JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
A group of seven U.S. Congressmen arrived here from Cairo today and will meet tomorrow with Premier Mehachem Begin and Defense Minister Ezer Weizman before returning to Washington. The group, headed by Rep. Lawrence McDonald (D. Ga.) is an a mission to Egypt and Israel for the House Armed Services Committee.
Meanwhile, the Middle East News Agency reported from Cairo today that Prime Minister Mustapha Khalif presented U.S. Ambassador Hermann Eilts with a letter for Secretary of State Cyrus Vance stating Egypt’s views on the resumption of peace treaty negotiations with Israel.
(The State Department’s chief spokesman, Hodding Carter, told reporters in Washington last Friday that there would not be any new developments in the Middle East peace negotiations until “the first or middle part of next week,” meaning the week beginning today. He said “We have not received a letter from the Egyptians….We have had responses from the Israelis….But nothing is set.”)
One member of the Congressional group, Rep. Donald Mitchell (R.NY), was reported to have said before he left Cairo that President Anwar Sadat made the following declaration to the delegation. “I’m ready to sign (a treaty with Israel) at this moment, right now. What is happening in Turkey and Iran make it vital that we act now. Sadat was also quoted as saying that Iran “has disappeared” as a buffer to Soviet influence in the Middle East and urged the U.S. to supply Egypt with new weapons to defend the region.