The Camp David Summit

Published: 1978
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President Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin embrace as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat watches September 17, 1978 during a ceremony in the East Room of the White house where two agreements providing for negotiations of a full Middle East peace treaty within three months was signed at the conclusion of the Camp David summit. (UPI Photo/Darryl Heikes/Files).

Announcer: It was early September when President Carter, President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin climbed in helicopters and disappeared behind the chain-link fence of Camp David, the Presidential retreat in Maryland. The time of decision had come, after nearly a year of drifting and backpedaling after Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem. As it was later described, the Camp David Summit came close to breaking down at least once. Begin said that it began to resemble a marathon, with meetings that lasted until 3:00 a.m. and then starting again to prepare for the next session after only a few hours' sleep. The conclusion was a personal triumph for the American President. Begin said that real name of the meeting should be the Jimmy Carter Summit, and the result was two documents: one, a set of guidelines for drawing up a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and the other ï?½

President Jimmy Carter: "One of the agreements that President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin are signing tonight is entitled Framework for Peace in the Middle East."

Announcer: There was jubilation in the air that night as Mr. Carter announced the result on a worldwide radio and television broadcast ï?½

President Jimmy Carter: "There's still great difficulties that remain and many hard issues to be settled. The questions that have brought warfare and bitterness to the Middle East for the last 30 years will not be settled overnight. But we should all recognize the substantial achievements that have been made. One of the agreements that President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin are signing tonight is entitled Framework for Peace in the Middle East."


Announcer: The high hopes were echoed by President Sadat and then by Prime Minister Begin ï?½

President Anwar Sadat: "The signing of the framework for the comprehensive peace settlement has a significance far beyond the event. It signals the emersion of a new peace initiative with the American nation in behalf of the entire process: peace."

Prime Minister Menachem Begin: "ï?½ now celebrates a great victory for the nations of Egypt and Israel and all mankind's. Mr. President, we, the Israelis, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have done for the sake of peace."

Jim Anderson: "But as it turned out, it was not the beginning of the end of turmoil; it was merely the end of the beginning. The Egyptian-Israeli negotiations which began on October 12th seemed to make good progress in the early stages, but quickly bogged down when the negotiators sent the results back to their governments. The Israeli Cabinet rejected the draft treaty and then one month later accepted it. In the meantime, the Egyptians had raised a new issue, a firm link in the peace treaty with a timetable for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which the Israelis then rejected. Once again, Middle East peace proved itself to be complicated and illusive.