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Vance: a ‘declaration of Principles’ Will Be One of Three Documents at Foreign Ministers Confab in L

July 12, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance said that a “declaration of principles” to broaden “future negotiations” for a Middle East settlement will be “one of three documents” on the table when the Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministers meet with him in London next week. He told a news conference prior to his departure for Geneva for SALT talks with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko that the two other documents will be the respective proposals of Israel and Egypt. Neither of the proposals is acceptable to the other.

Vance did not elaborate on the “declaration of principles.” The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed by the State Department later that the declaration referred to by Vance is “primarily a product of negotiations between the two sides.” A Department spokesman said that “it is a paper that states the positions of the two parties up to now.” He observed that Egypt and Israel have been “tinkering” with a declaration and the Secretary’s reference is a reflection of that. He acknowledged that the U.S. has been involved in the discussions but did not say it was an American document.

Vance told reporters that he “would not confirm” reports that President Carter has worked out “pre-conditions” for a Mideast settlement. “The whole question of negotiations” in the Middle East has not yet “reached a final point,” he said.

Vance described both the Israeli and Egyptian proposals as having “deficiencies” but said they also have “positive elements” and “we should build on those positive elements.” He said the London meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kaamel and himself would seek “to identify ways of finding how we might narrow the differences” and “the only way this can be done is to get the parties face-to-face in direct discussions with each other.”

Asked for his views on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, the Secretary reiterated that UN Security Council Resolution 242 “clearly applies to the West Bank and Gaza….There is no question about it.” However, he said, the resolution “does not specify what the boundaries will be” and “that is something that must be negotiated between and among the parties.” With respect to East Jerusalem, he said that “there is no question that has to be negotiated among the parties.”

Responding to a question as to whether the U.S. still aims at the resumption of the Geneva conference, Vance said: “The objective of the U.S. is to get the parties back together and talking now. We are getting them back together now in London. We would wish to see these negotiations broadened in the future. That is the reason one of the elements of the matters to be discussed in London is the formulation of a set of principles that could govern a comprehensive plan” of discussion to achieve “a comprehensive solution.”


Regarding the SALT talks, Vance said he disagreed with Sen. Henry Jackson (D. Wash.) who suggested earlier in the day in an NBC interview that the Secretary’s meeting with Gromyko is a “wrong signal” at this time when the Soviet government is moving harshly against dissidents. Vance said the issue of strategic weapons is “unique” and not linked to other discussions. He added, however, that the Soviet treatment of dissidents has “aggravated” Soviet-American relations.

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