First of all, I would like to say that the discussion yesterday, or maybe the day before, is very relevant to our topic today. It is relevant because it came out during the discussion yesterday about the personality of President Reagan.
What kind of a man is he? It came out that he was a man of the "big picture." He was a man who would select a few aides, give them their various departments, and not watch over the shoulder of any of them, and let them do their job. So, this is a president who does not get involved, whose managerial style is to let his own team do the job. This approach , this style, is completely different from that of President Carter. He was the exact opposite of President Reagan. President Carter used to have his own yellow legal pad and pencils, and take long notes of what any of us was saying.
Both Ambassador Rosenne and myself were in Camp David during the Egyptian-Israeli negotiations with President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin. I remember when I first arrived at Camp David, I was lost and did not know how to go to the cabin they assigned to us. It was President Carter, who was on his bicycle, who asked me, "Where do you want to go?" He took me personally to our cabin, and Mrs. Carter brought us coffee. You know, it is important to note that when it comes to Middle Eastern diplomacy, the personality of the man in the White House makes all the difference.
This is a topic which is very much influenced by the personal convictions of the man in the White House, the president of the United States. President Carter himself was very involved in what was going on. Therefore it was possible to have the Camp David Accords during the four years of the Carter administration. We had the Camp David Accords. We had the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, and we had the autonomy talks initiated and taken place. And this is quite an impressive record.
Now, first of all, I would like to express appreciation to Mr. Segev for his very excellent presentation, and I recommend to you to read his paper. You know, maybe in the oral presentation, he didn't have the time to give justice to his paper, but I'm referring to this because he talked about the Reagan initiative.
Now came the new administration. Reagan, the new man in the White House, had a different style. He, himself, contrary to President Carter, did not have this personal connection of what he should do in the Middle East. What I think he should have done, what the Reagan administration should have done, was to build on the foundations that already existed--that is, the Camp David Accords, the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty--to follow on, the same way the Clinton administration is doing now. It did not disown the Bush administration achievements; it built on them. But that was not the case.
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Publication information: Book title: President Reagan and the World. Contributors: Eric J. Schmertz - Editor, Natalie Datlof - Editor, Alexej Ugrinsky - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 61.
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