(16 September 1977)

Source in Hebrew:
Note:
Israel National archives published about 40 classified documents on November 27, 2013 that described the secret contacts and the preparations for Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem on November 20, 1977 [source]

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Strictly to the addressee Top Secret 

October 18, 1977

Prime Minister office/778

Subject: Dayan-Tuhami Meeting on September 16, 1977

General: 

1.The Foreign Minister arrived in Rabat on a special flight at 7:15 PM on September 16,
1977. He was accompanied by his bodyguard, the deputy of Dalimi and our representative in Morocco. The group left for La Bourges airport at 3:30 AM, on September 17.

2.Upon arrival, the group was guided by Dalimi to the King’s guest house, which is located next to his royal villa.

3.After a brief rest, Dalimi took Dayan and our representative to the royal residence at 8:45 PM. They entered through a special back entrance that is used, according to Dalimi, for secret visitors and undercover guests.

4.The group was met by………who assisted Dayan in taking off his disguise and make-up and regaining his natural appearance. The group then entered one of the special, vast salons, decorated with modern furniture, where the King and his entourage awaited Dayan’s arrival.

5.As Dalimi explained, Tuhami requested to meet with the King before our arrival, and the king conversed with him before we got there.

6.The people present at the meeting were the King, his Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Court Minister, Dalimi, Tuhami, Dayan and our representative in Morocco. All were sitting in semi-circles next to tea table. The serving was done only by two people who saw Dayan in his natural appearance while he was hosted in Ifran (the King Palace).

7.The meeting lasted four hours with no intermission. It was carried out during the short period of time when the King left to meet his mother who came to visit him.

8.From the start, the atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly. The conversation was polite and interwoven with humorous exchanges. All were inspired by the informality of the King himself.

9.After the meeting, the King led the participants to an adjacent dining room where dinner was served at around 1 AM. The participants carried on political conversations and expressed general and personal impressions.

10. At 1:45 Dalimi led us to the guest house and after an hour of rest, Dalimi’s deputy for administrative affairs……..drove us to the airport where we took off in a special flight to La Bourges at 3:30 AM.

11.At the beginning of the meeting with Tuhami, Dayan presented the King with a set of Canaanite weapons form Dayan’s personal collection. No other presents were exchanged.

12.All the technical, logistical and security arrangements concerning the trip went smoothly……Suggested that in future visits, Dayan should wear sunglasses with darker lenses because the ones he was wearing were too transparent.

13.Dayan promised Tuhami to send him his book in English.

The dialogue

14.The following is a summary of the participants’ comments and opinions in the discussion, without a chronological order of questions and responses.

15.The King

A.Introduced Tuhami, who enjoys Sadat’s complete trust in anything concerning the
inspiring purpose of peace. He is also a person who came to conduct non-official and discreet talks. Only Sadat, his Deputy and Tuhami are privy to this meeting, which might be the dawn of a new era of direct contacts in which both sides will clarify issues of their concern.

B.After an agreement will be reached between the two parties on the main issues they will be presented to the U.S. out of respect to what she did for reaching an agreement.

C.Once the major problem of the withdrawal from the territories will be clarified, it will
not be difficult to reach proper answers to most of the cardinal issues at the end of ‘a certain period of time’ and not as Tuhami suggested ‘after a period of up to five years’.

D.These direct conversations are of utmost importance, but the U.S. should not know about them until a basic agreement is reached. This can be achieved only by working- meetings that will be conducted by the most senior persons. After the path will be laid by Dayan and Tuhami, Begin will come to talk with Sadat. Dayan has to refrain from widening the circle of those who share these secrets and arrive at the next meeting without bringing additional people. If Dayan sees fit, for the purpose of promoting the process, he may be accompanied by the Head of the Mossad.

E.The problem of returning the land to its sovereign people is the most important one. The King understands (looking at Tuhami) that the lands under Israel’s control are used solely as an assurance for its security; therefore we have to find proper alternatives. There is a need to arrive at an accepted solution to the Holy City so it will be not be an obstacle to peace.

