Notes from Camp David Summit Published for the First Time

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28 May 2019

Notes from Camp David Summit Published for the First Time
Jørgen Jensehaugen, William B. Quandt, Louise Fischer, and Craig Daigle discuss Camp David. Photo: Neven Ahmad / PRIO

​In connection with the seminar Camp David at Forty – Lessons and Prospects PRIO is proud to present a unique primary source from the 1978 negotiations – the notes of US Middle East advisor William B. Quandt.


Forty years ago, the Camp David Accords were concluded. Signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, under the auspices of US president Jimmy Carter, on 17 September 1978, the accords set a “framework” for further Arab-Israeli peace going forward. Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts later that year.

In their Nobel lectures given in Oslo in December 1978, Begin praised Carter’s “untiring energy” and Sadat lauded Carter as “the man of highest integrity… who’s signal efforts to overcome obstacles in the way of peace deserves our keenest appreciation”. The accords were hailed as a hopeful beginning of the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict. While they did lead to Egyptian-Israeli peace the following year, peace between Israel and its other Arab neighbors, particularly the Palestinians, have remained elusive. Why has this been the case

A partial answer can be found in the notes taken by William B. Quandt during the Camp David summit, published here for the very first time. Quandt worked on President Carter’s National Security Council, and he was present at Camp David in 1978. Since leaving the Carter administration, Quandt has become a leading figure in the academic community on the Arab-Israeli conflict and US Middle East policy. Of Camp David, Quandt would later write that “this remarkable adventure in summit diplomacy achieved more than most of its detractors have been willing to acknowledge and less than its most ardent proponents have claimed”. Quandt’s notes show that the American mediators of “untiring energy” as Begin dubbed it, deserves, in Sadat’s words, “our keenest appreciation”. The notes, chronicling the 5-17 September 1978 arduous negotiations, give a revealing insight into the summit diplomacy, and the clashes of iron wills, as well as the continuous domestic considerations, sentiments and ideology that are the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

To read the notes, please visit this link.

To see the full seminar program click here:Camp David-programme (002).pdf

For a full study of the Camp David negotiations see the book by Jørgen Jensehaugen.