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Visit of Prime Minister Begin of Israel White House Statement Issued Following the First Meeting Between the President and the Prime Minister.

July 19, 1977

President Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin met in the Cabinet Room for 2 hours. The meeting was also attended by the Vice President, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant Secretary of State Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., United States Ambassador to Israel Samuel Lewis, and William Quandt of the National Security Council staff on the American side; and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Simcha Dinitz, Advisor to the Prime Minister Shmuel Katz, Minister of the Embassy of Israel Hanan Bar-On, Director of the Prime Minister's Bureau Yechiel Kadishai, Political Advisor to the Prime Minister Eli Mizrachi, Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Brigadier General Ephraim Poran, and Advisor to the Prime Minister Yehuda Avner on the Israeli side.

The President began by repeating his personal pleasure at welcoming Prime Minister Begin to the White House so soon after his taking office last month. The President congratulated Mr. Begin once again on his accession to national leadership and expressed confidence that this first visit will inaugurate the close working relationship natural to the leaders of two democracies with such longstanding and deep ties of friendship. Their talks were conducted in the spirit of mutual respect common to that warm friendship between our two peoples. The President and Prime Minister agreed that their meeting and the others to follow here mark a good starting point for seeking ways toward a just and durable peace in the Middle East. They pledged their determination to achieve that peace, noting that imaginative and responsible statesmanship is essential to overcoming the challenges posed.

The meeting this morning was devoted to a thorough and searching discussion of how to move toward an overall settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The President and Prime Minister each developed their ideas on the issues involved. They agreed that all the issues must be settled through negotiations between the parties based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which all the governments directly concerned have accepted. They also agreed that this goal would best be served by moving rapidly toward the reconvening of the Geneva conference this year, keeping in mind at the same time the importance of careful preparation. In this connection, they focused on the practical requirements for convening the conference, looking toward Secretary of State Vance's forthcoming trip to the area for more talks with all the leaders involved. They expressed a hope that the Prime Minister's visit will help lay the groundwork for rapid movement toward negotiations.

In the course of the talk this morning on the diplomacy of peace, the President reaffirmed the enduring American commitment to the security and well-being of Israel. He assured the Prime Minister that any differences that may occur from time to time should not be allowed to obscure America's and his personal dedication to this historic American commitment. He asked the Prime Minister to express to the people of Israel the determination of the people of the United States to help them find true peace. Discussions on how to get negotiations started between the parties will continue this afternoon in the Prime Minister's meeting with Secretary Vance. No bilateral issues were discussed at this first meeting. The President and Prime Minister will meet again tonight at the working dinner which the President is giving at the White House, and in the Cabinet Room again tomorrow morning at 10.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Prime Minister Begin of Israel White House Statement Issued Following the First Meeting Between the President and the Prime Minister. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243238

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