F.The Palestinians may be the most difficult subject. The King accepts Dayan’s argument that they pose a threat to the future of Israel as they do the King of Jordan. However, we must deal with the problem in a reasonable fashion. The Palestinians must be the collective responsibility of the Arab countries, which will have to supervise them and provide assurances that they will meet Israel’s demands. The Palestinian problem is essentially an Arab problem.

G.Despite his current declarations, the President of Syria will adhere to them only while having what he perceives as the support of Sadat and the King of Jordan. The latter is sure that Assad will be convinced to join after an agreement will be reached with Sadat.

H. In summation, the King contradicted Tuhami’s assertion that Sadat will meet Begin only after his withdrawal from the occupied territories; Begin will have to promise Sadat that he supports, in principle, the withdrawal from those territories. All other problems can be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.

16. Tuhami

A.Meeting you here under the King’s roof is of great satisfaction to me. All those years
I was thinking that I would only meet you in the battlefield, or in your state’s defeat. However, here we are, both searching for peace. He expresses his thanks to the King for his efforts and the trust that Sadat has in you and Begin. You are both strong and brave leaders and we believe that you will dare to make courageous decisions for reaching a complete and true peace. Sadat did not trust your previous Government, but he trusts you.

B.Sadat is very serious about peace. We shall discuss it between us, but without the U.S. knowledge at this stage. Later on, once we formulate our positions, we shall tell them. Sadat thinks that we have to discuss all the details. He believes that together with you, a solution can be found.

C.But the problem is the returning of the territories. This is the key to peace. This is a question of sovereignty, of national dignity and Sadat’s survival.

D.If Israel fails to understand it, there will be a freeze. If Begin accepts this principle, we shall then proceed to discuss all the other important issues.

E.The question of assurance with regard to the return of territories will be a subject for negotiation once the principle is accepted.

F.It is possible to put a stop to the dangers of the radical Palestinians if the Arab counties will be allowed to deal with it. The Palestinians will become a powerful factor if we do not find a response to their national aspirations. The Arab countries can supervise their radical tendencies, most of which can be neutralized after they will fulfill their aspirations for nationhood.

G.This will allow us to deal with the communist leanings of the Palestinian as we dealt with the Russians in Egypt.

H.Even with our effort to reach peace, we do not wish to be in touch with the Soviet Union, but only with the U.S.

I.The Palestinian enclave in the East can be linked to Jordan where both Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be able to supervise the extremists and secure the survival of the King. In the South, Egypt will give guarantees to supervise the Palestinians from within Egypt itself.

J.We are requesting of you in a festive fashion to trust the word of Sadat that he will honor all obligations verbatim. He is a man of principles, dignity, pride and nobility. If he has the opportunity to agree on a formula, Sadat will walk all the way with you because both of us have common, vital interests.

K.Sadat will discuss all options of assurances. We shall aspire to have the UN on both sides of the border. In terms of assurances, you may count on the U.S., or the Soviet Union, though it will be better to remove the latter.

L.We propose, here, with the King’s support of the process, to finish all matters of our mutual concerns before Geneva. This will put pressure on the President of Syria who will have to join us after we reach an agreement.

M.Let us show our mutual peace proposals to the U.S. We shall study them; we shall meet again and discuss them. Let us have Begin accept the principle of withdrawal. Without this, our sincere intentions will be doomed, since this is the opening of the gates for a brighter future.

N.Our next meeting should be a working session. This is the beginning of official, full and comprehensive relations. They will have to be cultivated steadily. It may take three, four, five years (the King commented: ‘You should be saying certain time and not be so specific).

O.We are interested in a package deal, removing the obstacles and not in a partial deal – not in public, not in Geneva. Here, between our two sides.

