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Carter Letter to Begin

August 18, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sources close to Premier Menachem Begin profess themselves delighted with the tenor of a three-page personal letter to the Premier from President Carter delivered this week by U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis. “A real love letter” was how one top source described the missive.

The source said Carter reiterated in the firmest and warmest tones his commitment to Israel’s security, and his personal manner of address to Begin gratifyingly bore out Begin’s own repeated claim that the two men had established a real rapport.

But official sources were reticent as to the political content of the letter. Observers believed it dealt in part at least with the situation in southern Lebanon which has taken a turn for the worse in recent days. The fact that Damascus announced yesterday that President Hafez Assad of Syria had also received a letter from Carter–and also declined to disclose its contents–seemed to confirm the guess that Carter was appealing to both leaders to act with restraint and to restrain the warring parties in south Lebanon.

Begin last week became the first Israeli leader to acknowledge publicly that Israel extends direct military aid to the Lebanese Christians in their war with the Palestine Liberation Organization and leftist Moslems. Begin told an Israel Bonds conference in Jerusalem that Israeli artillery fires at Moslem guns when they open up on the beleaguered Christian villages in the border region. The Premier said that without Israeli aid the Christians would have been massacred.

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