A day of suspense and hurried high-level discussions, including a meeting of the National Security Council, the country's supreme policy making body, preceded Egypt's decision late today to continue participation in Peace talks with Israel.
President Anwar Sadat summoned an emergency meeting of the council after word was received here that Secretary of State Cyrus Vance was postponing his departure for Jerusalem because of disagreement over the agenda of the talks.
At one point this morning, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel told reporters that the expected the Jerusalem talks to be postponed indefinitely.
The National Security Council includes the leaders of Egypt's political and military institutions.
One of the members is the minister of war, Gen. Mohammed Gamassi, who last week engaged in two days of negotiations with Israeli military officials about the details of an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Sinai Peninsula and then said on Egyptian television last night that Israel's terms had been rejected as an affront to Egyptian sovereignty.
Another member is Vice President Hosni Mobarak, who had been up most of the night in contact with U.S. ambassador Hermann Eilts about the agenda dispute.
Eits conferred with Saday this morning, and as he left the president's residence beside the Nile, the official cars of the National Security Council members began arriving their occupants grim and silent.
Kamel emerged after a three-hour session to say the decision had been made to go ahead with the trip to Israel.
It was announced later that the council heard a report from Mobarak on new American proposals for the Jerusalem agenda that the Egyptians said "satisfied the viewpoints of both sides "and therefore it was decided to go ahead. No information was released on the substance of the new proposals and tonight the Ministry of Information published a communique saying the negotiations were now at such a delicate stage that Egypt would not discuss them in public any further.
This drama followed several days of strongly worded complaints from Sadat that Israel has entered into the peace negotiations wanting only to take and not give and of growing impatience among this country's top officials with what they regard as unreasonable Israeli demands.
While this impatience is apparently genuine, it would also suit Egypt's negotiating purposes if the implied threat to call off the peace talks because of Israel's hard-line positions should cause the Israelis to reconsider their approach.