13. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Panama1
25459. For the Ambassador from the Secretary. Subject: Panama Canal negotiations.
I leave to your discretion the desirability of seeking an appointment with General Torrijos to convey following oral message concerning my meeting with Boyd and our views on Panama Canal negotiations:2
(1) I was very pleased to be able to have such an early meeting with the foreign minister to discuss the Canal negotiations and thus underscore the importance we attach to an early settlement.3
(2) Our conversation revealed a mutual interest in pursuing serious sustained negotiation without any diversionary tactics in order to conclude a treaty at the earliest possible date.
(3) I was surprised and disturbed to be informed by Foreign Minister Boyd that you were unhappy over reports of U.S. insistence on security rights after the termination of the treaty. I wish to emphasize [Page 62] that during my discussions with Foreign Minister Boyd I stressed the importance of the continued neutrality of the Canal. No hard and fast positions were taken but you should be well aware of our concern about that issue, a concern strongly felt by many members of our congress.
(4) I stressed to the foreign minister the need for flexibility on both sides as we face complex issues in which both sides would understandably be defending the interests of our respective countries.
(5) The basic U.S. purpose in the negotiations and in the treaty is to ensure a safe, efficient and neutral Canal.
(6) The details of the negotiations will be left to our negotiators in whom we have the highest confidence.
- Source: Department of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Office of the U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS, Einaudi Country Files, 1977–1989, Lot 91D371, Box 6, Panama 1977. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Todman; cleared by Habib and Goldsmith; and approved by Vance.↩
- See Document 9.↩
- In telegram 1001 from Panama City, February 10, Jorden reported that he was unable to transmit the message to Torrijos directly and instead met with Gonzalez on February 10, on instructions from Torrijos. The meeting focused primarily on the sudden resignation of Boyd as Foreign Minister. (Department of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Office of the U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS, Einaudi Country Files, 1977–1989, Lot 91D371, Box 6, Panama 1977)↩