BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

BBC News
Martin Bell's report on the Camp David summit, from 1978
 real 28k

Monday, 10 July, 2000, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Camp David: Historic moments

Camp David: Site of many historic meetings
High up in the Catoctin mountains in Maryland is Camp David - the official retreat for US presidents.

Closed to the public and surrounded by maximum security fencing, the camp is said to provide a secure and relaxing atmosphere for presidents and their guests.

sraeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat
The agreement was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Begin and Egyptian President Sadat
It was here that President Jimmy Carter hosted 12 days of secret negotiations between Israel and Egypt in 1978.

The result was the Camp David Accords - the first peace agreement reached between Israel and one of its Arab neighbours.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill planned the Allies' invasion of Europe from the privacy of the retreat.

Mountain get-away

The camp encompasses about 200 acres of mountainous land in the Catoctin Mountain Park, a spur of the Blue Ridge mountains.

It is also only 70 miles from Washington DC - a mere 30-minute journey by helicopter from the White House.

It was first established in 1942 by President Roosevelt as a place "to relax and entertain".

He chose the site because of its proximity to Washington, its convenient facilities and cool mountain altitudes.

Mr Roosevelt named the camp Shangri-La, after the Tibetan mountain kingdom in James Hilton's novel, Lost Horizon.

It was renamed Camp David in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower, in honour of his grandson.

The retreat is administered by the White House military office.

Facilities include a presidential office and living quarters, swimming pool, guest cabins, putting green, tennis courts, gymnasium and meeting hall.

High-level visits

Numerous heads of state have been entertained at Camp David, where informal relationships can be developed away from the public eye.

In 1973, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, attended a summit with President Richard Nixon in which the sensitive issues of detente and the Salt (Strategic Arms Limitation) treaty were discussed.

Guest book
1970, 1989 - Prince Charles
1971 - President Tito
1973 - Leonid Brezhnev
1975 - President Suharto
1978 - Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin
1984, 1986 - Margaret Thatcher
1990 - Mikhail Gorbachev
1992 - Boris Yeltsin
Other heads of state who stayed at Camp David during the Nixon administration include President Tito of Yugoslavia and President Ceausescu of Romania.

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited the mountain retreat twice as a guest of President Ronald Reagan.

During a series of meetings between President Reagan and Mexican President Lopez-Portillo, discussions continued informally as the two men rode across the estate on horseback.

President Reagan also used the camp to deliver a regular radio address to the nation.

He visited the retreat more than any other president, and on leaving office said: "Of all the things about the presidency, we will miss Camp David the most".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories