528. National Security Study Memorandum 861 2

[Page 1]


  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of Defense


  • Panama Canal

My memorandum to you of September 3 requested a brief review, for the President, of our interests and objectives with regard to concluding new canal treaties with Panama in the light of recent developments and changes that have occurred since 1967. Because of the importance of this subject, the President has directed that this study be submitted to the NSC. Accordingly, the review now being prepared by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Inter-American Affairs should be prepared for NSC consideration, and should be submitted to the Review Group by January 20.

The study should analyze:

Our present interests and objectives with regard to concluding new treaties with Panama, including timing, and the options open to us to achieve those objectives.
The objectives of the 1967 treaty package and negotiating plan, whether any major revisions or changes appear desirable in the light of 1 above, and our options in this regard.
Relate the present internal situation in Panama and our policy toward the Torrijos regime to our policy on the canal treaties.
Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–43, Review Group, NSSM 86, Panama Canal, 3/13/70. Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the JCS and the Director of Central Intelligence. The President approved the drafting of the NSSM in a December 30, 1969, memorandum from Kissinger. (Ibid.) Kissinger’s September 3, 1969, memorandum is published as Document 524. A summary of the NSC–IG/ARA review is published as Document 530.
  2. Kissinger directed the National Security Council Inter-Departmental Group for Inter-American Affairs to prepare a study of U.S. interests in agreeing to new Canal treaties with Panama. He emphasized that the study should analyze policy options, whether any objectives of the 1967 Treaty proposals should be revised, and the internal situation in Panama.