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Brzezinski Advises Carter on Camp David Strategy

(August 31, 1978)

A secret memo from National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to President Jimmy Carter advising him on how to handle Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during peace talks at Camp David in 1978. Brzezinski is especially concerned about the Soviet Union strengthening its position in the region if negotiations fail. He says both leaders should be told U.S. relations with their countries will suffer if either is responsible for the collapse of negotiations.

Presumably referring to Sadat’s decision to go to Jerusalem, which angered the Americans because it upset Carter’s plan for an international conference, Brzezinski says Sadat should be told “we cannot afford any more surprise moves by him.”

He advises Carter to be even tougher on Begin and threaten to publicly blame Israel if U.S. interests are harmed by his intransigence, highlight the amount of aid Israel receives, lay out American positions for a settlement and say the U.S. will refuse to defend Israel if talks shift to the UN or Geneva.

He also suggests asking Sadat to refrain from accepting public U.S. proposals to avoid creating the impression that America is “colluding with the Egyptians.”

Brzezinski lays out positions he believes both countries should accept and the consequences of the failure of negotiations.

Source: CIA.