Jimmy Carter photo

Jerusalem, Israel Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Menahem Begin Following a Meeting.

March 11, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. This morning and this afternoon I, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser, and others have met with the Defense Council of the Government of Israel and with the Prime Minister to discuss the issues that still remain to be resolved between Israel and Egypt.

It was a friendly meeting, a frank meeting, a thorough meeting. We have not yet reached a final agreement. Important issues still remain to be resolved. All of us are dedicated to continue with our best efforts to reach success.

THE PRIME MINISTER. Thank you, Mr. President.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I subscribe to the statement made by the President. We had a long meeting with a break for luncheon. I can assure you, and my colleagues in the Cabinet say, it is one of the best they have ever eaten. And we are grateful to the President and his advisers that they honored not only our meeting but also our luncheon downstairs. And then after the luncheon we continued our talks, which were very serious; I suppose also very friendly, as the President said.

Now, we decided to call a Cabinet of the full—excuse me, we decided to call a session of the full Cabinet for tonight at 10 o'clock. And tomorrow the President will meet with our full Cabinet at 8 o'clock in the morning. So, certain issues concerning the peace treaty between us and Egypt will be clarified and decided upon by the Cabinet during the nocturnal session, so that we will be able tomorrow to give replies on those certain issues to the President.

These are the latest developments. Now we have to go to change and be prepared for the dinner in honor of our dear guest, the President of the United States.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. That was a good statement.

[At this point, the Prime Minister addressed the press in Hebrew and then answered the following questions.]

THE PRIME MINISTER. I have to shave and change and prepare my speeches. You know, I make my speeches from memory. I don't write my speeches, and I have to decide not only what to say but what not to say. And if I ignore the second problem, then I have no time for the first.

REPORTER. Are we any closer to a peace treaty after these meetings?

THE PRIME MINISTER. I cannot answer that question. I would like to say in truthfulness and give this information to your audiences respectively in the States and in Europe: We are dealing with very serious issues concerning the peace treaty, and of course we look for a solution. But the issues are very serious, and therefore we decided to convene a nocturnal session of the Cabinet, to start at 10 o'clock.

If you consider the possibility that the session of the Cabinet lasts between 3 and 4 hours—and maybe it will even be longer—then you can understand that we shall sit until the small hours of the morning. And then at 8 o'clock, the Cabinet, the whole Cabinet, will meet with the President, and then we shall be able—I will be in a position on behalf of the Cabinet to tell the President about our decisions.

I do assume that after that, Secretary Vance will go to Cairo. I am not sure and it is not for us to decide, but it is my assumption, only an assumption.

Q. Did President Sadat request any changes to the American proposals?

THE PRIME MINISTER. I cannot speak on behalf of President Sadat. Now you will understand the delicacy of the situation. I cannot divulge anything as far as the contents of our talks are concerned. What I can say to you is the President and the Secretary of State and all their advisers, the American delegation, brought to us certain proposals from Cairo. And there are other issues on which, for the time being, there are no proposals but only ideas, and we shall deal tonight with all of them. And tomorrow we shall inform the Knesset about our decisions.

Q. Is there any likelihood that President Carter will prolong his stay here?

THE PRIME MINISTER. This question you must put to the President.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 5:40 p.m. to reporters assembled outside the Prime Minister's office, where the meetings were held. As printed above, the Prime Minister's exchange with the reporters follows the White House press release.

Earlier in the day, the President met with President Navon at the Israeli President's residence. Following the meeting, President Carter was met by Prime Minister Begin, and they went to Yad Vashem, the memorial to Jews killed during World War II. At Yad Vashem, the President visited the Hall of Names, which contains books listing the names of known victims of the Holocaust, and then went to the Hall of Remembrance for a wreath laying ceremony.

The President and the Prime Minister then visited Mount Herzl, site of the cemetery where many Israeli war heroes and national leaders are buried.

Jimmy Carter, Jerusalem, Israel Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Menahem Begin Following a Meeting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248999

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives