CAMP DAVID. Situated on 142 acres in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, about seventy miles northwest of Washington, D.C., Camp David has served as a weekend and summer retreat for United States presidents since 1942. Franklin D. Roosevelt chose the site he called Shangri-La for its eighteen-hundred-foot elevation, which made it considerably cooler than summers in the White House. He oversaw the remodeling of the camp, estimated
to cost about $18,650, with sketches for the design of the presidential lodge and directions for changes to the landscaping. President Dwight D. Eisenhower renamed the site in 1953 after his father and his grandson, David.
Several important meetings with heads of state occurred at Camp David. During World War II, Roosevelt met there with British prime minister Winston Churchill, and in 1959 Eisenhower hosted Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev at Camp David. However, the site is most often associated with the 1978 talks between Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin. President Jimmy Carter brought both men to the retreat to forge a framework for Middle East peace, which resulted in the signing of the Camp David Peace Accords on 17 September 1978. Camp David continues to be utilized by American presidents for both leisure and official government business.
Lesch, Ann Mosely, and Mark Tessler, eds. Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinians: From Camp David to Intifada. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.
Nelson, W. Dale. The President Is at Camp David. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1995.
———. "Company in Waiting: The Presidents and Their Guests at Camp David." Prologue 28 (1996): 222–231.
See alsoCamp David Peace Accords .
Originally established and named Shangri-La in 1942 by President Franklin Roosevelt, Camp David was renamed in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower after his grandson David.