P.The Holy City constitutes an important subject. You have to arrive with a concrete plan that will satisfy the religious sensitivities of the Arab countries. This will take the sting out of their worries and objections.

Q.But the main problems are the occupied territories. Sadat says that he is a soldier who had his land conquered, but he wants peace without surrendering. Once he receives Begin’s word that he agrees to withdrawal, Sadat’s dignity will be rehabilitated and it will allow him to discuss the rest of the subjects. Sadat may discuss and argue on all subjects, but not about sovereignty over his own land. Even though Sadat will not sign a final agreement by himself, he is convinced that he will succeed in having Syria and Jordan follow his steps.

R.I suggest that we meet again here after we study each of the proposals. You (Dayan) will bring Begin’s reactions to Sadat’s requests. This can be done two weeks from now.

17.The Moroccan Foreign Minister

A.(Addresses Dayan) Is it feasible to consider that the lands that you will evacuate in
the East and in the South will be transferred by the Arab countries to the Palestinians? This way we could by-pass your interaction with the Palestinians and at the same time supervise and control the dangers of radicalism.

B.(To Tuhami) what will happen if Sadat and Begin may have a common understanding and the President of Syria will not join? Don’t we have to be prepared for such options? (To this, both the King and Tuhami responded that they believe that the President of Syria will follow Sadat’s footsteps with the active support of the King and Price Fahd).

18.Dayan

A.Expresses his appreciation for the meeting. He assumes that that what is agreed upon
here will be accepted by other directly-affected Arab countries. He considers himself to be solely an emissary of Begin. He will have to bring all points to Begin and he cannot relate to them before accepting Begin’s opinion. These include Sadat’s request of Begin to agree on withdrawal as a precondition to all other discussions. The issues on hand are whether it has to serve as a guiding factor in our ensuing meetings, and whether you will agree to a Sadat-Begin meeting, even if Begin cannot fully agree on the main subject?

B.(The answer was not clear. While Tuhami understood that Begin has to commit to withdrawal from the occupied territories, the King said: ‘I allow myself to correct my
friend’ knowing Sadat and having spoken to him recently, the King will give his word of honor that Sadat will agree to meet with Begin and shake his hand only if the latter will give his personal commitment that the talks will be conducted based on the understanding of withdrawal from the occupied territories. The King related specifically to Tuhami’s interpretation that Sadat will not be able to shake Begin’s hand as long as a single Israeli soldier remains in these territories).

C. (To the King and Tuhami) Regardless of what Begin’s decision will be, he will have to have the approval of the government and the Knesset. No Israeli leader can arrive at such decision without the approval of the Knesset. (Dayan brings an example from Jarring’s failed attempts of mediation).

D.Should the elementary subjects that can be discussed by emissaries like Dayan and Tuhami be clear? Or would it be more efficient to have the persons who hold the highest ranks to have sincere, face to face talks where the foundations will be laid for the discussions by the emissaries?

E.As you (Tuhami) suggested, Sadat relies on our leadership. I have full trust in you. Every gentlemanly agreement with you I regard as a written obligation.

F.I cannot say if Begin will agree to your request. Maybe yes. Maybe not. But he will most certainly want to meet Sadat and discuss with him the subject that you suggested that Sadat wished to receive a-priori. Let them discuss it and all the rest of the subjects will be open for negotiations.

G.You may agree that the proposed formula is not that simple. Our settlements were attacked for 19 years from the mountains tops. What assurances do we have now that it will not happen again? How can we secure our ships in the Red Sea? Maybe we can find the answers together.

H.We do have rights to the territories even if they will be transferred to the sovereignty of Arab countries. The settlements in the Golan Heights, The Wailing Wall, Mount of Olives and the University, new population centers in the South – all deserve to have satisfying responses.

I.There is no historical precedent of ‘collective agreement with organizations’. We did not have war with an organization but with each one of the Arab countries with specific characteristics. Each one has to be dealt with individually. Therefore, there will be no treaty with an Arab organization of a collective nature. It is not practical. More so, Resolution 242 relates to different countries, frontiers and details about their specificities. There is no mention of an organization, or the Palestinians.

