Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Text of Shultz Letter to Shamir

March 8, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Following is the text of the letter Secretary of State George Shultz presented Friday to Premier Yitzhak Shamir.

The letter, published Sunday in Yediot Achronot, outlines the secretary’s timetable for peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states and Palestinians:

March 4, 1988

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I set forth below the statement of understanding which I am convinced is necessary to achieve the prompt opening of negotiations on a comprehensive peace. This statement of understandings emerges from discussions held with you and other regional leaders. I look forward to the letter of reply of the government of Israel in confirmation of this statement.

The agreed objective is a comprehensive peace providing for the security of all the states in the region and for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Negotiations will start on an early date between Israel and each of its neighbors which is willing to do so. These negotiations could begin by May 1, 1988. Each of these negotiations will be based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, in all their parts.

The parties to each bilateral negotiation will determine the procedure and agenda of their negotiation. All participants in the negotiations must state their willingness to negotiate with one another.

As concerns the negotiations between the Israeli delegation and the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, negotiations will begin on arrangements for a transitional period, with the objective of completing them within six months. Seven months after transitional negotiations begin final-status negotiations will begin, with the objective of completing them within one year.


These negotiations will be based on all the provisions and principles of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. Final-status talks will start before the transitional period begins. The transitional period will begin three months after the conclusion of the transitional agreement and will last for three years.

The United States will participate in both negotiations and will promote their rapid conclusion. In particular, the United States will submit a draft agreement for the parties’ consideration at the outset of the negotiations on transitional arrangements.

Two weeks before the opening of negotiations, an international conference will be held. The secretary general of the United Nations will be asked to issue invitations to the parties involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

All participants in the conference must accept United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and renounce violence and terrorism. The parties to each bilateral negotiation may refer reports on the status of their negotiations to the conference, in a manner to be agreed. The conference will not be able to impose solutions or veto agreements reached.

Palestinian representation will be within the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. The Palestinian issue will be addressed in the negotiations between the Jordanian-Palestinian and Israeli delegations. Negotiations between the Israeli delegation and the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation will proceed independently of any other negotiations.

This statement of understanding is an integral whole. The United States understands your acceptance is dependent on the implementation of each element in good faith.

Sincerely yours,

George Shultz

Recommended from JTA