ATC highlighted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's homecoming after his historic November 21, 1978 visit to Israel. This unprecedented visit provided a new window for peace between Egypt and Israel after many years of tension. Sadat promised to find a solution to the fighting through "negotiations not war."
January 14, 1978
After Israel failed to demonstrate any willingness to compromise over settlements in the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and West Bank, Egypt abruptly cut off negotiations. ATC interviewed correspondent Barry Schweid to discuss the terminated negotiations while examining President Sadat’s position in regional politics. Schweid predicted a grim future for negotiations and posited that it would take many years in order to make a permanent settlement between the two nations.
February 4, 1978
Due to restricted media access during talks between President Carter and President Sadat at Camp David, ATC was not able to present any substantive information to listeners. President Carter believed a media blackout would prevent Sadat from being immediately influenced by public opinion and pressure. This media restriction foreshadowed the approach taken by the Carter administration during the Camp David Summit several months later.
March 2, 1978
Correspondent Jim Letterman reported from Jerusalem for ATC to describe a personal letter sent to Israeli Prime Minister Begin from President Sadat. Although the contents of the message were not made public, in a “bilateral show of goodwill” both men indicated that they were willing to reopen stalled negotiations by putting forth new proposals for a peace settlement.
March 21, 1978
ATC discusses the "cool and strained" talks between President Carter and Prime Minister Begin at the White House. An interview with diplomatic correspondent Henry Truett reported discussions fraught with tension. Begin proved to be inflexible by refusing to remove and halt settlements on the Gaza Strip. ATC used this interview to further examine the extremely narrow route available for peace in the Middle East.
May 1, 1978
Prime Minister Begin returned to the White House for continued peace discussions with President Carter. Correspondent Henry Truett reported that meetings “did not seem to produce much substance” as the United States and Israel arrived at an impasse over contested territory.
June 20, 1978
ATC included this short introductory segment to report on an new development in the relationship between Israel and Egypt. Israel put forth a new proposal for peace which kept the contested areas of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank off the table. ATC co-host Susan Stamberg reported that despite President Sadat’s frustration with the vague nature of Israel’s proposal, he still asserted that future peace discussions are not off the table in a meeting with Egyptian leaders.
August 6, 1978
Diplomatic correspondent Barry Schweid described a major break in the peace process deadlock. In a last ditch effort, President Carter sent his secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, to Egypt and Israel. Vance prepared to speak with both Sadat and Begin and suggest that they go to the United States for a meeting with President Carter at Camp David. Schweid dissected the particulars of each country’s position and acknowledged that both sides have enough areas of agreement to facilitate a discussion. Although the summit had not yet been proposed, this interview indicated a real path towards peace negotiations.
September 2, 1978
Broadcast just four days before the talks were set to begin, this segment revealed tension within the Carter administration leading up to the arrival of Sadat and Begin. Reading between the lines of White House statements, ATC reported that the Carter administration was attempting to lower the expectations of the upcoming talks. ATC correspondent David Ensor noted that headlines for the talks would be very difficult to write because of the complexity of the issues up for discussion.
September 4, 1978
David Ensor reported on Jimmy Carter's departure for Camp David. Carter gave a few remarks to reporters before taking Marine One to Camp David a day early. Ensor noted his "somber, serious mood" and included a short clip of Carter's departing words. Carter hoped that his role in the negotiations would be “that of a full partner” and reiterated his commitment to search “for a common ground.”
September 6, 1978
David Ensor reported on the first night of the Camp David Summit. Ensor expressed frustration at the media blackout imposed at Camp David and discussed the media's position outside Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland. To make a point about the lack of reporting opportunities, Ensor gave a rundown of the local Frederick, Maryland news instead of providing updates about the summit meeting. He was able to report that President Carter met with Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat individually and as a group.
September 6, 1978
In this report, ATC covered international reactions to the Camp David summit. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko called the talks "unrealistic" while stating that they are "bound to end in failure." Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad, also cast doubt on the meeting arguing that Sadat did not represent the Arab world's position on peace with Israel.
September 8, 1978
This discussion is a rebroadcast from the NPR program, Pauline Frederick and Colleagues between Frederick, former Under Secretary of State Dr. Joseph Cisco, and Washington Post reporter Stephen Rosenfeld. They discussed U.N. Resolution 242 and the future of the Middle East. This conversation provided listeners with a nuanced discussion of the existing issues in Israel and predictions about what the talks could potentially accomplish.
September 8, 1978
In this clip, ATC highlighted continued frustration with the media blackout. White House spokesman Jody Powell discredited reports about the negotiations while reporter David Ensor finally got an inside look at Camp David where he watched a marine parade and band performance. He sarcastically described it as a typical display of "American military brawn and precision" while announcing his disappointment that neither Carter, Begin, or Sadat made any statements to the press.
September 8, 1978
As the media blackout continued, reporter David Ensor expressed irritation with the lack of information available on the third day of the summit. Ensor noted that briefings from White House spokesman Jody Powell were the only official source of information. Despite the lack of news to report, those familiar with Middle Eastern negotiations advised Ensor that "no news is good news." If Sadat and Begin were to walk away from negotiations too early, it would indicate a failure to achieve any real solutions.
September 11, 1978
David Ensor reported on a briefing from White House spokesman Jody Powell. Although Powell did not divulge any specifics, he did tell reporters that there were advancements in the weekend over "matters of substance." Carter had been meeting separately with each leader but Begin and Sadat had not met face to face since the preceding Thursday. Ensor reiterated dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency from the Carter administration in regards to the meetings.
September 17, 1978
On this final day of the Camp David summit, All Things Considered described the frantic scene in Thurmont, Maryland as reporters scraped together details about the intensifying negotiations. Before filing his last report from Thurmont, David Ensor lamented that his reporting had been reduced to "reading the tea leaves." Ensor was able to report on an increased frequency and urgency of meetings between Carter, Begin, and Sadat. While uncertainty about the outcome remained, all signs pointed to a climax in the negotiations.