139. Memorandum From the Assistant to the President (Jordan) and the Assistant to the President for Congressional Liaison (Moore) to President Carter 1

  • RE: PANAMA CANAL POLITICAL EFFORTS

Although we have good momentum now for ratification of the treaties, we have some tough days ahead. There will be the conservative reaction to your speech2 and the fact that the members of the Senate who have not taken a public position will be besieged by their own constituents when they go home for the recess. Add to that the fact that some recent overly optimistic press reports have diminished the sense of urgency which should surround the ratification process.

We have many political resources that we can and should bring to bear on the Senate. Right now our approach to the ratification process is diffused. We need to focus these resources and make each of several key people feel personal responsibility for one or two votes.

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Only you can do this. I would strongly recommend that you have a meeting of the following persons who are Washington based and call the balance on the telephone, and ask each person to live with and work on one of two Senators in the undecided catagory. You obviously will want to defer to them as to which Senators they know best. But, it will only work if you look Bob Strauss, John White and others in the eye and say, “I’m counting on you figuring out some way to get me Senator X’s vote”. We need to have these people and these resources working for us in a specific and focused way over the next few weeks. Unless precise assignments are made, I fear that we will get very little help out of these people.

The things you need to do are:

1. Have a brief fifteen minute meeting with the following persons and make a personal appeal for them to become your main “political working group” on the ratification. These assignments are arbitrary, but reflect our best thinking of who might cover each undecided Senator.

Mondale Hatfield and DeConcini

Strauss Randolph, Ford and Zorinsky

WhiteBurdick and Hodges 3

Linowitz Heinz, Roth and Danforth 4

Andrus —Haskell Melcher5

Vance Young/Schweiker

Brown Cannon, McIntyre

These five people represent the best political help and talents we have. Again, we can assemble these five people and let you make personal appeals and specific assignments and get weekly reports on their efforts.6

2. Through several phone calls, you can expand this working group to include other key people with specific assignments. I would recommend that you make the following calls:7

Bert LanceNunn and Talmadge

Kissinger —Two or three persons of his choosing

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President Ford —Five or six Senators of his choosing8

Meaney—Two or three Senators of his choosing9

In summary, this fifteen minute meeting and these four telephone calls will activate our best people and resources. I would recommend that we do as much of this as possible before the “glow” from your fine speech tonight begins to fade. Possibly we can move some of the Senators now and freeze others who are leaning against the treaties.

We are doing a poll to see if there is movement after the speech, and I am preparing a presentation for the Cabinet meeting Monday10 which will utilize the Cabinet members in the ratification process.11

  1. Source: Carter Library, Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan’s Subject Files, Box 5, Panama Canal Calls (CF, O/A 413) 2. Confidential. Carter initialed the memorandum and wrote: “Ham.”
  2. See footnote 6, Document 99.
  3. Jordan crossed out Zorinsky and wrote in the right margin: “Hodges
  4. Jordan crossed out Stevens and wrote in the right margin: “Danforth
  5. Jordan crossed out “and Cannon” and wrote in the right margin: “Melcher”. Jordan added under the list of names: “Vance Young/Schweiker” and “Brown Cannon, McIntyre ”.
  6. Carter wrote in the right margin: “ok—do so”.
  7. Jordan wrote in the right margin: “Purpose”, “Initial Contact 24 hours”, “Contact—Bob Thompson/Frank Moore”, “Political overview”, “Help001FLetter/Statement.”
  8. Jordan highlighted this sentence and wrote and circled in the right margin: “10 Rep.”
  9. Carter wrote: “give me names” in the right margin. Jordan wrote underneath this sentence “Deconcini” and “Hatfield,” and wrote and drew a box around “Hatfield,” “Stevens,” “Schweiker,” “Cannon,” “Melcher,” and “Burdick.”
  10. February 6. See Document 140.
  11. In an undated note to Mondale, Jordan requested that Mondale make telephone contact with his senators by February 6. (Carter Library, Office of the Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan’s Files, Box 5, Panama Canal Calls (CF, O/A 413) 2) In an undated letter to Andrus, Jordan requested that Andrus make contact with the senators he agreed to talk to and give a report on these senators to Carter by February 6. (Ibid.) Jordan wrote Linowitz with a similar request. (Ibid.)