Auhor's comments: Although I have the feeling of having left unfinished almost every mathematical project undertaken, the study of endoscopy and the stabilized trace formula was, in this respect, one of the most unsatisfactory of all. It went on for a very long time without reaching any very cogent conclusions. This now seems with hindsight to have been inevitable. The efforts of a number of excellent mathematicians make it clear that the problems to be solved, many of which remain outstanding, were much more difficult than I appreciated.
Robert P. Langlands
Author's comments: Some surprise has been expressed that the notes of Jacquet-Langlands have been placed in the same section as the notes on the \(\epsilon\)-factor. There is a good reason for this. Although the notion of functoriality had been introduced in the original letter to Weil, there were few arguments apart from aesthetic ones to justify it. So it was urgent to make a more cogent case. One tool lay at hand, the Hecke theory, in its original form and in the more precise form created by Weil.
Author's comments:The most important point for the innocent or inexperienced reader of this paper to understand is that it is the stable trace formula that is here invoked. The stable trace formula, introduced many years ago in the reference [L2], developed and applied in the references [K1], [K2], [K3] and, more recently, in a very systematic way and to extremely good effect in [A2], is what allows the introduction of the Steinberg-Hitchin base and of the Poisson summation formula.
Author's comments: This paper is quite informal and I could not immediately reflect on the suggestions it contains. I am grateful to Freydoon Shahidi for suggesting that as an interim measure I write the paper for submission to the Canadian Mathematical Bulletin, where it appeared in volume 50 (2007).