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A survey is made of the relative frequency of encounters with slow-mode shocks observed by ISEE 3 in the distant geomagnetic tail. The association of these shocks with the phase of substorm activity as evidenced by enhanced currents in the auroral ionosphere and enhanced energetic-particle populations at geostationary orbit is also documented. During the 25 days between January 18 and February 11, 1983, 26 unambiguous examples of slow shocks were observed. Although a very strong association with the level of geomagnetic activity is found, shocks were observed during all phases of substorm activity including one during quiet conditions. Slow-mode shocks must therefore be a semipermanent feature of the bounding surfaces which separate lobe and plasma sheet particle populations in the distant geomagnetic tail.