cover image With Presidents to the Summit

With Presidents to the Summit

A. Denis Clift, Arthur Denis Clift. University Press of America, $43.95 (225pp) ISBN 978-0-913969-51-9

As a senior member of the National Security Council and White House staffs during the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, Clift helped prepare a succession of meetings between U.S. presidents and foreign heads of state. The book opens with a report on the 1973 U.S.-France summit in Iceland, then covers U.S.-U.S.S.R. and NATO summits, President Carter's trilateral talks with Israel's Menachem Begin and Egypt's Anwar Sadat, and a wide range of other meetings. Clift is specific about the glitches that commonly arise and how they are dealt with. He is entertaining in his recollections of the trivial moments of summitry: a dinner guest who drank from his fingerbowl, mistaking it for ``very thin'' soup; bits of banter between dignitaries and members of the media; the story of how Clift came to the rescue when First Lady Betty Ford couldn't find suitable gifts for Britain's royal children. Clift's modest memoir presents an unusual view of summitry. Photos. (Apr.)