The Secret History of Dayton

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Marking the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Accords that ended Bosnia's bloody ethnic conflict, the National Security Archive today published the 1997 U.S. State Department study chronicling the American effort to bring peace to the region.

On November 21, 1995, the world witnessed an event that for years many believed impossible: on a secluded, wind-swept U.S. Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, the leaders of Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia agreed to end a war. The signing of the Dayton Peace Accords concluded one of the most challenging diplomatic undertakings the United States had pursued since the end of the Cold War -- eighteen weeks of whirlwind shuttle diplomacy, followed by twenty-one intensive days of negotiations in Dayton. The agreement brought peace to a troubled corner of Europe, and established an ambitious blueprint to build a new Bosnia -- an effort that the international community remains deeply engaged in today.

The study is the result of a unique historical effort led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Bennett Freeman in 1996 to capture the record of this achievement. In his capacity overseeing the State Department's Office of the Historian as well as serving as Chief Speechwriter for Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Freeman worked with that office and the Bureau of European Affairs to assemble a team to begin collecting documents and conduct interviews with all the key American participants in the Dayton process. After the initial research effort was underway and an archive of these materials had been created, Freeman then asked Derek Chollet to draft the study based on this research, which he completed in the spring of 1997.

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