[Page III]

Foreword

This revised edition of Foreign Relations, 1977-1980, volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978–December 1980, incorporates additional material found since the publication of the first edition in 2014. This added material consists largely of personal handwritten notes taken at the September 5–17, 1978, Camp David summit by Samuel W. Lewis, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 1978 until 1985. Department of State historians found these notes while researching volumes for the administration of President Ronald Reagan, amidst Department material dating largely from the 1980s. Discovered subsequent to the initial publication of Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978–December 1980, these documents add significantly to the record of U.S. diplomacy at Camp David. While they do not alter substantively the portrait of U.S. diplomacy at the summit already represented in the first edition of the volume, this material does enhance the documentary record. As a result of this discovery, and its significance to the history of the Camp David summit, the decision was taken to issue a revised edition.

Although Lewis’s notes cover only a small number of meetings held at the summit, primarily at the Ministerial level, they provide the only substantial record of several individual discussions between U.S. and Israeli officials found in U.S. Government archives (see Documents 38, 39, 52, 53, 55, and 56). Most significantly, Lewis’s notes record, albeit in skeletal fashion, President Carter’s conversation with Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Begin’s Legal Adviser Aharon Barak, held on the afternoon of September 17 (see Document 56). The notes of this conversation represent the only contemporaneous record of any of the Camp David summit meetings involving President Carter that has been found in official U.S. files.

Along with Lewis’s handwritten summit notes, Department of State historians also located a more complete version of a document already published in the first edition. Sometime shortly after the summit’s completion on September 17, 1978, U.S. officials produced a draft day-by-day summary of the meetings held over its duration. Readers familiar with the first edition will note that the version of this summary document published in that edition (obtained from the Carter-era files of the National Security Council in the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library) covers most, but not all, of the summit. At the time of publication, this was the most complete version of the document known to [Page IV]exist in official U.S. files. However, among Lewis’s handwritten notes, a more complete draft was found, a version which covers all of the days of the summit. It is printed here as Document 28.

Adam M. Howard, Ph.D.
General Editor

Bureau of Public Affairs
May 2018