410. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Panamanian President Chiari 1

President: Hello, Mr. President, this is Lyndon Johnson. I wanted to express our great pleasure at the agreement that has been reached.

President Chiari: He is delighted, Mr. President, that both nations have been able to find a formula in order to re-establish diplomatic relations. He wishes to thank you for that and he is delighted that the two nations now will be able to discuss the problems that for so long have been between them.

President: We appreciate your desire to move on to a lasting agreement, Mr. President, that will resolve these difficulties, and I am today appointing the ablest and strongest man that I know, former Secretary of Treasury Mr. Robert Anderson, to be our Special Ambassador.

President Chiari: Has he been named as Special Ambassador?

President: Yes, sir, he will be named as Special Ambassador to do the negotiating. He was Secretary of the Treasury under President Eisenhower and is a man that enjoys my unlimited confidence.

President Chiari: He is delighted, Mr. President, and he wishes to thank you very much. He wishes to assure you that sometime during tomorrow they will nominate a very capable Panamanian to represent Panama in Washington as Ambassador.

President: Thank him very much, and we look forward to hearing about his nomination. Tell him that Mr. Anderson is a first-rate lawyer, having been a Professor of Law. He’s—his instructions will be to secure a fair and just agreement that will be satisfactory to the people of both nations.

President Chiari: He is delighted, Mr. President, and he is certain that as long as there is good will and good faith on both sides that we will be able to resolve these long standing problems that have existed between the two nations, and that he looks forward to a future of the friendliest possible relations between the two nations, since they have the same common objectives.

President: Well, tell him as we stated in the very first conversation we had together that we cannot have any pre-commitments. But [Page 868] Mr. Anderson will listen to all the differences that exist between the two nations and we will try to find an agreement that will be satisfactory.

President Chiari: Fine, Mr. President. That’s very fine.

President: Tell him we expect to name a Mr. Jack Vaughn who has lived in Panama a goodly part of his time and who is now head of the Peace Corps for Latin America, to be our regular Ambassador there.

President Chiari: Fine, and I’m delighted, Mr. President.

President: He has had a decade of service in Latin America and he’s been on the faculty of Johns Hopkins School of International Studies here.

President Chiari: Fine. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

President: He spent from 1952 to 1960 in and out of Panama and some of his friends no doubt will know him.

President Chiari: He is certain that that will be the case, Mr. President.

President: And tell him that we would like to have clearance on him just as quickly as we can, and we’ll submit it through channels shortly.

President Chiari: Fine, with a great deal of pleasure, Mr. President. And we will do the same with you, Mr. President, as soon as possible.

President: All right. So tell him that the two countries can now sit down together without limitations or pre-conditions of any kind and as friends try to find the proper and fair answers.

President Chiari: [in English] That is the right way to do it and I hope we get success on that. [through translator] That is the right way to do it and I hope we get together on that.

President: [Chuckle] Thank you, Mr. President. I’m lookin’ forward to seein’ ya.

President Chiari: [in English] Okay. Good-bye.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of telephone conversation between President Johnson and President Chiari, Tape F64.22, Side B, PNO 4. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume. President Johnson was in Washington; President Chiari in Panama City. Except where noted, President Chiari spoke through a translator.