Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

U.S. Welcomes Cabinet Decision: Will Maintain Contact with Jerusalem. Cairo Through ‘diplomatic Chan

November 22, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States said today that the Israeli Cabinet has accepted “all but one element” of the American-drafted Egyptian-Israeli “treaty package” that was presented to both governments two weeks ago and that further peace negotiations will be conducted and contacts maintained with Jerusalem and Cairo through “diplomatic channels.”

The “one element” apparently is the proposal by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance that Israel and Egypt exchange letters agreeing to his compromise that elections to the administrative councils on the West Bank and Gaza Strip be held 12 months after Israel’s initial withdrawal from Sinai. Israel wants no set date and Egypt wants the elections held within 6-9 months.

Speaking for the U.S. alone and not for the Blair House conference delegations collectively, George Sherman of the State Department expressed the U.S. government’s reaction to today’s decision by the Israeli Cabinet as follows:

“We welcome the decision of the Israeli Cabinet today to accept all but one element of the treaty package we presented to them. We will now be in touch with the Egyptian government about its position and will be consulting with both governments on further steps in the negotiating process.”

Sherman noted that Premier Menachem Begin of Israel telephoned President Carter this morning to explain Israel’s decision. Their conversation lasted 20 minutes. Carter telephoned Begin Saturday night when they talked for 15 minutes. Sherman said that conversation was “looking toward the Cabinet decision.” The Israeli Cabinet met on Sunday and again today.


Asked if the U.S. thinks an exchange of letters is required to implement the Egyptian-Israeli treaty, Sherman replied, “That obviously gets into the element in the package that has not been agreed to.” He added, “The U.S. has submitted proposals” to Egypt and Israel on Nov. II and “obviously more negotiations are necessary on the issue.” He emphasized, “We stand behind it,” meaning Vance’s proposals on linkage.

Sherman alluded several times to the exchange of letters suggested by Vance. When asked if the U.S. still believes there ought to be negotiated, he said “obviously no agreement has been reached.”

He noted that Israel has accepted the treaty and annexes and preamble. “We have to find out what Egypt’s position is” and “then we’ll decide what is next in the process,” he said. But he acknowledged that complete agreement has not been reached yet on the military annexes and said the military members of the Israeli and Egyptian delegations conferred separately with the U.S. delegation on that issue yesterday. He said agreement on the issue of Sinai oil also has yet to be reached.

Asked if Egypt has accepted the Nov. II draft proposal, Sherman replied that “the package was referred to the governments for approval. Israel now has made its decision on the treaty portions of the package.”

When a reporter suggested that the U.S. has hardened its position on linkage, Sherman said that “it is clear the one element is the issue between the two Camp David accords. That has not been accepted. So it is not a question of hardening the U.S. position.” He would not comment when asked if the U.S. was disappointed that Israel failed to accept the one element. He said the U.S. would be in contact with the parties through “diplomatic channels” and “this will start quite soon.”

Recommended from JTA