J.With regards to the demographic problem of the Palestinians, as reflected in the slogans of the President of Syria, such as, ‘all Palestinians will return to their homes’, what will really happen if they do? They will not go to small enclaves where there is no room or work, but rather enter Israel and cause demographic disaster. Another answer should be found. They need to be settled in other places.

K.(To Tuhami) What will happen to our settlements in the far South if we retreat, will you let us live there under your sovereignty as foreigners?

L.Despite the difficult and the complicated problems that we have to discuss and negotiate with you and the Jordanians, I’m not so sure about Syria. The solution to the problem of cities that are linked to religion can be easy, and satisfactory to all concerned, the same goes for the Straits in the south and the Red Sea. We can find a solution to all of our problems with Jordan, but there will be no sovereign Palestinian state.

M.We shall find an arrangement with you. We trust Sadat. We do not trust the President
of Syria, but we should begin with serious issues, immediately. I accept your proposal to exchanging peace proposals for mutual reviews, so that we could meet in two weeks. I could fly here from the U.S. on the 27th, 28th, or the 29th of this month.

N.As of now I have to return to my country instead of going to the U.S… I need to report to Begin and receive his guidelines.

19. Agreements
Here is The King’s blessing and mutual agreement:

A.Both parties will report immediately to their respective heads of states, in order to get their approval for an additional meeting.
Dayan will request Begin’s responses to obligations for a withdrawal.

B.The peace documents that shall be prepared for the U.S. will be exchanged and examined by each party until the meeting.

C.The meeting between Dayan and Tuhami will take place in Morocco in two weeks.

20. Conversations during dinner

A.The King asked Dayan why is Israel involved in the war in Ethiopia? No, Dayan responded, not in war, but in assistance. We are there because of moral obligations. They assisted us in the past, without hesitation, in sea ports and airfields when our ships and airplane were in dire predicaments. They were friendly to us and we shall not desert them now. More so, without them, our ships and airplanes would not have a place to turn to in that region. The King argued that we have to consider the changing times and soon Ethiopia will not give up some of their ports. Maybe it is wise to get closer to the moderates of the freedom movement along the shore. Dayan responded that it will not work out because the freedom movement is already associated with the Arab League.

B.When he (Tuhami) related to the 1967 war…………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………….. …………………………he related to the fact that the Egyptian air force was not on alert and that the military command underrated the situation. This was explained by Tuhami and his circles that the then Egypt President, Nasser, was a partner to a plot that he shared with Israel. ‘Tell us sincerely, Tuhami requested, in utmost seriousness from Dayan, was Nasser a partner with you then? Otherwise, how could such a defeat happen?’ There was a sense of bitterness and contempt in Tuhami’s remarks on Nasser. Tuhami plans to write a book on Nasser that will tell the whole truth about ‘a madman that brought Egypt to the verge of defeat.’

C.In a comment to our representative, Dalimi, in previous discussions, said that the King told his Prime Minister that the he will ask Sadat to send his Deputy to meet with Begin in Morocco during the expected visit of Begin with the King. Dalimi added that the King commented that it is sometimes difficult to know when Tuhami quotes Sadat accurately and which ones are reflections of his own thoughts.

D.Dayan invited Tuhami to visit Israel and witness the demographic interrelations between Jerusalem and the expanding territories and how a clear geographic division is technically impractical today. Tuhami responded in good spirit that he noted Dayan’s invitation and will come back to it in proper time.

21. Items for delivery

A.In addition to his book, Dayan promised to send Tuhami an updated map of Greater
Jerusalem so that he could see that it constitutes a comprehensive entity in which both people live in mutual economic dependency and that imposing a physical division would be incomprehensible.

B.The peace document for Tuhami.

September 11, 2014