. Sadat told newsmen that he saw “no reason” why the current cooling of U.S.-Soviet relations should delay Mideast peace moves.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund