118. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1
- Reports from Torrijos—Letter to Him
As you may recall, General Torrijos requested that Hamilton Jordan and Bob Pastor go to Panama last week to discuss his recent trip to the Middle East and Europe and to take Torrijos’ report of his trip back to you. Ham couldn’t go, so Bob went alone October 19–20.2
In a style which is eccentric, if not unique, Torrijos told Bob about his trip and his conversations. Rather detailed notes had been kept of his meetings, but he decided to discard them in favor of short summaries dictated in his inimical style and organized in three parts: (1) a summary of the conversation; (2) a short note of the foreign leader’s evaluation of you (all are favorable; most stress your moral and ethical qualities); and (3) Torrijos’ personal evaluation of these leaders.[Page 334]
The reports make for interesting reading. Individually, they are quite short but there are ten of them, so I have selected some of the more interesting parts and summarized them at Tab B.3 Among other things, they show Torrijos as a rather insightful, though idiosyncratic person.
An especially important point is that he wrote these just for you because of all the leaders he has ever met, he considers you his closest friend. Because of that, I have drafted a letter of acknowledgment,4 which I recommend you send. Jim Fallows has cleared it.
That you sign the letter to General Torrijos at Tab A.
Separately, I attach some possible wording for you to use in a separate personal note regarding democracy in Panama (Tab C).5
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: General Omar Torrijos Herrera 2/77–7/78. No classification marking. Sent for action. A stamped notation reads: “The President has seen.” Carter initialed the top-right corner of the memorandum and wrote: “Send this ltr—I’ll draft other.”↩
- See Document 116.↩
- Tab B is not attached. The report summaries are in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 60, Panama: 11/77–3/78.↩
- Tab A is not attached. A copy of this draft letter is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 60, Panama: 11/77–3/78. In a November 2 letter to Torrijos, Carter expressed his congratulations on the successful vote on the treaties in Panama, acknowledged Pastor’s trip to Panama and Torrijos’s reports, thanked Torrijos for obtaining international support for the treaties and expressed appreciation for their friendship. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 15, Panama: General Omar Torrijos Herrera 2/77–7/78)↩
- Tab C is not attached. Brzezinski added: “It is deliberately subtle.”↩