Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Saudi Arabia Will Not Dictate U.S. Mideast Policy, Carter Tells Evron

August 14, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Carter told Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron last week that United States policy in the Middle East will not be dictated by Saudi Arabia, according to report Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan gave the Cabinet yesterday.

Carter reportedly complained to Evron during a luncheon meeting at the White House last Wednesday that Israel doubted his intentions. “Would I desert Israel?” he asked. He reportedly explained to the Ambassador that he could not do so for both moral and political reasons. He added that if he went back on his commitments to Israel this would hurt him politically.

Evron reportedly replied that senior Administration officials were acting contrary to Carter’s commitments. As an example, he said James Leonard, the deputy head of the U.S. delegation to the autonomy talks, had proposed positions such as allowing East Jerusalem Arabs and Palestinians living outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip to vote, international supervision of the autonomy elections and allowing the self-governing authority (administrative council) under the autonomy plan to have legislative, judicial as well as executive power. Members of the Israeli ministerial team on the autonomy talks said that Leonard had taken this position on instructions from Washington.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who was at the Carter-Evron meeting, reportedly said that Interior Minister Yosef Burg, who heads the Israeli delegation to the autonomy talks, did not understand the nature of the American proposals. Evron then read the protocol in order to prove his point. Carter responded to this by noting. “This indeed is not in order. It must have been lack of coordination.”


Carter reportedly repeated his commitment not to support a Palestinian state, although he supported the establishment of “full autonomy” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the context of the Camp David agreements. Carter said he had his doubts whether this was what Israel wanted.

Evron asked what the U.S. position is on the Kuwaiti proposal at the United Nations Security Council to grant the Palestinians the right of self-determination. Carter reportedly promised that the U.S. would use the right of veto to veto any such proposal. However, Dayan noted, it was not clear whether the U.S. would also veto a similar suggestion with a different wording. Dayan expressed concern about a possible coordination between the U.S. and the nine members of the European Economic Community. He expressed confidence that Israel could rally U.S. Jewry behind Israel’s position on autonomy.

Recommended from JTA