542. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Chairman of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Irwin)1 2

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  • Panama Canal Commission Report

The President has received the final report of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission and has directed that the NSC Under Secretaries Committee undertake a study to (1) review the Commission’s report and its recommendations, (2) consider the implications of the report for the United States position in treaty negotiations, and (3) prepare options and recommendations for a detailed negotiating strategy and schedule consistent with the guidance set forth in NSDM 64.

The President has asked that specific consideration be given to options for the US to initiate negotiations if the Panamanian Government has not taken the initiative prior to completion of the study. The study should take into account factors which may affect Congressional ratification of prospective new treaty arrangements, including timing and Congressional attitudes, and should include recommendations for appropriate Congressional consultations.

The study should be submitted to the President no later than February 20, 1971.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–169, NSSM files, NSSM 86. Secret. Copies were sent to the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury; Director of OMB; Secretary of the Army; Chairman of the JCS; the DCI; and the Special Representative for Interoceanic Canal Negotiations. Kissinger did not sign the memorandum.
  2. Kissinger conveyed President Nixon’s instructions to the Under Secretaries Committee to review the Canal Study Commission’s report, to consider the implications of the report for the U.S. position in the treaty negotiations, and to prepare recommendations for the U.S. Government’s negotiating strategy.