U.S. Seeks to Defuse Egyptian Anger over U.S.-israel Memorandum
Menu JTA Search

U.S. Seeks to Defuse Egyptian Anger over U.S.-israel Memorandum

Download PDF for this date

The United States described today Egyptian anger over U. S. security assurances to Israel should the Egyptian-Israeli treaty be violated as a “disagreement between friends and suggested that the assurances were designed for Israel’s domestic political purposes.

Only two days after the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli treaty, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustapha Khalit publicly denounced yesterday the U. S. assurances as “detrimental to the peace process.” He also told a dozen reporters here that the memorandum will “cast grave doubts about the real intention of the United States” and that it is “directed against Egypt.” He said Egypt would refuse to recognize the agreement.

State Department spokesman Hodding Carter, referring to Khalil’s two letters of protest about the memorandum this week to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, said “we have worked too closely together in the post and too closely together now for this to be anything more than a disagreement between friends and we will continue to work closely in the future.”

A few hours after Khalil had met with reporters, the State-Department issued late yesterday, a day ahead of schedule, the U. S. Israeli memorandum on security and another that reaffirmed the oil supply arrangement of 1975 and extended to 1990, a period of 15 years.


Herbert Hansell, State Department legal counsel, repeatedly emphasized, in a special briefing to the media at the State Department today, that the security memorandum commitments will not be implemented before it is “demonstrated to satisfaction of the United States that there has been a violation or a threat of violation of the peace treaty and, after that, the United States “will consult with the parties which measures to half or prevent the violation.” and “remedial measures” would be subject to the “constitutional processes and applicable Jaws” of both the U. S. and Israel.

This memorandum provides that the U. S. “will provide support it deems appropriate for proper actions taken by action in response” to “demonstrated violations” of the treaty, including “a blockade of Israel’s use of international waterways,” limitations of forces under the treaty, or an armed attack. In these instances, the U. S. would “consider on an urgent basis, such measures as the strengthening of the United States presence in the area, providing emergency supplies” to Israel and “the exercise of maritime rights in order to put an end to the violation.”

Hansell was asked by a reporter whether the security agreement is being regarded generally as far out of proportion to its importance in view of U. S.-Israeli relations and his own emphasis on the U. S. requirement of consultation and constitutional processes before acting. This, the reporter added, would mean that while the processes was taking place, the Six-Day War, for example, would have been over or there would have been no airlift to Israel in October, 1973.


“Obviously,” Hansell replied, “it is a matter that is a very substantial political reassurance to Israel. Naturally, the parties reactions are tailored to their particular constituencies. But it has very important political significance to Israel and we responded to it in that vein.”

He noted that the security memorandum is “not an alliance, not intended to be and cannot be fairly construed as an alliance. “This was in reference to Khalil’s statement that the memorandum is a U. S.-Israel alliance “against Egypt.” Hansell said that Egypt was informed “in advance that the assurances would be given. A similar document was offered to Egypt. It was indicated by Egypt it would not have objected to assurances regarding the treaty.”

He said that “we are comfortable there was adequate once advice this was to be done and a similar arrangement was available to Egypt if desirable. ” He added “the whole purpose is to give both parties our assurance of remaining in a back-up role to the treaty.”

Hansell described the memorandum as “an executive agreement” and thus not subject to Senate confirmation and that “it is binding on us. But, of course, in accordance with its terms, our laws and the judgement of the United States.” Asked whether Israel would have agreed to the treaty without this memorandum, he replied he had “no way of answering that question.” He also said that the memorandum. “now is in force.”

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