135. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to President Carter 1

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

Panama. The Foreign Relations Committee today considered what specific amendments and understandings it will recommend to the Senate. After extensive discussion, the Committee decided to recommend that the October 14 Statement of Understanding be added as a new article 9 of the Neutrality Treaty. The article would read as follows:

“The United States of America and the Republic of Panama,

Recognizing that the President of the United States and the Chief of Government of the Republic of Panama have set forth a correct and authoritative statement of certain rights and duties of the Parties under Articles IV and VI of the Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal in Statements issued by the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Panama on October 14, 1977, and October 18, 1977, respectively,

Have Decided and hereby do incorporate that statement as an integral part of the treaty as follows:


We consider this to be a satisfactory approach since it preserves the exact form of the October 14 statement and does not seek to alter the text of the Treaties as negotiated. The Committee rejected amendments to delete the sealevel canal provisions, recommending only an understanding which would preserve the President’s constitutional right to “confer” with nations other than Panama on the construction of a new waterway. The Committee will continue and (we hope) conclude action on the treaties on Monday.2

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Panama.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 19, Evening Reports (State), 1/78. Secret. Carter initialed the top-right corner of the memorandum.
  2. January 30.