Historic Documents of 1978


Edited by: CQ Press

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    Publication of Historic Documents of 1978 carries through a seventh year the project launched by Congressional Quarterly with Historic Documents 1972. The purpose of this continuing series of volumes is to give students, scholars, librarians, journalists and citizens convenient access to documents of basic importance in the broad range of public affairs.

    To place the documents in perspective; each entry is preceded by a brief introduction containing background materials, in some cases a short summary of the document itself and, where necessary, relevant subsequent developments. We believe these introductions will prove increasingly useful in future years when the events and questions now covered are less fresh in one's memory and the documents may be difficult to find or unobtainable.

    The year 1978 saw intense negotiations and diplomatic moves on a variety of fronts. As had happened in 1977, the world was again stunned by a major breakthrough in the Middle East negotiations. President Carter met in September with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for 13 days of grueling negotiations. The resulting accords held out the promise of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel within three months but at year's end there were still issues to be resolved.

    A strategic arms limitation agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union also remained elusive in 1978, despite two years of negotiations and prior agreement on a basic framework for the treaty. But not all diplomatic efforts were frustrated in 1978. President Carter won a hard campaign for Senate ratification of the Panama Canal treaties. And the White House made the surprise announcement in December that the United States and the People's Republic of China would establish full diplomatic relations.

    Economic issues—spiraling inflation and the declining value of the dollar—continued to cause concern at home and abroad in 1978. To back up pledges made at several international meetings, President Carter in late October announced a new anti-inflation plan, and then eight days later revealed a monetary package aimed at bolstering the dollar.

    These developments added substantially to the usual outpouring of presidential statements, court decisions, committee reports, special studies and speeches of national or international importance. We have selected for inclusion in this book as many as possible of the documents that in our judgment will be of more than transitory interest. Where space limitations prevented reproduction of the full texts, the excerpts used were chosen to set forth the essentials and, at the same time, to preserve the flavor of the materials.

    Patricia AnnO'Connor Editor Washington, D.C. February, 1979

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